Monthly Archives: June 2015

Poetry Bonanza Monday – off on a plane, a made-up word challenge, a hand-made book

Letterbox Cat    Letterbox Cat    Letterbox Cat    Letterbox Cat

This morning I am flying to Wellington to go to the LIANZA Children’s Book Awards which is really exciting! Lots of great children’s books have been shortlisted. I am just delighted to be a finalist and won’t be at all bothered if I don’t win my category. I get to go to Wellington!

I really like this competition as librarians pick the books. Librarians are really good at sharing good reads with children. So bravo NZ librarians! Thank you for picking my book for the shortlist.



Don’t forget I am on the hunt for children to pick a NZ author to interview. You pick – I try and set it up for you (class, reading group or an individual). It is a golden opportunity to do something special.

I am on the hunt for children to review NZ books – any genre!


On Friday, I got given a beautiful hand-stitched book with the poems that are on my birthday present web site ( I was so moved. Now I can pass around the poems. I can read them when our power goes off! It goes off when it gets too windy.

Have you ever made a hand-made book? Especially a hand-made book of poems. Send me a photo and I will post it on my blog. Show me what’s inside!

photo 1  photo 2 photo 3


A Poetry Challenge

I love making up words. My all-time favourite poet, Margaret Mahy, loved making up words. Your challenge this week is to write a poem with at least one made-up word in it.

* You can just use one or as many as you like

* You can make up a word for a sound (like the noise of wind or rain or a cat) This is onomatopoeia

*You can take one word and play with it through the poem

hicklethump hocklethump ticklethump hahathump (oooh I might write a poem with these!)

blustery bluttery bluffery bloowhery (ooh and these)

* have fun!                                         P                l          a                    Y

* listen to the sounds and the order of words on the line



DEADLINE for your Made-Up-Word-Poem Challenge: Wednesday June 24th

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

PLEASE say it’s for the Made-Up-Word-Poem challenge. Put in the subject line of the email please.

I will post my favourites and have a book for a poet (Year 0 to Year 8).







Still time for schools to enter The Fourth Fabulous Poetry Competition

You send in 12 poems in total from your school  (an age range is an advantage but not essential).

There is no theme.

You can write any kinds of poems you like.

They get sent to The New Zealand Book Council not me.

Only winners will be notified.

Finalists and winners will be posted on the blog and on NZBC web site on Monday August 10th.

You need to send in one entry form with all the details completed.

Each poem must have child’s age, name and year.







My favourite food poems

I am posting my favourite two food poems. Anita‘s poem is very simple and simple poems can be a great way to create a strong image. I think Emily was inspired by a funny food poem of mine (see my note under her poem) and brought her own imagination to it. I am always happy for you to use my poems for inspiration!

Congratulations girls. I am sending you both a copy of my book The Letterbox Cat. I just need to order some more so you may have to wait a bit!


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“Hmm, what’s for dinner, what’s for dinner?”

Jane asked.

“Will it be gatatoe and pravy?”

“Or sicken choup”?

“Maybe even chish and fips?”


said Mum.

“We’re having

Potato and gravy,

Chicken soup



Fish and chips.”

Emily R, 10yrs old, Yr. 6 who goes to Hobsonville Primary School. I think Emily was inspired by a poem I have in Macaroni Moon! It’s called ‘Nutty Food.’ I like the way she changed the second part and made the poem her own. Brava!


Food poems make me hungry!


I am on the hunt for interviewers and reviewers for Poetry Box

I have a group of students working on an interview of a NZ author right at this moment!

Very exciting.

This is a great opportunity for a class, a reading group or an individual student.

You will come up with ten questions, right a bio of the author and yourself/or a group bio.

Once you pick your NZ author I get in touch with them and see if they will say yes!


You can write a short review of NZ book (any genre) for me to post with an author bio and your bio. I can post your photo if you have parental permission.

So!  Let’s see how many we can get.

Time to vote: The Letterbox Cat is a Children’s Choice finalist in the NZ Book Awards

I was over the moon to find out The Letterbox Cat is a finalist in the Children’s Choice part of the NZ Children’s and YA Book Awards. Interestingly, it is in the Non-Fiction section whereas in the LIANZA Awards it is in the Junior Fiction section. Poetry slips and slides all over the show!

A big congratulations to all the authors that made the main list. Bravo!

Being a children’s choice finalist is very special to me as I wrote this collection of poems for children (not for adults really!). Sorry to say this (all this crying of late!), but I burst into tears when I found out. So thank you for voting for it. It means so much.

