A Poem A Day in December for the Family

If you’re new to the blog head over to my blog post – New Year’s Resolutions and A Poem a Day; this will tell you more about A Poem a Day and how it began for me and our family. It will also show you some of the poetry books we enjoy and free online poetry resources.

For this blog post I’ll be sharing which poems I read each day (updated each week or so); so do head back each week for the latest additions. There will be poems for little, poems for teens and poems for you. Enjoy!

Poetry for All

I hope to give you inspiration for where to find poetry. As much as I can I will try and share with you where you can access the poems I’ve read for free as well as which books they came from so you can request them from the library or purchase your own copy. For me I love to hear the poet read their own poems so I’ll try and add links to these. I would love you to share in comments any poetry you have been enjoying.

Each month I’ll add a new blog post for that month. I’m very much inspired by the seasons when I read so although there will be an eclectic mix of poetry and poets the poems will often be seasonal.

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My poem for today, 30th November 2022, is from Jason Scott Brendel and is called Silence. You can find the poem here on their website.

December Poetry…

Welcome Winter – let the poetry begin!

1st December – today I’ve picked up a collection of poems curated and edited by Allie Esiri – A Poem for Every Winter Day.

I love these anthologies by Allie and they are a great starting point if you are new to poetry.

There’s a mixture of old classics and contemporary poets with little notes from Allie throughout. You can read a review by Jill here. There are actually two poems for each day of Winter.

Joseph Coelho – Rosa Parks – 1st December 1955, Lillie Mae Bradford – 11th May 1955, Claudette Colvin – 2nd March 1955

Today starts with a moving, thought provoking poem by Waterstones Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho – Rosa Parks – 1st December 1955, Lillie Mae Bradford – 11th May 1955, Claudette Colvin – 2nd March 1955. You can hear Joseph recite his poem below.

Poetry does many things and for me if often transports me back to a time in my past – a memory. I know I am privileged and never is it more apparent than when I realised that I did not know what racism was until secondary school. I remember my history teacher introducing a topic at school with the ‘story’ of Rosa Parks. Recalling the feeling of disbelief and then the shock and horror at the realisation that this was no story is vivid. This wasn’t fiction, this was real.

Jan Dean – Rosa Parks and Maya Angelou – Still I Rise

The next poem is Rosa Parks by Jan Dean followed by (yes I snuck into the next day of Allie’s collection) Still I Rise by Maya Angelou. You must watch Maya perform her powerful poem below.

These poems ensure I steel my resolve to help my daughter understand her privilege and to understand what racism is and how she can act against it. For me learning about Rosa Parks showed me the power of one individual. It only takes one – you!

2nd December – I know it’s only a poem a day but when they land in your lap I just can’t help take a few moments to read. Today you’re spoilt for choice with free poems. So, if you’re thinking cost is the reason you can’t take up the habit of a poem a day you’d be very much mistaken.

Paul Dunbar – Chrismus is A-Comin’

Firstly, I discovered Poetry by Heart are doing a free Advent calendar of poems through December with a new free poem each day. Today is Chrismus is A-Comin’ by Paul Dunbar. A great one to share with the whole family.

Carol Ann Duffy – Advent Street

Then the weekly, Friday poetry email from Pan Macmillan popped into my inbox with an extract of a poem from Carol Ann Duffy’s book Advent Street.

You can sign up to Pan Macmillans poetry newsletter too – more details here.

3rd December – When you’re wondering what poem to read next you can often be led by previous reads. I’m a big fan of the words of Maya Angelou (and read a poem by her on the 1st Dec) and therefore searched the poets index of And Everything Will Be Glad to See You to see if Maya Angelou was included; she was. The final poem in the book.

Maya Angelou – Life Doesn’t Frighten Me

Life Doesn’t Frighten Me by Maya Angelou is from a splendid book we won in a Toppsta giveaway. It’s published by Nosy Crow, curated by Ella Risbridger and illustrated by Anna Shepeta.

Life Doesn’t Frighten Me was initially published in 1993 alongside illustrations by Jean-Michel Basquiat. It’s a powerful poem of fears and courage. You can hear Maya recite her poem below.

4th December – On a chilly day it’s lovely to wrap up warm in a snuggly blanket and enjoy something familiar.

The Lost Spells is a collection of poems (sorry not poems – check out my blog post Autumn Books for Children and Families – to find out why the author says they’re not) by Robert MacFarlane and sublimely illustrated by Jackie Morris. This is one of my favourite books to give as a gift.

