Authors interviewed by Elmhurst School after pupil recital praised


Authors interviewed by Elmhurst School after pupil recital praised


A pupil at Elmhurst School, part of the Bellevue group, has received praise from the author of a poetry book after reciting one of the poems from memory, earning the school a virtual Q&A with both authors of the book.

Back in October of this year, poet Robert Macfarlane encouraged pupils across the country to learn the poem The Jackdaw from The Lost Spells, co-written by Macfarlane and Jackie Morris, on its release date.

Ezekiel, an Elmhurst pupil in Year Two, learned The Jackdaw by heart and his teachers filmed him reciting the poem from memory. After sharing this with Macfarlane and Morris and gaining the required permissions, Macfarlane shared the video online to an enthusiastic response.

On 26 November, Ezekiel also received a mention at The Hay Festival, during the authors’ virtual interview about the book with Nicola Davies. The recording of his poetry delivery was also shared as part of the live stream.

Year Two form teacher and Head of Swimming, Claire Prior, commented: “Year Two have been studying Macfarlane and Morris’s previous book, The Lost Words, this term in humanities, English and Art. When The Lost Spells was published, as a teacher I was very excited to buy it and noticed the poem ‘The Jackdaw’ right away. The words just leap off the page!

“I read it to the class before they went home that night, and the following day some children asked me to read it again. So I did. And as they went to get their coats on to go home, I could hear them saying bits of it to each other. The next day they asked me for the words, so I photocopied the book pages and pinned them to the wall.

“We had a go at saying it as a whole class and they loved it, really loved it. It became apparent that some boys knew other boys’ lines, so I set up the challenge to learn it, truly believing no-one would be able to do it.  Ezekiel recited it two days later!”

Mrs Prior then invited the authors to discuss their writing with Elmhurst School’s Year Two pupils via a video call on Tuesday 1 December, which they kindly accepted.

“I laid down the ‘jackdaw challenge’ on the day the book was published, in October this year,” Macfarlane told the children. “A few schools have done it, and you’re one of them. Seeing Ezekiel first of all, and then hearing all of you – it’s just brilliant. You’re an absolutely awesome bunch of jackdaws.”

Watch Ezekiel’s rendition of The Jackdaw below.