Now it is time to vote for a winner in each category and I urge you do so. The more children that vote the better it is for the awards. I am not saying vote for me (but yes that would be wonderful), but just vote. Your vote shows how important these awards are. We can’t take our NZ Book Awards for granted. This year the Adult Book Awards are not taking place.

So cast your vote and share this page with as many people as possible. Thank you!

Everyone who votes will go in a draw to win some books for themselves and their school (children under 18 only!).


The main finalists here.

The Children’s Choice finalists here.

Voting form here.


My category:

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Poetry Bonanza Monday; the marvellous moon, the mysterious moon and I’m on the hunt for reviews and interviewers

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Well I am so happy after such a happy weekend to celebrate my 60th birthday. NZ poets made an amazing birthday gift for me that you can see here. I cried! Every time I choose a new poem to read I cry!  I am so moved by it all. There are even poems by two children.

*    *    *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Don’t forget:

Do you want to interview  NZ author?

Do you want to review a NZ book (any genre) or a poetry book from anywhere in the world?

Let me know!!!!!

And schools still have time to enter the Fourth Fabulous Poetry Competition for Children. Go here.


t   h   e          m   o   o   n

I love reading poems about the moon and I love writing poems about the moon. There is something about the moon that is altogether mysterious and marvellous. It can be such a thing of beauty hanging in the sky.

So this week your challenge is to write a moon poem. It can be a poem about the moon or a poem in which the moon makes an appearance.


Hunt for as many moon words as you can. What it looks like!

Try different endings. try different kinds of endings that makes the reader feel something different.

Try to use real detail.

What does the moon remind you of? test out different possibilities.

Think carefully about how many words you use on the line.

Which words stand out in your poem? That are particularly delicious and moon perfect.


DEADLINE for your Moon-Poem Challenge: Wednesday June 17th

Send to Include your name, year, age and name of school. You can include your teacher’s name and email. PLEASE say it’s for the Moon-Poem challenge.

I will post my favourites and have a book for a poet.


photo 3




My birthday weekend

This weekend was a very special birthday for me because I turned 60. My family came from from far and wide to share lunch with me, I went to a play, a movie and out for dinner over the course of three days. It was a perfect weekend. My sister-in-law even turned up by surprise from Sydney. My mother came from Nelson and Michael’s family from Tauranga.

And on the morning of my birthday i got sent a link to a web page NZ poets had made as a birthday gift. Anna jackson, wonderful Wellington poet and dear friend, started it up with help from Helen Rickerby and Harry Ricketts.

They called it A Poetry Shelf for Paula Green and lots of wonderful NZ poets wrote or picked poems for the shelf. I am sharing the link with you so you can read through this treasure box. In fact it is like a chocolate box … I am still picking and choosing. I cried when I got sent the link and I cry as i read each poem.

So do go dipping and delving in this treasure. it is very moving. Very wondersome.


Warm greetings to all young poetry fans.


My favourite wind poems are very windy indeed!



Such a terrific bunch of poems arrived in my email box! So full of the wind it felt like my study got really windy. And it is still windy. I have picked a few of my favourites to post but don’t feel bad if you missed out this time as I had too many favourites this time!

Such good words to make the wind come alive in your poems. Short lines worked well. And so did longer lines! I loved the poems with good windy detail. Daniel used ‘w’ alliteration which made his poem even windier — and then made it LOOK windy on the page. He also made up a word — see if you can spot it. I loved the surprise of Anita’s poem and the fabulous sounding list that grows in Matthew’s. I also loved Natalie’s short lines. Very effective. Lucy’s terrific poem was strong on mood. Great job young poets!

I am sending a book to Matthew from Fendalton Open Air School in Christchurch.


The wildest winds

The wildest winds

Twist my hair up

Like a tornado

Above my head

And lets it fall

Loosely down again.


The wildest winds

Blow my dress

Out to the sides,

But nothing can

Blow me off my feet.



The roaring wind

The roaring winds go whoosh.

The roaring winds knot my hair

Like a dragon in its lair.


both by Imogen Campbell Age 7 Homeschooled




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Name: Natalie H Age: 10 Year: 6 School: Fendalton Open Air School


The Constant Wind

The wind that blows the leaves to your front door

the wind that blows the waves on the sea

the wind that blows the grass on a mountain

the wind that blows on the feathers of an eagle

the wind that carries the howl of a wolf

is the wind that sounds like a beating heart.

by Matthew B 10 Fendalton Primary School, Christchurch, NZ.


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Anita, Age 9, Year 5, Fendalton Open Air School


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Lucy is currently in Year 8 at Selwyn House School, and is 12 years old



By Daniel Year 2 Aged 6 Adventure School

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