Poetry Bonanza Monday: The wind, the wind, the wild wild wind

What a wild weekend we had. The wind was whipping around our house like a ferocious monster. It seemed to rain and pelt the whole time. For a big chunk we had no power so I had to read by candlelight. Luckily we could light our fire and keep warm.

I did manage to get online for a second and tell you about the Squishy Squashy Bird. Daniel was the first to tell his favourite bird (the kiwi) so I am sending him the book.

I think I stayed awake all Saturday night listening to the whipping wind and reading by candlelight.

It put me in the mood to read wind poems and to send you on the hunt for a popping wind simile.

The wind is still whipping about like a monster so no beach run for me this morning.

Your challenge this week is to write a poem about the wind (see below for more things you can do).


Here are some hints:

1. Collect lots of wind verbs.

2. Collect lots of wind sounds.

3. Collect five wind similes then pick your favourite one or two.

4. Now write your poem.

5. Listen to each line.

6. Try a little bit of repetition.

7.  Try writing a little wind poem with no more than 16 word or so.



Here are some MORE things you do:

You can still review a New Zealand book for me. See here.

You can still interview a New Zealand author. I am posting the first interview this week! See here for details.

Schools can still enter The Fourth Fabulous Poetry Competition. See here.



DEADLINE for your Wind-Poem Challenge: Wednesday June 1st

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 it’s for the Wind-Poem challenge. Put in the subject line of the email please.

I will post my favourites and have a book for a poet (Year 0 to Year 8).

Squishy Squashy Birds by Carl van Wijk and Alicia Munday: I have a copy to give away


Squishy Squashy Birds by Carl van Wijk and Alicia Munday (Potton & Burton, 2015)


Alicia used to love dreaming up stories when she was little. Then when she got to be an adult she worked in advertising. Now her two boys have inspired her to write for children.

Carl used to hang out in New Zealand forests when he was a boy sketching birds. He has also chosen to work in advertising since he has grown up. He now lives in Tokyo, in Japan.

The title is important because the birds are squashed to fit on the page! In a good way! That is pretty much all you see. Big beautiful native New Zealand birds. It is like close-ups of birds so you can really see the feathers, the colours, the beaks, the claws. My favourite page is the kiwi page. Wonderful!

The title is also important because in the story the birds are squashed in the book which is squashed in Sammy’s school bag. The birds don’t like being squashed in a book in the stuffy dark! You get to hear what they would rather be doing!

I love what happens when Sammy opens the book to show all the class. Imagine if your room fills with glorious birds when you open this book!

I adore the imagination and I adore the detail, but the poet in me found the rhymes a bit clunky.

I have one copy of this beautiful book for a child that is six years or under who tells me their favourite New Zealand bird and why they  like it.

Send to paulajoygreen@gmail.com. Include your name, year, age and name of school.



My favourite poems inspired by other poems



So many poems inspired by other poems. I loved reading them all so a huge thanks for sending them in. I couldn’t post them every onebut that doesn’t mean I didn’t love them all. Congratulations if I picked your poem this time, but if not, do send in more next time. It makes me do a jig you love writing poetry so much.

Daniel was inspired by AA Milne just as I was when I was little. I used to love reciting AA Milne poems when I was young and now I am old I still do! Ah! And I too love James K Baxter’s poems for children  (Sam picked one!).  And of course Margaret Mahy is a constant source of inspiration for me.

Thanks to the very wonderful Helen Parsons I have a copy of Baxter Basics to give to one lucky poet. I have picked Ruby from Lyttelton School. ‘Shake’ is stunning poem. I love each line. The images, the sounds and the flow. Congratulations.


Now I am Ten!

(A poem based on Now We Are Six by AA Milne)


When I was one, I had lots of fun

When I was two, there was lots to do

When I was three, I rode a jet ski

When I was four, I was poor for sure

When I was five, I danced the jive

When I was six, I ate weetbix

When I was seven, my brother was eleven

When I was eight, I was always late

When I was nine, I was right on time

Now I am ten, and I’m having fun again!

