The Unveiling: My Hot Spot Poetry Tour of New Zealand is taking shape! Calling young poets to help me

To celebrate my two new books,  A Treasury of New Zealand Poetry for Children (Random House, out in October) and The Letterbox Cat and other Poems (Scholastic, out August), I am doing a series of poetry events throughout the country in October and November. I wanted to go to so many more places but this will take me almost a month!

I need your help! I am on the hunt for children to read poems and schools to perform poems at these events.

Each day this week I will post ways you can help me celebrate children’s poetry in October. I am working hard to make this a spectacular display of poetry.


Today I am inviting children who would like to read at one of my events to send me a poem. Look below and see if I am coming to a town or city near you. You need to send in all the details I ask for please. If you can get to one of these events you can enter.

Deadline: Friday August 29th

Topic: My Place. Places are also people and things. It might be your favourite place to go where you live, your Nana’s place or the beach or the mountains, what you like to do, a bird, your pet, your favourite person. Remember to use good detail and give your poem a sound test. Does it sound good? Imagine you are taking a photo or video of where you live for me, to show me a bit you love. I will post some more tips for you next week.

Tell me: Your name, age, year and name of school. Can you give the name and email of your teacher please and name, email and phone number of your parent or guardian?

Send to:


The Hot Spot Poetry Tour Events ( I am doing other things in between these!):

Tuesday 14 October, Gisborne Event at Muir’s Bookshop 3.30 pm until 4.30 pm

Wednesday 15 October, New Plymouth Event at Puke Ariki Museum 6.30 pm -7.30pm

Sunday 19 October, Wellington Event at Te Papa 1 pm until 2pm

 Monday 20 October, Nelson Event at Page & Blackmore Bookshop 4pm until 5pm

 Tuesday 21 October, Christchurch Event at Canterbury Museum 6pm until 8pm

 Saturday 25 October, Dunedin Event at University Bookshop 1.30 pm until 2.30 pm

 Tuesday 28 October, Queenstown/Arrowtown Event at Remarkables School Hall 5 pm until 6pm

 Saturday 8 November, Auckland Event at The National Library, Parnell 2pm until 4pm


(Tomorrow I will announce my Wild Card event)



My favourite poem from the holiday challenges


Thanks for sending in your holiday poems. I have picked Ewen’s tree poem to post. Ewen used hiding rhymes.

I am sending Ewen a copy of Jenny Bornholdt‘s A Book is a Book because Jenny is really good at hiding rhymes too. This beautiful book is published by Gecko Press.


I stand tall
on firm land
somewhere by the berm.

I rustle with the wind
adding groove and muscle
but the wind doesn’t seem to approve!

It whines in fury
but it’s fine…
Wind’s having one of its fits!

Up here I am
shadowed from fear,
I’m on top of the world!

Ewen, Year 7, Cobham Intermediate, Christchurch

a crowdfunding campaign for the Storylines Festival Family Days

This is from the team at Storylines:
Make magic for NZ kids through Storylines Family Days

As you know, the Storylines Festival Family Days are magical days where writers, illustrators and storytellers come together to meet children and their families and share the ins, outs and upside-downs of New Zealand stories.

We have just launched a crowdfunding campaign for the Storylines Festival Family Days on the Arts Foundations Boosted website and we invite you to join the ride. Just click on the link, watch our video and be part of the magic by donating to our project.

Since the idea was first born at Joy Cowley’s place in Marlborough way back when (in the early nineties!) more than 100,000 children and their folk have got stuck in to the annual feast of Family Day activities, be it listening wide-eared as a real-life writer reads to them, watching an illustrator conjure a new character in real time, trying their hand at a drawing or writing competition, or dressing up as a favourite book character and performing their own version of a tall Kiwi tale.

It’s up to you: you can donate anonymously or be named, and all amounts are confidential. Resident New Zealand donor can claim 33% of their donation as a tax credit. If we don’t reach our target, all donations go back to the donors.

Thanking you HUGELY in advance!

The Storylines Festival Family Days team

Holiday time on Poetry Box– time for you to get poeming

I hope you have a wonderful time in the holidays!  HAPPY happy HAPPY holidays!

If you want to keep up with all the exciting things coming up on Poetry Box this year you should follow the blog.

Here are some poem ideas you might like to try in the holidays.

I will post my favourites and find a book prize for one or two.

Send to: Include your name, age, year and name of school.

