Daniel and Gemma find poetry boulders

I do love getting letters from you! Gemma and Daniel just wrote with news of their holiday. They were very excited as they have had some poems accepted for Toitoi (I will be telling you where to submit for another issue soon).

Meanwhile they discovered these in Blenheim (I thought it was such a great idea!):



‘Firstly, in the school holidays we went to the South Island and did the DOC Kiwi Guardians challenges there.  One that we went to was in Blenheim, called the Taylor River reserve.  They had a writers’ walk with “Poetry Boulders” … huge boulders with plaques that have poems, written by local school students on them!  The poems raise awareness of environmental values.  We thought they were so cool! Here is a photo of one of them.’


October Poetry Box Challenge – Imagination leaps



I love letting my imagination set sail when I write poems (amidst a thousand other things).

So for October, I challenge you to write a poem with a dollop of imagination.

I suggest letting your poem sit for a few days before you send it to me so you can spot things you might like to improve – or mistakes.


Here are some tips and starting points:

Ask some what if questions. What if I could fly? What if the world were made of broccoli?

Imagine you are a character from a book.

See things in the real world completely differently. A world of tall things. A topsy-turvy world.

Invent some animals as I did in my poem ‘Anifables.’

Write an ordinary poem about ordinary things but then give it an extraordinary ending.

Imagine something strange happens in your back garden.

Imagine you have a secret.

Invent a new food or tree or machine.

Imagine you meet a famous person.


….. or surprise me … with your own imagination             l   e   a   p


Hunt for really good detail before you start writing your poem.

Listen to every line.

Test out three very different endings.

Remember to give it a title.


How will you set your poem out?

Hide a surprise in your poem somewhere.


Imagine something that happened in history very differently.  Like landing on the moon.


h a v e     f u n    !


SEND your poem to paulajoygreen@gmail.com

DEADLINE Friday October 28th

Include your name, age, year and name of school. You can include your teacher’s email if you like.

P l e a s e    p u t   ‘Imagination poem’ in the subject line of your email.

I will pick some favourites to post on the blog and have a book for at least one reader and maybe even a book for a class.

I will post on  Monday 31st October.




I am on the hunt for A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children



This week I went up north to talk about my poetry at the Tai Tokerau Literacy Conference in spectacular Paihia and Russell and I discovered the Treasury I edited is now out of print.

Most of my books are out of print but this book gave me a sad day because it felt like a special book for New Zealand’s children’s poetry had disappeared. The book feels like taonga because we have so few poetry books for children in print. There has never been a book quite like it.

The publisher is sad too but they can’t reprint it because it just doesn’t work budget wise.

So I had a day of tears and then picked myself up and got back to my big book I am writing and my new collection of poems for children I have been working on.


I thought there were still hundreds of copies left because I forgot to check, so am now on the hunt to buy a few copies for myself.

I am sending out a request for Treasury hunters: If you spot a copy somewhere in NZ can you let me know where so I can buy it please? I just wanted a little pile in case there are any new children in my family tree.


I have been wondering how we can keep books like this – that are important literary celebrations of who we are – alive for children readers. I have made myself the unofficial ambassador for children’s poetry in New Zealand but this week it has felt like a very tough job.


Maybe a generous benefactor will put in an order for 1000 copies!


If you spot a copy  for me, I will be over the moon!  paulajoygreen@gmail.com

Two FABULOUS new books from Gecko Press – a super rabbit and a not-hippopotamus

What a treat when I get a parcel of books from Gecko Press.

Here are two new picture books you might like to check out (I loved them both!):





Super Rabbit

by Stephanie Blake.


Stephanie (she’s from the USA but lives in France ) wrote the ULTRA popular Poo Bum. Open the book and you will be in a world of EYE poPPing colour.

When his mum asks him to get up, he says he is super rabbit but his first KAPOW action is not very SUPER!

There is no way this rabbit wants to do ORDINARY things.

He wants to HUNT villains but will have the COURAGE he needs?

Wait and see what happens when he finds the COLD and DARK of a hollow tree!

Wait and see what happens when SOMETHING sharp gets stuck in his finger!

I gobbled this book up in a flash – it is bright wordDAZZLING fun!







That’s Not a Hippopotamus!

by Juliet MacIver and Sarah Davis


A local author and illustrator have come up with a winning combination.

I gobbled this book up in flash too with its scrumptious illustrations and zingpinging words. Rhyme plays a big part and darts and dashes all over the line.

A group of children and their teacher are on the hunt for a hippo at Don’s safari but

there is a lot of CONFUSION about what a hippo looks like. So all kinds of animals look lik they might be a hippo but are so NOT hippos.

