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Price: $4.99 (eBook)
This is a paper back ( 180mmx240mm) containing 78 poems and 26 beautiful pictures from original watercolours ( painted specially for the relevant poem by Dr Audrey Coatesworth's elder brother - an artist).
The poems are for children between the ages of 7-13 years. These have been written for a purpose and each has a message to help children accept and understand different values and qualities - eg kindness, caring, non sexual love, sharing, endeavour, courage and such like. Values and qualities which are more likely to lead to a happy and fulfilled life.
For more information and to read or hear poems from this book, visit her website and the interactive site for elementary school children - elementaryschoolpoems.com.
This book can be bought, in any country, via MY BOOKS
Download to your Kindle (eBook)
Dr Audrey Coatesworth's poetry book,Growing Up, is for children aged 7-12years. Written by a psychiatrist, and, in metaphorical and rhyming verse to encourage the values, such as kindness, caring, sharing, endeavour, courage.
Listen to a song ' A Perfect World' - from the poem 'A Perfect World' in this book. Music composed by Toby Huelin. ( on a primary school site by Audrey Coatesworth created especially for children aged 7-12 yrs).
Dr Audrey Coatesworth, the author, worked for 35 years as a psychiatrist, and specialised in the treatment of unresolved traumas, many of which occurred in childhood. She is not retired from clinical practise but continues to use her experience and knowledge in her writings.
What kind of flower would I be
If I had not come here as me?
What lovely colour would I choose?
There are so many, I couldn't lose
Would I have a fragrant smell?
Or like a rose have thorns as well?
Would I be dainty, pretty and small?
The lily of the valley has them all
An autumn flower, colourful, strong?
A chrysanthemum blooming long ?
A sunflower reaching to the light
Standing proud, its colour bright?
A Dahlia boasting many blooms
Holding the stage in many rooms?
Beautiful, stylish, an orchid be
Exquisite, just a joy to see?
A freesia delicate, fragrant, sweet
As lovely as ever you could meet?
There are hundreds I could mention
I give just a few for your attention!
I would not want to be a weed
They do not ever seem to heed
The needs of other plants around
And just take over any ground
As if a random hand has thrown
When pulled up, again have grown
And everywhere they do appear
Carelessly spreading with no fear
Without a care, giving no joy
Not even beauty do they employ
Arrogant, selfish all the way
Not giving, just taking every day
Flowers and weeds are all around
On this earth, growing in the ground
If you could choose
What would you be?
What would we all get to see?
'Growing up' by Dr Audrey Coatesworth- one primary teacher's view
‘Growing Up’ by Dr Audrey Coatesworth – one Primary teacher’s view
‘Growing Up’ offers a very different poetic experience to teachers and children alike. On first glance this might not be obvious. Here we have a collection of poems that rhyme and challenge the reader to think about life – two fairly common characteristics of young people’s poetry. And yet these verses, both in their conception and, crucially, in how they are intended to be used with children give teachers the option of doing something very different from the sort of textual analysis that characterises poetry use in schools today.
The first poem, ‘Judge Me Not’, establishes the wise and kindly philosophy that runs throughout the collection. It raises the question of what should be valued in a human being and, gently but rationally, suggests that surface features count for little. Attractiveness, intellect or colour might be notable aspects of an individual but they are things over which we have little, if any, control. Rather, it is what we do – principally our kindness, courage and endurance – that is the only safe and lasting measure of our worth.
This message might be comforting but only up to a point because it has some challenging implications for the reader. In the poems that follow, it is clear that being kind, brave or stoical in everyday life may be far from easy and at some level, be it consciously or otherwise, we are invited to measure ourselves against these core values.
These poems give children the opportunity to learn about aspects of life through a range of everyday scenarios or experiences that would be recognisable or at least easily imaginable to all, e.g.
• being bullied;
• feeling bored/angry/guilty/second best;
• parental absence;
• standing out from the crowd to be true to oneself;
• losing or failing at something;
• the crudeness of sexual stereotyping;
• sharing parental love;
• sibling rivalry;
• coping with arbitrary pain or adversity.
In some of the poems, e.g. ‘Grandma’s Apples’ or ‘Lesson in Obedience’, the meaning is quite overtly stated, but these are relatively few in number. The majority are metaphorical in nature so, whilst they may indicate general truths, children are free to interpret the poems and find personal meaning at their own level. In ‘The Other Side’, for example, a dose of ‘flu means unpleasant symptoms for a stricken spider but welcome escape for a gleeful fly trapped in its web. This simple fable can of course be read literally or serve as a reminder that people have different perspectives on life and that adversity may create unexpected gains. As with every poem in the collection, children will take from it what they can, or need, to take.
