Limelight by Solli Raphael
Published by Penguin Books
Date: 3 September 2018
R.R.P. 16.99


I am sure most of you have heard of this young man by now, the media has been sharing this amazing Slam Poet with the world as he makes his mark with his messages on social change positive action.  13 year old Solli Raphael is wise beyond his years – “The future needs you and me to create equality across all levels of humanity” – his messages true, inspirational and proof that no matter how old you are you can achieve anything.

Limelight is set into two parts, firstly sharing traditional and slam poetry forms, with tips on writing – which I as an emerging writer found inspirational. The tips in the first half are great ideas and can be used in different circumstances, not just when writing poetry or getting ready to be on stage.  Solli shares tips on, practicing mindfulness to help with nerves, not overthinking things, taking your time and making sure you have fun.  Solli mentions a few times throughout the book to have fun and I think this is worth taking away and using, it is so easy to get bogged down in the seriousness of things that we need to remind ourselves we are allowed to feel happiness and have fun too.

I was excited to reach part two, and this is where I was most impacted by Limelight.  It is in his poetry that you realise how wise Solli is and how he has a genuine concern for the future of his generation.  I was soon wowed by his talent and inspired, moved, and wanting to applaud him for sharing his journey through Slam poetry and writing Limelight.

His poem Changes impacted me in a way I didn’t expect – I felt emotionally shattered.  I was reminded how much words and actions can hurt, how society has changed since I was a teen, and how our young people are facing damaging issues.  The poem is about bullies, stress, suicide, victimisation, and the sad realisation of the normality of such sadness and distress in childhood.

…If I was given five dollars for everytime I was bullied and ten dollars or everytime I was laughed at, I would be a millionaire. – Changes by Solli Raphael

Why are 13 year old even have to think about victimisation that comes from bullying and suicide, when it all gets too much?  I am glad Solli has the platform of Slam poetry and now this book so that other people his age know they are not alone.  This all got me thinking and questioning why is this happening and how can we make life better for future generations.

Solli’s poems are not just about victimisation, he also has a social conscience. He writes and preforms about how our actions now are impacting the world in which we live, what will be there for the future, and the odd limerick or two for a bit of a laugh and happiness.

There is something for all ages to learn and appreciate in this book.  From tweens, teens and adult readers there is a least one thing you will enjoy reading, relate to or be inspired by.  I highly recommend this book and would like to see it as part of the curriculum in schools.

Thank you to Penguin Books for the opportunity to read and honestly review this book.

Want to see Solli in action


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