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VPLA 2024
It’s the Sound of the Thing: 100 new poems for young people

Children’s Literature Shortlist

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Title: It’s the Sound of the Thing: 100 new poems for young people

Author: Maxine Beneba Clarke

Publisher: Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing

It’s the Sound of the Thing: 100 new poems for young people is an exuberant and evocative collection of poetry for young people from Maxine Beneba Clarke, one of Australia’s most innovative and celebrated poets.

This extraordinary collection celebrates the joy of language and features enticing and relatable poems about everyday life – the sounds of the block, the boredom of detention and the happenings in the schoolyard. Poems about candy, peanut butter and pets. Poems about a big brother’s messy room, a grandfather’s fading memory and a grandmother’s garden magic.

Through haiku, sonnets, narrative verse, rhyming couplets, limericks, free verse, tongue-twisters and more, Maxine invites readers to fall in love with the wonder that is poetry.


Photography by Sarah Walker



Judges’ report

Literary talent bursts from every page of this book. It’s the Sound of the Thing: 100 new poems for young people is a collection of pitch perfect poetry that tunes into children’s emotions, humour and experience. It is informative through playfulness and inventiveness, inviting children to interact with language. It’s the Sound of the Thing is a book that can be read over and over again, with a richness that allows for layered engagement. It is a work of staggering skill and understanding of the children who will engage with the words. Through 100 unique poems, Clarke introduces children to a wide range of poetic techniques using topics such as annoying siblings, crushes, peanut butter, pets, messy rooms and the right to read. It is also the perfect vehicle for encouraging children to explore poetry as a means of expressing their whims and deepest feelings.

There are so many ways a book like this can be used to engage readers of all different ages from bedtime read-aloud to classroom poetry-writing inspiration. It’s joyful, clever and inventive, introducing readers to the playfulness of language.







About the author

Maxine Beneba Clarke is the author of the short-fiction collection Foreign Soil, the memoir The Hate Race and the poetry collections Carrying the World and How Decent Folk Behave. Her children’s picture books include the CBCA Honour Book The Patchwork Bike and the illustrated poem When We Say Black Lives Matter, which was longlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal. She is currently Poet in Residence at the University of Melbourne.


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