Monthly Archives: June 2017

Gecko Press are starting the Curiously Good Book Club – four days left on their Pledge Me campaign to meet the target

I love Gecko Books and think this is such a great idea I am going to support it with a pledge. Time is running out but if you also love the idea (see below) then you might be able to help too. You can give $10 because it all adds up.You can get rewards. Time is running out as they only have four days to reach their target!


Reading books as a young girl shaped me – and set me on a trail of wonderful experiences and discoveries as I grew into adult me.

Reading books matters so very very much. (especially poetry!!)

Go here to pledge me page.

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What is the Curiously Good Book Club?

We want to create a digital and real life community where people can share knowledge about great books for children (not just our books) and find creative ways to encourage children to love to read. The Curiously Good Book Club will include activities for kids, real people events and rich digital experience.

We would love to have storytelling sessions at the beach; workshops on how to be a good reader-alouder; give every child a tiny reading journal and I’m a Curiously Good Reader badge.

We want to collaborate with anyone and everyone, and to be loud about the joy and benefits of being a good reader.

Because one good book can kickstart every child into a lifetime love of reading.


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A sad loss: John McIntyre champion of children’s books in New Zealand RIP



I was shocked and saddened to get this news. All of us in the children’s book world have much to mourn at the news of John’s death. He has flagged New Zealand books (and from across the globe) with such enthusiasm and expertise – in his vibrant and vital bookstore (with is wife Ruth), The Children’s Bookshop in Wellington, and in regular children’s book reviews with Kathryn Ryan on National Radio. His infectious love of books, and his support of New Zealand authors was tremendous. He will be sorely missed.

My thoughts and love go out to Ruth, family, friends and our children’s book communities.


Interview with Kathryn Ryan on National Radio a few weeks ago.

Every second Friday for 15 years, children’s bookseller John McIntyre has discussed the latest releases for children on RNZ.

But don’t call him a reviewer – “I’m a cheerleader”.

Two June Challenges: Poetry parcels and Joy Cowley’s Snake and Lizard

Welcome young poetry fans  – I am so so so so so busy this year I am a day late. I am thinking hard and writing hard about what poetry can do.  So that inspired my first challenge.


Challenge One:


Poems can do and play and puzzle with so many things.

Poems can sound as good as a song.

Poems can build lists and make pictures grow in your head.

Poems can whizz or go slow.

They might surprise or soothe or shock or challenge you. You might laugh

or frown or cry as you read.

They can be short or long like a letter or a huge birthday parcel.


Your challenge is to write a poem about:     Poetry – writing poems or reading poems .


What are poems like to you? What do you love about poems?

What do they remind you of? Where do you read them or write them?

Find some good VERBS for what a poem DOES.

Find some sizzling SIMILES.


Send to by 26th JUNE. I will post some favourites on JUNE 30th and have a copy of the book for one reader.

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

IMPORTANT: Put POEM POETRY challenge in the subject line of the email please.



Challenge Two



I am a HUGE fan of Joy Cowley and Gavin Bishop and I especially love their Snake and Lizard books.


So on a very wet Sunday afternoon I gobbled up the new one: Helper and Helper.


Gavin’s illustrations are sheer beauty.

Joy’s stories are warm and wise and witty. Her sentences are like clear shiny streams.


Snake and Lizard are full to the brim with life and show us the power of friendship. Being friends is bumps and hills and new days and arguments and listening and kindness and discoveries.

When I read these stories I fill with warmth and good feelings and just want to write poems or even give stories a go.


a n o t h e r   c h a l l e n g e

I LOVE LOVE LOVE these stories so much I am challenging you to write a ‘Snake and Lizard’ poem (You can do more than one!). Read the book first to get inspired by the characters. Make up what happens. It can be something very small and curious.

I have the book to give to one young poet thanks to GECKO PRESS.


 Send to by 26th JUNE. I will post some favourites on JUNE 30th and have a copy of the book for one reader.

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

IMPORTANT:  Put SNAKE and LIZARD challenge in the subject line of the email please.