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Roger McGough criticises lack of children's poetry books

Roger McGough
Image caption Roger McGough hosts BBC Radio 4's long-running poetry request show Poetry Please

Poet Roger McGough has criticised the lack of poetry books currently being published for children.

As chair of the judges for 2015's Children's Poetry Award, McGough said they were "excited by the variety and quality" of the submissions this year.

However, he added they were "sorry that there were not more submissions and that so few publishers are producing books for children and young people".

Five books have been shortlisted for this year's award.

They include Mandy Coe's anthology Let in the Stars, Joseph Coelho's Werewolf Club Rules and Hilda Offen's Blue Balloons and Rabbit Ears.

Give the Ball to the Poet: A New Anthology of Caribbean Poetry - edited by Georgie Horrell, Aisha Spencer and Morag Styles - and Rachel Rooney's My Life as a Goldfish and other poems were also nominated.

McGough said the panel of judges had enjoyed "a spirited discussion" before arriving at the shortlist.

Organised by The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education, the CLPE Poetry Award (CLiPPA) was launched in 2003 and is the UK's only prize for published poetry for children.

McGough said the work of CLPE was "essential" in highlighting "the importance of published children's poetry and give it the status it deserves in schools and in the world of children's literature".

The organisation's chief executive Louise Johns-Shepherd said children's poetry was a "fundamental element in the development of children's literacy".

The winner will be announced at a ceremony at the National Theatre in London on 16 July, with the winner receiving £1000.

This year CLPE has also launched a shadowing scheme to help schools to get involved with the award.

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