Monthly Archives: October 2017

Some favourite poems from the October challenges

I had fun writing some found poems and some book-spine poems.

I also had fun reading yours so a big THANK YOU for sending them.

This is a MAMMOTH post because there were so MANY  p o e m s.


Selwyn House School and Paparoa Street School were so enthusiastic about the book-spine poems and Westmere School cooked up a storm with found poems.

I am sending a copy of The Letterbox Cat to Te Wana class at Paparoa Street School. I loved the way you used the words in a book to take your poems off in a thousand different  s u r p r i s i n g   directions.


On November 1st, I am posting my last challenges for the year.



Here are some book-spine poems:


Juliet G, 10 years old, Selwyn School



Our story
Jumping cross country fences
Staying clean
Ice skating school
Caring for cats and kittens
Dogs and puppies
The world’s shoulders

Juliet G, 10 years old, Selwyn House School


The Other Side Of Dawn

Petals in the ashes
The white darkness
Taking off
A very unusual pursuit
Let me whisper you my story


Photo on 24-10-17 at 9.30 AM.jpg

Sylvie King Age: 11 Year: 6 Selwyn House School
The Cup Of The World

Fly Away Home
By The Monkey’s Tail
Out Of My Mind
The Deadly Dare Mysteries
The 10pm Question

Photo on 24-10-17 at 10.16.jpg

Masha P, ten years old, Selwyn House School


The pearl of one foot island
The pearl of one foot island
The colossus rises
The wind in the willows
You’ve got guts
Mao’s last dancer
Treasure hunters

Photo on 24-10-17 at 10.07 AM.jpg

Ruby A, 10 years old,  Year 5,  Selwyn House School



Through the tiger’s eye

Against the tide
No survivors
A very unusual pursuit
The spook’s apprentice
The gray king
The seeing stone
The power of one

Harriet  age 9 year five Selwyn House School

Beware of the Dark!

The dark is rising
Thief Lord
Daughter of the wind
Alone on a wide, wide sea
Chasing Vermeer
The cup of the world
The prisoner
Out of my mind
When friendship followed me home

Laura M Age 10,  Selwyn House School

What the raven saw

What the raven saw
Through the tiger’s eye
Jungle hunters
Liar and spy.

Gemma W 10 years old, Year 5, Selwyn House School


Juggling with Mandarins,
if i stay,
call me HOPE,
Forever Rose.

Photo on 24-10-17 at 11.20 AM.jpg

Alice M 10 years old, Y5, Selwyn House School


Here are some found poems:



Students from Te Wana, Paparoa Street School sent me a bunch of fabulous found poems using words random pages in the Lemonade Genie by Adrian Boote.



Spikes lemonade glitter exploded

Lemon yellow ear-rings dangly on silver

Dazzling shoes


By Noah and Toby B Year 3



Almost all-powerful genie stared

Jiggly lemon yellow eyebrow

Magnificent golden seagull a lump

Old cocker chewing-gum wishes

Could giggled Moonwood eagle



By Mason and Xavier Year 3



Lookout Tower


everything up

to the

Lookout tower



By Humnah and Esther Year 4









Disastrous knocking flapping tripping and

Horribly falling

Ooooh nooo!!


By Charlie and Liam Year 4


Young Man

Young man




Yellow shoes dangly

Huge suit

Yellow lemon


By Finn and Ciaran Year 4



Three wishes?

All-powerful genie




By William Year 4




The Lemon Poem

Lemon yellow shoes

Winked and sparkled under the classroom

Big, dangly lemon ear-rings

Yello-rimmed sunglasses

He wore a dazzling lemon yellow shirt

I’m the lemonade genie


By Elsie and Nicholas Year 3-4



Mystery Man

Young man

Winked and sparkled silver glitter

Dazzling lemon yellow lights stuck up in spikes

Yellow-rimmed sunglasses classroom exploded

Who are you?

Call me Keith


 By Romey and Drew  Year 3-4


The Super Hero





Moonwood golden



By Lucas and Fin B Year 3-4


Silver Glitter

Huge suit made of silver glitter

Stuck up in spikes


A dazzling lemon yellow

Rimmed sunglasses


By Tadhg and Isaac Year 4


Terrifying horribleness poem

Knocking chairs

Spilling disastrous

Tucking horribleness

Terrifying handkerchiefs

Shirt-tails sink in


By William and Sree Year 4


Ranger in a lookout tower

I heard a noise



Stone moving



What’s what?


By Neve, Milly and Maddie Year 4


The students from LS6 at Westmere have been finding poems in signs around the library and from their library books. Here is a sample:


Found Poem

Another code to crack,
That white hair again!
Ah, let me think…
A violin named Allegro is sparkling,
But which bridge?

