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‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Bat’ 400 years of children’s poetry at the British Library 1st April – 28th June 2009 - FAD Magazine

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‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Bat’ 400 years of children’s poetry at the British Library 1st April – 28th June 2009

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The Baby’s Opera – Walter Crane 1876 – B.204 – (c) British Library Board.jpg1st April – 28th June 2009
A celebration of poems and rhymes that have shaped generations of children and remain popular today, curated by Michael Rosen and Morag Styles.
Opening on 1st April in the Folio Society Gallery at the British Library, Twinkle Twinkle Little Bat will show how language can bring to life amazing journeys, tales and rhymes for a younger generation. Twinkle Twinkle Little Bat has been curated with the assistance of Children’s Laureate, Michael Rosen who has recently commented on the need to introduce children to a love of poetry and literature at school. www.bl.uk

Visitors will now be able to see the delights of 400 years of children’s poetry, nursery rhymes and song from the still popular lullaby ‘Golden Slumbers’ which appeared in print in a play in 1603, to the present day. Drawing on the British Library’s extensive collection, this exhibition will demonstrate that whilst humour plays an important role in children’s poetry, poets from the 18th century onwards have not been afraid to tackle serious issues such as slavery, the environment, war and racism. An area will also be set aside for children of all ages to read books as part of the exhibition.

Displaying volumes of poetry from the 17th Century to the present day, the exhibition will feature many of the UK’s favourite poems, including some beautifully-illustrated examples. The earliest surviving printed collection of nursery rhymes, Tommy Thumb’s pretty song-book (1744), will be on display, as well as copies of other classics such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses; William Blake’s Songs of Innocence; Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; Michael Rosen’s Don’t Put Mustard in the Custard and Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes.

The visitor will also be able to hear recordings of poets reading their own works at various points throughout the exhibition.
Michael Rosen, Children’s Laureate said: “One of my favourite things is seeing a child’s eyes light up when they hear a poem, nursery rhyme or tale that makes them laugh or smile. The importance of giving our children the chance to read and listen to wonderful tales through nursery rhymes and poems will hopefully inspire them to take a lifelong interest in reading. We are lucky that on occasion we can access a wonderful collection such as this at the British Library and see for ourselves this historic collection that has inspired so many poets and writers, including myself.”

Morag Styles, Reader in Children’s Literature and Education, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge: “This exhibition shows that old poems and nursery rhymes are still the favourites and that the oral tradition of playground rhymes is still alive and kicking. It takes us back in time to the 17th Century when most poetry for children was didactic and pretty thin on the ground, through the Romantics and their effect on children’s poetry, to some of the delights of the Victorian period – dominated by Carroll, Lear, Rossetti and Stevenson- finally reaching our current post-modern era. The attractions on display should appeal to adult nostalgia and take children on a fulfilling poetic journey with one or two surprises along the way.”

Among the exhibits are:

Tommy Thumb’s pretty song-book (1744), the earliest surviving printed collection of nursery rhymes
Robert Louis Stevenson, A Child’s Garden of Verses (1895)
Christina Georgina Rossetti, manuscript of the collection Sing-Song
Anne and Jane Taylor and others, Rhymes for the nursery including “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” (1806)

Sunday 5 April 14.30 – 15.45

The Conference Centre, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1

Twinkle Twinkle Little Bat! Poetry Events

Some of our top poets, Roger McGough, Pauline Stewart and Steve Turner read their favourite classic poetry for children alongside gems of their own.

For children aged 8-11 and their families.

£6 / £4 children and concessions. Tickets bookable at: http://boxoffice.bl.uk on 01937 546546 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm) or at the British Library Information Desk.

Monday 6 April 14.30 – 15.45

The Conference Centre, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1

Twinkle Twinkle Little Bat! Poetry Events

Three of our finest poets John Hegley, Jackie Kay and Luke Wright read their favourite classics for young people alongside some of their own.

For ages 11-14 and family members

£6 / £4 children and concessions. Tickets bookable at: http://boxoffice.bl.uk on 01937 546546 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm) or at the British Library Information Desk.

Saturday 25 April 14.30 – 15.45

The Conference Centre, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1

Twinkle Twinkle Little Bat! Poetry Events

Three amazing poets, Francesca Beard, Tony Mitton and Michael Rosen read their favourite classics for children alongside poems of their own.

For children aged 5-8 and their families.

£6 / £4 children and concessions. Tickets bookable at: http://boxoffice.bl.uk on 01937 546546 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm) or at the British Library Information Desk.

Saturday 2 May 14.30 – 15.30

The Conference Centre, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1

Twinkle Twinkle Little Bat! Poetry Events

Loved by children and grown ups alike, Carol Ann Duffy is one of Britain’s most admired and successful poets; dubbed by the Guardian as ‘The superstar of British poetry’. Her work is packed with ideas and is wonderfully accessible. Join us for a heady mixture of music, poetry and fairytale, with words set to music by creative partner John Sampson, playing a variety of weird and wonderful instruments.

For children aged 6-12 years and their families.

£6 / £4 children and concessions. Tickets bookable at: http://boxoffice.bl.uk on 01937 546546 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm) or at the British Library Information Desk.

Also, the British Library will be hosting a two-day children’s poetry conference in association with and organised by the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education. The conference will bring together renowned international academics, including Andrew Motion to discuss children’s poetry and its influences. Part of the conference will see Andrew Motion and Michael Rosen in conversation with James Naughtie on 22nd April.

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