Performance poet and playwright Joseph Coelho has scooped the CLPE children’s poetry award for his first solo poetry collection Werewolf Club Rules!, illustrated by John O’Leary. This annual accolade, the UK’s only award for outstanding published children’s poetry, is run by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE). Previous recipients of the prize include esteemed poets such as the poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, John Agard and Jackie Kay.
Chair of the judges for the competition, the poet Roger McGough, praised Coelho as “a fresh new voice in children’s poetry”. McGough said that it was Coelho’s “delight in language, ability to tell everyday stories and use of comedy and pathos” that pushed the collection into the winning spot.
Having first appeared in anthologies such as Green Glass Beads by Jacqueline Wilson, Werewolf Club Rules! is Coelho’s first solo collection. Among poems as ‘What Do Monkeys Do?’, ‘You Look Like A Rainbow’ and ‘If All The World Were Paper’, Guardian children’s books site young reviewers Chester, Cloe and Cayman particularly enjoyed the poem ‘Last Day of School’. Their class enjoyed “finding the meaning” within the poem, proving Coelho’s ability to merge the meaning of everyday life with entertaining humour.