Monthly Archives: July 2015

Happy Birthday Gecko Press- some poems for you!

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h a p p y      b i r t  h d a y      GECKO PRESS from young New Zealand poets!

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This was such a popular challenge it has taken me AGES to read all the fabulous poems you sent in. What a great way to celebrate Gecko Press and all the gorgeous books they publish.

I have posted far more than I usually would as it is like a birthday party post with lots of poems.

I have picked these poets to send a Gecko Press book  (thanks Gecko Press for sending me the books!). I am never to old for a Gecko Press book whatever category it is.


Ruby T All the Dear Little Animals

Phoebe Snake and Lizard

Grace S  My happy Life

Emma C Donkeys

Sophie B A Book is a Book

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Here are some of my favourites:



My dog jumped over the log into a forest
I followed him.
We shrunk
and climbed into a beehive
where we met a wolf.
We danced with it
then we all had a feast of honey.
The hive was covered in diamonds.

Ruby T Age 7, Y3, Ilam School

Watch out crocodile!

Watch out crocodile for the king gorilla.

Watch out crocodile for the flying undies.

Watch out crocodile for the soaring Eagles.

Watch out crocodile for the talking bears.

Watch out crocodile for the elegant leopard.

Watch out crocodile for the chocolate monster.

Watch out crocodile for the charging bull.

Watch out crocodile for the flying boy.

By Grace S Age: 10 Year 6 Paparoa Street School


The Cake

Sitting on the table was a little blue cake,

And delicately sitting on top was a blue and white lake!

There were orange fish and a green lily pad.

It is beautiful until it gets cut by Dad!

Phoebe Age: 8 Year: 4 Fendalton School



The King and the Sea

My streak of green

My wind wiped mane

My white roar

My blue wave

The king breaks me

Then he fixes me

He comes and he goes

He is cycle of my life

I’d try to get free

I’d leave

But I’m stuck

and I’m here for life

Let me run

Let me soar

Let me call for freedom from the the king’s world

Let me be me

I am the sea

Emma C Age: 10 Selwyn House School



When Dad showed me the universe 

When Dad showed me the universe,

he showed me all the stars,

he taught me that some are close

and some are very far.


He told me that in the day

the sun sits way up high,

also that there’s other planets

we can’t see in the sky.


And at the end of the day,

when the night sky is going dark,

then it is the moon’s time

to shine brightly in the park.

Sophie  B 10 year old girl, a Year 6 student at Paparoa Street School



The Cake

There it is,
looking yummy with its strawberry
sauce driping down the edge’s.

There it is,
screaming for chocolate ice-cream
to sit next to it and keep it company.

There it is,
waiting patiently for a rainbow of
sprinkles to fall on to it.

There it is,
all that yummy strawberry sauce,
chocolate ice-cream and sprinkles-
Who ate the cake?!
I bet my pet Gecko did!
That naughty Gecko!

Tyler L, 11 years old, Paparoa street school in Christchurch


A book is a book
No matter how hard you try
It will stay as a book
As a book it will stay

It will never turn into a car
A book is a book
And that’s how it will stay.
Evie S I am eight years old and I am in Year 4. Fendalton School



Speed of Light
My feathers capture air
My talons grasp the sky
My plumage rustling in the breeze
My beak savouring the blue
They capture me
They shoot me down
They ensnare me
They trap and trick me
I’d be free if not for them
I’d glide faster than the light
But I think I can
And I think I will
Let me free
Let me glide faster than the light
Let me grasp the sky
Let me savour the blue, once more.

Harriet Compton-Moen, a 12 year old student in Year 8 at Selwyn House School


The Cake
The flame flickers,
coloured wax streams down,
the candles puff out,
the cake is sliced and separated,
bitten and beaten,
the life of a cake!

Ollie H Age : 10 Paparoa Street School



The king and the sea
Waves fold over the sand,
All you can hear is the soft sound of the ocean,
The king of the sea is content.

The fish swim blissfully,
they are in peace.

