First press review of Flying High!

Cover of Flying High! by Anneliese Emmans DeanThe first press review of my new book Flying High! is out. It’s a fabulous feature article in The York Press by Stephen Lewis.

Read the article here

I was thrilled to see my book described as being ‘glorious’, and that it ‘will delight children and young-at-heart adults alike.’

The review goes on:

‘what makes the book so special is the sheer joy, fun and enthusiasm Anneliese brings to her versions of common British birds.’

Well, I can’t ask for much better than that!

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Thank you to Brambleby Books, designer Tanya Warren and all the photographers whose photos feature, for helping me to create this book.

You can find out more about Flying High! here, and there are some sample videos here.

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz – Bringing poetry to life



‘The very best in children’s literature’

How lovely to come home from my holiday and discover that my book Buzzing! had been nominated for another award! That’s exactly what happened yesterday, when I received an email from the North Somerset Teachers’ Book Award informing me that Buzzing! had been longlisted in their Poetry Books category, alongside the likes of TS Eliot, John Hegley and Grace Nichols.

North Somerset Teachers' Book Award website screenshot

My publishers, Brambleby Books, were particularly pleased to learn that I had been nominated for this award as they themselves are based in Somerset.

As part of the award process the organisers wrote a review of Buzzing!, which I was particularly gratified to read as it highlighted many of the features of the book that I had hoped would appeal to readers in general and teachers in particular.

I’ll let you read the review in full yourself (and admire the beautifully taken photo of my book), but here are some lines that jumped out at me:

‘Never have minibeasts been more appealing than in this book!’

‘As you read [the poems], you find yourself getting into the rhythm of the lines and wanting to read aloud.’

‘Another strength of this book is the fact that it encourages the reader to find out more’

‘A great resource for livening up lessons on life processes and living things!’

‘Fun to use as a cross curricular resource or for performance poetry!’

The shortlist for the award will be announced in September. So, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed till then. Meanwhile, here’s a screenshot of the poetry books that have been selected for the award:

Poetry books nominated for the North Somerset Teachers' Book Award

You can find out more about the North Somerset Teachers’ Book Award here. If you scroll down to the foot of the page you’ll see fabulous drawings of the judging team, which will put a smile on your face.

Happy reading, judges!

Anneliese Emmans Dean – Bringing poetry to life 


Buzzing! for grown-ups

For a Buzzing! review with a difference, may I point you in the direction of Mark Avery’s blog?  There you’ll find an assessment not only of the content of my book, but also of my drinking habits and even the quality of my handwriting!

The bit about my book is interesting as it gives you a grown-up’s perspective on Buzzing! Which, in Mark’s case, is that:

‘The poems are very catchy and often contain a lot of information – learning the poems is an easy way to learn the information … This seems like one of those rare successful mixtures of science and art … I really like the book.’

Phew! And I, as it happens, really like the book Mark Avery has written called Fighting for Birds. I shall tell you more about his book on another occasion, but for now you can find out more about it here and more about Mark (whom you may recall I met at the Hay Festival recently, when we were both recording programmes for BBC Radio 4) here.

If you too are a grown-up and would like to experience a live grown-up version of Buzzing!, then come along to the ‘green heart of York’ that is St Nicks this coming Tuesday 15 July, where I’ll be performing a promenade version of Buzzing!

The nature reserve at St Nicks is a fabulous place to wander through on a summer’s evening (weather permitting), so who knows what flora and fauna we’ll find there. Indeed, some of its fauna found their way into my Buzzing! book, and I’ll be showing you exactly where I found them and took the photos.

A Cinnabar moth caterpillar that features in my Buzzing! book and that I found and photographed at St Nicks, York

A Cinnabar moth caterpillar that I photographed at St Nicks, York, and that features in my Buzzing! book

The evening starts at 6.30pm with formal St Nicks matters. You can arrive in time for that or come a little later, at around 7pm, when the promenade will begin.

Either way, the evening’s events are free, and will be followed by a (discounted!) Buzzing! book signing session at the end of the promenade, with 20% of the price going to St Nicks.

St Nicks is just off Melrosegate in York. You can find directions here.

I’ve performed lots of Buzzing! shows for grown-ups before, but I’ve never done a promenade version, so this will be a world first! I do hope you can come and join us.

(P.S. Older children are welcome along too!)

Anneliese Emmans Dean – – Bringing poetry to life

Journal of Biological Education

I returned from my summer putting on poetry workshops and Rhyme Time Rambles at RHS Harlow Carr to discover that the Journal of Biological Education had given my Buzzing! book a 5-star rating – twice over! Five stars for ‘Usefulness to student (primary)’, and another five stars for ‘Usefulness to teacher (or parent!) (primary)’. What a lovely welcome home surprise.

‘This is a book that will certainly deliver in terms of educating younger children about invertebrates. A really nice combination of the whimsical with the scientific – surely what we would want when trying to get our very youngest interested in the natural world’ writes the reviewer, Peter Anderson. Which is great, as that’s just what I was aiming to create.

Buzzing! by Anneliese Emmans Dean, nominated for the 2013 Carnegie Medal

Buzzing! by Anneliese Emmans Dean

He concludes that Buzzing! is ‘highly recommended for primary school shelves and, indeed, for parents of younger children. It is certainly a book for making learning fun – a great little book!’

You can read the review in full here.

And if you so desire, you can read other reviews of Buzzing! by clicking here and scrolling through the posts.