(found in False Note by Susannah McFarlane)

By Hannah LS6 Age 9



Break the Glass

Break glass switch
It’s the fire alarm
Grab your hat
Discover the world
If you want to succeed.

By Neve LS6 Age 10



I can’t
I won’t
I don’t
I nod
I pray
I stand frozen
I knock
I run.

(found in Girl Underground by Morris Gleitzman)

By Neve LS6 Age 9


Just a Library

Keep calm and read Harry Potter
Driven to read
What shall I read next?
Grab your hat and read with the cat!
Look after the books, look after each other.
The more you read the more things you know
the more that you learn the more places you’ll go!

By Henri LS6 Age 10



Christian replied
Christian Fontaine cradled his chin
Christian turned and stared
Christian frowned
Christian shook his head
Christian said nothing

(found in Alice Miranda in Paris by Jacqueline Harvey)

By Lola LS6 Age 9




Gusty trees, cloudy seas
most disposed, shutters closed.
He read his story thinking,
forests sinking?
Ochre skies before his eyes.
The other day full of dismay.
“A very good morning to you, Bluejay!”

(found in Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke)

By Petra LS6 Age 10


The Library Signs

We are the world, being and becoming.
We are one world
Belonging to hands
Driven to read
Full of surprises
You need to succeed
Discover the world
With a pull of a lead
Walk do not run
We are the hands of the world.

By Petra LS Age 10


Jo’s Library

Welcome, Read
Grab your hat and read with the cat.
Discover, Graphic novels
A to Z, X to Y
Becoming, being and belonging.
If you want to lead, read.
If you want to succeed, read.
What shall I read next? Hairy Maclary?
Schnitzel von Krum, Bottomly Potts,
Doggy Ditties, Fiction, Non-Fiction.
One world, The more you read
the more things you’ll know, the
more that you’ll learn, the more
places you’ll go!
No food or drinks
Look after each other
Te Reo Maori
Reading is Fabumouse
Fire Alarm
Book marks, Book marks, Book Marks!
Returns, Exit.

By Brooke LS6 Age 10 and Isabelle LS6 Age 10


LS7 have been busy finding poems in the library, the first poem is from the signs, and the others are from library books.

In the Westmere Library

The more that you read
The more things you’ll know
The more things that you learn
The more places you’ll go!
DIAL 111
Once out, stay out.
Matariki is when we celebrate the Maori new year.
Rules for the library:
USE QUiet voices…
look after the books
Get your books issued
Look after each other.
Bring your books back each week.
And the most important rule of all…
Enjoy the Library!

By Willa LS7Age 11


Cindy and the Prince

She bellowed help! and let me out
The magic fairy heard her shout…
The prince cried NO!
He grabbed her dress.
As Cindy shouted Let me go
the dress ripped from head to toe.
She ran out in her underwear
and slipped on a stair.
Cindy heard thuds of bouncing heads upon the floor
and poked her head around the door…
Poor Cindy’s heart was torn to shreds.
My Prince, she cried, He chops off heads!

(From Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes)

By Ruby LS7 Age 10




“Let’s start at the beginning.”
“What will you do then?”
“You really think so?”
“Of course!”


(From A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snickett)

By Olive LS 6 Age 9





The Silver Donkey

I’m ten.
This is my sister Coco, her real name is Therese.
Because she has black hair like a poodle’s
Everyone calls her Coco.
A soldier goes to war
with a donkey by his side.
Guns fired, war started
But the donkey saved the soldier.
The silver donkey took him back safely
To Coco and the 10-year-old girl.
They lived together happily.

(From The Silver Donkey by Sonya Hartnett)

By Amelia LS7 Age 9



The Land of Secrets

The home for Dame Know-it-all.
The home for the Enchanter wise-man.
The home for the wizard-tall-hat.
The home for Miss Quiet-mouth.
The home for Witch Know-a-lot.
The home for all secrets of the world.

(From The folk of the Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton)

By Sarah LS7 Age 11


The Twits

“I’ve come for a holiday.” said the Roly-Poly bird.
And the Roly-Poly bird watched.
“What’s happened?”
“He’ll stew us alive,” wailed the second one.
“I’ll bite off your toes.”
And everyone including Fred shouted… “HOORAY.”

(From The Twits by Roald Dahl)

By Pippi LS7 Age 10



Kasper Prince of Cats

More and more he just didn’t want to.
I wasn’t frightened, not exactly.
He was just nervous, restless and anxious.
Those children, wretched children, she fumed.
He just skipped down the corridor.
I don’t want to leave my family she said.
Go my dear, go now.
Now I would lay awake at night thinking about it.
So I climbed the stairs to look.
I hadn’t any choice.
It didn’t matter much either way.