The fisherman up above drop down their nets.

The king of the sea is enraged,
His tranquil ocean disturbed.

By Isabella Read Age 12 Year 8 Selwyn House School


Speed of Light
Flashing right before
your eyes,
like the speed
of light,
or dragging ever
so slow,
like clouds roaming
the sky.

The seconds hand
with endless ticking,
blending with
the movements
of the minutes
and hours.

Right now it travels
at the speed of light
encased in it’s own place,
and it’s own

By Ewen W aged 12, Year 8, Cobham Intermediate School, Christchurch



Every day
one crocodile
walks to a tree but it doesn’t walk normally
it walks like me
He lives in a cave
and he wears a hat
but this is this
and that is that.
Liam F Fendalton School


The Cake

The Marshmallow cake, makes me bounce.

The bubbly cake, makes me gulp.

The pencil cake, makes me think.

The rubber cake, makes me forget.

The history cake, makes me remember.

 Ysabella H Year 4  Age: 8   School: Ilam School


Where is Rusty?
I have lost
My dog Rusty
He must be all dusty
In the garbage
Where is Rusty?
There you are Rusty!
You are dusty
I must give you
A bubbly bath
And Rusty said
I’m Rusty

Ruby S Age 6,   Year 2  Ilam School


The Cake

The cake with candles

The cake with icing,

Tastes so good,

The cake with colour,

The cake with flavour,

Tastes so nice

Oh really nice.


The cake with texture,

The cake with passion,

Tastes so delicious

Oh really delicious

By Cooper H Paparoa Street School


The Cake

The cake is humongous!

The cake is chocolate!

Just waiting…

To be gobbled

I stare longingly

At the rising cake

Which is oozing

As fast as the speed of sound

I licked my chops,


Emma E Age: 8 Year: 4 Fendalton School


Where is Rusty?

Barbed wire,

a dog,

lying stranded,

the colour of a deer,

a black spot,


his left eye,


gaping out,

of his bare legs,

in need,

of a home.

Natalie H Age: 10 yrs Year: 6 Fendalton School


My Cousin skipped out with my cake while toppling all over the place
I held my breath
Hoping it wouldn’t tip,
she banged into the fridge
Knocking over the dip
Everyone jumped for joy
When she made it to the table
But then it slid off the table
That was the end of the cake!

Alice, I am 11 years old and go to Paparoa Street School


The Cake

The mountain of pudding
rises from it’s place
on a tray.

Icing, like fluffy clouds
floats on a soft sponge.

Layers of colour
meet the ceiling
and cease to move.

Jam joins slices
of cake to the next.

Toffee tunnels through
the centre and oozes out.

It’s sweet taste
leaves you waiting
for more.

Sadly its only part
of my imagination.

Vivien S 10 years old Paparoa Street School

A Book is a Book

You can take it to a nook

And have a look

It’s good for a cook

Less so for a crook


You can read it in the car

Or carefully in the spa

Take it near or far

Even teach yourself guitar!


A book can help you have a rest

Get you ready for a test

And some of the best

are published By Gecko Press!!!

By Gemma L Adventure School


Speed of Light

In the dark

The cheetah stalks

Muscular legs

Moonshine eyes


A bush moves

The cheetah sneaks

Twitching tail

Bristling fur


An animal races

The cheetah chases

Desert plains devoured

Fast as the Speed of Light


In the dark

The cheetah dashes

Successful attack

Deadly predator

Daniel L Adventure School

A UK class hooks onto Poetry Box

Laura got in touch with me a few months ago because she and her class had discovered Poetry Box. I invited her to send her some poems and tell us what they did. I was so delighted that Poetry Box can stretch and inspire other places. The young poets have most definitely used their eyes and ears, as their poems sound good and are popping with juicy detail. Thank you so much for sending these in. Great job! Happy poem days across the other side of the world!

This from Laura:

The whole of Year 5 (pupils aged 9 and 10) had an hour’s session on poetry during our Go Global week.

