Overheard in a Tower Block

Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Kate Milner

This is a remarkable series of poems aimed at young teens. Although the short verses can be read independently, the volume is designed to chronicle the life of a boy brought up on a poor housing estate, whose parents separate, and who is then bullied at school. Later poems describe him falling in love and becoming a father. Interspersed are three poems which tell the tale of Prometheus and there are poems about the value of books and stories. I loved “Books Have Helped Me” and could see that being put up on classroom walls.

These powerful poems are written in varying styles, with illustrations by Kate Milner which add to the emotional intensity. The three poems about Prometheus may need some background explanation but their inclusion adds a literary gravitas to current familiar themes which readers will identify with. I loved it!

Published by Otter-Barry Books

Reviewed by Rachel Bolton