James Carter

b. 1959


Simply chant this magic spell / soon your teacher looks unwell: / purple cheeks and purple nose / purpleness from head to toes . . .

Where Do You Get Your Ideas From?

James Carter

Splish Splash Splosh!

James Carter

What Did You Do at School Today?

James Carter

How to Turn Your Teacher Purple!

James Carter

The Moon Speaks!

James Carter

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About James Carter

An award-winning children’s poet, guitarist and writer-in-schools, James Carter lives with his family in Oxfordshire. He travels throughout the UK and abroad with his guitar (called Keith) to schools, libraries and festivals.

It was when lecturing at Reading University that James began to write and publish children’s poetry. He says, ‘Poetry gives me so much freedom as a writer – I like to say a lot in a little! And with children’s poetry, there’s the extra playfulness and musicality. I love words and daydreaming – and what do you get when you put them together? Poems!’ Over the last twelve years, James has visited over 1,000 schools – giving lively poetry and guitar performances as well as workshops, INSET sessions and Gifted & Talent Creative Writing Days. James has written six creative writing books for teachers, including Let’s Do Poetry In Primary Schools!. His popular children’s collections include Hey Little Bug!, for younger readers, and Time-Travelling Underpants and Journey to the Centre of My Brain, for 7–12-year-olds.

Jacqueline Wilson has called his poems ‘imaginative and innovative’. Though he strongly believes in the value of reading poems to children, James considers himself not a performance poet, but primarily a page poet. He can spend up to three months on each poem, crafting the musical language.

With each collection, James writes in a number of voices – from gentle and playful to comic and quirky to quiet and reflective, and he seeks to give his reader a real range of poems – from rhymes to free verse to haikus to kennings to conversation and list poems. James is also known for his shape poems – from aliens to woolly mammoths to ghosts to garden sheds! As he says, ‘it’s the wannabe artist in me drawing and doodling with words rather than lines.’ James also composes and records guitar and piano music – and there are eight instrumental tracks that feature here as stings between the selections of poems.

His writing tips for children include ‘write at home – just for you, and write what you want to write’, as well as ‘read everything from poems to novels to non-fiction – and do a bit every day if you can, as you’ll just get better and better!’

This recording was made on 28 August and 10 December 2012 at Attic Attack, Bristol and was produced by Richard Carrington.

Selected bibliography

Grr!: Dinos, Dragons and Other Beastie Creatures (...

How To Turn Your Teacher Purple! And Other Sizzling...

Time-Travelling Underpants (Macmillan, 2007)

Hey Little Bug! Poems for Little Creatures (Frances...

Greetings Earthlings!: Space Poems (Macmillan, 2007)

Journey to the Centre of My Brain (Macmillan Children...

James Carter Reading from his Poems