Today we welcome Coral Rumble into The Reading Realm to talk to Ian Eagleton about her lovely new book poetry collection for younger readers!
Without giving too much away, can you tell us about your new poetry book Things That Should Be In A Poem?
When writing poems for Things That Should be in a Poem, I was determined to gather together an eclectic mix, to demonstrate that you can bump into a poem anywhere! As I say in the introduction:
‘Did you know, you can bump into a poem anywhere? You find them in houses, fields, oceans, cities, trees . . . the list is endless! I’ve even found poems in people’s faces, when they laugh or cry, or get excited.’
Who is the book aimed at and what are the challenges of writing for this age group?
The target age is 5yrs+ – definitely a KS1 book, although many poems cross phase in suitability. I’m thrilled that the publishing world has, more recently, acknowledged that young children deserve to have fresh, new poems written for them. This hasn’t always been the case. With a rich heritage of nursery rhymes – and a host of poems by the highly esteemed ‘Anon’ – it seemed to make economic sense for children to be made to wait for new poems, until they entered KS2. Of course, there have been exceptions, but many school book shelves are stocked with old books of poems for their KS1 children. Thankfully, a new climate seems to have developed in recent years, and some wonderful collections have been published, written with young children in mind.
I think the main challenge in writing poems for young children, is that you have to keep everything fairly simple in terms of concept and vocabulary, yet maintain a poetic quality that you can be pleased with as an adult writer.
How did you feel when you saw the beautiful illustrations in the book?
It has been such a delight to work with Shih-Yu Lin. He’s a very talented young illustrator and I knew, from the start, that the warmth and humour of his work was ideal for the collection I wanted to create. I wanted children to be able to celebrate words and the fun they create, and Shih-Yu’s illustrations celebrate that in style on every page! I’m extremely grateful that Troika Books believed in the collection enough to invest financially, to ensure that it was bright and attractive. Young children, in particular, need that. Roy Johnson had the idea of creating a kind of hybrid – a poetry collection but with lots of picture book style double spreads.
Is there one poem from the collection that you feel encapsulates the whole book and it’s themes that you can share with us?
I suppose the simple answer to that would be to cite the title poem, and it certainly does introduce the idea that you can write a poem about anything. However, I like to think the themes are so varied, that encapsulating the book is difficult to do. My main motivation was to create word fun, alongside some scattered moments of deeper reflection.
Finally, can you describe Things That Should Be In A Poem in three words?
Juggling with words!