All About Brian Moses
Brian Moses is one of Britain’s favourite children’s poets, for both his own poetry and the anthologies he has edited. He has performed in over two thousand schools across the UK and Europe. He is a Reading Champion for the Literacy Trust and is able to animate reading and writing poetry for pupils and teachers alike, in his workshops and in his resource books for teachers.
Brian’s interests range from the familiar – shopping trolleys, football matches – to the peculiar – monsters, aliens and angels. Often he will mix the two together in his poetry, so the ‘Shopping Trolley’ is souped-up like a futuristic sports car, while the monsters still go to school before coming home on ‘The Ghoul School Bus’. Brian has a particularly sharp eye for surreal moments in daily life – the man in ‘Walking with my Iguana’, who walks his pet lizard on Hastings beach on a leash, is based on a real person.
Walking with my Iguana is listed on Poetry Archive’s ‘Most Visited Poems’ – second only to T.S. Eliot’s Journey of the Magi.
Brian began writing poems when he realised he would never be a rock star – “I put the guitar to one side, but the songs carried on and became poems”. That original musical influence can still be heard in his work; while he rarely sings, he performs so that pauses, tone of voice and speed become a central part of the poem. Few poets can hold a syllable so well as Brian, whether it’s the hiss in ‘The Ssssnake Hotel’ or the Tom Waits growl in ‘Walking with my Iguana.’
Brian writes and edits poetry and picture books for children and resource books for teachers. His latest book for teachers is Able Writers in Your School (co-written with Roger Stevens), Brilliant Publications. His latest picture books are The Snake Hotel– a lift-the-flap book, and Animal Pants (Both from Macmillan).
Brian was invited by HRH Prince Charles to speak at the Prince’s Summer School for Teachers at Cambridge University in July 2007. He was also one of 10 children’s poets invited by the then Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion, to feature in a website as part of the National Poetry Archive – launched in November 2005.
Brian’s School Visits
Brian Moses is available for several activities in schools:
Reading his own poetry
These are presentations to the whole school, or to infants and juniors separately, in an attempt to show that poetry isn’t something that just sits on the page. Rather it can be brought to life using a variety of voices, movement and instruments. Sessions last between 45 minutes and one hour.
Usually it is possible to arrange two such sessions and a reading in a one-day visit. Workshops last an hour and involve single classes or a class size group of children in writing their own poems. Follow up sheets are available.
Poetry & Percussion Shows
Rhyme, Rhythm & Rap
These are presentations to the whole school, or to infants and juniors separately, in an attempt to show that poetry isn’t something that just sits on the page. Rather, it can be brought to life using a variety of voices, movements and percussion instruments such as talking drums, spring drums, tambours, claves, bells, shakers and brushes. It is an energetic presentation involving audience participation and ranging from the comic to the serious to the spooky. Sessions usually last an hour and if the hall is large enough, Brian can accommodate up to 400 children for one show.
Workshop sessions for an individual class or a class size group
Workshops last an hour (half an hour at KS1) and involve single classes or a class size group of children in a question and answer session followed by a poetry writing activity. Some schools like to target able writers and make up two groups – one from lower junior classes and one from upper juniors. These children can then go back to their classes and cascade what they have done with Brian. Follow-up sheets are available.
Brian undertakes a number of residencies each year, either for a whole week or for five days spread over a term. This sustained contact allows him to build up a relationship with classes and to comment on the writing that is produced. Performances and an evening for parents can usually be built into the project. In September 2006 he visited schools in Reykjavik as part of the Icelandic International Culture Festival for Children and Young People and in 2007 he toured Ireland at the invitation of Children’s Books Ireland.
Family Writing Evenings
These sessions last for about an hour and a half. Parents and children are invited to listen to poems, to learn a little bit about how poetry is taught today and to have a go at writing themselves. Emphasis is placed on treating children as young writers and on refuting the notion that all poetry has to rhyme. Above all, these should be fun evenings with families sharing a memory and then expressing their thoughts and feelings in words.
Developing a trail around school grounds so that children may be taken out to points along the trail and write on location. Alternatively trails can be set up around castles and other ancient monuments. Brian is also invited to take part in school trips and he runs annual sessions at Michelham Priory in Sussex.
Ideas for imaginative writing, making the strategy fun for pupils and teachers, performance poetry and location writing.
A typical day could consist of the following:
9.30 – 10.30: An hour of ideas to inspire writing both at KS1 and KS2. These are ideas that Brian has used over the past 18 years in his visits to over 2250 schools across the UK and Europe.
11:00 – 12:00: A practical hour in which Brian shows how he runs class workshops and teachers have a go at a writing activity which will have relevance to their work in the classroom.
Afternoon: A session where teachers have time to read poetry books and find poems that will be immediately useful. This can lead on to a session on performance poetry with practical activities using instruments, sound effects, etc.
Other activities available are:
- In-Service Training Days
• The Work of a Writer
• Family Writing Evenings
• Establishing the Reading Habit
**Brian signs all copies of his books purchased by students on the day of his visit.**
The Budgie Likes to Boogie!
Brian’s poetry never fails to capture the imagination of his readers. If you are newcomer to his work or a Brian die hard, this book will have you dancing with glee! These funny and heart-warming feather-brained rhymes about animals, insects and birds are a real tweet!
