The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How-To Poems, compiled by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Richard Jones, Walker Books.

From the practical (how to mix a pancake or how to bird-watch) to the fanciful (how to scare monsters or how to be a snowflake), the poems share a sense of joy. Poets featured range from Kwame Alexander to Pat Mora to Allan Wolf.

Soft, evocative illustrations will

encourage readers to look at the world with an eye to its countless possibilities.

The judges found this a wonderfully varied collection of poems that will speak directly to young children, full of beautiful examples of the craft of poetry. They loved the conversational tone, its variety and child-centredness. ‘It felt like meeting friends.’

Wain. LGBT Reimaginings of Scottish Folklore, Rachel Plummer, illustrated by Helene Boppert, The Emma Press

Wain is a collection of LGBT themed poetry for teens based on retellings of Scottish myths. The collection contains stories about kelpies, selkies, and the Loch Ness Monster, alongside perhaps lesser-known mythical people and creatures, such as wulvers, Ghillie Dhu, and the Cat Sìth. These poems immerse readers in an enriching, diverse and enchanting vision of contemporary life.

The judges found the voice fresh and admired its take on something that could have felt archaic but is made to feel new. They commented too on the music of the collection and the linked journey of the poems. ‘This inspired us to find out more about Scottish folklore.’

Cherry Moon, Zaro Weil, illustrated by Junli Song, ZaZaKids Books/ Troika Books

This poetry collection captures eye- popping moments, tender observations and whimsical reflections on the sheer joy of the natural world. It poses big questions about life with poems and other small gatherings of words; encouraging children of every age to explore the power, enchantment and sheer wonderfulness of nature.

The judges found it meditative and beautifully paced. They very much like the way Zaro Weil presents snapshots of the natural world and her use of form. ‘This is lovely to revisit and read again.’

Books for Keeps National Poetry Day 2020 11

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