Author Archives: bergmanmara


That Saturday I lay in bed, head throbbing,
throat on fire, my stepdad chose it
from the library, a biography

about three sisters who lived somewhere
in England. I loved to read
how they loved to write, I wanted to be

a sister like that. If it had been another day,
if I’d not had another throbbing throat…
I’m searching for it now, remembering

how I lay there turning pages
as the pain began to ease, releasing me
into winter on some windy heath.

First published in May Day & Other Poems, Cinnamon Press


Nights I can’t sleep, I think about the tailor’s
three sons and how twelve people lived and worked
in a three-room apartment meant for four when
the Lower East Side was the most crowded place

on the planet. What was it they did? The cutting or basting
or sewing, right here, the finishing or pressing over there
while the clock’s heavy ticking kept them sane, insane?
Afternoons they’d elbow through the teeming streets to catch

some air, some news, but after a long day, what else had they
to look forward to but a bowl of soup and then to sleep
on the red velvet sofa which looked, from a distance,
more lavish, and though cherished, was so narrow

it is hard to imagine enough room for even one young boy
to sit down. I think of the sons because when night came
at last, and the whirr of machines had flown out the window,
the clock’s ticking rocking like a lullaby, they would

lay down their heads side by side on the sofa,
rest their throbbing feet on wooden chairs and lie, suspended,
to sleep the sleep of the young and the exhausted,
dreaming their immigrant dreams in thin air.

First published in Poetry Review


Illustrated by Simona Sanfilippo, published by Evans Brothers. ISBN: 978 0237535322

Noah’s friend, Sammy, has a budgie that can talk. Noah tries hard to teach his dog, Happy, to talk too, but it just doesn’t seem to work. Whoever heard of a dog that can talk, anyway? But sometimes the strangest things can happen …

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Oliver Who Travelled Far and Wide

Illustrated by Nick Maland, published by Hodder Children’s Books. ISBN: 978 0340981641

Winner of the Booktrust Early Years Award

“A picture book that will no doubt be revisited many times by any child lucky enough to get it.”                                                                                                                                                            – The Bookseller

“Small children will relish such wild journeys by someone the same age as themselves.”                                                                                                                                                                           – Independent

“Beautifully illustrated, this is a fantastic journey of the imagination – and a perfect bedtime read.”                                                                                                                                             –    Maternity & Infant

“An exciting read, would last a long time on our bookshelf.” – Child Education

“Beautiful to look at, the bold yet intricate artwork perfectly complements the buoyant, flexible verse.” – Carousel

“Charming bath time fantasy … executed with freshness and vigour.” – Books For Keeps

“Beautifully crafted from the first to the last page.” – INIS

“A great book to read with children.” – Baby London

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Glitter Kitty

Illustrated by Lydia Monks, published by Simon and Schuster. ISBN: 9781 4711 22163

Cuddles the cat can’t wait for the Meowtown Dance Competition. She’s been to the hairdresser, run lots of errands for all her friends and practised her favourite dance routines. Now she just needs a little catnap… But will Cuddles wake up in time for the big event? 

“A fabulously funny, glamorous tale.”

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Itchy Itch Itch

Illustrated by Emily Bolam, published by Bloomsbury. ISBN: 978-1408818473

Buffalo had an itchy itch itch,
which he couldn’t quite reach
to scratchy scritch scritch.
What will Buffalo do?

A delightful, humorous story published in partnership with The Zoological Society of London (ZSL), a charity that provides help for animals at home and worldwide. The Society also runs the ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

Includes a Fun Animal Facts page.

To find out more visit and www.stories from the

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Best Friends

Illustrated by Nicola Slater, published by Hodder Children's Books. ISBN: 978-1444914191

Reminiscent of Hairy Maclary, this fantastic tale is perfect for dog lovers everywhere!

"A huge amount of fun ... utterly stunning retro-flavoured art ... pitch-perfect rhyming ... glorious     energy... A charmer." – Read It Daddy!

“Colourful and energetic. The story has a good rhythm... Great for dog lovers and children who enjoy mischief in whatever form it takes!" - The Bookbag

“Catchy rhyming text races you through the book and it is superb to read aloud.” – Parents in Touch

“A lovely rhyming text and bright, child-friendly illustrations, Best Friends is a joyous celebration of friendship.” – Library Mice

“This rhyming story is characterised by a terrific sense of infectious fun that appeals equally to eye and ear.” – Irish Times

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Lively Elizabeth!

Illustrated by Cassia Thomas, published by Hodder Children's Books. ISBN: 978 0340988053

“The poem flows beautifully - almost reminiscent of Hilaire Belloc with its particular rhythm, and of course featuring a naughty child.” – The Bookbag

“This is a perfect nursery tale... The illustrations are fun and stuffed full of detail, and the fabulous rhyming text has such great pace, tumbling from page to page - just like the children.”                                                                                                                                                                               – Nursery World

“The very essence of childhood ... an elegant picture book” – School Librarian

“Energetic and funny.”– Bournemouth Daily Echo

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Oliver and the Noisy Baby

Illustrated by Nick Maland, published by Hodder Children’s Books. ISBN: 978 0340997468

“A great book to give to a child who is preparing to take on the mantle of big brother or sister.”                                                                                                                                                                              – Junior

“A delightful picture book … strong rhythm and rhyming structure make it great for reading aloud.”                                                                                                                                                    – School Librarian

“Quirky illustrations with original characters let the gentle rhythm of the story unfold with perfect precision … an excellent addition to any family library.” – Books for Keeps

“The pictures are big, bright and enchanting. Nick Maland uses his cross-hatching technique to good effect to create beautiful polar bears, tigers, monkeys and teddies. Mara Bergman’s rhyming text is spot on, both catchy and fun and easy to join in with. Verse and illustrations come together to create a rosy vision of family life at its best.” – Carousel

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Oliver Who Was Small But Mighty

Illustrated by Nick Maland, published by Hodder Children’s Books. ISBN: 978 0340930557

“Through the terrific rhyming text and bold illustrations Oliver discovers that, though small, he is    indeed mighty as he lives through his fears in this glorious, rollicking work of imagination.”
– Julia Eccleshare, Guardian

“A story with wonderfully rhythmic text, lively illustrations and great empathy for young children’s fears.” – Nursery World

“A deliciously funny portrayal of the way that a small child transforms a bath into an epic, it will remind you why keeping at least one pirate boat and a few plastic sharks and dolphins are essential.” – Amanda Craig, Times

“An incredibly imaginative and creative tale of Oliver’s bathtime adventure with superb lyrical text. This will appeal to all children with bright lively minds.” – Family Interest Magazine

“With the wind howling outside the bathroom window, Oliver is feeling mighty small against the     elements. How he wishes he was tall and mighty. With that our diminutive hero takes a deep breath and dives into his bath and sets off on a watery adventure, where he sails among mermaids, whales and dolphins, pirates and sea monsters, courtesy of his vivid imagination.” – JUNIOR

“Lively illustrations… The influence of Maurice Sendak can be sensed.” – School Librarian

“A wonderfully rhythmic read about overcoming your fears, this is an exceptionally strong picture book with superb illustrations.” – SW

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