A holiday poetry box just for you


Woohoo holiday time is almost here! I hope you have a safe and wonderful break. I plan to have lost of swims still and read lots of books but I have lots of jobs to do so really I am not on holiday at all! But … we still have a few strawberries even though it is autumn!

If you want to have a go at some poems take up my two challenges. I will post my favourite poems as I get them ( I won’t post them all!).

You might like to try the challenge someone else sets!

The last day to send poems is Friday May 2nd.

Send to paulajoygreen@gmail.com. Include your name, year, age and name of school. You can include your teacher’s name and email. PLEASE say WHICH challenge it is for.



Your ANZAC Day poems moved me, astonished me


I asked you to write an ANZAC Day poem and I was utterly delighted with how you took up this challenge. Some of you clearly did some research. Some of you thought about the shape of your poem on the page. Some of you found some terrific detail to make your poems come alive. All your poems moved me and astonished me so thank you. This makes all the work of my blog worth it.

I couldn’t post all the poems but I loved reading them all. So remember the first and best joy is always the joy of writing (that’s how it works for me anyway!)

I will post the link to these poems again on ANZAC Day.

Thanks to Scholastic I have a copy of the beloved classic, The Bantam and the Solider by Jennifer Beck and Robyn Belton to give away.You can see the review of the book here.

It was so hard to choose so I am going to cheat and give the copy to brother and sister, Gemma and Daniel, as I so loved their poems. I loved the way their poems came from their hearts but also used real detail. This took the poems to another level. I loved the way Gemma had a pattern that kept changing and Daniel included the taste of the biscuits. I liked the way the poems had feeling but they didn’t just use feeling words all the time.

Bravo all the young poets who sent in poems! You made my day.



I love Anzac biscuits

Because they are crumbly and tasty


But they remind me

That soldiers didn’t get many treats


I love Dawn Service

Because it’s an adventure


But it reminds me

That soldiers are important


It is good to remember

But it is sad to remember.

Daniel L, aged 5, Year 1, Adventure School, Wellington


We Will Remember

I wear these medals

I will remember


My Grandad wore these medals

He will remember


His Dad wore these medals

He can’t remember


His Dad earned those medals

He wouldn’t want to remember.

Gemma L, aged 8, Year 4, Adventure School, Wellington


Anzac Day

guns                     planes

trenches       helmets

boots     scared



Vann is in Year 3, Russley School [note from Paula, I love the shape of this poem as it is like the V sign for victory and for peace. It is a simple but very strong poem. Wonderful!]


Anzac Day

Screen shot 2014-04-17 at 10.00.20 AM

Benjamin aged 8 Year 4 Home schooled [I love the way this poem looks like a medal!]


Anzac Day

Screen shot 2014-04-17 at 9.58.38 AM

Charlotte aged 5 1/2 Year 1 Home schooled [this poem also looks like a medal!]


Russley School in Christchurch sent in a terrific bunch of Anzac poems. What makes your poems so alive and so moving is the real detail you have picked. What a great job you have done! I can see you have really thought about the day and it looks like you have done some research. I haven’t posted all your poems but I loved them all.

ANZAC Day Mood Poem

ANZAC DAY is red, orange, and black,

It tastes like salty beef and tears.

It smells like muddy latrines.

ANZAC day looks like dust and poppies

and dark muddy trenches.

The sound of guns firing, shooting

and grubby stomping


By Oliva F, age 8 Year Russley School


ANZAC Day Mood Poem

ANZAC day is brown like a muddy trench

It tastes like a tin of bully beef

It smells like smoke rising into the air

The sounds of guns firing is heard

ANZAC day makes me feel lucky

we are not having a war

By Sasha W, age 8yrs



ANZAC Day Mood Poem

ANZAC Day is dark

It tastes like cups of salt

It smells like gas and smoke

ANZAC Day looks grey

The sound of guns

ANZAC Day makes me feel blue

By Karim F, age 8



ANZAC Day is red and black

it tastes like bully beef and mustard and golden syrup

it smells like toadstools and smoke

ANZAC Day looks like explosions and people killing people

it sounds like explosions and guns

ANZAC day makes me tearful

Lucy C, age 7yrs



ANZAC Day is red and brown

It tastes like bully beef and jam

It smells like smoke and gun powder

ANZAC Day looks dark and gloomy

The sound of music

ANZAC Day makes me sad

Hannah M, age 7yrs


And this one also from Russley School:

Anna Boulton Anzac poem



I asked you to borrow Juliette MacIver’s rhymes and woohoo moose and goose

-1  -1  -1  -1

I asked you to use some of the rhymes from Juliette MacIver‘s terrific book The Moose and the Goose and that is just what Gemma did. She even came up with a different rhyme (‘obtuse’).

