Monthly Archives: November 2017

Welcome Back Day: A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children is out again & I have a giveaway copy

 

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A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children, ed Paula Green, illustrations Jenny Cooper, this edition, Penguin Random House, 2017

To celebrate the return of this gorgeous book to our shops (yeah I can buy more copies again!!)  I have one to give away to a child.

The wee challenge: Write a short poem for your favourite NZ poet (except I’d rather you didn’t pick me!!) Under the title write who the poem is for.  (for Joy Cowley or Margaret Mahy or Peter Bland or James K Baxter or Elena de Roo or Bill Manhire or Jenny Bornholdt or Peter Millet or Gavin Bishop or Kyle Mewburn or Janet Frame or Elizabeth Smith or Hone Tuwhare or Fifi Colston or Peggy Dunstan or Emma Neale or Shirley Gawith or Courtney Sina Meredith or Rachel McAlpine or Richard Langston or Anna Jackson or Sam Hunt or Sue Wotton or Bill Nagelkirke or John Parker or Ruth Paul or Apirana Taylor      …..    and there are lots more poets in the book including children!

 

The poem might be about anything.

It might borrow a title from your favourite poet.

Or borrow a character or a subject and take your poem in a new direction.

It might play with words.

It might tell a story.

 

Send to me by  Friday 8th December.

Include your name, age year and name of school.

Include  Treasury in email subject line.

I will post favourites and pick one to send book to on Monday 11th December.

A very good picture book: Jenny Bornholdt and Sarah Wilkins’s The Longest Breakfast

 

 

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The Longest Breakfast written by Jenny Bornholdt, illustrated by Sarah Wilkins

Gecko Press, 2017

 

I love breakfast. I love pouring my homemade granola in the bowl, picking strawberries from the garden to slice on top, adding a dollop of yoghurt and a swish of apple juice.

MMMMMMM! Heaven!

I love hearing the birds sing in the bush and watching the sea mist roll in from the ocean.

 

Now I have a breakfast story to love too. It feels special like The Tiger Who Came to Tea feels special. It is just the story to read aloud while you munch on pancakes or toast or boiled eggs (or granola!).

The story: The children are hungry and their dad is trying to find just the thing to hit the right hungry spot.

 

When I say children – there are a lot! Say 8! If you include the neighbour and friends.

Everyone seems to want something different and baby is giving his clues (toot toot buzz buzz).

 

I whizzed through the book, I drizzled through the drawings, I sizzled and word swam and got hooked.

The writing is plain and the story gets moving.

The drawings feel alive and the characters are EYE catching.

 

And the ending is perfect – a little breakfast surprise that makes the whole book glow!

 

Wonderful!

 

 

 

Gavin Bishop’s Aotearoa is a splendid thing

 

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Aotearoa: The New Zealand Story by Gavin Bishop (Penguin Random House, 2017)

 

‘There was plenty of kaimoana in the sea.’

This book is like a treasure house of New Zealand history with text and illustrations from one of our very best children’s authors – Gavin Bishop. Penguin Random House have produced a gorgeous hardback book (it is very big and very beautiful!) that celebrates such a wonderful labour of love through publishing care.

Gavin shines a reading searchlight in all directions. History is like a prism – it has many ways of being viewed.

Aotearoa should be in every home and in every school because it is a book where you can lose yourself meandering and you can discover all kinds of things. You have to peer closely into each page to find things in the words and the images. Magnificent!

Gavin begins the Aotearoa story when an asteroid hit Earth (65 million years ago!).

He takes us through arrivals of peoples, wars, treaties, more wars.

We travel through the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the sports we play and the way our country has extraordinary natural beauty.

He shows us famous people and people who have told our stories, made art, films and music.

He reminds us of how we have protested – how we speak out.

That makes the book political, but it is also personal because it feels like it is my story, your story, and our story.

 

The book is a taonga that reminds us of our taonga and how important it is for us to join hands and find ways to care for this place we love. I absolutely love it.

