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The Storybarn Selects… from The Reader Bookshelf

Written by Maisie Jeynes, 1st September 2021

‘I am the seed that grew the tree that gave the wood to make the page to fill the book with poetry.’

Judith Nichols



This month our Schools Partnership Programme Manager, Samantha Wilson, shares her thoughts on I Am the Seed That Grew the Tree, a collection of poetry curated by Fiona Waters. 

This thoughtful anthology of poetry from all over the world captures themes of nature in all its glory and showcases the work of an exciting selection of poets that span centuries including Grace Nichols, William Blake, Paul Laurence Dunbar and Carol Ann Duffy. The poems have been specifically chosen to suit every individual day of the year and the breadth of choice, words and worlds represented means that if one poem doesn’t inspire you, there certainly will be one that you connect with in the coming pages. This collection calls for re-reading, moments of thought and celebration and offers a unique opportunity to explore language and poetry that children might not find in the classroom or at home. At a glance, the sheer size, beauty and intrigue of the book cover hints to the magic within and marks it as one to treasure and pull from the shelf again and again.

I’ve used this book in schools and it’s a joy to see the excitement it brings as we look for poems on students, parents, grandparents, friends and even pet’s birthdays (I must admit the first thing I looked for when I got this book was ‘my’ birthday poem!). This accessibility really allows children to ‘get in and stay in’ the poetry and leads to amazing discussions about how they feel about ‘their’ poems and encourages reflection on our relationship with the natural world and the passing of time.

The beautiful illustrations by Frann Preston-Gannon bring life and imagination to every page and capture perfectly the moods of the passing months and seasons. The illustrations and poems combined provide a gateway for children to explore the way they see, understand and experience nature and encourages discussion about events in their lives and the role the environment has played in them – from a fishing trip with Grandad to an ice cream in Sefton Park!

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