DEADLINE: July 18th


1. If you live in Auckland, work on your cat poem for my book-launch competition (The Letterbox Cat).

2. Write a poem about your dream holiday (real or invent it)!

3. Write a poem about the funniest thing that has happened to you on holiday.

4. Write a poem with a verb on every line.

5. Write a poem about your nightmare holiday (real or invented).

6. Write a poem where you hide the rhyme.

7. Write a poem about make believe place (a cloud city, an underwater house, a tree city ….)

8. Write a poem using a list of your favourite book characters.

8. Write a poem with ZERO rhyme about a pet.

9. Write whatever you like!



I also had a terrific visit to St Cuthbert’s cooking up poetry with the young poets

How I love the way children leap into poetry and take up my challenges and let imaginations go soaring and ears go hunting and eyes go searching.

This is what happened when I went to St Cuthbert’s. I had such a good time cooking up poetry with the young poets. It was a fabulous day. Here are some of our poems:


4MI, 4NA, 3BR & 2TH

Cheek Pockets

What does the bonnet macaque

Keep in her cheek pocket?

Crispy chips and hard bricks

Tiny mushrooms and crazy loons

Creeping lizards and crawling caterpillars

Bright rainbows and hard roads

Silvery snakes and quivering cakes

Sleeping babies and big blue whales

Healthy lettuce and purple turnips

Stripy cats and playful bats

Wolves that howl and bulls that bounce

Colourful posters and roller coasters

Squishy marshmallows and a soft pillow

Dogs with spots and dogs with dots


The Animal Poem

A fishagator swims like a shark

Caterfly walks along a leaf

Cox is searching through the forest

Micesnake chase their tails

Octobunny is slightly funny

Squirreldog stores nuts.


The Library

The library is my free pass to

The hills and the garden

The train station and the waterfalls

Sandy places and arctic spaces

Faraway lands and overseas

The rainforest and the sea

Dr Seuss and TV channels

Tropical lands and icy planes


5AR & 5BE

Kiwi Iwi

Pecking at worms

Chocolate fur

Shuffling, hopping in the dark

Dark brown streak running

Midnight eyes

Pecking at slimy worms

Walking in the shade


What does he do

In the midnight moon?


Cheek pockets

What does the bonnet macaque

Keep in her cheek pocket?

Black cats and dirty rats

Leopards and lettuce

Evil bats in heavy sacks

Silver Junes and Wednesday moons

Cooks and books

Elephants and pelicans

Colourful parrots and orange carrots

Lovely horses and tricky courses

Vicious dogs and big logs

What will we find

in store this time?


My visit to Remuera Primary School filled me with sizzling poetry

I saw the whole school! I shared poems and we made up poems. I got all the Year 5s and then all the Year 6s in the hall writing ‘Library’ poems for their book week. What fun! What a wonderful way to finish my school visits for the term.

Here are two of my favourites:

The Library
When I go to my school library
It’s my free ticket to….
Unknown mysteries and treacherous histories,
Trojan Wars and American Smores,
Fairy tale romance and a royal slow dance,
Seas of the past and deserts that are vast.
But nowhere is better than home.

BY MILA Room 23 (Year 5 or 6) Remuera Primary School


My School Library

My school library

is my free ticket to

the vast plains of Africa

the muddy trenches of the First World War

to life on a strange planet.

The library is the place for travel around

the world and through time.

William, 9 (Year 5 or 6) Remuera Primary School


dog poems galore! Here are my favourites


What a bonanza lot of dog ditties and dog poems came in. So many to read. So many chuckles. It was very hard to pick which ones to post but here are a few (quite a few!). Richmond Road School sent in two bunches and Lyttelton School sent in a bunch. Both schools deserved a book with their zesty poems, but I will send Dog Ditties to the children in Ruma 2 at Richmond Road thanks to Scholastic. Also special thumbs up to Alex’s poem! Bravo Alex!


Darned Dogs!

Dashing Dalmatians Dance Delightfully

Dreaming of doughnuts

Daniel drops doughnuts

Days later

Dalmatians discover

Disgusting doughnuts…


Gemma, Age 8, Year 4, Adventure School

Alex The Alsatian

Alex the Alsatian

Absolutely adored adventures

Ate apples all the time

Approached armadillos

Attacked an army of aphids

And Approved of alpacas.

Annie always admired Alsatians

And absolutely adored Alex.