Robert MacFarlane – Jackdaw and Red Fox

Today I’ve already feasted on several poems from this incredible book but first up was Jackdaw then Red Fox.

I love the cadence in which you read Jackdaw. I find with this book I’m drawn to read them aloud. There’s a thrumming beat that gives your a wonderful patter for your day in Jackdaw.

The illustrations by Jackie take you to an almost dreamlike world as you read. Below you can hear Jackie read Red Fox.

5th December – In my home as a child there was one room filled with books. They weren’t children books; they were a collection of fiction and non-fiction books that were my Moms. It was a room I loved to spend time in – gazing at the books. A room that made me feel like books were important and valued. I often wonder if the bookworm in me is nature or nurture or a little of both.

One book always stood out to me on the shelves – T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. It was Faber and Faber’s black and yellow covered version. The spine would beam out from the shelves like a siren. It’s one of the few books I actually remember my Mom reading to me (I learnt to read very early and preferred to read on my own).

T.S.Eliot – The Naming of Cats

So for the 5th of December I’ve dipped back into this favourite collection. I can’t choose a favourite as I love so many of them but I started off at the beginning with The Naming of Cats and must confess to reading the whole book.

My particular book edition is no longer in print – but you can find it second hand. There’s a few different editions that I like the look of and some designed for a younger audience – my daughter Floss loves Macavity.

6th December – Thinking of Macavity reminded me of other children’s books that I love that are picture book poems. Here’s a favourite of ours.

Dom Conlon – Grow, Tree, Grow!

Grow, Tree, Grow! is such a magical poem written by Dom Conlon and Anastasia Izlesou, published by Graffeg. You can find a review I wrote on it here.

There’s a series of poem books by this incredible duo called Wild Wanderers.

Reading consultant Nikki Gamble (@justimagine_books) hosted an evening with Dom and Anastasia and it was incredible to hear him read his work in his lilting, gentle voice. You can hear Dom reading Grow, Tree, Grow! below – be spellbound!

7th December – It was my daughter’s Nativity performance today so it got me feeling all festive and certainly steered my choice of poem for today.

Anonymous – ‘I’, Said the Donkey

100 Best Christmas Poems for Children edited by Roger McGough was gifted to me by a dear friend one year. It’s a wonderful collection of all sorts of Christmas poems. ‘I’, Said the Donkey is one of my favourites. I’m not sure if it’s just me but I very much read it in the style of Who Killed Cock Robin nursery rhyme.

Who Killed Cock Robin brings back another childhood memory or should I say memories. It was one of the nursery rhymes/ poems my stepdad taught me to recite as a child. Sometimes we’d practise for hours – I think the rest of the house were truly tortured by our resolve to learn it by heart! I remember my stepdad telling me how he was made to learn certain poems as a child in school.

8th December – I was feeling a little under the weather so decided I wanted to read some poetry that makes me smile. I was on the book tour for When Bees Flew in for Breakfast. It’s a super collection of poems that Nigel wrote with teenagers in mind. However, I’d argue they’re a great collection for anyone. Find my review here.

Nigel Tetley – IV: The Ballad of the Raspberry Crush

There’s such a diverse collection of poems in When Bees Flew in for Breakfast. IV: The Ballad of the Raspberry Crush is one that very much makes me smile and returns me to a time of being a teenager. Being a teenager is hard!

9th December – It’s Friday and that means an email from Pan Macmillan with the Friday Poem. I love that my Friday poetry is always delivered straight to my inbox.

Emily Brontë – Spellbound

It’s another poem from A Poem for Every Day of Winter; a collection I shared on the 1st December. You can find the poem here. I’ve always loved poetry about weather and seasons and this one is wild and wonderful.

10th December – A poorly day here with an adrenal crisis thrown into the mix. Still a little poetry, I recited to my daughter; one from my childhood.

Allan Ahlberg – Please Mrs Butler

This poem comes in a collection of poetry under the same title name – Please Mrs Butler. I think my copy could easily be considered ‘vintage’!

11th December – We awoke to snow this morning. There was a flurry of excitement in our house as our daughter Floss got ready to head out into the ocean of white. Unsurprisingly, she was exhausted afterwards and we had time to rest and my mind to wander.

It gave me time to think that in my life time the weather is definitely getting more extreme where I live. Higher temperatures, lower temperatures and more snow. These musing made me think of a book of poems I’d read early this year – This is How the Change Begins published by Graffeg.

Nicola Davies – New Normal

You can hear Nicola read her poem here. It’s a thought provoking poem and it’s scary to think about the changes I’ve witnessed just in my lifetime. You can also listen to Nicola read This is How the Change Begins here. My full review of the book can be found here.