I do hope the moose gets loose and they make chocolate mousse!

Thanks to Scholastic I am sending Gemma a copy of the book. It has gorgeous illustrations by Jenny Cooper.

You can read my review of it here.


The Moose and The Goose


Moose was obtuse

Especially with juice

That he could produce

In front of the goose


But the goose had a noose

And said “its no use”

“You’ll never get loose

Til you make chocolate mousse!”

Gemma L aged 8, Year 4, Adventure School, Wellington

on the way to school TURNS into poems

9781869790097-1   9781869790097-1   9781869790097-1

This was a fun challenge and I have picked two poems about ‘on the way to school’  to post.

Congratulations! I am sending Daniel a copy of my book The Terrible Night because it is all about a cat. I loved the idea of patting cats all the way to school Daniel. Your poem reminded me of how Margaret Mahy could take a  spark of an idea and a dash of imagination and a sprinkle of sparkly words and get a poem! Just as you have done. And I do love the rhythm and energy in Gemma’s poem.

On The Way to School

Pedalling fast

I go whizzing past

The bus at the end of our street


It’s not very far

You don’t need a car

But I prefer wheels, to feet


I race to the gates

To find my mates

At the place where we usually meet


But wait! Oh no!

In my hurry to go

I forgot to get something to eat!

Gemma L, aged 8, Year 4, Adventure School, Wellington


I Meet Cats

On the way to school

I meet cats


They come out to play

It’s great!


I stop every day

To pat them all


And it always

makes me late


We see a maine coon

At twenty one


Then big fluffy Griffin

At twenty


The skinny Burmese runs out

From eighteen


Where ever I go

There are plenty


Piper pops out

From number thirteen


Then Snow comes over

From ten


I see the tabby from

Number nine


And of course

Little Susie again


All of these cats

Make me stop and pat


Them on the way

to school


I wish I had room

To keep them all


Because that would be


Daniel L, aged 5, Year 1, Adventure School

what is a poem gets the pens flowing

Lots of poems on writing poems! You can see my one in the New Zealand Treasury when it comes out in October!

Meanwhile I have picked three to post. Congratulations young poets! If you missed out this time try the next challenges.

I am sending Nicholas one of those fridge poetry-magnet sets so he can make more poems on his fridge! Maybe he  will send me one he makes up.


What is a poem?

A poem is inspiration

it can give you good

it can give you bad

it can make you happy

it can make you sad

but when you read it

make the best of what you can


poetry can

have an effect on people

it can make them brag

it can make them swag

it can make them laugh

it can make them cry

it can make them sigh

it can make them lie


but remember poems

are like good friends…

         you can never have too many


Pierre G, Year 8, Russley School




Poetry is magic said with words

flowing through the air

as it creates smiles

makes us laugh

It’s for everyone who seeks fun

It will tell you anything you want

as it makes your brain twist

Poetry makes you bite your nails

What would I feel like without poems?


Oliver aged 11 in Year 7 at Pinehurst School




ink hits paper as I begin to write

tales of the sea begin to rhyme

through night and day I prevail

to write the endless tale

The poem I am writing

swarms my thoughts

longer and longer time flies

until the pen stops writing

silence echoes through the room

before the yells of joy

about the success that has come around


Nicholas J aged 11 Year 7 Pinehurst School


Old Blue: The Rarest Bird in the World by Mary Taylor is a beloved classic and is now out in a terrific new edition

cv_old_blue   cv_old_blue   cv_old_blue


This year Scholastic are republishing a number of classic New Zealand children’s books, books we have loved that have gone out for print for example.

They had done a splendid job of Old Blue: The Rarest Bird in the World by Mary Taylor (first published in 1993 and won NZ Book Awards Best Book nonfiction).

It is big and it is beautiful with mouth-watering illustrations.

This is the story of the Chatham Island robin. Once it filled the islands with its singing and darting and chattering. It is very black — every bit of it, pretty much is black. But once humans arrived things didn’t go so well for them. This is the story of their near disaster (they got down to just 5 birds!) and the story of their survival (256 in 2012). The conservation workers found a new chick on the only island with robins and named it Blue. She had a big role to play.

I was very moved reading this story again. Moved by how hard people work to save our precious wild life, moved by the thought of those birds singing and fluttering and chattering on that remote south-sea island.

I think this book should be in every New Zealand classroom. Highly recommended.

Let me know if you have read this book and what you think of it! paulajoygreen@gmail.com