Daniel, Age 5, Year 1, Adventure School


A Dog and its Tail

There’s something strange,

slinking behind me,

swiftly swaying,

side to side.


I never seem,

to spot this thing,

but I know its there,

strange and sly,

stalking in silent serenity.

Ewen aged 11, Year 7, Cobham Intermediate School, Christchurch


Alex’s doggie ditty

Dirty doggies driving Jeeps

straight for the ducks


Diving down deep

in a daze of daring bucks


Over and under daggers

then up to the banks


Shaking out the water

and shaking out the damp.

By Alex 7 years old, Year 3, Lyttelton Primary School



Sleepy dogs sleep with sweet dreams

Smiley dogs run in slippery socks

Safe dogs are smart dogs

Selling dogs for a girl called Sama.

By Eva 7 years old Year 3, Lyttelton Primary School

Boxers boxing fox in a box,

Boxers being brave and bold.



Foxes bones!

Boxer’s won and here he goes!

By Jack 8 years old Year 4, Lyttelton Primary School


jumping jogging little doggy

eating jiggly juicy jelly

with jelly beans on top

jingling around the room.

by Jasper 7 years old, Year 3, Lyttelton Primary School


Different doggies get delicious donuts,

Doggies drift upon the darting dinosaurs,

Dining at the Dingo Diamond doing dancing.

Jordan, 7, Year 3, Lyttelton Primary School


Nosey nutty dogs.

Like to nibble on New Zealand nuts.


My dog is a nestling dog.

My dog’s name is

By Nikau, 8 years old,Year 3, Lyttelton Primary School


Scary sheepdogs sending sheep sprinting

Smells stinky and salty

Scratchy and smooth shaved fur

The scary Star stands strong

Sending sheep sprinting.

By Maia, Year 4, age 8, Westmere School



A Foxy


A Foxy is a dancey dog

A Foxy is a funny dog

A Foxy is a nice dog

A Foxy is a cool dog

Some are brown

Some are black

She likes bones and dog food

She could grow bigger

Benji, Yr 3, 7yrs old, Richmond Road School


Soft-coated Wheaten Terriers

Soft-coated Wheaten Terriers

Are very jumpy and licky.

She licks me every morning

And night.

Our whole family goes

To the dog park

And we see

Lots of dogs.

We see

Little Hairy MacLairies

And Dalmatians.

We have a Soft-coated Terrier.

We go down to the sea

And she jumps in the water.

It is so muddy that she gets

Stainedy legs.

That is what soft-coated terriers are like.

They are licky and scratchy.

Florence, Yr 2, 6yrs old Richmond Road School



Scotties are silly

And sporty

In Summertime,

And drift off

To sleep

In Winter.

But the thing

They like

The most

Is to lick

A bone.

Hannah, Yr 3, 7yrs old, Richmond Road School


Great Dane

The Great Dane is

A big and powerful dog

And has big and powerful paws.


Beware of the Dane!

It will drown you in his slobbers.

As the Great Dane creeps

Around the corner in the shadows…

He will rip the robber’s pants in half.

You know what happens, of course –

His pants fall down!

Ike, Yr 3, 7yrs old, Richmond Road School


Dotty Dalmatian

Big spots,

Little spots,

Black spots,

Lots of spots,

They all go

On a Dalmatian!

James Yr 2, 7yrs old Richmond Road School



My dog is called Magnus.

He is a poodle.

Me and my mum

Take Magnus for a walk

On Sunday.

He likes


My mum,

My other mum,

My brother,

And my sister.

He likes


Dog food,

And cat food.

I do not know why

He likes cat food…

But he does.

Kip Yr 2, 6yrs old Richmond Road School



Standing in the rain

Its daring dazzling dots

Eating its dinner

With all its spots.

By Kayla, Year 6, Age 10, Richmond Road School



Wallis the whippet is so speedy

watch him run across the field

Wallis is the thinnest whippet I can see.

Watch the wiry whippet win the race

That weedy whippet has done lots of running

By Lona, Age 8, Richmond Road School



Chihuahuas are cute

but I wish mine was mute

Because his bark is so loud

louder than a thunder cloud

Chihuahuas are so small

which always makes them fall

By Rowena, Age 8,Richmond Road School


Princess Pitbull

Princess my Pitbull

is rather playful

she likes to play tickles

and loves to eat pickles

By Lofi, Year 6, Richmond Road School