 Daniel Age 6, Year 2, Adventure School


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PS  Greg O’Connell wrote the swimming underwater poem and Ruby and Ngaio go to Lyttelton School.



The wind is writing

what it knows

in lines along the water.

the sun is glaring

down with

beady eyes

the trees are shaking

fearful of

the cold temperatures

the land is still

calm in the midst

of  the world’s chaos.

Ewen W aged 12, Year 8, Cobham Intermediate School, Christchurch
My poem was inspired by the last paragraph (which I made the first) of Laura Ranger’s ‘The Sea.’


Up in heaven

Up in heaven,

Angels frolic and play.

With dresses of pearly white spiderwebs.

And cream feathered wings.

Golden halos sit on their hair.

They carry golden harps,

And play melodies all day long.

But in a forgotten corner.

There’s an angel who’s lost her wings,

Dented her halo,

And broken her harp.

She sits in her corner,



And sad.

The others have forgotten about her.

Maybe you could help her.

Find her wings,

Straighten her halo,

And fix her harp.

Then you can join her.

Up in heaven.

Inspired by the line ‘There’s an angel who’s lost her wings’ from the poem ‘There’s a Unicorn in the Garden’ by Peter Bland.

Isis 12 years old, Year 7. Selwyn House School


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Olive wrote the Margaret Mahy poem.

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Sam, Alex, Ventia, Bella and Olive go to Lyttelton School. This class sent in a bunch of terrific poems. I loved them all so it was hard picking just a few to post. Congratulations on all the great poetry work class. Great language, great ideas, great imagination!


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Gemma (9) reviews Scarecrow Army by Leon Davidson



Scarecrow Army by Leon Davidson Black Dog Books 2006


This book is about the ANZACs at Gallipoli and the challenges they faced. It contains true stories and diary entries that give you an idea about the harsh reality of soldier’s lives at Galliopli.

I liked that the author included actual diary entries, and put information about the pieces of writing afterwards. It taught me a lot and helped me to understand.

I wish that this mind-pulling book had more intriguing letters and fascinating info, so that it would be both awesome and thick at the same time… because I didn’t want it to end.

One thing I liked was the precise and descriptive language. Another thing readers should know is that it is quite complex to read – but in a good way!

I think that this book is for advanced, confident readers who can cope with sadness and WW1 ideas.

This is a fabulous book and I give it five out of five for greatness. It got into the finals for the New Zealand post book awards, for a good reason. I love this book!


Gemma is in Year 5 and aged 9. She goes to Adventure School in Whitby.


Leon Davidson grew up in Christchurch, New Zealand and spent some time in Australia. He has had lots of different jobs: dishwasher, a house painter, in a call centre and in a chicken factory. Scarecrow Army is Leon Davidson’s first book and Red Haze was his second. When he was a boy he dreamed of becoming a soldier but now he is against armed conflict.

You can find an interview with Leon on The Scarecrow Army here.

Poetry Bonanza Tuesday: What I did at the weekend, a challenge and my cat news


Weetbix and Molly (the dog who swims like a concrete mixer!)

This weekend I went to the Auckland Writers Festival which filled me with the joy of words. I heard wonderful stories and breathtaking poems.

What did I love about them? How did some stories and poems catch hold of me while others didn’t? It is a BIG question and there is no one straight answer to it. There are lots of answers!

Some authors said REAL DETAIL helps their writing. I agree. I f you write a poem about a big thing like love (how you love your mum for example) and you go hunting for real detail (about your mum for example) the poem matters so much more.

When I visit school I discover how many of you love cats. So I thought this week the challenge will be to write a cat poem with lots of REAL DETAIL. If you have read my books you will know I have written lots of cat poems because we have three cats.  But sadly one of our cats (Weetbix) has died recently so now we just have two cats. He was the cat that ate everyone’s food! So we have been sad.


