NEW VOICES AND THE UK’S BEST-LOVED CHILDREN’S POET: 2021 CLIPPA SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED

19 July 2021

Established in 2003, the CLiPPA is the UK’s only award for published poetry for children and is delivered in partnership with ALCS.

This year’s shortlist, chosen from books published in 2020, demonstrates the vital resilience of poets and publishers. It celebrates exceptional poetry for children by brand new voices and the UK’s best-known and best-loved children’s poet.

The five books on the shortlist are:

Slam! You’re Gonna Wanna Hear This, chosen by Nikita Gill, Macmillan

Nikita Gill brings together exciting new poets, all well known to poetry audiences but many making their first appearance in print; the judges hail this as a book to excite young people about all the potential of poetry, curated with skill and passion.

Bright Bursts of Colour, Matt Goodfellow, illustrated by Aleksei Bitskoff, Bloomsbury Education

The poems in Matt Goodfellow’s collection range from the silly to the sensitive, and all will resonate with children aged 7–11. The judges admired the child’s eye view, the dynamic representations of real-life experiences, and the book’s understanding of a child’s sensibilities.

Run, Rebel, Manjeet Mann, Penguin

Compelling, powerful, and authentic, Mann’s verse novel speaks directly to its YA audience. The judges loved the fresh voice and how a form that could feel archaic is made new.

Big Green Crocodile Rhymes to Say and Play, Jane Newberry, illustrated by Carolina Rabei, Otter-Barry Books

A collection of new nursery rhymes, this is a book for parents and adults to share with the very youngest to spark a lifelong love of poetry. The judges call it a perfect post-lockdown book, allowing adults and small children to connect and share poems. It’s beautifully presented and perfectly illustrated.

On the Move, Michael Rosen, illustrated by Quentin Blake, Walker Books

On the Move is both personal and universal, with messages of home, identity and family. The judges found it full of emotion, delivered with a perfect sense of understatement; they praised the way words and illustrations provide pauses, allowing readers space to think.

Allie Esiri, chair of the judges, said ‘If you think your child doesn’t like poetry, please share the books on this year’s CLiPPA shortlist. They are varied – a picture book, an anthology, outstanding single collections and a verse novel – but each one reminds us what the best poetry for children can do. The poets capture real life experiences that will excite their audience and speak directly to them; they plant images and ideas and allow them space to grow. Poetry demands more than other kinds of literature but gives back more too and there are poems in these books that will remain in the minds of their readers forever. I’m particularly pleased that there is a book for the very young on the shortlist, but all these collections could start a lifetime of poetry pleasure.’

Louise Johns-Shepherd, Chief Executive, CLPE said ‘After the challenges of the last eighteen months, we are delighted to be announcing the shortlist for the CLiPPA and thrilled to be doing it as part of the Poetry By Heart celebrations at The Globe amongst so many young poetry-lovers. Congratulations to the poets on the list, to the poets here today and all the young poetry performers, particularly CLiPPA shadowers Freddie Bland and Zane Siddiqui from Swaffield Primary School, who performed Brother and Sister, from A.F. Harold’s anthology Midnight Feasts, and Benji Morris from Norwich Road Academy, Norwich who performed Fireworks, from The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog by Paul B. Janeczko. Now we look forward to another live event, the announcement of the winner at The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival, on Monday 11 October.’

The winner of the 2021 CLiPPA will be revealed at the The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival, on Monday 11 October, in a Poetry Show introduced by CLiPPA judges, Zaro Weil and Allie Esiri, and featuring performances by the shortlisted poets. Schools across the UK and beyond will be able to watch the show on The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival platform.

Find out more at clpe.org.uk/poetry/CLiPPA

About Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE)

CLPE is an independent UK charity working to raise the literacy achievement of children by putting quality children’s literature at the heart of all learning. CLiPPA, the CLPE Children’s Poetry Award, was developed to ensure that children’s poetry has a recognised place within children’s literature. For free poetry resources including films of poets performing visit clpe.org.uk/poetryline. For further information about CLPE please visit clpe.org.uk.