An important aspect of these verses is that they do not seek to patronise children. Dr Coatesworth knows that growing up is rarely plain sailing and her writing doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable truths. In spite of this the effect is never threatening or negative; any learning the reader may do takes place in a safe and manageable context. Some of the verses contain humour whilst others celebrate how wisdom, pleasure and growth can spring from the simplest and most natural things within a busy and materialistic world. An enduring feature of the author’s philosophy is that of hope born out of a person’s ability to make choices. Again, this isn’t offering children an easy or obvious solution to the difficulties they might face. What some of the poems have the potential to do, however, is raise awareness of unseen possibilities within ourselves. In ‘Choices’, for example, whilst it is acknowledged that there are things over which we have little control, the way in which we choose to respond to many of life’s challenges gives us more power to effect change than might be thought. It is a theme that is reinforced by ‘Things that Cannot be Bought’ where, once again, the collection’s core values of courage, kindness and endurance emerge as the keys to fulfilment and hope.
It is unusual for a poetry book to be aimed at such a wide age range (approximately 7-13) but this is not a problem for teachers. Quite apart from the fact that many of the poems can be accessed at different levels, they are intended to be used selectively. Good teachers, who know their children well, should have no difficulty in judging which poems will appeal and offer valuable meaning to individuals or groups at any given time. Most importantly, children themselves love these poems – something that is confirmed by their enthusiastic comments on Dr Coatesworth’s interactive website: www.primaryschoolpoems.com.
An obvious question for hard-pressed teachers is how this collection can be used as part of an already content-heavy curriculum. There is little question that we are subject to strong curricular demands and, ironically, a casualty of this has been poetry. Although the English curriculum gives poetry a high status throughout the Primary phase, the emphasis from Key Stage 2 onwards is very much on analysing poetic forms and techniques. Teachers rarely have time to read poems aloud with the sole purpose of helping children to explore human nature and gain a greater understanding of themselves.
Fortunately, with the current emphasis on pupils’ social and emotional development, teachers have been given permission to do just that.
These verses are an invaluable resource for helping children to learn about life and develop their inner resources. They have been written by someone who understands how children think and feel but teachers don’t need psychiatric knowledge to appreciate or use them. Part of the appeal of this collection is that the poems are not intended to be deconstructed, analysed or interpreted for children. Dr Coatesworth is adamant that young people must find their own personal meaning in the verses which puts teachers in the unusual position of simply ‘showing but not telling’. For some teachers, resisting the temptation to analyse or interpret a poem for children may feel disconcerting but these verses serve a distinct purpose that has nothing whatsoever to do with literary criticism – that is the business of English lessons!
It is probably fair to say that adults can potentially benefit from this collection as much as children. This is partly because the verses deal with universal concerns but also because they challenge all adults who care for or work with children to consider the fairness of their perceptions and behaviour. In ‘A Matter of Opinion’, for example, we meet the teacher who is blinded to a child’s innate goodness by his inability to answer her mundane questions. In ‘The Oogly-Woogly Bird’ a mother’s eyes are opened up to the power of her young child’s imagination when they share a simple craft activity. In ‘Little Things’ it is the seemingly trivial interactions between child and adult that have been treasured by the child in later life as confirmation that she was noticed and loved. For adult readers the message is clear – we do not always know or value children’s true worth nor do we necessarily understand how they think and feel. Perhaps for children there is a useful message here too, i.e. that adults, like themselves, are far from perfect but with enough humility and open-mindedness, young and old can learn from each other.
I work as a Learning Mentor at ---- Primary School in ----. I run several different types of groups with young children working on self esteem, nuturing etc. Your book was passed onto me and you will be delighted to know that I have already used 2 of your poems as the main focus for the group. The first poem I used was Nature and to start with I read out your poem. We then worked through a visulization where all the children had to think about what flower they might be. For our main group activity each child made the flower they had visulized. I have talked to the children about you and informed them that we will be emailing you to let you know what the children thought. We also used the poem temper tantrums. This really was a good way to open the session as the children talked vividly about how they react and feel when they are angry. I will send you a picture of the flowers and also ask the children to add some comments later this week.
Many thanks for the inspiration
My two children ages 14 and 11 years respectively, both loved this book of verses and the wise and kind messages that they could glean for themselves from each poem. The verses are charming and many are humorous. Several verses are illustrated with delicate water colour paintings that are relevant to the content of the verse. The verses have memorable and special messages for children about aspects of growing up.
These verses can be read to younger children or can be read by older children themselves. The first verse ‘Judge Me Not’ has been read to a whole school assembly by our primary school head teacher.
I enjoyed reading this book myself, finding the verses soothing and at times stunningly gentle, moving and profound.
You could buy one for your children and enjoy it yourself too!
RAH- Speech and Language therapist
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