EXCLUSIVE

ONCE upon a time, in a little school library in Glasgow’s west end, something exciting was stirring.
With the help of some excellent young readers, a famous children’s author and a dollop of magic chocolate, The Weegie Book of Poems burst into life…
Glasgow Children’s Reading Champion Angela Proctor launched the scheme with the help of Joey, Naomi, Lara, Carter, Matty and Gregory from Notre Dame Primary School.

Glasgow Times:
Angela, who writes the Thumble Tumble stories about a little witch from Arran, is asking primary schoolchildren across the city to write poems all about Glasgow, with the best ones being published in a book.

Glasgow Times:
Today also marks the start of Book Week Scotland, Scottish Book Trust’s annual celebration of reading and writing, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year with a packed programme of fun events for all ages.

Glasgow Times:
Angela, who writes as AH Proctor, explains: “We’re all really excited about The Weegie Book of Poems – it’s a chance for young writers to tell us all about why they love Glasgow, and how the city inspires them, and to see their work in print.
“I grew up in the east end of the city and Glasgow is very important to me. Now I want to hear from the young people who go to primary school here, about what makes the city special for them.”

Glasgow Times:
The children at Notre Dame helped Angela launch the initiative by coming up with some excellent poems of their own (and their reward was a special bar of Thumble Tumble chocolate each.)
“Grabbing my new book/Libraries all around/Always something new to see/Sharing stories/Going to meet my friends/Other cities don’t compare/Where I love to live and learn,” reads one, written by Gregory, who is six-and-a-quarter, and whose favourite word (at the moment) is ‘aromatic.’
“This is an acrostic poem because the initials of each line spell out a word,” he explains. “It spells GLASGOW.”

Glasgow Times:
Carter, who is seven, has also written a clever acrostic which sums up what he loves about Glasgow.
“Glasgow is our city/Loving it is what I do/Adventures to Elder or Victoria Park/Shouting at Jack and the Beanstalk pantomimes/Great people full of smiles and fun/Orange cone on the Duke of Wellington/Wild, wet and rainy weather,” it reads.
Joey, nine, wrote about his love of reading in his poem, which began: “Reading in Glasgow by the Clyde/Reading in Glasgow with a friend by your side/reading in the bath with a book in your hand/Reading in the garden with the sun shining bright…”
Notre Dame headteacher Tina Macdonald said: “The Weegie Book of Poems is a lovely initiative, which gives every child in the city a chance to express their feeling by writing poetry. It fits with our aims as a school to focus on literacy, and encourage a love of reading and writing.
“After the last 18 months, which have been challenging for everyone, we all need a boost for our mental health, and writing can help you do that.
“There is no right or wrong way to write about your own wee world – you can write what you feel and have some time and space to yourself, away from technology and screens. We’re delighted to help Angela launch the initiative.”

Glasgow Times:
Angela, who is currently working on book five of her popular Thumble Tumble series, started the Glasgow Children’s Reading Champion initiative in a bid to help young people, particularly those from lower income backgrounds, access literacy. 
She plans to hold the title for the first year in the hope she can then pass it on to a fellow Scottish author each year as the initiative grows, ultimately rolling out nationally.
Her first initiative was a schools competition to design a crest for the Children’s Reading Champion, which was won by Croftfoot Primary pupil Yasmin Caldwell. It attracted a whopping 1500 entries from more than 40 schools across the city and was judged by Glasgow School of Art. 
To enter a poem, you must be a pupil or group of pupils from a primary school in Glasgow City Council. All entries, which can be from an individual or a whole class or year group, as long as all the pupils are from the same year group, must be submitted via your school. The poem must be about the City of Glasgow and how it inspires the writer or writers. The Weegie Book of Poems will be published in the spring or summer of 2022 and every primary school which submits an entry will receive a free copy of the published book.

Glasgow Times:
The closing date is Friday, January 21. For full terms and conditions visit the Children’s reading Champion Facebook page.
Angela is also inviting unpublished authors who would like to volunteer to be involved in the Children’s Reading Champion programme the chance to do so, in return for mentoring and PR opportunities.
Meanwhile, the young poets at Notre Dame are excited about the chance to see their work in print.

READ MORE: Glasgow pupil beats 1500 young artists in crest competition for Children's Reading Champion

“I love reading and I love the city, so it’s fun writing poems about both of those things,” said Naomi, who is nine, and likes to visit local parks.
“I’m proud our school is launching The Weegie Book of Poems and we were the first to hear about it,” added Lara, who is seven and enjoys ‘books about superheroes’.
And Matty, who is six and a half, thinks everyone should get involved.
“Maybe all the schools will take part,” he said, adding in awe: “Maybe the whole WORLD will enter.”