Monthly Archives: July 2013

Details about The 2nd Fabulous Poetry Competition for Children

For The Second Fabulous Poetry Competition on NZ Poetry Box I am inviting schools to submit a school entry of 25 poemsThe winning school will get a limited-edition print of an illustration from my sophisticated picture book Aunt Concertina and Her Niece Evalinacourtesy of Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland. The original paintings were done by my partner, artist Michael Hight, and these prints are as gorgeous as the paintings (see below for more images and further background). The prize print is of Tokyo with a horde of things hiding in the cityscape to find.

Aunt Concertina & her niece Evalina 13

Hight, Michael

Aunt Concertina and her niece Evalina 13, 2/25, 2009

Pigment inks on Hahnemuhle photo rag paper

610 x 405mm

Value $520

I will post  the winning 25 poems and write about each one of them on the blog. Myfavourite five entries from across the board (not just the winning school) will receive a copy of Aunt Concertina and Her Niece Evalina (courtesy of Random Houseand a book voucher. I will also post these on the blog and say what I love about them. Please circulate details of the competition to other schools that might be interested.

9781869790110  9781869790110  9781869790110  9781869790110  9781869790110

Entry details

1. The competition is open to New Zealand Primary and Intermediate Schools.

2. You have two terms! The deadline is 30th September 2013 (a few days grace after the end of Term 3).

3. Please send to my postal box as I will not accept email entries.

Paula Green PO Box 95078 Swanson Waitakere 0653

4. Please make sure each poem has the child’s first name, age, year and name of school        written on it (on the back is fine).

5.  Poems can be on any topic, in any form, but no more than 20 lines.

6. Poems can also be hand written and illustrated. I will scan these to post on the blog. I would rather not have students lift images from the internet to use as illustrations as I don’t want to face copyright issues.

7. I am keen to see a school entry that includes a range of ages.

7. Any questions to or post your question on the blog for all to see the answers.

Aunt Concertina and her Niece Evalina

I told the stories of Aunt Concertina and her niece Evalina (and the magical kite!) to my girls when they were little and every night I thought I had told a good episode that I would write down the next day; but every morning I was full of mother tiredness and didn’t write a single word.

All these years later I wrote a poetic version of the story. Aunt Concertina and her niece fly around the world with the magical kite to superlative places (the most amazing!). I wanted to write a story that was full of rich poetry that sang in your ears as you read, and I wanted an illustrator to paint pictures that sang in your eyes as you looked. Michael has done just that. There is so much going on in each page. When he was a little boy he loved looking in old books for marvelous and strange things and drawing them. He loved making lists of all kinds —  of rivers and animals and capital cities. He also made a book of madeup animals that I discovered in a box at the back of our wardrobe. When I saw the pictures I knew he was just the right person for the job!

Usually Michael is busy painting large paintings for his shows in Auckland, Wellington, Queenstown and Dunedin. He is famous for his beehive paintings, but he also doesmysterious paintings featuring things that have fascinated him as both a boy and as an adult. You can see these on his Gow Langsford Gallery page:


Gow Langsford Gallery are Michael’s Auckland gallery and they have a limited series of the Aunt Concertina prints for sale.  The prints have been produced with the most gorgeous pigment ink on the most gorgeous paper (Hahnemuhle photo rag paper). You can see the complete series on their web site, but I am posting four more of my favourites courtesy of the Gow Langsford Gallery.

This first image is not our kitchen but you can spot our cats (I have written poems about them!) and lots of things Michael has collected on the shelves. All of those objects have a story attached to them! One of my daughters got to keep this painting.

Aunt Concertina & her niece Evalina 3

The second image is inside the fabulous junk shop where Evalina is given the magic kite. Michael has put famous paintings from all round the world on the back wall! My other daughter got to keep this painting.

Aunt Concertina & her niece Evalina 5

The third image is when they take off flying. Michael has hidden famous places from around the world in the rain drops.Aunt Concertina & her niece Evalina 6

The final image I will post is the painting I kept (it was really hard choosing so one day I will get a print of the last page because I love that too!). But I chose this one because my grandmother was Scottish and I once rode around Loch Ness on my bike. I love the marvelous inventions under the water and the way life goes on as normal above it.

