Monthly Archives: April 2016

My favourite poems that sound good from your April challenge

In April I posted tips and challenges on writing poems that sound good.

Thanks for sharing! I loved reading them and saying them out loud.

I really like the way these three poems use sound differently.


Trinity plays with different line lengths so her poem sounds so good.

Vesper has worked on the flow of words so her poem flows beautifully. I love the way the word ‘slicing’ jumps off the line. And the word ‘shines.’  This poem gave me shivers on my skin as I read it. It starts with sound and then builds a picture.

I love the way Daniel and Gemma, brother and sister, wrote a poem together about their grandfather. I think repetition really adds to the sound of the poem beautifully. It is like a little grandfather chant.

I am sending a book to Vesper. If you missed out this time I am posting a new challenge tomorrow (the first day of the month!).



The Forest 

The light shines through the leaves like blades,

slicing through the night air.

I lie in my tent,

I hear the wind howling through the leaves.

I see Vesper the evening star,

watching over the city, and me.


by Vesper W Ilam School (Rm 7, age 6)

Vesper told me that ‘Vesper’ is another name in Latin and Greek mythology for evening star and that it also a name for evening song for evening prayers. How wonderfll is that!


Who is he?

Who is Ganga?

He is tall

Someone to look up to

His hair fuzzes around his ears

And his face shows smile lines

He is kind

Kind of wonderful

Speaks beautiful big words

Like a walking, talking book

He is my Ganga


Who is My Grandad?

He is an armchair Olympian

An awesome team player

Who knows every team

A warrior of words

Crosswords quiver when he picks up his pen

Cruising through retirement

Cruising round the world

Leaving one foot on each tide of the Tasman

He is my Grandad


Who is he?

He is grandfather, father, uncle and husband

He is friend, neighbour and mentor

He is strength, courage and wisdom

He is who we need him to be

He is


By Gemma (10) and Daniel L (6) Adventure School, Porirua



Here goes

Dip the paintbrush in the blue

First stroke

Create the waterfall and river outline


New colour

Dip the paintbrush in the brown

Second stroke

Create the cliff and sky outline


Detail time

Get another shade of light blue

First blend

Blend the two different blues together


More detail

Get another shade of dirt brown

Second blend

Blend the two different browns together

Trinity Age 10, Year 6, Gladstone School

A fabulous, heart-warming ANZAC Day book for children: Gladys Goes to War

9780143507208.jpg   9780143507208.jpg


Gladys Goes to War written by Glyn Harper, illustrations by Jenny Cooper, Puffin Books,  2016


Gladys was a real person who went to World War I because she didn’t want to sit at home knitting. She loved cars and driving so she ended up becoming an ambulance driver. Before the war, it was very unusual for girls and women to do the jobs of men.

ANZAC Day is a time to remember the people we have lost and to remember the high cost of war, especially when our planet is still a battleground in places.  To share stories.

There are so many stories that come out of war. This story shows the courage of a young woman who followed her husband and became an ambulance driver in dangerous situations. She survived the war but her brothers and husband didn’t.

At the end of the war, she became very ill and spent a year in bed. But after that long rest, she found the strength to do extraordinary things. She drove across Australia with a friend and fixed her car whenever it broke down. She learned to fly and was the first woman in NZ to get her licence. She looked after war veterans when she was old.

This is a heart warming story that makes you feel sad and glad.

Gladys was a pioneering woman who showed us that we can do anything. Even when we have to face terrible hurdles.

Jenny’s illustrations are so full of life that they make you feel like you are there. I especially love the people. Jenny made these people matter to me.

Congratulations Glyn and Jenny – you make a great team. This beautifully written book is a must read!

April is Sound – some challenges for you


This month I thought you could explore ways to make a poem sound good. I love reading my poems out loud and I always want them to sound good.

I think writing a poem is a bit like making music.

This month you can send me a poem that sounds good when you read it out loud. This doesn’t mean it is a poem about sound. It means you listen to every line as you write.


My sound tips:

Play with how many words on a line. That changes the sound of your poem.

Play with long words and short words.

Hide rhyme in your poem.

Use words that almost rhyme.

Use words that sound delicious in pairs or triplets.

Put the words in surprising orders.

Listen to the rhythm of your lines. How can you change it?

