Monthly Archives: April 2018

On the way poems: some favourites from a mountain of arrivals






Thanks for the bumper MOUNTAIN crop of poems inspired by

paying attention when you are on the way somewhere.

I guess the school holidays was a perfect time to do this.

Sometimes I like to do it when I am walking up our long

steep drive to the letterbox.


I couldn’t post all your fabulous poems, but I loved reading

them as you know from my letters. IT was SO HARD to chose.

To share the book love I am sending a copy of The Letterbox Cat to Owen, Gretel and Sina.


If I didn’t pick you remember what a JOY it is writing a poem and try my MAY challenge.


T h e     p o e m s


Strawberry Mountain

I climb up the Strawberry Mountain,

to feel like I was on top of the world.

I climb up the Strawberry Mountain,

to feel thrilled.

I forget all my problems and issues

I dream about Strawberry Mountain.

I pray for all the homeless to have a home, at Strawberry Mountain.

I watch tuis land gracefully on Strawberry Mountain.

I send my hopes about having happiness forever to Strawberry Mountain.

I send my wishes about deforestation to end to Strawberry Mountain.

As the mist swirls around me, as I hope with all my might, as I hope with all my strength,

that Strawberry Mountain will last the whole ride.   


Name: Sina Age:10  Fendalton School, Christchurch



In the country all is silent.

In the country all is still.

In the country is where I am.

In the country is where all the birds are singing.

The dusty road winds ahead forever.

The country is clean.

We are passing farms with cows mooing and horses neighing.

Now we are out of Auckland there are not as many houses.

After what seems like forever, we reach our destination.

My grandma’s dog comes out to meet us.

Then comes grandma.

We have completed the journey and now it’s time to sleep.

In the country all is silent.

In the country I am still asleep as the sun rises and the birds start to sing.

Gretel H, age 8, Richmond Road School


Mt Cook

A gentle hike on a well-worn stony path

Winding, snaking, twisting

Past a hyper blue lake

Past gigantic boulders as big as houses

Cosmic hexagons looming many feet over me


Over a swing bridge



Hopefully not weak-ing


A raging river of thunder

Surging over hidden rocks

Just lumps in the water


A rumble

Is it the river?

No it is different

Is it thunder?

Different again

A crashing, cracking roar

It is the glacier with a rumbling avalanche


Another swing bridge

Leaping up and down

A bucking bronco

Bullied by the wind

Feeling like it might drop into the ravine


The wind shrieking in fury

The rain pelting like stones

The cold tearing at my fingers

Making me numb


I can’t go on


But I want to, so badly


So I do


Finally the end of the track

Breathless with excitement to see at last the great galumphing glacier

I look up in wonder to see the towering palace of ice


But it is gone

The weather has swallowed the wintery world

So all I see is a wall of white

Daniel L, age 9, Year 5, Adventure School, Porirua


Raglan Roast

It was morning,

It was warm,

It was pouring,

It was storm.

I was eating

I was SUPing*

I was sleeping like a log.

I was wearing

Shorts and togs,

I was swimming like the dogs.

It was a great day

As I look across the bay.


*Stand Up Paddleboarding

Hannah B 10 yrs LS8 Westmere School 


On the Way 

The southern cross

glistens like polished sea shells.

These stars have guided

the Māori in their waka.

These stars helped James Cook on his way

to New Zealand.


On the way, the waka

glides into the harbour

with the other ships.

The light flicks on

from the lighthouse.


The light flicks

on and off the rocky shore.

Like the sun through Autumn leaves.

We are on our way.

Noah C, age 12, St Patricks School Bryndwr.


Journey of a Basketball
I start still
A sphere of potential energy
I’m someone’s hand
Then a push
I am flying through the air
Before the thud of an abrupt stop
Pounded on the ground
Pummelling my skin against the floor
Banging my way down the court
Momentum surging
Passed again
Spinning backwards
Gaining height
The net in sight
Then falling
Super slow mo
Hanging in suspense
Until finally
Powering through the net

I land heavy on the shiny floor
My job done

Gemma, age 12, Year 8, Adventure School, Porirua



I am an explorer!

Let me tell you why.


I had a near death experience,

Which means I almost died!

So here I was with my friend Jo,

Bum shuffling like a tiger,

But when I reached the finish line

I came across a SPIDER!!!!!!!!


I told you I’m courageous,

And boy I do not lie,

I  shuffled  past the spider,

Despite that I could die!


Then I saw a butterfly.

T’was beautiful so I gasped.

I recounted my journey

And thought “ I shuffled way too fast!”


I took a giant step

Through the big library,

I came across a quirky book,

About an obese fairy.


Then I saw an ant

And then I saw some weed

I ushered the ant in there

To do a special deed.


I saw some big fat dung beetles.

They were having a collision.

I looked up at the kauri tree

And saw a plump wood pigeon.


I was having so much fun.

I never wanted to go.

But then I found I had to.

“HURRY UP” screamed Jo.


I found a little coin

Then raced off like a rocket.

I just had enough time

To put it in my pocket.


I went back to my classroom.

I had seen it all before


The following beauty is by courageous explorer Maddie, age 10 (or 2000) Richmond Rd School


The things I don’t see when I walk

I don’t see the lilys

I don’t see the skinks

I don’t see the waves on the beach

I don’t see the winds flying

I don’t see the fighting

I don’t see the chanting soldiers

I don’t see the balloons up in the sky

But i do see my friends beside me.

Max M age 10 Westmere School



On the way to Tauranga

I see the sculpted L&P bottle standing strong and tall

On the way to Tauranga

I hear the river gushing down the gorge

On the way to Tauranga

I smell my brothers bum blasting off

On the way to Tauranga

I taste the light, fluffy popcorn dissolving in my mouth

On the way to Tauranga

I feel the cool, crisp breeze wafting in and out of the cracks in the door

I love car rides but now time for Harry Potter  

Name: Lily C Age:10 Class: LS8 Westmere School


On the way to Middlemarch

On the way to Middlemarch,  

Rain poured on our already soaking clothes as we cycled forward,

Lightning brightened up the cloudy sky,

We could hear the thunder booming and loud,

Sheep ran across their paddocks to shelters,

The rain stopped and we cycled again gaining on our destination.

The next day we started late and tried to catch up on lost time,

We cycled over bumps and rocks,

We stopped at a old train station and it reminded me of death while we caught our


In the distance we saw a sign,

You have reached Middlemarch.

Name: Ari H, Age:10,  School:  Westmere Primary School, Class: Learning studio 8


On my way!!!!!!

As I walk to school

I see

a beautiful plant,

but still,

I don’t know what plant it is.

I know I can just ask, but I love it.

It’s a nice plant.

It has pink all over.

It’s too far away to smell.

By Lewys E, Age: 10  Westmere School


The Journey

When you are at Cox’s Bay do you ever stop and notice…

The paint shimmering in the sunlight,

That there used to be a flock of starlings that would rise like a wave

If dogs ran through,

That there’s a basketball court,

How polluted the river is,

That across the bridge there’s a little cheeky pony called Jafa,

That there’s a lovely boardwalk leading to Farro’s,

And our journey ends with some freshly squeezed orange juice a salad sandwich and some delightful macaroons.

Peggy Mae Nicol  9 years old Westmere School



Journey Under the Sea

Under the deepest, darkest

terrifying sea 

is the white sea temple.

It is very dangerous

surrounded by a great white shark.

If it is destroyed,

the volcano will rise.


On the way, a circle of dolphins 

warn not to go near 

the white sea temple.


On the way,

a killer whale 

spreads his body

so no one will go near

the white sea temple.


On the way

the dogfish just barks

so no one will go near

the white sea temple.


The starfish 

keeps the sea temple



The jellyfish stings

the white sea temple

with a deadly poison.


On the way,

the diver

needs to find out,

what the sea temple hides.


Before he jumps,

he sees a warning sign

that says:

“Whoever visits the sea temple 

never returns”.


Below the writing

are the letters


What does this mean?

Tom N  Age 9   Year 5 Hoon Hay School




Hawaii is soon to be my tropical destination.

After this Hour long refill of the plane tank

Why can’t it just take a week so we can stay in  the beautiful Fiji!

