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Sue Hardy-Dawson
Sue Hardy-Dawson

All About Sue Hardy-Dawson

All About Sue

Sue Hardy Dawson is a poet and illustrator. Her first solo collection ‘Where Zebras Go’ was shortlisted for the 2018 CLiPPA prize. Sue’s poems and teaching resources can be found on the CLPE website. Her second collection, ‘Apes to Zebras’ with poetry ambassadors, Roger Stevens and Liz Brownlee won the North Somerset Teachers Book Awards. A new solo collection ‘If I Were Other Than Myself’ is out next spring with Troika. Sue has a First Class Honours Degree. She loves to visit schools and do workshops. As a dyslexic poet, she also loves encouraging reluctant readers and writers.

Sue’s School Visits

Sue can provide both poetry and illustration workshops and generally works with key stages 2 and 3 and has also worked with adults. A typical day would include an introductory performance and up to four one hour sessions with a class per session, however this can be split in other ways see below.


KS2: around 30 minutes of puppets and poetry with occasional help from the audience.
KS3: around 45 minutes with time to ask questions and talk about being a dyslexic author


KS2&3: Both illustration and poetry workshops are generally 50mins to produce a first draft or illustration and consider ways of developing them.
Upper KS2&3 multisensory workshops around an hour five minutes including set up and computer or CD player access required.
Upper KS2&3 concrete poetry. Note, these will require two sessions: optional finishing in an IT suite.
Lower KS2 3D shape poems, involves craft activities, also two sessions.
Optional Q&A, book signing etc. during school lunch time for children who wish to attend, however, Sue will require a 30 minute comfort and food break.

Sue can also be commissioned to assist pupils to produce large scale artworks, e.g. a mural or 3D installation. Timing for these would be negotiated on a case by case basis.


Sue’s Books

Where Zebras Go

“Where the elephants leave their bones where gazelle and bison follow where the great Sirocco blows where the rains go – zebra goes” Get ready to join in the Poetry Olympics, question a snake, talk to a toad and learn 20 ways to avoid monsters and mythical beasts. Where Zebras Go will lead you leads you on a magical journey across the Savannah, into fairy tale realms, back into the playground and through the seasons, introducing a whole host of animals along the way.

“A celebration of the magic of language. Sure to challenge, amaze and enchant.” Rachel Rooney

“A strong sense of inventive joy and verbal beauty characterise Where Zebras Go…” Playing by the Book  

CLPE Book of the Week  – CliPPA shortlist

“This is a little book full of magic. Sue Hardy-Dawson’s exciting debut solo collection is a triumph…” Poetry Zone

“…It’s always exciting to discover a new voice in children’s poetry – and this debut collection reveals a talent that is very special indeed…quite simply, a triumph…” Teach Primary

“…It is this attention to the visual nature of poetry that makes the collection so distinctive and gives it special child appeal…” The Reading Zone

“…Sue Hardy-Dawson has written a collection of poems to rival any of the well-known anthologies…” School Librarian

 “Sue Hardy-Dawson is both a poet and an artist, and Where Zebras Go is a perfect marriage of these two disciplines…” Carousel, Brian Moses

“…an unusual debut that can genuinely be described as a page-turner…” Book Trust

“…I guarantee every teacher and student will find a verse within its pages to share, perform or marvel at…” North Somerset Teachers Book Award long list

Apes to Zebras

This gorgeous collection of animal poems from Roger Stevens, Liz Brownlee and Sue Hardy-Dawson will entrance and delight in equal measure. Featuring a full alphabet of animals, birds, and insects, with the odd extinct or imaginary creature thrown in, these beautiful shape poems are a perfect way to introduce children to poetry. Some funny, some serious, there is something here for everyone.

“This is an inspiring collection that really highlights how fascinating shape poems can be…I love this book…” Parents in Touch

“Featuring a full alphabetical array from the extraordinary and the exotic to the extinct and the non-existent from well-liked and recognised poets Liz Brownlee, Sue Hardy-Dawson & Roger Stevens, this will amaze, amuse and appeal to classes throughout the primary school and have them eagerly wanting to write their own shape poems…” The Reader Teacher

“Apes to Zebras is eye-catchingly illustrated in bright colours with trailing, undulating text forming the shapes of the beasts…” QA Nursery
“This is a book that will set children off on their own explorations of how words and images can be interlinked…” Brian Moses, Welcome to the Ssssssnake Hotel Blog

“Liz Brownlee, Sue Hardy-Dawson and Roger Stevens have created a truly memorable poetry book in ‘Apes to Zebras’…Every subject is analysed, realised and almost eulogised in its own beautiful poem…” Bookwagon

“There is a beautiful simplicity in the text of the poems that allows you to appreciate the usage of words as a clear illustrative form… A fabulous resource for both home and school…” Philippa Rae, Kidscene


Examples of Sue’s Poems and Illustrations



The Kiss

I found an autumn necklace, in the hedge,
silken threads, strung with tiny beads.
Yet when I touched a strand, it fell,
leaving only scattered tears.

I found a winter diamond on the wall,
cold and sharp as dragon’s scale.
Yet though I locked it in a box,
somehow it stole itself away.

I found spring dancers in the wood,
their faces reaching for the sun.
Yet when I put them in a glass
each grew heavy on its stem.

I found a summer moon beside the road,
floating in a shallow pool.
Yet as I lifted it, it broke.
I cried: I’d meant to let it go.

Mum wrapped me in her strong warm arms,
showed me the moon, still small and new.
Some things, she said, cannot be owned,
then gave me a kiss. I have it still…



Recommendations & Reviews

‘Sue’s poems are objects of heartfelt beauty and artistry, and her workshops are inspirational in encouraging students to access their creativity and imaginations.’ Award winning poet and Educator Joshua Seigal

‘Sue Hardy-Dawson’s poems are lyrical and surprising – she builds new worlds with words.  Whether funny or sad they never fail to be interesting as she uses language to engage and delight. She is also an experienced educator and workshop leader. What’s not to like?’ Poet and Fiction writer Jan Dean

‘Sue Hardy Dawson is the most poetic of poets – she uses a language rarely seen in children’s poetry today and intersperses this with such original ideas that she is fast becoming one of the freshest and most exciting voices on the scene.’ Poetry Postie, poet musician Sally Crabtree 


School/Library Endorsements

Sue…was a real hit with the children.  She happily worked from Year One through to Year Six, capturing and engaging them at an appropriate level in the workshops that she delivered. Her enthusiasm and passion for her work and children’s writing came through in the practical activities in which the children used their senses to create their own poems. She also made a fantastic judge critiquing performance poetry throughout the school as a culmination to Poetry week.’ Mr James Hughes, Acting Headteacher, Willow Tree Community Primary School

‘… Sue got everybody crafting their own poems inspired by objects she’d brought with her. Despite the workshop having a mix of ages and abilities she created a very supportive and encouraging atmosphere and her gentle approach was a great success…we would love Sue to visit us again.’ Ms Jo Huett, School Librarian Rossett School

‘…Sue oozes creativity from every pore! Over many years, she has been at the artistic heart of our busy Easter Holiday Club, bring together dozens of children and adults to create larger than life tableaux on each year’s theme. She values each child, engages with each one at their level, and yet knows instinctively how to bring out the best in them….’

Rev Clare MacLaren Canon for Music and Liturgy Newcastle Cathedral


To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Sue, 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