This article is published in today's Leicester Mercury:
Poet's visit inspires pupils to speak up and speak out
A group of youngsters were so inspired by a visit by a poet whose grandparents perished in the Holocaust they set about writing their own poems.
The result is a collection of poetry which has been published to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
Pupils at Granby Primary School, Stokes Wood Primary School, Queensmead Primary School, Lancaster School and the Phoenix Centre, have produced the "Speak Up Speak Out" anthology, after a visit by Leah Thorn.
Some of the pupils attended the Holocaust Memorial Service at the University of Leicester, where they read out their poems.
Kiana Chapman, of Stokes Wood Primary School, has four poems published in the anthology and read out some of her work at the service.
She said: "I was nervous about having to read out on stage, but once I was saying it I felt better.
"It was very challenging having to write on such a subject, but the poet Leah was brilliant."
Aleisha Baxter, 11, also of Stokes Wood Primary, has seven poems published in the collection.
She said: "The time we had with poet was really exciting. I am proud of what I have managed to write, about such a hard subject."
Oliver Kind, 11, of Stokes Wood, has two poems published in the anthology.
He said: "I was full of nerves about reading out loud, but Aleisha went before me so that made me feel more confident.
"It was great to be able to stand up and read out. It is a good feeling that other people will be able to read our work."
Stokes Wood teacher Elizabeth Stone said: "The visit of the travelling poet coincided with anti-bullying week, so we incorporated both in the work.
"The children have produced some wonderful poems on the subjects. I am very impressed."
Stokes Wood headteacher Jane Gadsby said: "All the children from all the schools involved should be proud of their work. The standard of work the children produced was quite remarkable. They have fantastic writing skills."
Poet Leah, whose mother survived after fleeing Germany to escape the Nazis, said: "The poems these children create are a powerful testimony to their talent and to their sensitivity."
Councillor Manjula Sood, chairman of the Leicester Council of Faiths and assistant mayor of Leicester City Council, said: "The children have used their imagination to create an especially important message in our multi-cultural city."
The project was supported by the Leicester Holocaust Memorial Committee which includes the Leicester Council of Faiths, Leicester University, the city council and the School Development Support Agency.
The project was funded by the National Lottery Awards for All.