He is four years old, has thousands of admirers on Twitter and produces poems with lines such as: “Everyone has love / Even baddies.”
Nadim Shamma-Sourgen is the youngest “discovery” of Kate Clanchy, a teacher who has helped a series of teenage poets find fame. Her school, Oxford Spires Academy, a small comprehensive in a disadvantaged area of the city, has won more national poetry prizes than any other school in the UK. Clanchy started working with Nadim, who is still at nursery, after his mother, Yasmine Shamma, a friend, asked for tips to get young children writing creatively. Shamma, a lecturer in literature at Reading University, said: “Kate generously gave myself and a colleague a workshop almost a year ago, and offered prompts to get young people writing. One of them was, ‘What do you put down on the table by the door when you get home?’”
Nadim Shamma-Sourgen produces poems with lines such as: “Everyone has love / Even baddies.”
One day Nadim brought home from nursery a poetry competition that was part of the government’s early years foundation stage curriculum, asking children to fill in blanks with favourite colours, friends and foods to make a rhyme. His mother tried Clanchy’s prompt, “asking him to tell me all the things he puts down when he gets home. All I said as he kept listing was, ‘Anything else? What else?’ and out came his Coming Home poem. “He started with the physical, his shoes, his jacket. Then he took off his ‘brave feeling / Because there’s nothing to be scared of in the house’. When he said, ‘You take off your brave feeling,’ I was like, ‘Oh my goodness.’ He is a very chatty kid who presents as super-outgoing, but here he was telling me he puts on a brave face.”
Nadim has since written dozens of poems. When Clanchy posted the verse of “Nadim the famous four-year-old poet” on Twitter, each poem attracted hundreds of likes. His latest, Love, was “declaimed while he was in the bath”, Clanchy said. Clanchy, who has been appointed an MBE, posts many of her pupils’ poems on social media. “He is a very pure soul,” she said of Nadim. “Children don’t do cliché.” In March Clanchy posted a poetic tribute by Nadim to his mother. It opens: “Who was the one who feeded me mostly? / It’s my mom, it’s my mom.” It ends: “You smell like blown candle.”
A nine-year-old boy with cerebral palsy–named Captain Tobias by supporters–has completed his “ginormous challenge” to complete a marathon using a walker to cheers from crowds of wellwishers. Tobias Weller was described as “incredible” and “an inspiration” by celebrities, who sent him messages before the final part of his journey.
The young fundraiser has raised more than £90,000 for Sheffield Children’s Hospital and Paces, a centre for children with cerebral palsy, by walking the 26.2 miles over 70 days on the street outside his home in Sheffield. He finished the challenge yesterday to cheers from his street, which has turned out to support him throughout.
Neighbours put up bunting for his final 750m. The Olympic champion Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, from Sheffield, was among those who sent video messages.