Will you have verses?

Make sound patterns of words in a poem.


SEND your poem to

DEADLINE April 27th

Include your name, age, year and name of school. You can include your teacher’s email if you like.

PUT sound poem in the subject line of your email.

I will pick some favourites to post on the blog and have a book for at least one reader.

I will post on April 29th.


Happy poem days

from Paula x

Calling young poets: be part of Dylan Thomas’s Great Poem

Entries for the Dylan’s Great Poem competition open 28 April and you only need to write four lines to be in with a chance of winning

Welsh poet and playwright Dylan Thomas
Be like Dylan Thomas and strike a (poetic) pose. Photograph: Francis Reiss/Getty Images

If you’ve ever fancied yourself as a budding poet then listen up! Inspired by the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, Literature Wales is about to open its competition to write Dylan’s Great Poem – a 100 line poem written entirely by young people from all over the world.

To enter, you need to write up to four lines of poetry in English or Welsh, based around the theme “hands”, a topic inspired by Dyan Thomas’s poem ‘The Hand That Signed the Paper.’ From all the entries, 100 of the best lines will be chosen, and put together to create the “Great Poem”. The final poem will be put together by Rufus Mufasa and Clare E Potter and will be performed live on International Dylan Day on 14 May.

Not only that, but for those of you living in Wales there’s an extra prize on offer, with Welsh entrants between the ages of 11 and 17 having the chance to be selected for a poetry writing masterclass.

Don’t think that this means you have to be Welsh to enter though! Anyone between the ages of 7 and 25 can enter, no matter where in the world you are from. Submissions open on 28 April at 9am and close on Thursday 5 May, so get scribbling!

Dylan Thomas was born in Swansea, Wales in 1914 and is widely regarded as one of the most important poet of the 20th century. His works include the play, Under Milk Wood, and numerous poems, such as Do not go gentle into that goodnight. International Dylan Day on 14 May celebrates his life and works.

To enter the Dylan’s Great Poem competition visit

I love Rosie the cat!

Today I had a fabulous time at St Kentigern’s School doing poetry workshops. The Year 0 -1 students made up a bunch of poems  with me and I especially like this poem. It was such a good day, now I need to go and curl up like Rosie and have a nap on the bed!

Thank you for a very special day.




Brown cat

Fuzzy cat

Like a bear


Playing with toys

Playing with cotton balls

Likes to scratch


Wild cat

Sleeps inside

On the bed


Fluffy cat

Eats fish

And chips



Y0 and 1, and a few pre-schoolers

Here are the winners from The Ruapehu Writers Festival Poetry Competition for Children


While writers and readers filled the Powderhorn to the brim in Ohakune at the Ruapehu Writers Festival local children were writing poems.

I spent a fabulous morning visiting Ohakune Primary School, did a session with children at the festival and offered to judge a local poetry competition for children.

With so many of the poems singing the praises of the mountains, I felt I was right back in this beautiful location. That is what words can do – so thank you for making your special place sing.

I especially loved the poems that sounded good and that used strong detail. But poems can do anything!

My tip: Listen to every line as you write a poem!

I loved all the poems. It was very very hard to pick winners to post on the blog.

Congratulations if I picked you but I loved all the poems. You could try my monthly challenges on Poetry Box.



T  h  e       R   e  s  u  l  t  s



Years 1 to 2 I loved all these poems. They show you only need a few words to make something special! It was very very hard to choose. I read them all aloud to see which ones sounded extra good and which made an extra fabulous picture in my head.

First Place (Chase):

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 3.22.08 PM



Second Place (Paige):

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 3.23.49 PM.png


Third Place (Ariana):



Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 3.25.01 PM.png




Years 3 to 4 I love the sound of Jaydah’s poem when I say it out loud. Short poems can be very sweet and this one is! Georgia has found some excellent words for a porridge poem. I felt like I was eating a scrumptious bowl of porridge. I really enjoyed the flow of Lawrence’s poem and the excellent choice of words.


First Place (Jaydah-Lee):


Athletics Day

Zooming down the track.

Jumping like a kangaroo.

I threw a shot-put.

