The year of the book

17th July 1998 at 01:00
Geraldine Brennan has a few words for you about the next 12 months

The Year of Reading - which starts in September - looks set to be a Year of Poetry, although only October is poetry month. One early effect of the year can be seen in publishers' efforts to line up anthologies for older primary readers on a par with the lavishly produced and illustrated "first poetry books" that entice nursery and reception children.

Faber's autumn list offers Roger McGough's selection, illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura, in The Ring of Words (Pounds 14.99). Brian Patten's Puffin Book of Utterly Brilliant Poetry (Pounds 12.99) will feature ten poets, including Jackie Kay, Charles Causley (illustrated by Alison Jay) and Benjamin Zephaniah.

The most imposing anthology, and one to suit all ages, is Walker's forthcoming Classic Poetry (Pounds 14.99) - 100 poems selected by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Paul Howard. This is a US co-edition, so there is a fair showing for American poets, and entries include 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot' as well as 'All the World's a Stage'.

Macmillan's contribution to the year will be Read Me (Pounds 4.99), a paperback anthology with a poem for every day of the year from September 1. And Bloomsbury's list is emphasising performance poetry, with new collections from Jackie Kay, Faustin Charles and Adrian Henri (Pounds 3.99 each). These and the Roger McGough and Brian Patten books are clearly pitched at young readers whilethe Macmillan and Walker books cross into the adult market.

The Year of Reading has also funded the Poetry Society's free schools pack - intended to bridge the primary-secondary divide - to promote National Poetry Day on October 9. This includes two posters - one is funded by the European Union and promotes poetry in translation - and an anthology, National Poetry Day Celebrates Comic Verse, which includes unpublished work by 15 big-name poets roughly graded in age-range order. This should have been sent to all heads by the Department for Education and Employment (if your school missed it, you can download the material from http:www.poetrysoc.com).

More Year of Reading money will fund a new Poetry Society guide for primary schools this autumn, to replace the society's former Primary Resource File. This is intended to be a round-up of good practice, with contributions by poets who work in primary schools and ideas for literacy hour activities. It's free to Poetry Society member schools (membership costs Pounds 25), or costs Pounds 6 to non-members. For details, contact The Poetry Society, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BU.

PUT IT ON THE CALENDAR

The Government's Year of Reading is intended to help everyone who generates enthusiasm for reading - including teachers - to do so more effectively. It has allocated Pounds 400,000 so far to projects including National Children's Book Week (from October 5 to 11), the Federation of Children's Book Groups and Reading is Fundamental. More projects will be announced in September.

Each month has a theme, which might help in planning events. Next term's themes are: September - Once Upon A Year (Stories and Storytelling); October - Language in Orbit (Poetry); November - Early Years (Books for BabiesPre-School); December - Reading through Drama.

To receive monthly Year of Reading bulletins andor apply to use the year's "Read Me" logo on posters and letterheads, contact the National Year of Reading team at National Literacy Trust, Swire House, 59 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6AJ, tel 0171-828 2435, fax 0171-931 9986, e-mail contact@literacytrust. org.uk. The Year of Reading website can be found at www.yearofreading.org.uk.

* The TES Guide to the Year of Reading will be published on September 4

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