Valerie Bloom

writer and performance poet

Hi!

Welcome to my homepage! See news and updates here and through the blog. You can find out more about me (and my availability to come to a school or event), or get in touch through the pages to the right. All the best!

Val

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Classroom activity – Don’ Go Ova Dere

We promised you resources, and the first of them is hot off the press. A free lesson activity to go with Valerie’s poem Don’ Go Ova Dere, which can be found in the collection Let Me Touch the Sky. We’ve also included a copy of the poem for those who haven’t got the book. This activity is part of a wider Scheme of Work created by a practising teacher and has been successfully used with year 7 classes. It can, however, be adapted to other age groups or tweaked for any needs. If you do play around with it, let us know what you come up with!

We’re also looking to start sharing a poem of the week with you over the next few weeks; some of these may even be recorded by Valerie herself. Feel free to vote for a favourite and we’ll see if we can include it in the shortlist – and maybe give you a mention!

Hope you find these useful!

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Introducing Tamara

Hi! My name’s Tamara; if you’ve been in touch to book a school visit over the last couple of years our paths may have crossed. You may have noticed things have been quiet around here lately; I’ll be working behind the scenes getting exciting new content up for you soon, including activities and ideas for use during the current coronavirus pandemic. You may have ideas for ways we can support at this time also; if so, please do get in touch.

Looking forward to working with you; speak soon!

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New Release of Fruits

Delighted to announce that this popular title is available in a new release from Pan Macmillan. With beautiful illustrations by David Axtell and telling the story of one girl’s quest to eat as many fruits as possible, this counting-poem picture book is a great gift for little ones!

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Three performances at the British Library

With everything that’s been going on in the news over recent months, it’s great to see a number of events and initiatives coming up to celebrate the windrush generation.

I had the pleasure of taking part in ​Windrush Women: Past and Present​, an evening of poetry and readings inspired by the lives of female writers from the Windrush era, at the British Library last month. Read the rest of this entry »

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Green-fingered words

Just a little update on what I’m working on at the moment. Although it seems a bit cold to be talking about planting seeds or vegetable patches, my current project is poems about gardening. I started a post a while back about trying to make my hobbies pay. Not because everything should be about money, Read the rest of this entry »

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Book Week bookings!

Just a reminder to get in touch sooner rather than later if you’d like me to visit your school this March. Every year I have to disappoint people wanting a session to celebrate Book Week, since the week, and March in general, always fill up very quickly. I already have several visits lined up, so please don’t leave it too late!

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My own Caribbean adventure…

I’ve just spent a couple of idyllic weeks in Cuba and have had a lot to think about since then. I was touched by the friendliness and the courteousness of everyone and by the unspoilt, uncommercialised honesty of the place. At the same time I was amazed at how little people had to survive on and how resourceful that made them. I saw ropes being fabricated on an ingenious machine, home-made from old video tapes; the irrigation system on a farm I visited consisted of old tyres split to form drains, and used the water left over from washing. Just to give you an idea. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rhymes and Rhythms in Bonny Scotland

On 27 November I had the privilege of working with Roger McGough on a BBC Scotland live recording, Rhymes and Rhythms. We had a brilliant time sharing our poetry with an enthusiastic audience of 5-7 year-old pupils, and the organisers, the Scottish Book Trust have created a set of learning resources for teachers. These are available on their website free of charge; and I’ve linked to a couple below.

Wishing everyone a peaceful run-up to the end-of-year break!

Learning resources

Watch the event

Clips from the event (via the BBC Scotland Learning website)

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50 Best

From handbags to kitchen appliances our family has taken great pleasure in perusing the Guardian’s “50 Best” feature over the years. So I was delighted to discover not only that their latest edition looks at such an important topic as culturally diverse children’s literature, but to see one of my own books make it into the list!

The Guardian’s Diverse Voices: the 50 best culturally diverse children’s books looks at the best children’s and teenagers’ books celebrating cultural and ethnic diversity since 1950. My picture book, Fruits is the second in the list, in the “Early Years” section. Celebrating Children’s Book week, the article sits among various features exploring children’s literature and diversity.

Speaking of the latter, it was good to see a wide array of cultures featured, albeit what one would expect!

Have a read, and maybe discover an old treasure from your childhood, or a new one to share! What books would you have added to the list?

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Poetry, charity, royalty

October 17th has lots of good memories; a family birthday, a neice’s anniversary, a trip to Kenya three years back. This year, however, the day afforded an experience I don’t often enjoy; performing to royalty! As part of a school visit I gave a performance and writing workshop to a group of schoolchildren as lovely and enthusiastic as ever. Or perhaps slightly more excited than usual, as these young people had another visitor in the form of HRH Princess Beatrice!

The workshop took place at St Peter’s School in Farnham, and was organised by the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre as part of Dyslexia Awareness Week. Princess Beatrice is Patron of the Centre, and knows personally what it takes to achieve academically in spite of the condition. It was lovely meeting both HRH and Helen Arkell herself. The Princess seemed to enjoy the workshop, and the children were  certainly pleased to have her join them for it!

Always a pleasure to meet such interesting and accomplished people as part of my work. Till next time!

17-10-2013 with HRH

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