For the session I put together a brief powerpoint explaining about you with a link to your website, and an extract from the email you sent about the possibility of their poems featuring on your blog, which made them very excited and motivated! Then there were a few photos of the Tui bird (which the children had never seen before), after which we read your poem about the bird. Following this we switched our focus to the kiwi bird: we listened to its cry, watched a short video of it moving and looked at photos of it. I also shared some key facts about it with the children – they were particularly fascinated by the size of its eggs! It was then their turn to write. Given the time constraints, I did not give them any instructions regarding form etc, although I did stipulate that the use of rhyme should not be their foremost concern. A few pupils decided to copy the structure of your tui poem.

I was really pleased with the energy and enthusiasm the pupils showed during the session. They certainly enjoyed learning about the kiwi. They also loved having the freedom to write poetry without having to follow any rules – so rare in our very crowded curriculum!


Some of the poems:


The Kiwi 

The kiwi,

the king of the bush.

As small as a netball.

As sensitive as a snake.

As fluffy as a puppy.

As protective as my mum.

Sleeps all day and parties all night.

He sings his song camouflaged in the green.

As rare as a white tiger,

As lovable as a pony.

by Bella M


The Kiwi

Kiwis have a long beak,

thin beak, white beak, pointy beak.


They have black feathers,

furry feathers, heavy feathers, fat feathers.


Noisy kiwis,

quiet kiwis, old kiwis, young kiwis,


in the New Zealand land,

wild land, hot land, forest land


in a loyal pair

nocturnal pair, Oceania pair, grand pair.

by Scott R


The Kiwi

Its beak long and thin

Its feathers soft and rare

Its squawk high and constant

The kiwi bird.


Sensitive like a cat,

Lovable like a dog

Wings without flight

Bushy like a koala

The kiwi bird.


Burrows like a rabbit

Nocturnal like a bat

Eggs like planets

Legs long and stringy

The kiwi bird.

by Bruno C



The Kiwi Bird

Kiwi, kiwi, small and brown,

Kiwi, kiwi, on the ground,

Kiwi, kiwi, camouflaged and rare,

Kiwi, kiwi, I know you’re there.


She sleeps by day and comes out at night,

and meets her mate in the moonlight,

her body is hard to see when it’s as dark as night.


She eats her food of bugs and plants

then return to her burrow to sleep.

by Lucy W

The Kiwi

The kiwi is a little bird, a tiny bird, a small bird.

He is a fat bird, a chubby bird, an enormous bird.

He is a rough bird, a feisty bird, a naughty bird.

The kiwi has a big egg, a huge egg, a fat egg.

by Scott W



Kiwi poem

Kiwi is a small, small bird,

But doesn’t live in a herd.

The kiwi has a big, brown back,

And also a trimmed tail.


The kiwi bird is very fat,

It has whiskers like a cat,

It has claws like strips of silver,

And feathers like a glowing river.

by Michael S


The Kiwi Bird

I am endangered,

I am small and round.


I can’t fly at all,

but I get around.


My whiskers are long,

my beak is sharp.


My eggs are large

but I am small.

Can’t you guess me at all?


I am squeaky and cheeky,

lovable and cute.

Still can’t guess me? One more clue:


I burrow in the ground,

You should be able to guess me now.


Fine, I will tell you.

I am a kiwi bird, get it now?

by Poppy T




My Kiwi Poem

The other birds don’t like me much

They say I have no feathers to touch.

They say I don’t sing but squawk

and that’s not really proper bird talk.


They say that I have an odd bird name

and when I am around I am a pain.

I have huge eggs that I do lay

and that’s what the other birds say.


Although the other birds don’t like me

I’m a happy bird, can’t you see?

by Lily S



You have until July 31st to vote for CHILDREN’s Choice -here is the correct link

Here is the link to the list of finalists in Children’s Choice categories in the NZ Children’s B Awards.

– as chosen already by children – now is the time to vote – and by the end of this week – Friday 31st July

A vote for The Letterbox Cat is a vote for poetry! Yeah! Woohoo!

