Monthly Archives: December 2013

A summer poetry box just for you (the final post!)

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Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas! Have a wonderful time and a safe time.

I won’t posting anything until the beginning of February 2014 (Oh, I feel a little sad!).

Time to tidy my desk (AS YOU CAN SEE!), hunt for my boogie board and head to the beach. My summer reading bag is full of all kinds of books to read. My head is full of ideas. BUT I think I will lie on our spongy beach grass and read the clouds for awhile.


So … here is a little summer poetry challenge for you:

1. Find a box.

2. Make a label for it.

3. Fill it with poems over summer.

4. Write a poem about what you do.

5. Write a poem about what you taste.

6. Write a poem about where you go.

7. Write a poem about the moon or night (after Melinda Szymanik‘s beautiful book).

8. Write a poem using one of my challenges from 2013 on Poetry Box.

9. Write a poem with no rhyme.

10. Write a poem using the titles of books you read over summer. Hide them!

11. Write a poem about your dream holiday. Use your imagination. Or your nightmare holiday. Or boring. Or surprising.

12. Write a poem about one thing that bugs you.

13. Write a poem about fast things.

14. Write a poem abut slow things.

15. Write a poem about your mum or dad.

16. Write a poem about someone really old you know. Show it to them if it will make them smile!

17. Write a poem as though you have elastic legs.

18. Write a poem about summer.

19. Write a poem about something magic.

20. Write a poem about a dinosaur.

21. Write a poem where the first line is the same as the last.

22. Write a poem using no more than 12 words.

23. Write a poem with no more than three words on each line.

24. Write a poem about your favourite animal.

25. Write a poem about a hedgehog and a cat.

26. Write a poem about a bird.

27. Write a poem about a made-up animal.

28. Write a poem about the beach.

29. Write a poem as a letter to your favourite author.

30. The Gemma-box-poem challenge. Write a poem about something ordinary like the box in Gemma’s story and show how marvellous it can be. Use your imagination.

31. Write a poem about anything you like.

32. At the end of January (from 30th) send me two of your favourite poems. I will pick a few poems to post on Poetry Box in February.

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

A poem letter that is like a little manifesto

Sue Williams sent this lovely letter from Fendalton Open Air School in Christchurch. It is like a poem letter too! I wanted to share it with you because it is like a little manifesto that matches the aims of Poetry Box. It is quite a challenge mentoring children you have never met face to face, and finding the best ways to challenge them and nourish them. Thanks!

Thank You

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NZ Poetry Box Wrap Up — with a few special mentions and thank yous!


(excuse the punning photo from my wonderful South Island holiday!)

What a year it has been! Lots of poems read and written. Lots of books talked about. What a celebration of poetry for and by children.

Time to say thank you!

Thanks to the New Zealand authors who have so generously shared their writing life with us (for example John Parker, Gavin Bishop, Joy Cowley, Kate De Goldi, Kyle Mewburn, David Hill).

Thanks to the children from the tip to the toe of New Zealand  who have taken up poetry challenges, written poems and sent letters. One student in particular has stood out: Ewen from Fendalton Open Air School. She enters most challenges. She doesn’t always win a prize, but she always thanks me when I post her poems. She listens to my advice and sets off to take her writing further. You are my Poetry Box star for 2013. I am sending you a copy of my book, Flamingo Bendalingo. I am also giving special thanks to Sylvia from Parnell District School who has sent in such tremendous poems and writing this year. She is Year 8 — so is graduating from Poetry Box this year. I am sending her a copy of one of my poetry books. In my books, though, you have all been stars — your poems have given joy!

Thank you to all the fabulous schools, teachers and librarians who have taken time out of their busy schedule to help make Poetry Box an interactive blog that contributes something for us all. Special thanks to Desna from Fendaton Open Air School (your students think you are awesome!). I am sending you a copy of my book The Baker’s Thumbprint. Special thanks to Melanie Koster for her dedication to writing at Russley School, to helping children fall in love with writing no matter what their ability is. I am also sending you a copy of my book, The Baker’s Thumbprint.

Thank you to Random House, Scholastic,  Gecko Press and Auckland University Press who have contributed books as prizes. Your support and beautiful books have made a difference. Julia from Gecko Press even did a reading snapshot — awesome!

Thank you Christchurch! More schools and students have been involved than from anywhere else in NZ. You are awesome! I hope to be down your way again.

Thank you to all those who have kindly commented on the children’s writing. Special thanks to Maureen Sudlow (kiwiscan) (I am sending you a copy of my book The Baker’s Thumbprint). For a young poet to get a comment is pretty special.

A virtual bouquet of flowers to everyone who has viewed this blog, shared or liked a post and made it worthwhile for me to continue on next year (after a long holiday!).

Tomorrow will be my last post for the year and it will be a summer challenge for you all.

Love to all from,

Paula Green

A poem letter to Poetry Box

We hardly ever write letters and put stamps on them and post them to people. I used to do this a lot. We send quick emails and even quicker texts or tweets. Once upon a time people used to write poems to people, so I was over the moon to get this poem-letter sent to Poetry Box. Thank you!

Maybe you could write a poem-letter to someone and put a smile on their face. I reckon a poem would make a good Christmas present.

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Two delicious books: Melinda’s sleeping book and Gemma’s big box


Melinda Szymanik has a picture book out with gorgeous illustrations by Greg Straight. It is published by Duck Creek Press.

I love this book! From the delicious first line (‘While you are sleeping the world turns’) to the sweet end (can’t tell you that! You must read it yourself!). I have aways loved books and poems about night, espeically with the moon and the stars.

What is different about this book is that it shows you what is going on when one side of the world is sleeping. I am not going to tell you as that will spoil the book. You should hear it in Melinda’s words!