To find out more about my Buzzing! book, and read some sample pages, click here.

And to buy your signed copies of Buzzing!, click here.

Anneliese Emmans – Bringing poetry to life

5 stars for Buzzing!

Books for Keeps is, according to none other than Philip Pullman, ‘the most important periodical in the world of British children’s books’. So I was particularly delighted to find that Books for Keeps has given my Buzzing! book a 5-star rating.

I was thrilled to read the Books for Keeps review of Buzzing! too, which described the book as having:

‘close-up photographs of exceptional beauty’.

The review concludes:

‘This is a book that encourages research and respect for [] small creatures … With initial adult help for younger children, it is likely to be a favourite at home or at school …’.

Buzzing! by Anneliese Emmans Dean, nominated for the 2013 Carnegie Medal

Buzzing! by Anneliese Emmans Dean

Read the whole Books for Keeps review

The lady who wrote this review is Margaret Mallett, who knows her onions when it comes to children’s books. Take a look at her profile. As you’ll see, amongst her many other accomplishments she’s written a book entitled ‘Choosing and Using Fiction and Non-Fiction 3-11: A comprehensive guide for teachers and student teachers‘. Need I say more?

Another person who knows her onions is the reviewer of Buzzing! for The Guardian. She is none other than one of the judges for the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize (a prize that Buzzing! has been shortlisted for).  This Guardian reviewer goes by the pen name (can you have a pen name in the digital age?) of GrrlScientist, and I was particularly pleased to read that she too had really ‘got’ what I was trying to do with Buzzing! Take a read:

‘How can you introduce a young child to insects and give them a lifelong appreciation and respect for these important creatures? I think Anneliese Emmans Dean has found an appealing formula in her lovely children’s book, Buzzing!: discover the poetry in garden minibeasts.’
Read the whole review

GrrlScientist’s review concludes:

Shortlisted for the 2013 Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize and recommended for children between the ages of five and eight, this small but educational hardcover will be enjoyed by children and adults alike.’

I’d like to thank both these reviewers for taking the time to read and really consider my Buzzing! book, and to then tell others about it.

If you’d like to read Buzzing! for yourself, then you can order (signed!) copies here.

Anneliese Emmans – Bringing poetry to life

Shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize

Royal Society Young People's Book Prize logo 2013Who says you have to choose between the sciences and the arts?

When I was at school I did maths and arts A levels. At Cambridge University I started off studying in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and ended up in the Department of Engineering. I enjoyed analysing a poem just as much as I enjoyed doing spectrographic analyses of speech signals. And so when it came to creating my  Buzzing! book, it was entirely natural to me to mix science and amusing poetry, entomology and etymology, to create a colourful, fizzing, ‘edu-taining’ experience.

I was thrilled to discover yesterday that the Royal Society, that august scientific body founded over 350 years ago, recognised what I set out to do by shortlisting Buzzing! for this year’s Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize.

Royal Society web page showing Young People's Book Prize shorlisted books

I was particularly pleased about this as I had had a hard job convincing publishers that mixing science and poetry was a good idea. But in the end I was very lucky to find Brambleby Books, who immediately  ‘got’ what I wanted to do, and who went on to produce the handsome tome that is Buzzing!

The Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize is a prestigious prize that ‘celebrates the best English-language books that communicate science to young people up to the age of fourteen’.

Buzzing! was one of six books shortlisted for the Prize by a judging panel that consisted of five eminent scientists, science communicators and educationalists. They described my book as being:

Buzzing! by Anneliese Emmans Dean, nominated for the 2013 Carnegie Medal

Buzzing! by Anneliese Emmans Dean

‘buzzing with interesting science facts and wonderful poetry. Each page features a different British minibeast that you might find in your back garden, with a funny poem about them.’

The Chair of the panel was Professor John Goodby FRS, who said:

‘This year’s books have shown how science can become the subject of beautiful poems, be the object of wonderful works of art, and all the time stretching minds, young and old, into the “realms of imagination” and down-to-earth “model building” … Our eclectic collection of books have been truly enthralling, and our decisions on six candidates for “book of the year” have been incredibly difficult.’

Copies of all six shortlisted books are now being sent out to groups of young people up and down the country. It is they who will be the final judges. The book they choose as the winner will be announced on 11 November …

Fingers crossed!

Meanwhile, you can find out more about Buzzing! here, order your signed copy here and see where you can catch a live Buzzing! show here.

STOP PRESS: Find out how the award ceremony went and who won here!

Anneliese Emmans – Bringing poetry to life

Buzzing! – ‘A triumphal stride’

Well now, another review of my Buzzing! book has come to my attention. It was published in the Bulletin of the Amateur Entomologists’ Society (AES) last autumn, and describes Buzzing! as ‘an excellent insect poetry book’, providing a ‘triumphal stride’ towards encouraging all children to become entomologists!

Take a look at the review, by AES Honorary Secretary Dafydd Lewis, below, or download the review as a pdf by clicking on the following link: AES Buzzing! review

Buzzing! review in Bulletin of the AES

Review of Buzzing! in the Bulletin of the Amateur Entomologists’ Society

The AES have invited me to perform poems from my Buzzing! book at an event they are holding at the Natural History Museum in London on 25 May.  I look forward to meeting some keen young entomologists there!

Meanwhile, if you’d like to have a read of Buzzing! yourself, you can buy copies here. – Anneliese Emmans Dean – Bringing poetry to life