Letterbox Cat

Holiday postcards

When I was a girl, I loved getting postcards and I loved sending postcards.There is something magical about a postcard from another place with a little message on it.

When I left New Zealand in my twenties to explore the world I sent lots of postcards to friends and family. Nowadays people send messages on their phones, computers and other devices, but my daughter in Europe has promised to send me a postcard or two. I can’t wait.

Poetry Box usually goes on holiday in your holiday time so I can focus on my writing, but I thought it would be fun to send me poem postcards that you made yourselves. The old fashioned way using a stamp, a postbox and a letterbox.

I got two postcards, one from Daniel and one from Gemma! I was so excited to get them. They took me to another place which is just what postcards can do especially when there is a poem on them.

I think I might try this agin in the next holidays to see what arrives in my box.

I am sending Gemma and Daniel a surprise book.

Here they are:

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My Adventurous Holiday

In the winter sunshine
My exploring in nature
Sees sun rise each morning.

By Daniel L Age 6, Year 2, Adventure School



Road Trip

A tomato, a dog, a giant welly

Some tanks, a mountain and a place that is smelly

Are we there yet?


A corrugated sheep, a great steel bridge

A very tall tower, a slipped road on a ridge

Are we there yet?


A clock museum, avocado trees,

Some fancy-pants toilets, and oranges if you please

Are we there yet?


Then finally the sea

We’re nearly in reach

Are we there yet?


Yes – it’s Coopers Beach!

By Gemma L Age 9, Year 5, Adventure School,


Northland Tour: Let’s get Skyping – this is a great way for authors to have sessions with schools throughout NZ

For the next few weeks I am doing follow-up Skype sessions with some of the schools I visited in Northland. I have done this before with Ngaio School in Wellington but this is on a bigger scale. Each school has come up with something different. All will be workshops but ranging from 16 to 75 in a session!

Yesterday I kicked it off with a writing workshop at Matarau School (just out of Whangarei). I was over the moon with how well it went. The only technical hitch was when the children spoke, it sounded like they were in the ocean (or a swimming pool) and I needed a dolphin interpreter (the teacher). But that worked! Every single student hooked into their own private poetry zone with supreme focus. Once they were into the process, one by one they, held their drafts up to the camera, and I was able to give feedback and mini challenges as I do in a classroom.

The poems were so good. I can’t wait to share at the end of the Skype season.

This is just amazing to me as it seems with support from people like The NZ Book Council (and on this occasion UNESCO) I can now work in rural out-of-the-way schools that hardly ever get writer visits.

w  o  n  d  e  r  f  u  l

excuse the fuzzy photo of my screen  you can see me in the right hand corner taking the photo


Northland Tour: Celebrating Maori Language Week can be very moving

Kia ora young poets,

I have always wanted to post a poem in Te Reo and today I can do it which is perfect timing.

This morning I was in my local supermarket and children from a nearby school were giving all the shoppers a lesson in Te Reo. We had to say the names of things we buy as they held up the posters. Children showed us to pronounce words, then we copied. The supermarket handed out scrumptious muffins and scones. Wow!

When I visited the very lovely Mania View School on my tour, the Te Reo class recited this poem they had written and then sang a waiata. I felt very welcomed by these gifts. Thank you. The gift of song is very precious.



Tiramarama nga whetu

Nga tuahine e whitu

Tiramarama Matariki e

Ka kite i te Moata e

He whakanui te Tau Hou

O te Iwi Maori e Matariki e!


The bright shining stars

The seven sisters

Shining bright for Matariki

You’ll see them early morning

Celebrating the Maori New Year

It is Matariki e!

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Northland Tour: Some more poems from Onerahi School

This was the first school I visited on my tour and even though the poetry popped and crackled in the workshops (WOW! three workshops with about 75 children in each), I only posted one by Liam. I went back to my motel and fell asleep!

