Take Off Your Brave


Nadim suggests that after ‘Take off our jackets/ Hang them up/ Take our gloves off/ Take our shoes off/ Put them where/ They’re supposed to go/ You take off your brave feeling‘. Take Off Your Brave is a selection of poems created and collated by his mother, and illustrated by Yasmeen Ismael. They were inspired by his pre-school’s teaching mother’s enquiry with poet and teacher, Kate Clanchy.

Therefore, Nadim would suggest places and feelings. These extended to events, days, family members and people. Therefore he says of his mother, ‘You smell like a beautiful candle smell./ You smell ike a candle when it blows away./ It smells really nice- the burnt bit./ You smell like a blown candle.’ 

He considers Moments, such as ‘-sad moments/ Happy moments/ Nice moments/ Angry moments’. Thereafter the moments when you ‘smush those moments together’…..

HIs nursery class create a poem about the Busy Cat, which is entrancing. Thereafter, Nadim and his sister, Taleen, create and poetry about a Magic Box, a popular consideration within early poetry writing. Taleen has a poem within the selection told by Little, a ‘cute little pony‘ that offers ideas as to how she became so ‘smart and big’.

Nadim thinks on Best Things and Memories, Baddies, Best Friends and Days of the Week. He considers that Wednesday ‘wears a shirt with glitter on’.

Bookwagon loves and recommends Take Off Your Brave. It is a perfect introduction to early poetry reading, sharing and writing and a title to treasure and gift.

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Take Off Your Brave

The World Through the Eyes of a Preschool Poet

Words by Nadim (aged 4) Pictures by Yasmeen Ismail

(Walker Books)– hardback

Nadim’s mother experimented so that when he came home each day, he described his feelings for a list of things. The idea was suggested by poet, and colleague Kate Clanchy of How to Grow Your Own Poem. Thereafter, Nadim’s words were ‘read back to him, sharing with them the sense that what he made was indeed a poem‘. These poems are offered in Take Off Your Brave. We learn about his’ four year old world’.
Thereafter, it seems that ‘everyone has to love someone/ Even baddies’. Furthermore, in a ‘dream school’, ‘the teachers are all friendly dinosaurs’. Nadim’s nursery class writes a song to the bluebell. There is a lament for his nursery teacher, co-written with his sister. Meanwhile we learn a little more about Nadim’s experiences, in a poem about best friend Eddie, who is ‘faster than everyone-/ Faster than anyone’.
Furthermore we can imagine Nadim’s imaginings through some of his poems. For example, in ‘Living Underground’, we picture ‘Billy the Beetle’ who ‘dreams about turning everyone/ in the whole world/ to STONE’. Then we imagine him on his ‘nice blue bench’ when ‘all [he] can feel on [his] back is sunshine’. 
Take Off Your Brave is an exceptional book of poetry. Further, Yasmeen Ismail, illustrator of Nuts!, offers such empathetic, discreet and inspiring illustrations that complement the mood and tone, perfectly.


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