Jaydah-Lee Ioannidis, 7, Year 3-4, Ohakune Primary School



Second Place (Georgia):




Hot milk

Bubbling slimy gloopy

Sticky stiff thick sweet

Steamy banana creamy

Sweet yummy


Georgia Gowland-Douglas, 7, Year 3-4, Ohakune Primary School


Third Place (Lawrence):


Athletics Day

Running fast, puffing.

Hot and sunny at the high jump.

Zooming down the track.

Lawrence Reyes, 7, Year 3-4.



 Years 5 to 6 Some of these poems are full of energy and some are very quiet. I love the way Joshua’s poem flits across the page like running water. It has great details and great music. I love the way Maraea’s poem uses repetition and plays with how many words go on the line. I love the simplicity of Kodo’s poem and the surprising ending. It was too hard to pick in this category I have posted two extra Highly Commended poems. Both show a great use of rhythm and terrific detail.


First Place (Joshua):

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 3.33.01 PM.png



Second Place (Maraea):


River Swimming 2016

As I stepped onto the gooey rock,

it felt as if I was going to slip over.


I leaped in the freezing cold river

cold, cold, cold.


Swimming over to the black wet rope

it felt like I was climbing a big mountain of moss.


Splashes every now and then.



That looks painful!

Maraea Buckingham Year 5, Ohakune Primary School




Third Place (Kodo):


Dashing through the rapids


Dashing through the rapids

snowy, white crystal, clear water

over rocks we go

whistling everywhere.

Whio whio over there,

not here we’re not everywhere.


Kodo Drayton Year 5, Ohakune Primary School



Highly Commended (Jorja):


Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 3.41.22 PM.pngJorja Pearce, Year 6, Ohakune Primary School



Highly Commended (Hunter):


Blue Duck

I’m blue duck

swimming in the river.


Rapids are quick

but I can handle it.


I can blend in

with the rocks and the river,

so humans can’t find me.

Hunter Anderson Year 5, Ohakune Primary School




Years 7 to 8 These poems show how you can take the same subject and come up with such different results. I love the repeating lines in Keri and Kiana’s poems and the strong detail. They have chosen a great pattern.I like the use of the alphabet to frame the poem in Hayley’s. Another interesting pattern for a poem.


First Place (Kiana):


I Am Ruapehu

I am beautiful and scenic

I wonder if I could walk around

I hear the song of a jaybird

I see the sky a touch away

I want my snow never to melt away

I am beautiful and scenic


I pretend I am covered in a white lace veil

I feel the the cars tickling my toes

I touch the clouds

I worry my insides are blistering hot!

I cry when summer comes

I am beautiful and scenic


I understand my snow must melt away

I say I have a breathtaking life

I dream for a bluebird day

I try not to erupt

I hope to one day see the world

I am beautiful and scenic

Kiana Little, Age 11, Year 7, National Park School


Second Place (Hayley):


As I ski down the freezing cold mountain the Beautiful blue sky above me.

Courageous ski patrol people, Doing racing. Enjoying the snow, having

Fun, Getting cold, Horrible crashes, Icy slopes as the skies scratch the ice,

Jumps, Kind people helping others out. The Crater Lake, what a beautiful

sight, Many people go there every day, No one sad Or mad, People love

Mount Raphehu. Skiers Quickly ski down the mountain, Rocks cover the

mountain in the summer, Snow shimmering in the distance, To many

people at times, Unbelievable, Views, Wonderful slopes, Xrays are often

needed, Yummy food is provided at New Zealand’s highest café, Zig zaggy

slopes are the only way to go.

 Hayley Church, Age 12, Year 8, National Park School


Third Place (Keri):



I am in love with Mt Ruapehu

I wonder if the snow will ever disappear

I hear skis crunching on ice

I see white fluffy snow everywhere

I want to never leave this wonderful land

I am in love with Mt Ruapehu


I pretend I am riding horses when I ski

I feel the sharp sting of the cold

I touch the freezing snow and cold rocks

I worry for when the summer comes

I cry, no longer when I crash

I am in love with Mt Ruapehu


I understand now that winter has to end

I say snow is amazing

I dream that I will eventually win a race

I try to win at ski races

I hope I do win one day

I am in love with Mt Ruapehu

Keri Baker, Age 12, Year 8, National Park School



Thank you for this wonderful chance to reach a whole bunch of poems from Ruapehu District. I loved it!