A very very fun read from a very very cool local writer. The illustrations zoom with LIFE!

Poetry Box – some favourite travel poems

What a joy to get a HUGE bunch of travel poems to read. You really took to this challenge. I loved the way your poems took me all over the world and then into your back garden.

I once cycled up to the Matterhorn in Switzerland so that poem took me right back.

I loved the poems that were simple but built a picture of a place that dragged me elsewhere.

I loved the poems that were rich in detail.

I loved the poems that played with words.

I loved the poems that used a tablespoon of imagination.

I am sending the Letterbox Cat to Jasmine for her tree hut poem because it just seemed perfect in every detail.


And I especially loved the poems sent from a class at Paparoa Street School too. I have posted six at the bottom to inspire you. The class played with how the poems looked but didn’t sacrifice good detail and great language. I am sending you The Letterbox Cat too.


I am sorry I couldn’t pick you all but the blog would have gone on for miles. What great poets you are! What a treat to read you all!


New challenge tomorrow.



Treehouse Home


My house has a huge totara tree

In the front garden

You can do handstands

Against it’s trunk.


My house has a long line of trees

Along the sides

When the leaves fall

They drape the ground with a carpet.


My house has trees

Leaning over the trampoline

When they drop off

The trampoline is covered in leaves

We always have to sweep them off.


Our house has a slightly overgrown lawn

Weeds push their way

Through the strands

Of green grass


You can tell why people call our house a treehouse.
By Jasmine, Gladstone School



Kaikoura Farm

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 12.19.41 PM.png

Amelia G, age 11, Year 6,  Selwyn House School (Amelia told me she goes to stay on a farm every second weekend, and she decided to write it from the point of view of a fawn as she has a pet deer.


The Sea

I travel and land
On burning summer sand.
Waves crash and back away.
Many feet jump on the salty sea.
Seagulls zoomed for salty fish prey.
Now this was my best summer holiday!!!
Manasa M, Age 10, Year 6,  Churton Park School


Finnishing in Finland

There’s snow on the right
A tree on the left.
Ice to the north
Wind from the south.
Snow blankets on roads and runways
Icy seas all around.

Huskies howl to get going
Panting eagerly as they pull us
Through the winter wonderland

A snowmobile grunts across the tundra
A toboggan slips by at the speed of sound
A reindeer clops slowly through the heavy snow

Icy seas all around
Snow blankets on roads and runways.
Wind from the south
Ice to the north.
A tree on the left
And there’s snow on the right.

And now my poem is Finnished.

Daniel year 3, Adventure School, age 8 now.


The Jetty

I tiptoe along the jetty

Arms spread out wide

Water overflows the concrete plank

I crouch down

And dip my toes in

Sun shines over the water

I almost fall in the lake when Mum yells,

“Come back Jazzy!”

“ We have to keep moving along the lake if we want to get home before the pizza gets soggy!”

By Jasmine L, Age 10, Year 5  Gladstone Primary School



Tropical trees twinkle,
Down the lovely lane of leaves,
Samoa is a lovely place to visit,
When songs shimmer straight through sandy streets,
It’s fun to have a splash,
When the pool is a sapphire colour,
It’s a fun journey,
Learning about the Samoan culture.

by Sina A, aged 9, Fendalton School Christchurch


After I went to the U.S.A., this is what I want say…

In San Francisco, get down to the disco
In Washington D.C, everything is  easy
In New York City, everybody’s pretty
In California, fun is waiting for ya

Down in Texas, the heat really gets us
Go to Cincinnati, everybody’s chatty
In Arizona, you could be a loner
In Nevada, it’s a little harder

Round in Colorado, it’s all about bravado
By Mississippi, the river makes it slippy
In Wyoming, see  buffalo roaming
Come to Delaware, nothing can compare

Across the United States, there’s always something great!

By Gemma L, Adventure School



Blissful salty air
Flows behind my messy hair
Glistening water
Piercing with pride
Promising sand
Sinking like the Titanic
The old boat shed
Surrounded by tropical trees
Trees singing for new life
Bellbird waiting for the call
Eager to see his new life
Among the tropical trees
Surrounding the boat shed
By the promising sand
Sinking like the Titanic
By the glistening water
Piercing with pride
Behind my messy hair
Smelling the blissful salty air

Lottie H, Year 7, Selwyn House School


Beautiful Schweiz
Lush grass,
Fresh ice blue water,
The cool breezes.
The Matterhorn
Delicate clouds surrounding it,
Reaching up into the deep blue skies,
Heavy snow covering the ground like a blanket.
The Spacious Cottage
The view from the window,
The trees swaying,
The bee’s nacturing.
Bahnhofstrasse street
The sound of cars and trains passing through,
People chatting and pushing through crowds,
Expensive shops light up.
The Ibex
Walking confidently through the swiss alps,
Horns as strong as stone,
Soft fur covering them from head to toe.
Fuzzy white petals,
The sweet scent,
Growing in the mountains.