 

Penguin Random House page

Gavin Bishop’s web page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry fireworks: Storylines Hui poems from children’s authors Gavin, Stephanie, Melinda, Heather and Kerin

 

I took a poetry workshop at the Storylines Hui in October with about 30 children’s authors. It was fast-speed fun! We spent 90 minutes playing with words.

I loved the hui – so many highlights but what a treat to do workshops with Kate De Goldi and Joy Cowley and catch up with all my friends in the children’s book world.

I got the writers to send in some poems, even though, for most of them, poetry is NOT what they usually do. I think they are  word-sparkingly good and I just love the energy that sparks from their sounds and images and surprise!

Just the thing to say out loud in the rain!

 

from Gavin Bishop (who has the most amazing new book (Aotearoa A New Zealand Story) which I will review soon):

 

Mishap

 

Tongue and groove dripped ginger beer

onto the bench-top, onto the floor.

Like a guinea pig to the door, I slid,

like a pig through the door – the dripping kitchen door.

 

 

Window View

 

The Alps zig-zag between the frame.

The foot-hills scramble across the glass.

Looking down now, with kahu eyes, the city jives beneath my gaze.

 

 

Sun Shower

The sunshine is awash with water.

A blue raincoat flaps in light.

Sparrows spray aside as my daughter splashes by,

on her hydroponic bike.

 

 

 

from Stephanie Mayne (who has excellent poems in A Treasury of NZ Poetry reissued this month):

 

In My Pocket.

A blade of grass, a rusty nail

Marbles blue as a peacock’s tail.

Pale white shells, and out of reach

Sand, from swimming at the beach.

Half bus ticket, scrunched up note

(Hard to read what the writer wrote!)

Leaf I liked, old cough lolly

One glass eye from my sister’s dolly.

Half a biscuit, apple core

Yellow crumbs and ants galore.

Soft grey feather, cicada case

Fidget spinner? No more space!

 

 

from Melinda Szymanik (who wrote the completely amazing A Winter’s Day in 1939 among other excellent things):

 

Water’s for Ducks

Sun’s out

Birds try

Bird bath

Clouds come

Rain drips

Slow fills

Bath, spills

Clouds go

Sun’s out

Drips dry

Birds try

Bird bath

 

In Your Pocket

In your pocket

Are five pink

Shrink-wrapped sausages

Wriggling worms

In close white

Knitted tight

On knuckled digits

Hand in glove

In your pocket

 

 

Here. In School

I went to work

A school visit, close to home

And because I am polite

Not rude

I put my phone on silent

At morning tea

Messages are always checked

And this time,

This time

The message was different

“Is your boy home sick?” they asked

Just checking

Because he’s not at school.

I’d seen him off that morning

Uniformed, lunch packed, back pack hoisted.

Heart sick.

I felt heart sick

My boy was not in school

As he should be

Not in school

The message was different

Had I heard it right?

At lunch

The message was different

They had not heard him

Right?

When he said “here”

In school.

 

 

from Heather Haylock whose first picture book is to be published by Penguin Random House next year (Granny McFlitter the Champion Knitter – the current Gavin Bishop Award book, illustrated by Lael Chisholm):

 

River Fog
Low and slow, the dampness creeping.
Hid beneath, the river weeping.
Dark and deep, moving, masking,
underneath, the dragon dancing.

 

Pocket
My pocket left home this morning,
empty.
Full of possibilities.

My pocket came home
bulging with shame.

Two detention slips.
Another teacher’s note.
Grades too far down the alphabet.

My pocket, my friend,
hid my shame.

Until washing day.