Aunt Concertina & her niece Evalina 14

oh to write an ode

An ode is a happy poem because it celebrates something.

Poets have written odes to all kinds of things and all kinds of people.

Hundreds of years ago a famous poet called John Keats was busy writing odes to spring, to a nightingale and to autumn (and a few other things).

An ode might celebrate someone or something. It might be someone you know (your mum or dad or best friend) or someone you don’t know (Joy Cowley or Harry Potter or Richie McCaw or The Cat in the Hat).

Nowadays odes don’t have to rhyme and they don’t have to follow a set pattern.

When you are writing it imagine you are writing it to that person or thing like a happy letter. A celebration!

Remember you can send your ode poem to Include your name, age, year and name of school. Include your teacher’s name and email.

Here are some ideas I have had for writing an ode (I chose one idea and had a go).


Ode to My Cat

Ode to My Dog, Nonu

Ode to the Kereru

Ode to the Moon

Ode to My Breakfast

Ode to My Blue Sneakers


Ode to My Blue Sneakers

Shiny blue and springy soles

we bounce along the black sand

as though we can bounce to the moon.

You have walked up

the Fox Glacier track and

back in the rain and cold,

and now you are

sleeping under my bed.

I can almost hear

you purring!

building a winter poem hut — let’s go!

Imagine you are making a hut in winter.

What will it be made of?

What will you take into the hut?

What will you wear?


My Winter Hut

My winter hut is made of blocks of ice

and bits of wood and old books.

I have to wear three jumpers

and my red coat to keep warm.

I have a box to sit on.

It is really windy.

I might read one

of the books.


You have a go! Send your winter hut poem to Include your name, age, year and name of school. Include your teacher’s name and email.

My 200th post for Poetry Box: A Poem a Day#2

To celebrate my 200th post on Poetry Box I thought I would post a poem by a young writer. This poem is from my pile of favourite poems entered for the Fabulous Poetry Competition.


Siena L goes to Redcliffs School in Christchurch. She is Year Three and is aged 7. I really like saying her poem out loud. There are some great words on the ends of the line in the first verse. And I love how all the verses are different.


Celebrations need little gifts so I will send Siena a copy of my book Macaroni Moon to celebrate. In fact Poetry Box will be 6 months old on August 13th.



Rain tree


Rain trees can flood

thunder bolts bang,

trees rustle as they

move side to side,

snow falls down


Rain makes puddles so you can play in drizzle,

you might be allowed to play in it


Big raindrops fall from the sky

When rain drops it makes mud on dirt


I like playing in the rain

To couplet or not to couplet

A couplet is two lines of poetry that sit together — like two snakes — on the page.

Couplets often rhyme but they don’t need to.

Sometimes a poem is made up of lots of couplets (they are the building blocks for the poem house).

Sometimes a poem is just one couplet long!

Here are two couplet poems I have written:


Night Time

The cat and the dog dance for the moon

The cat and the dog sing out of tune


Day Time

The frog and the fish have learned to whistle

under the midday sun


The toad and the cat can count to ten

under the red hot sun


The rabbit and the rat can hop and scratch

in their race to be number one

(Gosh that last couplet was a bit mean) You have a go! Send your couplet poem to Include your name, age, year and name of school. Include your teacher’s name and email.

Winter poem hunt

When you are writing your winter poem you can go on a winter hunt, a winter hunt, a winter hunt.


What do you see in winter? Think of FIVE things.

What do you do in winter?  Think of FIVE things.

What is the weather like in winter?  Think of THREE things.

See if you can find FIVE fabulous WINTER words to put in your poem.

Pick a WINTER day to write your poem about. Put some of your WINTER words in your poem.

Try writing a poem with no more than twelve words or try writing a longer poem.

Send to Include your name, age, year and name of school. You can include your teacher’s name and email.

A Winter Poetry Challenge

This is a poetry challenge for younger poets, but I will happily post poems by children up to Year 8.  The prize will go to a child Year 3 or under.

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Have a go at writing a winter poem. It might be short or it might long, but it will be cold!

What cold things will you put in your poem? There might be warm things too though!

How many words will you put on the line?