(From Kasper Prince of Cats by Michael Morpurgo)

By Honor LS7 Age 10








Maria Gill’s Toroa’s Journey: This is a must-have glorious book


I love watching birds: the kereru, tūī and pīwakawaka around my place and a symphony of birds at the beach near me. I especially love seeing the endangered dotterels scampering across the black sand. They do scamper and they do cheep! I also love going out to the gannet colony at Muriwai. It is the best-view bird colony in the world I reckon. You can watch the chicks learning to walk and fly. The parents head out swooping and feeding across the wild waves. So happy days to get a bird book in the mail!



Toroa’s Journey Maria Gill Illustrated by Gavin Mouldy Potton & Burton


Maria Gill is on of my favourite non-fiction children’s authors. Her new book, Toroa’s Journey follows the life of a baby albatross chick hatched at Taiaroa Head (near Dunedin). The bird was named Toroa which is the Maori word for ‘albatross’. Just before the little bird has leaned to fly (fledged), a transmitter device was attached to his back.

This is astonishing: the royal albatross is one of the biggest seabirds in the world ( think of two cats!) and once it takes flight, it takes flight for years, hardly ever touching land.

This is astonishing: Will Toroa arrived back at Taiaroa Head? Around seventy per cent of the birds make it back to where they were born and start new families. What dangers will he face on his journey? What can we do if we care about birds and the environment?

Maria has used facts for her story. There are gold-mine information boxes that helped me understand more about the life of this extraordinary bird. However Maria also uses her imagination to imagine what happened sea. The tracking device told her where the bird went but not what he saw and felt. That was up to her.


At nightfall, Toroa rides the waves like a sea plane.

He swoops squid with his hooked bill and gobbles it up.


When full, he taxies off the watery runway,

paddling his webbed feet and spreading his

wings wide ready to catch the up-draught.


I have been to the albatross colony and gazed out at the baby birds in awe. Now that I have read this story, I want to go back. Maria writes beautifully; her sentences flow like honey and she makes the journey and the bird spark with life on the page.



Plus you get the evocative illustrations by Gavin Mouldey.

This is a must-have glorious book.


Craig & Burton page

Maria Gill’s teaching notes on her website

October challenges in time for the holidays: found poems and book-spine poems

A few months ago, I invited you to invent some poetry challenges. Daniel and Gemma sent in these two which I thought would be fun. Thanks!

So your challenge is to write a found poem (you have to go finding first so see my tips and examples) or assemble a book-spine poem (see my tips).


Gemma: Write a found poem

 So what is a found poem?

You use words or phrases you read or hear and turn them into a poem.

It might be signs or something in the newspaper. You borrow the words or phrases!

It might be a letter or a notice. Circle the words and phrases you want to use as Gemma does below.

It might be billboard or road signs.

It might be words and phrases you read in a book. Say what the book is.


It might be a conversation you hear. I love collecting things people say when I am out.

It might be comments in a visitor’s book. Bill Manhire did this at Shackleton’s Hut!!

It might be junk mail headings or ad slogans.

Give your poem a title.


Here are three I did:


Happy Days!

This is not any sofa.

The milk on everyone’s lips.

Need long shoes?


[I got these lines from ads in a magazine]


The Beach

keep off the grass

swim between the flags

falling rocks unstable cliffs

dottorel nesting

west coast veggie burger

[signs I saw at the beach]


Road Trip

Slow down

Slow down

Give way

Children crossing







Stop Stop

[road signs]



Something good

much hope,

count the chickens

the horses

the little palace

the curving staircase

afternoon tea,

his birthday.


[from first page of Barbara Else’s fabulous The Travelling Restaurant]



Here’s one Gemma did:

A motivation found poem

Plan consistently
Prepare for improvements
And learn more.



You can see where she got her words from (you could use a magazine or newspaper or book page – say what you used):





Daniel: Use the the titles on books spines to make a poem.

You can photo them like Daniel did or just type them like I did.

So what is a book-spine poem?

You stack books so the tiles on the spines read like a poem.

See my example and the photo Gemma and Daniel sent.



A Very Busy Kitchen

The 10 PM Question:

Stuart Little

Little Bear

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus

In the Midnight Kitchen


Go Dogs Go’

Green Eggs and Ham

Goodnight Moon



Here’s one Daniel and Gemma did for their school library



Only one you
An unexpected hero
Not bad for a bad lad
Braving it
Being happy
You be you.


H a v e     f u n    !  !   !


Send to by 27th October. I will post some favourites on 31st October and have a poetry book for at least one reader. It is not a competition though!

Please include your name, age, year and name of school. I won’t post poems if I don’t have these details.

IMPORTANT:  Put FOUND POEM or BOOK SPINE POEM  in the subject line of the email please.