Monthly Archives: June 2013

Soft is like a giant panda

Sylvia has sent in a poem brimming with similes — I  love the one about the dog-eared book!  I am looking forward to reading the food poems you all send in for the competition (by Thursday July 4th 6pm).

What Soft Is


Soft is like a Giant Panda exported from China

soft is like a pale yellow lamp glowing

it’s like a dog-eared favourite book

soft is like gentle love

like a safe haven

in hard times

to remind you

not all is darkness

Sylvia Year 8, aged 12, Parnell District Primary School

NZ Post Children’s Book Awards

Book  awards can be nerve wracking times. My heart goes out to all those who didn’t get a gong and my delight goes out to all those who did. I was really impressed with the flurry of inventive activity that celebrated the shortlisted books throughout New Zealand. Bravo organisers!

I have read a number of the shortlisted books and I certainly had some favourites. Kate De Goldi generously answered some questions for Poetry Box ( May 19, 2013 — and I talked about what I loved about The ACB of Honora Lee). But I also loved Barbara Else‘s The Queen and the Nobody Boy. This is a book that is deliciously imaginative with exquisite detail. You enter the world of the book and you want to stay awhile! I really enjoyed Racheal King’s  Red Rock. This is like a beautifully written fable that is also grounded in the real world. David Hill‘s novel Mr Brother’s War won Best Junior Fiction and I was happy for David. His book takes you into the grip and guts of war in ways that are both complex and moving. It’s ages since I have read it — now I want to read it again ( I will publish one of David’s poems on Poetry Box sometime this year). I highly recommend all these books!

queen_0   my-brothers-war   whistler   melu-picture

AAhhh! Picture books. I love children’s picture books. And these two winners are heavenly. I have already flagged Mr Whistler on Poetry Box (March 28, 2013) — Gavin Bishop‘s lively illustrations and Margaret Mahy‘s brilliant story are a treat. This won best picture book. Later this year Kyle Mewburn is going to answer some questions for Poetry Box and I will share what I love abut his books. There is a poet lurking inside this fabulous storyteller that’s for sure. He knows what to do with words to make them sing and gleam. I was happy he won the children’s choice award. Well deserved!

A YA book won the top prize: ‘Ted Dawe’s book Into the River won the New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year and was also the winner of the Young Adult Fiction category.  This engaging coming of age novel follows its main protagonist from his childhood in small town rural New Zealand to an elite Auckland boarding school where he must forge his own way – including battling with his cultural identity.’

Simon Morton and Riria Hotere won Best Non-Fiction with 100 Amazing Tales from Aotearoa. Will have to get a copy of this!

100-tales in-the-river

Now all the authors can get back to the real world of writing and reading and visiting schools and cooking dinner and driving children to school and feeding dogs and cats and walking on the beach or in the bush or up mountains and flying in aeroplanes and riding bikes and catching ideas and trains and going to the library and bookshops and watching movies and answering the phone and sending emails and posting letters.

Phew! Getting close

Good afternoon poetry fans

I am hard at working shaping the anthology which is such a delight and seem to have a week of exciting things ahead of me. I kept the first half of the year pretty quiet so I could go on the big hunt for poems but now July is nearly here I have lots of things marked on my calendar.

This week I am going to be talking with Kathryn Ryan on National Radio (Thursday 11.20 am) about children’s poetry which is really exciting. It will be the first time I have ever talked about this topic in a live interview.

In about two weeks I am doing a New Zealand Book Council event at Blockhouse Bay Primary School. It starts with Books ‘n Brekkie which means children and parents can come and share books and breakfast with me before school starts. Then I am staying on for lots of activities throughout the day. Two young librarians will interview me on stage at a special school assembly which I think is a terrific idea. They have come up with some very good questions. I will let you know how the day goes.

I also have a full day visit at Titirangi Primary School next week and am judging the poetry competition at St Kentigerns.

I will do my utmost to have the First Fabulous Poetry Competition results posted by the end of this term (so keep your eyes out!).

Meanwhile I am off on a mini holiday with my girls and Michael to Queenstown, Arrowtown and Fox Glacier. So next week I may be off-line for three days. I am really looking forward to family time in a spectacular place and if I can manage it will keep a little poetry diary for you if I find internet connections.

Meanwhile I challenge you to go on the hunt for fabulous similes that will give poems a little pop!

Send me your favourite similes:

Include your name, age, year and name of school.

If all the world were made of toffee or toasted moon sandwiches

I was going to post some food poems by other poets but have been too busy on the children’s anthology to get permission so will post one of mine instead. The bad news is I won’t be able to tell you which children are going in the book by the end of June, but the good news is I know there will be more than five!

I know it is hard waiting to hear things (I am doing it for something I have written at the moment and I know whatever happens I will just get on and write another poem because that is what I love to do!).

I really like the idea of writing a food poem that takes me to a special occasion or another country or another place. Food is a great sparker of memories. I will do this soon!

But I have to get to work on the anthology so I will post these funny poems from Macaroni Moon (published by Random House in 2009 now out-of-print).

Macaroni Moon  Macaroni Moon  Macaroni Moon

I tried to think of crazy food combinations in the first one, the second one is a short poem where I wonder something, the third one is a longer poem where I wonder something,  I mix the beginnings of words up in the fourth poem and in the last one I mash up words. I had fun!

Nutty Food

Peanut butter on peach,

what a treat!

Chocolate on egg,

you’re pulling my leg!

Jelly on fish,

what a dish!

Meatballs in custard,

delicious with MUSTARD!



If all the world were made of toffee

we’d be stuck together in a sticky heap

and all we’d do is eat!


Macaroni Moon

If cheese was made of MOON

and the MOON were made of cheese,

I’d eat toasted MOON sandwiches

grated MOON on tacos, MOONy pizza

MOON on crackers, cauliflower MOON sauce.



But at the start of the night

there’d be CHEESElight

on the bed as I read.




Dinner Time

“Excuse me,”

asked Sam.

“Would you like

chish and fips for dinner?

Or nicken choodle casserole

pish fasta

mangers and bash

cish furry?”

“You must be joking,”

replied Jill,

“I rather fancy

sumpkin poup!”



I Love Spaghetti

I love spaghetti

it tastes DELIGETTI.

I love lasagna

it tastes DELISAGNA.

I love macaroni

it tastes DELICONI.

I love fish

it tastes DELICIOUS!

© Paula Green  Macaroni Moon Random House 2009

Poetry Play with rain, wind and hail (or snow!)

This morning Michael and I were the only ones on the beach and the West Coast was at its fiercest (check out the photos below).  I tested out some similes when I was sopping wet and icy cold.

Practising for our Holiday in the South Island

The hail was pecking at my face like sharp hen’s teeth.

The wind was whipping the black sand like it was burning black ash.

The wind was scooping the seam foam into dancing puffs.

My face was sore, my wet trousers stuck to my wet legs like wet flannels,

but I felt like doing a foxtrot with the waltzing wind!

Give it a go! Send me your weather similes or a poem to Include your name, year, age and name of school. You can include your teacher’s name and email if you like.

IMG_3273 IMG_3268

Poetry Play with dogs, cats and dragons

Today we will play with similes.

Trying thinking of similes for these six words and then play with the order of them and turn them into a poem.  You have three choices of poems:

dog    barking   ball  sky   rain  bone

cat     mat   milk   hungry  fur   fish

dragon   red   gold  cave   flame  soft

Send to Include your name, age, year and name of school. You can include your teacher’s email and name if you like.  I will post my favourites.

Simlies are like popcorn in a poem

Similes are fun. They can give a poem that magic ingredient that puts a smile on the reader’s face.

A simile is when you compare something in your poem to something else in the world. Sometimes you use ‘like’ or ‘as’ to help you.

The rain is like a leak in the sky.  The ground is as wet as my watery soup.

One tip is to go on the hunt for similes. Use a little test pot of similes and then pick your favourite. We all might say the sun is like a golden ball so it is fun to go hunting for fresh ones.

You can use simple words to write a good simile.

