Last week I read a wonderful book which made me change what I was going to do on Poetry Box this week. I read A Winter’s Day in 1939 by Melinda Szymanik (Scholastic 2013) and got caught up in another time. Melinda wrote the story of her father and his family when he was twelve. They had been forced to leave Poland and go and work in a Russian labour camp round about the time World War II was starting. They had to leave behind almost everything and live in a place that was tough, freezing and had hardly any food. Melinda used her father’s notebooks to help write the story. I loved the way this children’s novel opened a window wider on time when terrible things were happening in the world (unfortunately they still are).
So I thought it would be really great to set a challenge that involved two things: memory and our grandparents or our parents. It is time to go hunting for their memories and turn them into little poems (see below).
This week on NZ Poetry Box it’s all about memory. On Monday I will set you a memory challenge, on Tuesday I will give you some sizzling memory-poem tips and starting points, on Wednesday it is time for poetry play so we will think backwards, on Thursday I am posting an interview with one of my favourite children’s poets, Peter Bland, and on Friday I want to play with CAPITAL letters.
The Poetry Challenge:
I challenge you to ask an older relation (Mum or Dad or Nana or Granddad) about a memory they have from their childhood. It might be something that happened to them and it might be funny or sad or exciting or interesting. It might be a memory that shows how things were different when they were young. This challenge can come through a school, a writing group or an individual child. I am excited!
It might help to write down words as your relative shares their memory. You could visit them or telephone them or write them a letter or email them. You might have to ask them questions to get them to talk more about their memory.
You have until June 13th (nearly three weeks) to do this challenge, because I am really excited about it (I want to do this challenge!)!
I will give you tips, and starting points during the week (especially tomorrow.
Send to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, age, year and name of school. You can include your teacher’s name and email address if you like. This is of course also open to home-schooled children.
There are two prizes. An older child (up to Year 8 or 9) will get a copy of A Winter’s Day in 1939 by Melinda Szymanik published by Scholastic NZ in 2013.
A younger child will get a copy of The Song of the Ship Rat (2013) by the fabulous Ben Brown and Helen Taylor thanks to Scholastic NZ. This book, with Helen’s gorgeous illustrations and Ben’s sizzling words, is full of the memories of a rat at sea.