Poet Zaro Weil was today announced the winner of the annual poetry award, CLiPPA (Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award) for her collection of nature poems, Cherry Moon, published by ZaZaKids Books/ Troika Books and illustrated by Junli Song.
Zaro Weil lives in southern France with her husband and two sheepdogs, Spot and Clementine, alongside a host of birds, insects, badgers, wild boars, crickets, donkeys, goats, and hares. Her poetry for children has appeared in many anthologies and previous publications include Mud, Moon and Me published by Orchard Books, Firecrackers fromTroika and Spot Guevara, Guerilla Dog.
Junli Song, whose illustrations add so much to the appeal of this title, is an American, from Chicago.
In a year of outstanding poetry publishing for children, the judges were particularly impressed by the thoughtfulness and variety of Weil’s poetry, the opportunities Cherry Moon offers for sharing poems aloud, and because, after months of lockdown, her book answers children’s growing need for poetry and the outdoors.
From a particularly strong shortlist, the judges also chose to honour Poems the Wind Blew In by Karmelo C. Iribarren, illustrated by Riya Chowdhury, translated from Spanish by Lawrence Schimel and the first work in translation to be shortlisted.
The announcement of the 2020 Award, delayed from the summer, was revealed in a live Poetry Show, part of The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival.
Louise Johns-Shepherd, Chief Executive at CLPE said, “The CLiPPA is a huge, inclusive celebration of poetry and its power to engage children. There has been a marked upsurge in interest in poetry for children this year – the National Poetry Archive has seen record levels of site visits for example and subscriptions to our Shadowing Scheme are three times what they were in 2019. Our winner is the perfect book for today: Zaro’s poems allow children to explore their emotions and understand them as shared experiences; and it connects readers with the natural world, something that is vital at this time. Children need poetry right now…”
Zaro Weil receives a trophy and a cheque for £1000. As part of the prize she will also be recorded for the prestigious National Poetry Archive.