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.


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