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The Storybarn Selects… From The Reader Bookshelf

Written by Lily Kehoe, 6th February 2024

We're continuing to delve into the Children and Young People's Reader Bookshelf with a review of Joseph Coelho's 25 Poems of Power from Emma.

‘Courage is not the absence of fear, it is striving forward despite the fear you feel.’ Joseph Coelho

Are you afraid of the dark? Do you want to go on a rollercoaster but it looks scary? Have you been asked to read out loud in class? Do you want to make a new friend but you’re not sure how to do it? This book of poems by Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho looks at these areas where we might be afraid and encourages us to be brave and see what we can gain by facing our fears with courage.

The book is beautifully illustrated by Daniel Gray-Barnett, with each poem having a different style of illustration to fit the feel and theme of the poem. There are serious poems like A Quiet Little Word and funny poems like The Toilet of Death. There are poems about perseverance like Eddie’s Painting and reflective poems like Finding Your Voice. All of the poems encourage the reader to see that “Courage is the fire that follows fear’s smoke”.

Joseph also encourages the reader to be brave with poetry and to have a go at writing a poem themselves! He explains the different types of poem he uses and gives ideas for how you can start writing from the heart.


It might seem a little scary

to share exactly what is real,

and you might be a little wary

to say everything you feel.


But with every little word

sung from your honest heart,

you will feel yourself stirred,

you’ll feel brave, strong and smart.


This beautiful book of encouraging and uplifting poems is a joy to share with primary aged children and is wonderful to read out loud together.

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