12th December – As I’ve said before, I am often inspired by what I’ve read to go on to further reading. This is so true for today.

After reading New Normal yesterday it again made me want to pick up a collection of poems I love – The Lost Words.

It’s a HUGE book of poems from Robert MacFarlane and it’s stunningly illustrated by Jackie Morris.

Rob MacFarlane – Kingfisher

I love the spell/ poem Kingfisher and the illustrations are divine. It’s an acrostic poem – the one where the beginning letters of lines form a word – in this case – Kingfisher. Find a copy of the poem from the National Poetry Day website here. I always feel this is such an accessible type of poetry for children to have a go at writing. You could try out your own festive, acrostic poem.

Hear the spell being read below.

13th December – Having to take a potassium replacement drink that makes me feel rather ropey so I’ve gone for a little familiar comfort. Have you read Cicely Mary Barker’s Flower Fairies. I fell in love with these as a child and return to them now each season with my daughter. Therefore, today we’ve dipped into Flower Fairies of the Winter. I’ve got too many favourites in this book but decided this one encapsulated the sentiment of the day.

Cicely Mary Barker – The Song of The Old-Man’s-Beard Fairy

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the ‘new’ editions of the Flower Fairies. I still have a set published in 1990. I’ve added another one of my favourites from this collection below. You can find The Song of The Old-Man’s-Beard Fairy and illustration here.

Cicely Mary Barker – The Song of the Snowdrop Fairy

14th December – I’ve been struggling to sleep well yet out of every cloud comes a silver lining. This time it’s the discovery of Bridgette Tales website; I love her poetry.

Bridgette Tales – Frosty

I adored reading the latest poem Frosty on her website. The perfect read for the cold snap we’ve been experiencing. You can read for yourself here. Image from Bridgette’s website.

While you’re there see what other poetry takes your fancy from Bridgette. Give her a follow if you like what you read so you get updates when new posts go online.

15th December – I’ve returned today to A Poem for Every Winter Day. It’s great to have you book that gives you a poem a day as it means that on those days you don’t have time to find out a poem or go looking you’ve got your poem for the day right there.

Jean kenward – Forecasts

You can hear a reading of this poem that starts by searching for signs of snow turning to finding signs of hope here. ‘Even ice can thaw.’ – such a beautiful last line.

16th December – A book of poems popped off the shelf today when I was getting another book. It must be a sign! So, Belonging Street a collection of poems by Mandy Coe and published by Otter-Barry Books is for today.

Mandy Coe – Helping Hands

Helping Hands is such a warm poem. It’s one that can open up so much discussion too. You find out small snippets about peoples hands from a family – what might their job or hobby be?

You can find out more about Mandy Coe’s book on her blog here.

17th DecemberNature Poems by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Mark Hearld is a small little pamphlet type book published by Walker that I often gift instead of a card to people. It’s thin enough to go with a standard stamp.

Nicola Davies – Winter Trees

Two of my favourite loves – Winter and trees. This would be a lovely one to read together in a woodland area going for a crisp seasonal walk. You can read this poem for yourself here.

18th December – I find it interesting that lots of the books that I have from childhood are poetry books. Diary of a Victorian Mouse by Angel Dominguez is no longer in print but such a lovely book if you can find a copy. I love the handwritten script used.

Angel Dominguez – Boat Race

Love the pace of this poem, it’s quick and fun and a brilliant one to share with children.

19th December – One from the lovely Smile Out Loud book by Joseph Coelho and illustrated by Daniel Gray-Barnett published by Wide Eyed. I’ve reviewed this book here. Floss and I chose to read a few but the choice to add for today is…

Joseph Coelho – A Brush with Danger

All of the poems in this book will put a smile on your face and some will make you laugh out loud. A Brush with Danger. We love the ending of this poem and it results in us chasing each other around the room with hair brushes!

20th December – Today’s poem is one from a poetry book of my Mom’s when she was a child – Silly Verse for Kids by Spike Milligan. The pages are no longer stuck in the book so you have to be very gentle with it. It makes me chuckle when I read the dedication – This book is dedicated to my bank balance. So much of the book is timeless considering it was first published in he 1950s.

Spike Milligan – Today I saw a little worm

My favourite verse has always been – Today I saw a little worm. I say the book is quite timeless but the image of the big box TV is a little giveaway to time with this poem. You can find the poem here and it will take only a few moments of your time. It’s so simple but I just love the idea of inviting a worm into your home. It makes me think of my Nan who would invite anyone in for a cup of tea and a natter.

