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John Siddique
John Siddique
"In the classroom his energy and love for his art fires the children to write and recite their own poems. He has a way to make each child feel special and proud of their work."
Brenda Burroughs - Crawshawbooth Primary School

All About John Siddique

John Siddique writes for both children and adults. He is the author of the bestselling poetry book ‘Don’t Wear It On Your Head,’ which was shortlisted for the CLPE Poetry Award. His books for grown ups are also extremely popular.

The young people’s strand of his work sees him working closely with schools to present writing, language, literacy, literature, poetry and creative practices in such a fun and exciting way that the learning almost takes care of itself.

John lives in West Yorkshire but works all over the world. He is the former British Council Writer in Residence for California State University, Los Angeles and currently he is The Honorary Fellow in Creative Writing at Leicester University. The Spectator Magazine calls him ‘A stellar British poet’.

John’s School Visits

John works with young people of all ages. He loves to give an assembly or presentation to the whole school so that everyone feels included. Then he tends to settle down to work with a class sized group for the rest of the day exploring the ideas which will have been discussed with the school in advance. John understands that different young people need differing inputs and loves tailoring his sessions so that everyone gains from them. If schools require shorter sessions John is happy to accommodate.

In the classroom John likes the young writers to have a notebook to write in, he finds it a much better medium than loose paper. All he needs to work is a whiteboard and a cup of tea.

John’s Books

Don’t Wear It On Your Head (Salt)
Shortlisted for the CLPE Poetry Award, ‘Don’t wear it on your head’ is a celebration of the good stuff: who we are, love, gossip, our senses and cheese.

‘John Siddique’s poems blast off the page into real life or they can melt as gently as a snowflake on your tongue.’

‘The subtitle of this book is ‘Poems for Young People’. Make that young people of all ages, any person whose mind is open to a different view. This is a book which biffs you round the ear one moment and takes your breath away the next. There are poems here to challenge and poems to make the reader laugh out loud.’ – Fiona Waters

Samples of John’s Poetry

Poems from ‘Don’t Wear It On Your Head’

Making it up

Fold yourself the mind you want.
Make a paper hat
and wear it on your head. Hold it tight
when the wind blows.

Paint yourself the heart you desire. Pin it
on your jumper, be proud of your colours.
Pin it fast and don’t mind the rain.

Write yourself the love you love. Hold that
paper tight in your hand. Unfold it often,
read your plan aloud in sun and in snow.

Walk yourself the world you want. Each step
is breath. It’s your life. Stamp big-footed.
Walk soft. Dance your way in all the weathers.


Count the stars in the sky.
Count the thoughts in your head.
You say it can’t be done,
and that my friend is the mystery.

Count the waves on the ocean.
Count the feelings in your heart.
You know it can’t be done,
and then to try, makes life a mystery.

Count the grains of sand on the shore.
Count the ways in which we try.
You know there is no point
and that my friend is the point.

Count the lights, the nights, the days.
Forget the hate, count love always.
Let’s call these days, the days of our lives,
and in between each second is the mystery.

© John Siddique 2012

Reviews and Recommendations

“John’s unique take on poetry has really inspired our students and the progress they have made over the course of a series of workshops has been fantastic. He really challenges young people to think creatively and independently and the students have come away with a real belief in their abilities as writers. His ethos of encouraging students to be ‘comfortable with the uncomfortable’ has had a particularly remarkable effect on students who lacked confidence at the start of the workshops. John’s enthusiastic and entertaining approach to language has changed the way the students see poetry, particularly their own writing, and given them an insight into the limitless possibilities that writing and creativity can offer.” Libby Connolly – Roundhay School, Leeds.

“Thank you for all the warmth, joy, intelligence and creativity that you brought to our school. Children and staff alike loved working with you. You brought poetry to us all and also gave a chance to ‘pause for thought’ in the rough hurly burly of the school day, both in the teaching and staff training support you gave us.” Sarah Rutty, Bankside Primary, Leeds.

“John has been a good male role model; he has been like a breath of fresh air. He very quickly built up good relationships with all the children encouraging everybody and has made poetry fun and everybody has been able to join in. He is excellent at getting the best out of each child, helping them to feel special and good at what they do.
Since John started coming in the children have made immense progress and their confidence has grown considerably. Children who have, in the past, found it difficult to put pen to paper have felt okay about having a go and produced imaginative and creative work. He talks about respect and the children certainly respect him and want to give their best. John has truly been inspirational.” Kate Scott – The Moss Primary School, Breightmet, Bolton
“In the classroom his energy and love for his art fires the children to write and recite their own poems. He has a way to make each child feel special and proud of their work.” Brenda Burroughs – Crawshawbooth Primary

“Quite simply, he can get young people to enjoy reading, writing, and engaging with language and literacy. John’s visit made for such a brilliant day! He is a breath of fresh air, awakening the hearts and minds of my Year 6 children. Not only was he fun and entertaining, but he inspired even the most reluctant pupils to believe in themselves and to READ and WRITE. All the children wrote what can only be described as powerful, ‘neck-hair-standing-on-end’ poetry. Most importantly, they are still going!” Catherine Kidd – Buxton Junior School

To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about John, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email on

John’s website: