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.
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.
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!
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
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):
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.
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.
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
In Your Pocket
In your pocket
Are five pink
In close white
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
I put my phone on silent
At morning tea
Messages are always checked
And this time,
The message was different
“Is your boy home sick?” they asked
Because he’s not at school.
I’d seen him off that morning
Uniformed, lunch packed, back pack hoisted.
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?
The message was different
They had not heard him
When he said “here”
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):
Low and slow, the dampness creeping.
Hid beneath, the river weeping.
Dark and deep, moving, masking,
underneath, the dragon dancing.
My pocket left home this morning,
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:
Wiry warm arms
Wrap tight around my neck
Squeezing love in
Snug as a bug in a rug
This soggy day of bedraggled entanglements
Drips and slips
Through my melting fingers
Sticky and limp
In My Pocket
In my pocket is a small round stone
Whipped smooth by sand on a cold surf beach
Found, weighed, then tossed by a friendly hand
Returns and seeks it out, desperate
Smooths a gnarled thumb across its surface
And thinks of me
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 email@example.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.
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.
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:
2. ‘Ulumago’ by John Pule
3. ‘Untitled’ by Saskia Leek
4. ‘The dancing chicken’ by Dick Frizzell
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.
We all write acrostic poems where the first letters of each line spell a word – and often it is just one word that follows:
Sometimes the lines stretch and make the poem grow:
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:
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:
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.