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Poetry Competition: Trains

We are at the BRAND NEW Doncaster Museum to launch an exciting competition with National Literacy Trust and Doncaster Book Awards. This year’s book awards theme is ‘steam trains’.

We want you to write a poem about trains

to celebrate Doncaster’s rich heritage for constructing the greatest steam trains of all time.

Use steam trains as inspiration when writing your poems. Trains are the beginning of journeys. Where can your poems take you? What can you see, smell and hear on your journey?

Think of clever ways to change the structure of your poem. You could change the speed of your poem, just as a train would rush through the country side or ease into a station at a snails pace. Make great use of onomatopoeia, words with an associated sound, to recreate the majesty of a steam train as it lets of sssssssteam or whistles and toots its entrance into Doncaster station. We are so excited to receive your poem entries. At the Doncaster Book Award finale it will be my pleasure to read the winning entries. Winning entries win a rucksack stuffed with new books!

But wait, it’s not time to set off yet. There is more!

We want your school to recite a poem for us:

the spectacular ‘From a Railway Carriage’ by Robert Louis Stevenson
( As you heard at the start of the video, it is a fast paced blur of imagery as the train carriages rush to its destination. We need your school to capture the excitement and speed of the journey in your theatrical retelling. Here are some hints and tips on how to present poetry.

  • Stand confidently- relaxed in shoulder with bent knees. If our knees are locked we will begin to shake with nerves, and we don’t want that.
  • Warm up your voice first with a tongue twister - Two Trains Travel Together To Toyland. (Repeat) You try it :)
  • We need to HEAR YOUR WORDS and they need to F I L L T H E S P A C E .
  • Find the moments of interest where you will speed up and slllllloooowwwww dowwwwnnnn.

If you speak another language, we'd love to receive steam train poems in your home language too, such as the Polish poem 'Lokomotywa' by Julian Tuwim.

Please send us a recording of 'From a Railway Carriage', a poem in your own language, or your own poem to or via

Safe Journey. All aboard!

'A Changing World' competition winners announced!

Earlier this year, we launched a creative writing competition in conjunction with the Rotary and Connecting Stories from the National Literacy Trust. Children had to write a piece on the theme of 'A Changing World'. We are now proud to announce the winners, selected by judges from the DBA, NLT, Rotary and author Cat Wheldon...

  • 1st prize went to Debbie, 10, from Hatfield Woodhouse Primary School.
    Debbie wins a £50 Waterstones voucher, a rucksack of books and a visit from illustrator Liz Million to her school.
  • 2nd prize went to Jack, 10, from Warmsworth Primary School, who wins a £30 Waterstones voucher and a rucksack of books.
  • 3rd prize went to Jemimah, 9, from Edlington Victoria Academy, who wins a £20 Waterstones voucher and a rucksack of books.

A selection of entries will be published in the Connecting Stories anthology from the National Literacy Trust, which can be viewed online at
All schools that entered will win a bundle of books and a DBA t-shirt for every child who entered.

A huge thank you to everyone who entered! Don't forget to enter our trains competition (details further above)!