I love how poetry can make you feel a full spectrum of emotions and this little poem just makes me smile from ear to ear.

21st December – Today I’m sharing a blog post with you filled with wonderful seasonal poetry. There’s something for the whole family. You can find the blog post from Pan Macmillan here.

22nd December – I’m always drawn to poems about nature and the seasons. A Year of Nature Poems is published by Wide Eyed, written by Joseph Coelho and illustrated by Kelly Louise Judd. It gives you a poem for each month of the year.

Joseph Coelho – December

It’s a beautiful poem that whirls you back to each and every time you’ve encountered the dreamlike substance of snow. This year we’ve been lucky enough to have snow in December and seeing the joy of snow through my daughter’s eyes is magical.

23rd December – Floss loves animal poems and Otter-Barry Books An Imaginary Menagerie is a little poetry collection from Roger McGough packed full of animal antics. Short was just what I needed today as I’ve caught Covid.

It was originally published back in the late 80s and has had a lovely new cover added my one of our favourite illustrators Petr Horáček.

Roger McGough – Dachshund

These are short, fun poems that will delight. We also love Llama and many others. A brilliant book to dip in and out of frequently. Also, an ideal book for young children to learn to recite a poem or two from.

24th December – Well for today it just had to be this one. Floss read the book to us of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas a poem by Clement C. Moore and illustrated by P.J. Lynch – it’s stunning.

Clement C. Moore – A Visit from St. Nicholas

I’m sure you are already aware of this one but if you’d like to take a read you can find it here. I can recall the first few lines but after that I need some help!

25th December – I know we’ve already had this collection for December but it’s one of my favourite childhood poems. From the Flower Fairies of the Winter Collection.

Cicely Mary Barker – The Song of The Christmas Tree Fairy

Floss absolutely loves the idea of the magic tree fairy coming to life when the children go to bed. It reminds me of the Ukrainian Christmas story of the Christmas spider and the spider busily decorating the Christmas tree overnight.

You can find the delightful poem here and there is a colouring page that Floss has enjoyed here.

26th December – Covid has taken a firm grip of me and I’ve been in bed today. Decided I wanted to go for some humour to cheer me up and looked online as wasn’t up to getting a book. If you’re looking for light-hearted fun then Kenn Nesbitt’s website is a destination for you.

Kenn Nesbitt – Our Magic Toilet

Our Magic Toilet made me smile (find the poem here). Several of the poems I read had very much a ‘dad joke’ appeal to them. This made me smile as it’s the first Christmas without my Dad with us and he was the king of poorly timed Dad jokes!

27th December – Still in bed! I found a blog post from Joanne – Portobello Book Blog that had a Christmas Book Haul post (you can read it here).

Joanne has received a poetry collection from her family that piqued my interest – A Nature Poem for Every Winter Evening. It sounds like a wonderful collection so I found a couple of snippet online.

Laurence Binyon – First Day of Winter

I loved the feelings this poem invoked that very much embodies that sense of – winter is coming. That day when everyone mentions feeling the turn of the season more abruptly than any other seasonal interchange.

28th December – I’ve been looking at poetry reads to add into my Bookworm Buzz newsletter and found a picture poetry book. These are great ways of introducing young children to the joys of poetry.

Joseph Coelho – Our Tower

Joseph Coelho’s Our Tower ignites the enchantment of childhood play through this personal reflection of his younger years growing up in a tower block. Joseph tells the story of the magic that can be found in places everywhere through the wonder and magic of a child’s imagination.

29th December – Found a little online inspiration again. This time through www.childrenspoetrysummit.com.

Gita Ralleigh – Solar System Candy

You can find this sensory delight of a poem here. It’s making me hungry just thinking about it!

30th December – In a Facebook group I’m in one member suggested a friends poetry. I have to say I am well and truly hooked. One more for the adult/ older teens in the family. Rachel write incredible poetry that very much resonates with me. The one I’m picking to share with you is around grief. I feel if grief was given as season it would be Winter.

Rachel Ferguson – Grief is a Needle

You can find this poem on Rachel’s Instagram account here. Grief is such a personal feeling yet it seems Rachel has put into words feelings that I have not been able to put into words. Do check out other poems on her account.

31st December – I was tempted to go for something today that was very – end of year. Instead I decided to go for something I knew my daughter would love.

Coral Rumble – Amelia’s Wish

You can find a copy of the poem here on the Poetry Round About website as well as a lovely review of the whole book.

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