WELCOME TO JOSIE'S POEMS
Hello and welcome to my world of poems for both children of all age groups, young adults and adults too.
Having survived a dreadful streptococcal infection and got the use of my left hand and fingers again, I, with my typing skills, have written a vast number of poems for children and well into my retirement from teaching.
WHAT LED ME INTO WRITING FOR CHILDREN? I've been a teacher all my working life, something I have wanted to do since my first day at school, and I've loved every minute of my work - yes, I really have. Well into my retirement I volunteered to help for one hour a week in my local primary school where one day the children told me how much they loved poems written with rhyme, with metre and with lots of stories and words that painted pictures. I was persuaded by them to write one poem for them. Sadly I had only ever written one poem in my life before when I was 11 years of age, and for my school magazine. Unlike the children of today, we had never been taught to write poetry and I wasn't given any encouragement at all to write, although that one poem has been published today. However, I, too like poems that are exactly as the children described and, as a child, I'd so enjoyed reading the poems written by the great classic writers of my time, which were exactly as the children had described.
So, persuaded by the teacher and children, I wrote my first poem, and they so enjoyed it that I've continued writing for them and for thousands of other children, ever since that day, and I am so enjoying doing this. I hope that my work will be a legacy for me to all the children of the world for when I am no longer here.
I don't enter poetry competitions, haven't been on any creative writing courses and yet, within 6 months of putting some of my poems onto the internet, at the insistence I must say, of the children at my local primary school, I received an email from a children's online newspaper to say that children in 132 countries of the world had chosen me for the title of 'Inspirational Online Children's Poet 2007.' Secondly, a top children's publisher saw my poems on the internet and, after 9 months market-researching the 400 poems I'd then written with teachers and children in many schools right across West Yorkshire, returned to me to say that he was amazed. They were so delighted with the poems that they wanted almost all of them to be published, and, yes, they were - in 5 books. (See below). I, too, was then absolutely amazed and the children at my local school who had given me so much encouragement, were delighted. Since then Oxford University Press and CGP Books have approached me and used poems in their books but my poems are on this website which I have made so that children worldwide, rich or poor, can and do access them freely.
I now visit children worldwide via skype and love doing this. I often see them perform one of my poems and answer their questions and ask them questions too. I have made friends with them and their teachers, but one teacher in particular, in Argentina, has become a very special friend to me and it isn't unusual for me to meet up with her in her home where we chat over a cup of tea, and of course, the children in her classrooms know me well over the years. How wonderful skype is. I have also made friends with a special little girl in Shanghai and often see her, and a whole crowd of children at a school in Ghana where I love visiting them. Her Grandfather, a retired professor of literature at Shanghai University saw the poems on the internet and thought they were truly amazing. Hmmm - I hardly recognized myself in an article he wrote for a leading Chinese newspaper. Yunsheng and I have been best friends since that day and I look on him as part of my family.
You will see that people with a great many wonderful skills, that I lack, have added their own skills to mine in many ways and I hope that I can partner with people such as these to bring you lots more exciting things for the website because I believe that poetry, especially written as I've written it, with rhyme, rhythm, stories etc etc make for wonderful performance poetry for children as well as children's film. You must watch this space, as people say.
Now, at almost 80 years of age, I am still writing the occasional poem, but for the last 18 months my time has been taken up transferring all my poems, illustrations, voice recordings from my old website to this new one as well as trying to fit in skype visits to schools and enjoying meeting children who have many questions to ask me and poems that they want to perform for me. I always knew from the age of 5, that my happiest days would be in classrooms with young people!
I hope you all enjoy my poems and that one day I may come to visit you also. Josie Whitehead