Listen to the rhythm of your simile. Does it flow well?

You can use one simile in a poem to give it a little sparkle or you can write a poem full of them. You need to play and explore to find what works for you.

Next week I am going to tell you about a poet who writes AMAZING similes. You will love them!

You never know when you will find a poem

This is what happened to me this morning. I am really, really, really busy at the moment so this is a first draft and I will save it for later (no time to write poems when I am editing a big book!). My poem hasn’t even got a title yet!

This morning I had the rain

and the grey all to myself

on the beach, black sand

dimpled clean.

Driving home, a loose

horse was on the road,

so I had to catch its muddy

lead, and find somewhere

to take it in the middle

of nowhere.


Our dogs were born

in a stable and went mad

for the smell

of horse on my trousers.

Starting points for food poems

Here are some starting points (or ideas) for poems with food in them.

1. Write a poem with your favourite food in it. Hunt for delicious words that make the food simmer and steam in the poem.

2.. Write a poem with your least favourite food in it! Hunt for words that show us why you don’t like the taste.

3. Write a list poem with food in it (food beginning with the same letter, all vegetables, all cold things, all hot things, summer food, winter food, what your dog eats, what your cat eats, what you eat when you go to stay with your grandparents, … ).

4. Write a poem with food in it that makes you remember someone (your aunt, uncle, nana, granddad, mum, dad, brother, sister, friend …).

5. Write a food poem that makes you remember a place you visited.

6. Write a poem with food in it that takes you to a different country.

7. Write a disgusting food poem or a funny food poem.

8. Find some good similes for food.

9. Write a poem that has no more than twelve words about the most delicious thing to eat in the world.

10. Write a poem about what is in your lunch box.

Don’t forget to send your poem to Include your name, age, year and name of school. You can include your teacher’s name and email. You have until Thursday July 4th 5pm.

This week on Poetry Box it’s time for lunch and tasty treats

People are already talking about the food in my new book of poems (The Baker’s Thumbprint). I got asked about it when I did my radio interview with Lynn Freeman and the one for the Nelson Mail. And I always say I love food (I love to eat it and I love to cook it!) as much as I love writing (I love to read as much as I love to write!).


So I have decided this week it will be food week (and maybe the next few!), but I am going to add something extra and that is the wonderful world of similes. We are also going to play with these. On Monday I will set you a food-poem challenge with a simile twist, on Tuesday I will give you some starting points, on Wednesday I will give you some poetry tips on similes, on Thursday it is time for poetry play, and on Friday I will share a food poem.

The tasty food-poem challenge: I challenge you to write a poem with food in it AND at least one simile. Tomorrow I will give you lots of starting points for food poems but my tip is to go on the hunt for words that will make my mouth water. Your poem might be from your imagination or it might be from a real experience. I am hoping some younger children will give this a go! You can be from Year 0 to Year 8!  Your poem can be really short or long (but no more than 20 lines).

Send to paulajoygreen@gmailcom. Include your name, age, year and name of school. You can include your teacher’s email and name if you like. You have until Thursday July 4th 6pm.

The first winning poem (older) will get one of my precious copies of Macaroni Moon (I have only got a few left and it is out-of-print!) plus a a tasty cake of chocolate (ooh I hope it doesn’t melt in the post!).

Macaroni Moon  Macaroni Moon   Macaroni Moon  Macaroni Moon  Macaroni Moon

206269_157618850966435_3358613_n   206269_157618850966435_3358613_n   206269_157618850966435_3358613_n

The second winning poem (younger) will get a copy of the glorious Marmaduke Duck and the Marmalade Jam by Juliette MacIver and Sarah Davis thanks to the lovely Scholastic (and a cake of tasty chocolate). This picture book is all about food. Everybody wants to taste Marmaduke Duck’s marmalade jam and things go a bit wrong before they go a lot right!

Juliette has used lots of lively words to give her story zing and zip:

‘He peeled it, zested it, sugared it, boiled,

stirred it, tested it, tasted it, toiled.

And if I have some extra favourite poems I might have to get some extra cakes of chocolate to post you!