Here are some tips on writing a cat poem with good detail:

1. Hunt for words before you start writing.

2. What does the cat look like?

3. What does the cat like to do?

4. What does the cat like to eat?

5. Is there anything unusual about the cat?

6. What moods does the cat have?

7. Where does the cat like to sleep.

8. Try writing the poem with no more than 5 words on a line.

9. Try writing a cat poem with good detail that uses no more than 20 words.

10. Try putting a popping simile in your poem.

11. Make sure you have the best word for the job when you are describing something.

12. Try out three different endings. Which do you like best?

13. Try three different titles.

14. Have fun!


DEADLINE for your Cat-Poem Challenge: Thursday May 28th

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 it’s for the Cat-Poem challenge. Put in the subject line of the email please.

I will post my favourites and have a book for a poet (Year 0 to Year 8).

PS I have a very cool cat book for one poet!



Poem bonanza Monday: poems sparking poems sparking poems sparking


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Don’t forget I am on the hunt for children and classes  to interview NZ authors and children to write reviews of NZ books.

This week I will share some books I have enjoyed.

And here is a wee poem challenge for you.


Try writing a poem inspired by another poem, especially a poem by a NZ author.

1. You might borrow the title.

2. You might borrow the first line.

3. You might borrow the last line.

4. You might be inspired by a phrase.

5. You might be inspired by the subject of the poem.

6. Or the mood.

7. Or anything else.

8. After the title write: Inspired by and then the name of the poet and their title

for example: Inspired by James K Baxter’s ‘The Tree House’

9. Thanks to the very lovely Helen Parsons, I have a copy of James K Baxter’s poems for children to give to one young poet.


DEADLINE for your ‘Poem inspired by a Poem’ Challenge: Wednesday May 20th

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 it’s for the ‘Poem inspired by a Poem’ challenge. Put in the subject line of the email please.

I will post my favourites (Year 0 to Year 8) on May 22nd.



My favourite short short stories are WOW!

Thanks for all the short short stories you sent in. I was inspired to do this challenge by the delicious short short stories in the picture book called The King and the Sea (Gecko Press).

I have picked two stories to post that have characters and a bit of dialogue and a little something happening! And I picked another little story that made me wonder/ wander. I loved the popping imagination in Stina and Ewen’s stories — the beautiful sentences and the terrific endings. And the way Venetia played with a word. Congratulations on being posted.

I am sending Stina a copy of my book, The Letterbox Cat and other poems. It was a big coincidence Stina sent me her story before I visited the school  … so I got to meet and work with her this week.


The Bird in the Painting

The lonely bluebird in the painting watched the strange creatures. They were getting out interesting boxes, and placing them gently on the table. The bluebird watched in horror as they started tearing the boxes to pieces and taking out hideous black rectangles. The creatures warbled happily and tapped like mad at the rectangles, pressing them to their ears. Hazy colours flashed across the rectangle, which dazzled the shocked bluebird. The rectangles emitted loud noises that hurt the bluebird’s ears. He shook his head. ‘There must be something very wrong in the heads of those ugly, featherless birds that live in this odd nest,’ he thought, and he went back to minding his own business.

Stina E, 10 years old, Year 6 at Chelsea Primary School.


The Lily and the Daffodil

“Why is the sky crying?” Asked the Lily.

“Because the clouds are sad,” replied the Daffodil.

“But why are they crying on us?” Asked the Lily.

“Because they hope that we won’t run away from them like everybody else,” said the Daffodil.

“They just want to have fun?”

“Yes, and they want to be like everybody else.”

The Lily and the Daffodil looked up.

The clouds stopped crying and began to smile.

The Lily and the Daffodil dozed off, satisfied,

under the watchful eye of the clouds.

Ewen W aged 12, Year 8, Cobham Intermediate School, Christchurch



Once upon a girl…

had wonder.


“Mummy… what is”

“no. don’t wonder”


She wandered,

for wonder.


If she ever found it,

we wonder.


Wonder is all around us.


Venetia I am 11 yrs old. I go to Kowhai Intermediate in Auckland. I am Yr 7. I have included some speech, and it is 10 lines long. I have chosen the incorrect grammar intentionally, for emphasis. I was inspired to write this by a book that I have just read called Wonder. It has immediately gone to my favourite-books list and I recommend it everyone from about 9 to 100!!!! Amazing book. (Note from Paula: I agree!)