 

From Kerin Casey who is busy writing children’s stories:

 

Griffin’s Hug

 

Wiry warm arms

Wrap tight around my neck

Squeezing love in

Wringing forgiveness

Unconditional

All-encompassing

Snug as a bug in a rug

Griffin’s hug

 

Humid

 

This soggy day of bedraggled entanglements

Drips and slips

Through my melting fingers

Sticky and limp

Deflated

Defeated

 

In My Pocket

 

In my pocket is a small round stone

Sea green

Warm heart

Whipped smooth by sand on a cold surf beach

Foam flying

Waves smashing

Found, weighed, then tossed by a friendly hand

Moves on

Reconsiders

Returns and seeks it out, desperate

Sea green

Warm heart

Smooths a gnarled thumb across its surface

And thinks of me

 

 

 

 

 

November challenges: reinventing acrostic poems and leaping off from art

 

I am going to post a few more things between now and December but these are the last challenges for the year.

 

I was inspired by two books:

a poem by James Brown in Annual 2 which I really really LOVED (check it out!!)

and the brand new, absolutely AMAZING  The New Zealand Art Activity Book.

 

There are two challenges!

 

I will have a copy of The Letterbox Cat and a copy of The New Zealand Art Activity Book (grateful thanks to Te Papa Press) to give away.

 

Send to paulajoygreen@gmail.com by 27th November. I will post some favourites on 30th November.

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

IMPORTANT:  Put ACROSTIC POEM or ART POEM  in the subject line of the email please. PLEASE say which artwork you picked under the title of your poem or in subject line of email.

First Up: Art Poems

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The New Zealand Art Activity Book by Helen Lloyd, Te Papa Press 2017 (a new edition)

Te Papa Press have published a new art activity book and it is such fun. Helen Lloyd chose more than 50 artworks in the museum collection and asked 15 artists to do page works for the book especially.

You get to see old works and news works, from famous artists and not so famous artists, from Māori, Pākehā, Pasifika and Asian artists.

I really really like this book  because not only do I get to check out art but there are very cool activities. It is the perfect book for the summer holidays when you want a break from gadgets or tree climbing or boogie boarding.

You can colour in, make a tivaevae or flying sculpture, design a treasure box or patterns. There are 150 pages of things to do and look at.

I thought it might be fun to use one of the artworks as a starting point for a poem.

 

The challenge:

Pick an artwork. There are four images below to choose from.

let the artwork take you wherever you like!

You might take one small thing in the work that catches your eye as a starting point. Then you can leap into your imagination.

You might just use a colour and see where it leads you – mindwander on a page before you start writing. Especially for Sara’s painting.

Does anything in the painting hook a memory? Use that for your poem.

Play with colour words to make a word pattern (blue ultramarine grey). Try doing it in black font. Listen to your poem.

Try describing what you see in the painting in a poem. Play with the words.

Explore the feeling you get from the painting in a poem.

Invent a little story that your imagination hooks up from the work.

Try painting a picture with words – real things help make pictures grow.

 

Four artworks from four of my favourite NZ artists to choose from:

 

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  1. ‘Millions of colours’ by Sara Hughes

 

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2. ‘Ulumago’ by John Pule

 

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3. ‘Untitled’ by Saskia Leek

 

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4. ‘The dancing chicken’ by Dick Frizzell

 

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Thank you!!!!   Activities/images reproduced with permission from The New Zealand Art Activity Book by Helen Lloyd, published by Te Papa Press. Available at all good bookstores or online here.

 

Second Up: Acrostic Poems

 

We all write acrostic poems where the first letters of each line spell a word – and often it is just one word that follows:

 

My cat

Curious

Agile

Trickster

 

Sometimes the lines stretch and make the poem grow:

 

My cat

Catching scraps of paper

As though she is a vacuum cleaner,

The tail flicks, the whiskers quiver.

 

James Brown though was a very tricky acrostic poet because he made the first letters make a word and the last letters make a word. I have had a go with my cat poem:

 

My cat

Cheeky cat crept,  kitchen hectic

Ate the fishy pasta

That  we cooked tonight.

 

I decided to try putting the word in down the middle of the poem:

 

My Cat

The Cat sleeps on

my lAp, dreaming

of sTrange sardines.

 

Have fun playing with what acrostic poems can do!

 

And    h a v e   fun doing these two challenges.