By Lily B 12 years old Year 7 Selwyn House School


The Beach       

I sneak out the hut,
I chase after my pet Peanut,
I run down the beach,
“Come back, Peach,”
Says my mum,
I walk back and chew gum,
I ask, why can’t I go into the dyed water,
“It’s lava dummy, even one jump is slaughter,”
A while later we put our suitcases into the cars,
“Next time we shouldn’t have a holiday on mars.”

By Amber Y6 age 10 churton park school


The Beach

The water glistens in the golden rays of sunlight.

Waves gently lap against the shore.

I watch as the shimmering blue water comes  tumbling down, transforming

Into  rushing white water.

Deafening squawks come from the seagulls.

I feel the soft grainy sand between my toes.

Clear running water travels from the sea into the shallow lagoon.

Water splashes against the seaweed covered walls of the sea cave.

I gaze up to the towering cliffs which hide the neighbouring beach.

Mounds of sand get blown around by gentle breezes.

The smooth rocks get hotter and hotter in the fiery sun.

I glance out at the horizon in silence…

Suddenly the smell of boysenberry fills my nostrils.

“What is that?”  I sniffed again.

“ Actually,  I know that smell.”


I whip myself around, my Mum is coming towards me with ice creams in her hands!
  Amelie K, Year 5, Gladstone Primary


Into the forest
There the hat floated peacefully next to the car that never rots, circling the car never leaving its side. It’s been there so long that nobody can even remember what happened.

Through my old age I’ve never seen the mysterious object stir or move, but today day this all changed. Once at midnight when the moon was full I saw the stainless navy car drift though the water, reflecting the moon light, gently, quietly, riding over the gravel, dripping wetness.

A hat floated inside, just centimetres from the curved roof. The glistening car disappeared into a thick forest of trees.

James D, 10 years old, Y6, St. Andrews College


Desert Song
Towering dunes rippled from the wind
Small thorny bushes standing low to the ground
Hot burning sun beating relentlessly down
This is the desert

Falcon spiralling above
Keen eyes searching for food
Arabian Oryx leap the dunes
Camels plodding
Carrying heavy loads
These are the desert’s creatures

The wind seems to be rising
Can a sandstorm be near
Mirages shimmer
Tricks of the sun that never stops shining
This is the desert’s weather

The hot shining sun going up and down
No sign of clouds in a clear blue sky
This is the desert’s sun

Tall rising sand dunes
Falcon soaring high
Hot burning sun
Rising wind
Endless mirages
As far as the eye can see
This is the desert

Sarah-Kate, Age 11, Homeschooled



Six wonderful travel poems from Paparoa Street School




Poetry Box Challenge: t r a v e l p o e m s


Awhile ago I saw Lonely Planets held a world-wide poetry competition for children to write travel poems … poems about favourite places (it’s over now).

So this month I challenge you to write a poem about another place (not the suburb you live in).

It might be another town or city or country. It might be another suburb. It might be a tourist attraction. A mountain, a river, a forest, a paddock, a street, an ocean, a museum.

It might be what you ate there or did there or saw there. The best pasta or ice cream or noodles.

It might be somewhere or something you would like to show a visitor in your own place.


You might have been there and can use your experience.

You might not have been there but can do a little research/reading/asking. In this case you can use your imagination to play with what you discover.

How can you give your poem that extra zing?


  1. use good detail
  2. imagine you are taking a photo with words
  3. hunt for surprising things about this place
  4. write your poem as though you are telling someone about the place
  5. use your senses
  6. play with how you set the poem out
  7. try writing a poem postcard about the place
  8. write about the place as a poem letter
  9. write two words that sum up the place then don’t use the in the poem. Find other words to show how the place is beautiful and fun for example.
  10. think about the ending. Try three then pick your favourite.
  11. remember children of all ages read this blog (I don’t publish poems that might disturb young children)



Have fun! Read your poem out loud. Don’t send it to me straight away. Keep it for a day or two then see if you want to change anything.


SEND your poem to paulajoygreen@gmail.com

DEADLINE Wednesday September 28th

Include your name, age, year and name of school. You can include your teacher’s email if you like.

P l e a s e    p u t   ‘Travel poem’ in the subject line of your email.

I will pick some favourites to post on the blog and have a book for at least one reader and maybe even a book for a class.

I will post on  Friday 30th September.