Recommended reading level: 5-9 years
I Go Ape!
Have you ever Gone Ape, or felt sorry for maggots, or looked inside the belly of the Earth? Have you ever walked backwards for Britain, listened to musical fruit or taken the night train to Transylvania? Have you ever had a geographical tongue, or screamed in underground car parks or cried for the moon?
Well Brian Moses has done all these things, or so he says, but he has been know to tell fibs before.
Find out for yourself in Brian’s new book.
Recommended reading level: 5-9 years
To purchase Brian’s books, click here.
Samples of Brian’s poems
The Great Galactic Ghoul
Don’t fool around
with the great galactic ghoul,
it’s not the sort of creature
to play by the rules.
For any spaceship
sent its way
will not return
to Earth someday.
It will simply bat it
out of the sky,
splat it hard
just like a fly.
This ghoul was never taught
right from wrong,
it lives by its muscles,
is incredibly strong.
It’s ugly as Medusa
whose snakes have just woken,
with a nose like a boxer’s
that’s regularly broken.
Eyes like saucers,
the flying kind,
acts like a creature
that’s lost its mind.
And the gruesome great
does very little
but slobber and drool
as it shuffles about
on the edge of Mars
and anyone flying
in from the stars
should beware the ghoul,
stay clear of its lair
or it mught just swing you
round by your hair.
then squeeze you between
its loathsome jaws
till it swallows you,
rubs it belly
It lives a long way away from you
and that’s where it usually stays.
but something’s gone wrong,
the ghoul has gone,
now it hasn’t been seen for
The Budgie Likes to Boogie
The budgie likes to boogie
the budgie likes to rock.
He wakes us every night
when he rocks around the clock.
The budgie likes to jive
to spin around, to twirl.
His body full of rhythm,
his head is in a whirl.
The budgie boogie-woogies
along the table top.
The budgie disco dances,
the budgie likes to bop.
He’s just about the best,
his moves are really neat.
You should see the budgie boogie,
you should see his flying feet.
In front of the dangly mirror,
he plays his air guitar.
The budgie likes to boogie
the budgie is a STAR!
Winner of The Sheffield Children’s Book Award – Poetry Category, 2014
“The title poem launches a witty and varied anthology made the more tempting by the suitably benign monster on its attractive cover. Brian Moses writes entertainingly about a funky crocodile called Burt, What An Ardvark Likes to Do Best and When The Queen Came to Tea.” – Lovereading4kids
Recommendations & Reviews
“Morning Brian, hope you are well. Can I just say a huge thank you for the visit to our school. I have never had so many parents contact the school to say that their children have loved a visit so much. You really did shake the whole school awake – they loved it! I have attached Ellie’s poem – sorry it took so long! If you would still like to put it on your blogspot – that’d be great! I have written a piece for our school newsletter about book week and your visit and have included a link to your blog – hope that is ok? Many thanks again and look forward to the next time we meet!” – Lucy Waterhouse, Canford Heath Junior School, Poole
‘The whole school thoroughly enjoyed Brian’s visit. He was very entertaining and I received positive feedback from the teachers that he did the workshops with. A very successful day. The local paper did a little spread on our Book Week and I mentioned Brian in the interview – bit of advertising for you!’ – Sarah Macdonald, Deputy Head, Ursuline Prep School, Warley
“I have come in to school today and all the children are talking about is their day with you. They are enthused and motivated and want to write poems – particularly the boys. As you know we are constantly being told by Ofsted to improve this and improve that and although teaching only for 10 years you do become disheartened and de-motivated. When the children come in as they did this morning you quickly realise why you became a teacher – so thank you for restoring my faith in what I do.” – Serena Beasley (assistant head, Meath Green Junior School, Horley)
“Brian’s visit to Langney Primary was a great success. The children, both Infants and Juniors, were thoroughly enthralled and enthused by his performance. He had them all in the ‘palm of his hand’ for an hour of percussion and poetry. Added to this, our gifted and talented children were lucky enough to take part in a workshop with him. The next day many of them became ‘teachers’ and cascaded all they had learnt down to their classmates.” – Marion Banner, Literacy Coordinator, Langney Primary School, East Sussex
“I have seen Brian Moses present his poetry and percussion show on two occasions and I think he¹s wonderful.” – Jacqueline Wilson
“Brian’s visit had an amazing impact in school – the children loved his performance.” – Martyn Lightwood, Headteacher, Harlescott Junior School, Shrewsbury
“My mate thought you were cool.” – Boy, aged 10
@PieCorbett and I thoroughly recommend Brian Moses to all! Was inspirational in Peterborough this week! Can’t wait for next time!!
“I just wanted to say a huge thank you from myself and all the staff at Castlewood Primary School for a fantastic day on Tuesday when you visited. All of the children were really involved and excited and lots of your books are being read at the moment! As staff, we thought your performance session was fantastic – everyone of the children was captured and that was an amazing opportunity for us to see! (We were also very captured and inspired by what you do!) Thank You. I hope enjoyed the rest of the exciting week and today on World Book Day.” – Vicky Dedman, Castlewood Primary
‘A legend in the land of literacy’ Headteacher, Jersey
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about Brian Moses, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org