Here are some others that hooked me:


Kaitaia Cape

Black, white flag moves

brown kiwis hide away

the height of 100 ft

very far away.



blue house creaking

green bright pollen grass smell

white and brown dogs barking

the sound echoes

the bright blue sky with

white bright clouds

drifting through the sky.

Cars rumming on the road

the sun slowly drifting through

the sky also

people walking, talking.



Misty rain dropping

frosty outside walls

dew in the trees

aeroplanes zooming

freezing grass

water dripping

from cabbage tree leaves,

flax growing

from the rain,

flug lights

shining through

the windows.



People chanting, scores rising

light glows

balls rolling

down the oily alley

pins scattering

people smiling

teddy bears dropping

levers moving

buttons pushing

people playing games

winning noises

birthday singing.



Sunny skies

and sandy beaches,

grassy hills

and moving creatures,

bright pink starfish

and big huge whales

clear blue sea

and dolphin tales.



Water waving

people bathing

sand swishing

fish wishing

kids digging

life guards grinning

workers singing

dogs barking

and walking.



A big wild pig

in deep green trees.

A big deep strong

stream rushing to me.

The trees waving

around because

of the strong wind.




A big white box

filled with cold air

fruit veggie

freshly made juice

sitting n the shelf

four fat suasages

roasting on the plate

leftovers to share.




Baby was snoring,

woke up

‘Get ready!’


still laying

not moving

eyes close again.










Northland Poems: Kerikeri High school poems with great wintry moods!

I was so tired by the end of the week I didn’t get to post these. Visiting two groups of Year 7 students at Kerikeri High School was a wonderful experience. The sound of pencils scratching on the paper as the students got right into their poetry zones was spectacular. It deserves a poem.

A big thank you to the warm and firendly teachers and librarians. And for the delicious lunch!

Here are a few poems that struck me from this visit! Love the detail in these and the made-up words.


Chilly Winter

Frosty crystals forming

chilly wind howling past

bare trees moaning

this is winter.



Winter Awakes

Winter awakens

beds of frost

burning flames, winds singing

chimneys smoking, windows defending

flakes falling

sleds slicing

skis gliding, snowballs flyng

eyes awidening

winter has arrived.




Frosty grass, still

clouds like marshmallows,

cold toes.

Time to dip into some warm

slippers and start the





Green trees frosting

water ice cold

fire heating house

cosy woollen blanket


Ice skating, driftly

white gentle clouds

seagulls resting

pumpkin soup steaming

pot ready, on stove

for ,,,

hot chocolate to warm

me up.








Fourth fabulous Poetry Competition: Deadline July 31st – you get me in your school for two days!

Still time for schools to enter Fourth Fabulous Poetry Competition  DEADLINE July 31st

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.

Entry Forms here


Send to:


Fourth Fabulous Poetry Competition, New Zealand Book Council
Level 4, Stephenson & Turner House
156 Victoria Street
Te Aro, Wellington 6035

Poetry Bonanza Monday: Home sweet home and a challenge for you

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How lovely to go away on a Northland Tour and how lovely to be back home.

Still time to do these things and then I have  challenge for you at the bottom for this week.


1. If you vote for the  Children’s Choice books at The NZ Children’s Book Awards you and your school will go into the draw to win some books. A vote for The Letterbox Cat is a vote for Poetry! Voting form here.

2. 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.

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


4. Still time to enter 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.

Entry Forms here


5. This week’s challenge

Write a poem that shows me something you love about home. Home might be a town or village. It might be your back garden. It might be the people you love.


* Collect lots of words, especially things you love about your home.

*(for older children who want an extra challenge) Write two or three words that show me what you think of home (for example: fun, beautiful, loving, nice). Don’t use these words in your poem. Find things and verbs and different adjectives to show me how your home is like this.

* It might be what you play with, who you play with, what you eat or wear or do. Your favourite places to be. What you do with your favourite people.

* Write your poem and put no more than five words on the line.

* The more detail you use of real things the better your poem will be. That will help it stand out.


DEADLINE for your Home-Poem Challenge: Wednesday August 5th

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 Home-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).