Valerie Bloom

writer and performance poet

Classroom activity – Autumn Gilt

Our next classroom activity is out! This time based on the poem Autumn Gilt, which is the first poem featured in the Let Me Touch the Sky collection. We actually featured this poem recently as a #PoemOfTheWeek, so as well as downloading the poem text and activity sheet below, you can also listen to an audio recording of it being read aloud.

The next resource in the pipeline will be a comparison activity for this poem and the one previously covered, Don’ Go Over There. Let us know how you found this one and keep an eye out for that instalment, coming soon!

Photo credit: we had a very nice featured photo for this poem already. But when we found Pedro Ferreira’s lovely image on Flickr.com accompanied by a copy of the poem, it felt fitting to use it! CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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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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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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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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My latest collection “claws” its way into the new year…

It’s here; after a month of writing, editing, re-writing, and running poems-in-the-making past my family, my latest collection is finally out! Jaws and Claws and Things with Wings is a collection of animal-inspired poems for children, illustrated by Matt Robertson. (I had one month to write and deliver this one, making it the fastest book I’ve ever written!)

Publishers Collins Educational said about the collection,

Imaginative, clever and often humorous, this beautifully illustrated poetry collection…is inspired by the strange and wonderful creatures of the natural world.

Jaws and Claws (I’m taking the liberty of shortening the title for the rest of this post!) is part of their Collins Big Cat series, a range of fiction and non-fiction books designed to help primary school children develop their reading skills.

You can find out more about Collins Big Cat at their website.

Just to give you a taste of what’s under the covers of Jaws and Claws, I’m including a taster poem from the collection below. (This is one of my grown-up daughter’s favourites; imagine her singing it in delighted, child-like tones!)

The Mouse’s Song

If there is a mouse you are longing to please

Give him cheese, give him cheese,

If you want to put a small mouse at his ease,

Give him cheese, give him cheese,

Don’t hug him, don’t kiss him, don’t give him a squeeze,

Don’t tickle his nose it will just make him sneeze,

Don’t feed him on parsnips, or porridge, or peas,

Give him cheese, give him cheese, give him cheese!

Jaws and Claws and Things with Wings is available from bookshops and online booksellers such as Amazon or Waterstones, or direct from Collins.

If you’ve been bought a copy, been given one as a gift, or used it with your class, let me know what you thought!

-Val

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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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A new start for the new year

So my revamped site is now live, complete with an updated gallery, links to some well-respected fellow authors and friends, and (coming soon) a page to buy books, audio and collections. The previous site just sat, but I’ll be posting updates on what I’m up to (and other things of interest) from time to time here. There’ll also be information on upcoming events and performances. Enjoy the new pages, and keep in touch!

Val

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