Performance poet, playwright and children’s author Joseph Coelho said he wanted to “uncover and celebrate the power of poetry” after being announced as the new Children’s Prize winner.
Ward-winner Coelho, 42, was presented with the award-winning medal by Dame Cressida Cowell, the Waterstones Children’s Laureate, at a ceremony in London.
Her acclaimed works include her Luna Loves… Picture Books, her dark series of Fairy Tales Gone Bad, which are reimaginings of the classics, and her young adult novel The Girl Who Became a Tree.
His first poetry collection, Werewolf Club Rules, was published in 2014 and won the CLPE CLiPPA Poetry Award the following year, while his works include a series of lyrical children’s stories and poetry collections such as Overheard in a Tower Block, If All the World Is. … and poems out loud.
Coelho, whose term as Children’s Prize winner runs from 2022-2024, said: “Poetry is powerful, it is the medium we turn to at weddings, funerals and new births because it is beyond mere words – poetry Spirit translates. I want to use the prestigious platform of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate to highlight and celebrate the power of poetry.
“To invite the nation, young and old, to write poetry, to be poets. I want to make sure that every child is covered in books and through the new and exciting voices coming out of the UK as bookies Opportunity to see themselves – to diversify the bookshelf so that every child can imagine themselves as writers, painters and poets.
“And, finally, I want to embrace every library, these miraculous institutions where new horizons line the shelves, where minds thrive. Libraries made me a writer and propelled communities – I am one of these essential launchpads of learning. I want to be a champion of services.
On being named as the Children’s Award winner, he said: “I am trying to connect with and heal my younger self – a self unable to imagine writing and publishing books in the future.
“Through this work, through young people and families I’m lucky enough to be trying to get down through time and tell little Joe, ‘You can write, you can be a writer. Waiting to hear your voice is valid in your words.’
“Because I know that when the youth of today hear that message, they will listen too.”
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During his time as the 12th Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Coelho will “celebrate the power of poetry, showcase new writers and illustrators to diversify bookshelves and inspire bookmakers of the future, and champion public libraries and communities.” Will play his role”.
He performed a new poem, The Power of a Poem, for the occasion.
“Her dynamic performances, spirited advocacy and engaging writing – which continues to inspire children of all ages – solidified our choice for the next Waterstones Children’s Laureate, to empower every child to enjoy a life rich in books and stories Can you
“Steering Group is looking forward to working with Joseph over the next two years to reach even more children and communities following the amazing work of outgoing award winner Cressida Cowell MBE. On behalf of the judges, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to Joseph Am.”
Past holders of the position – awarded every two years – have included Sir Quentin Blake, Sir Michael Morpurgo, Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Rosen and Julia Donaldson.
Florentina Martin, head of children at Waterstones, said Coelho’s tenure would be “one for the history books”, while Diana Gerald, CEO of BookTrust, said: “Joseph aims to make poetry accessible to all, create creativity and storytelling and inspire youth.” What an extraordinary advocate to do. Generations have asked to find their voice, pick up a pen, join the library, and read a book.”