Melinda has poetry in her blood as she weaves her story with poetry magic. I love this line ‘Birds with full moon eyes take to the air’.

If you read this book you might be inspired to write a moon poem and put it in your summer poetry box (I will tell you about that on Friday!).

Even though my girls are teenagers I want to sit down with them after dinner and read them this story before they go to bed, because I reckon we are never too old for picture books like this.

Congratulations Melinda, Greg and Duck Creek Press– this is a beautiful book.


The second book is rather special as it is written by Gemma Lovewell and illustrated by  Amber Edwards (aged 14). Joy Cowley helped them publish this. Gemma goes to Adventure School in Porirua and is now aged 7 and in Year 3. In her bio note Gemma says she loves books and horses.

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Gemma wrote the story for a competition at Porirua Library (a favourite place of hers).

The book is perfect for this time of year, because it is all about what Gemma and her brother Daniel want for Christmas. The problem is … they get a big box (definitely not what was on their list!). Gemma’s story is the adventure of what they can do with a big box. I love the idea. I love the way we can find really ordinary things (a big box is pretty cool — my girls and my cats and dogs have always loved cardboard boxes) ….. and then use our imaginations to make them into something special. Gemma has thought of brilliant things you can use a big box for.

I am going to add a Gemma-box-poem challenge to my summer challenge on Friday!

As Joy Cowley says, this book should be in every home and library. Congratulations Gemma and Amber —  your book is a treat to read. I love it!

The book is published by The Copy Press, Nelson.

Spot prizes for the Reading Festival

Thank you so much all the teachers, librarians, New Zealand authors, publishers and children who joined in the Reading Festival. I might do another one next year at a different time of year and a bit differently — but it was fun.

Here are the spot prizes I am awarding. I don’t have books for everyone so if you missed out now, please try challenges next year. I loved reading all the things you sent me. Congratulations! You made it onto Poetry Box.

1. Taking a reading snapshot


My beautiful copy of AA Milne poems goes to Sylvia (12) from Parnell District School. This was a fabulous interview, chock full of books and wonderful comments. It filled me with the joy of reading. Thank you. Sylvia’s interview is here.


Russley School sent a swag of awesome reading snapshots and I loved them all. I have picked Danial (aged 7, Year 2) to send Kyle Mewburn’s Chick’s Sick (Illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly and published by Scholastic). This is a cool story with great rhythm and rhyme. It is excellent to read aloud. Thanks Scholastic for donating the book. Danial used Green Eggs and Ham to help write a reading snapshot. It was fun to read! The snapshot is here.

2. Writing a poem about books


Daniel wrote two cool poems. One is called ‘Hooked on Books’ and one is called ‘The Pohutakawa Tree.’ He is 5 and goes to Adventure School in Whitby, Poirirua. He gets Jenny Bornholdt’s beautiful book A Book Is a Book with illustrations by Sarah Wilkins and published by Gecko Press. Thank you Gecko Press for donating this gorgeous book. Read about Jenny’s book here. These are Daniel’s poems here and here.

I am also picking Jack’s poem ‘My Book.’ He is 9 and goes to Fendalton Open Air School. I really loved all the things he found to compare reading a book to. I am going to send him a copy of my book Flamingo Bendalingo. You can read his poem here.

3. Write a dog poem inspired by Margaret Mahy’s Dashing Dog.


Lots of entries with this. Thanks to HarperCollins I am sending Eliza a copy of Margaret’s book with illustrations by Donovan Bixley. You can read about the book here. Eliza’s poem,’My Dog,’ creates a wonderful picture of a dog. Her poem is full of surprises and bounce, and has a Margaret Mahy feel to it. You can read her poem here. Eliza goes to Fendalton Open Air School and is in Year 6.

4. Writing a poem from the point of view of another character was really popular. I am awarding this prize to Max for his ‘Hungry Caterpillar’ poem. Max is 6 and goes to Russley School. You can read his poem here. It was splendid! He will get a very cool book Alphabet Squabble with illustrations by Jenny Cooper and published by Scholastic (thanks Scholastic for donating this book). This is a story with great imagination and brilliant illustrations. I will buy myself a copy of this book!


5. Probably the most popular challenge was writing a poem using titles of books. It was really hard to pick a poem for a spot prize. In the end I am picking Izak‘s ‘A Margaret Mahy Mix Up.’ Izak is 8 and goes to Russley School. I loved the zim and zest in this poem. I loved the way he worked the titles in. He is getting a copy of Margaret Mahy’s gorgeous book Mr Whistler with illustrations by the talented Gavin Bishop and published by Gecko Press. You can read Isak’s poem here.

6. I said I would give an original Michael-Hight illustration from my book Flamingo Benadlindo to the school that joined in with enthusiasm and inspired me the most. Russley School (again!) takes the prize. They sent such a range of things from such a range of ages, it was just wonderul. Melanie Koster works hard in the school to inspire children with reading and writing. Congratulations. You can read her book snapshot here. A big thanks to Michael for donating his painting.


This is the last week on Poetry Box for 2013


This is the last week on Poetry Box for this year … then Poetry Box is off on holiday.

Today I will post the winners for the spot prizes in the Reading Festival.

On Tuesday I will post reviews of two cool books (one by a child and one by Melinda Szymanik.

On Wednesday I hope to post an interview with a fabulous poet who is 90!

On Thursday  I will post a Poetry-Box wrap up with some surprise mentions.

On Friday I will post a summer-poetry challenge for you.

ALL WEEKI would love to post letters from you (children, teachers, parents, and librarians) where you tell me what your favourite things about Poetry Box and what else you think it could do in 2014. This will help me plan next year!

Send to Include your name, age, year and name of school if you are child. If you are an adult, include your name and a one-sentence bio.