Each day I will give you a winter idea to play with.

I hope you have fun.

DEADLINE is 6pm Friday August 16th NZ Poetry Day 

Send to Include your name, age, year and name of school. Include your teacher’s name and email please so I can let them know if you win the prize.


Poetry Challenge: making houses for poems

This year I launched my poetry book, The Baker’s Thumbprint, at the Auckland Writers Festival. I felt very moved when an Auckland poet gave me a present ( You don’t expect presents at book launches so it was a lovely surprise). Siobhan Harvey is a poet who works hard for the good of poetry as well as writing her own poems. She told me when you launch a book you need to be given a book. When I got home and read the card and saw the beautiful book it meant a lot to me. So thank you, Siobhan.

Because I already have a copy of this gorgeous book , I asked Siobhan if she would be happy to offer it as a prize on Poetry Box — so that is what we are doing.

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This is the book: A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms selected by Paul Janeczko and illustrated by Chris Raschka published by Candlewick Press in 2005 hardback and paperback 2009 (It is an American book). The illustrations are so good you want to eat them! They are paper collages with a bit of paint here and there. The poems are really good too. I love this book!

Here is your challenge:  DEADLINE is 6pm Friday August 16th NZ Poetry Day 

You will have three weeks to do this —  you can follow the blog for two weeks and experiment with poems in the third week. You will find out about different poetry forms (think of them as houses) each day.

Your challenge is to pick a poetry form (a poetry house) and build your own poem.

It might be a haiku, or an ode, or couplets, or tercets, or a sonnet or you might make up your own. Don’t worry if you don’t know what these all are yet, you will soon!

Send to Include your name, age, year and name of school. If you can include your teacher’s name and email address please as there is a prize involved.

Have fun! Explore! Invent! Share!

Welcome back after the holidays: an explosion of busy-ness!

Welcome back after the holidays poetry fans young and old!

I have a lot to look forward to this term. I am heading off to Christchurch for a week to visit schools thanks to the New Zealand Book Council (from August 12th) so I am very excited about that! Then I will be at the Storylines Family Day doing various poetry things (Sunday August 18th). I used to take my girls to this every year and we thought it was book magic. I will keep you posted. Plus some school visits, two books in the publishing engineroom and new things I want to start writing! Yes, this term I want to elbow room to do some secret writing. Oh, and I am starting a new blog for older people interested in poetry (all will be revealed soon!).

This week and next week on Poetry Box I aim to have three things happening. For older children we are going to explore poetry forms and for younger children we are going to have fun with winter poems. Plus I am going to post some of the poems I loved that didn’t make it into the treasury (a poem a day). I didn’t do this during the holidays as I need to get permission and I didn’t want these poems to get lost in the holiday poetry bonanza.

Don’t forget about The Second Fabulous Poetry Competition for Children. I will post all the details again soon.

Remember I have asked you to tell me the name of a New Zealand author you would like me to interview and why. And remember to include two questions you would like me to ask them. Send to paulajoygreen@gmail with your details.

This week on Poetry Box: On Monday I will set you the two challenges (one younger, one older). On Tuesday we will explore couplets and also go hunting for winter things. On Wednesday we will play with odes and make a winter poetry hut, on Thursday we will play with Japanese poetry forms and make a rain poem, on Friday we will have fun with sonnets and make winter poetry soup. Goodness we are going to be busy!

So happy Term 3, and I look forward to spending time with you all on Poetry Box. I love to get your letters, your comments and your poems. Happy Poetry Days!

A Happy Birthday Poem from Ewen

Today is Ewen’s birthday and this is what she did on her birthday. How wonderful! Happy Birthday to you and thank you for all the great poems you send to Poetry Box.

Hi Paula,

Since today is my birthday, I decided to write a birthday poem.

I hope you like reading it!


I frowned and sighed

as I stared into the distance

the world seemed so still

but I knew it wasn’t.


All of a sudden

out of the blue

I heard a song

that I knew.


My eyes lit up

like Christmas lights

and the happy excitement

lingered in the air.


It was my birthday

a feather

in the broad wing

of time.

Ewen W aged 11, Year 6, Fendalton Open Air School, Christchurch