All the weather changes is enough of a journey to watch

I See the cotton clouds over the sunset like a blanket,

I never want this to end!

By Zella P age 10 yr 6 Westmere Primary


Adventure: Granny’s!

Granny’s house is the next stop.

Running? No, Too far! Let’s go in the car!

As I look out the window I see,

No! Really? A  fantail? A fern?

No!  Is that a palm tree? All I see is awesome!

Yes, It is! No Way Hozay!

Sometimes I can get lost looking out that window. That little, little window.

 By Ava M,  Westmere School , Age 10, LS 7




On this weird flying machine

I see things I have never noticed before

like how the clouds touch the mountains

and the mountains touch the clouds.

Over the laughing and chattering of the people surrounding me,

I can hear the whispers of the sky telling secrets to the sea.

I touch the glass to feel the coldness lay upon my fingers.

Straightening up my body

I wonder what it would feel like

living in the air.

Aia  D, Age:9  LS8, Westmere School


On The Way to the Dance School

On the way to the dance school,

I see the buildings of Ponsonby Road,

The cars rushing past me,

I hear the screeching of brakes at lights,

The indicator tick tocking as we turn onto the hill,

On the way to the dance school,

I feel the car lurch as the steep hill gives a bump,

The trees in front of us sway gently,

Someone walking into the tattoo parlour,

I feel the seat belt cutting into my skin through my uniform,

The soft material gently rubbing against my back,

On the way to the dance school,

We turn a corner,

Can’t wait to see my friends,

The bumps on the path make me jiggle,

On the way to the dance school.

Olivia P,  age 9, LS8, Westmere School


The Ride

A flutter of leaves, growing green grass and the cold wind dancing on my spine.

Shards of shingle scattering with the weight of my bike.

A chirp of birds like a tiny orchestra playing a graceful melody.

A sharp skid and a marvellous view of a rising sun and cantaloupe coloured sea.

A starting vehicle, a roaring motor like a ferocious lion glancing at fleeing wild wildebeest.

A startling shift, a twisty turn like a swimmer diving for safety.

A loud gearbox, a flash going past and a huge sigh of relief.

Owen F, age 10, LS8, Westmere School


Way to the Sea

On the way

to the bottom

of the sea,

I saw some

fish and a

mother bee.


On the way

to the top,

I had to 



When I was

about to go

for a swim,

I saw my

friend Kim.


On the way

back to shore,

I found a 

apple core

and I got

a bit sore.

Sophie S; Age 7 years; Yr3; St Andrews College, Christchurch.



As the car pulls out of the garage,

I listen.

I can hear the garage shutting,

and the wheels creaking.

As we drive along beside the harbour,

I listen.

I can hear the seagulls squawking,

the waves rippling,

and the tires crunching along the road.

As we pull up into the car park,

I listen.

I can hear the gravel clattering under the wheels,

my door creaking as it opens,

and my footsteps on the gravel. 

Nell M, age 9, year 5, Homeschool


On the way to Tekapo

The moon shone bright as we drove down the valley

The trees shadowed the car

Glittering stars in the black night sky

The next day it was a frosty chilly morning

The lake sparkled in the early sun

I saw fluffy merinos munching on the hill

The sun skated across the ice

I had never felt so happy in my life

On the way to Tekapo I hope that it would snow.

Genevieve B, age 7, year 3, St Andrews prep, Christchurch


Thank you for reading

After a Kaleidoscipe of Butterflies here’s a picnic of poems and an audio clip

This was one of my FLASH or popUP 48 hour challenges.

I was inspired by reading Kate Hursthouse’s picture book A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies.   See my review here. 

I invited you to write poems using the compound nouns in the book for inspiration.


And now – this is like a FABULOUS FUN FAMILY of poems.



First family of poets:


Gemma and Daniel made up a poem together and recorded it for me!


What’s In The Fridge?


A layer of leftovers

A squiggle of spaghetti

A fiesta of fruit salad

A chomp of cheese

An omelette of eggs

A quick of cookies

A catastrophe of salad

A horror of Brussels sprouts!


Gemma (12) and Daniel (8) Adventure School




Second family of poets:

One family all sent in poems – I am sending them a copy of my book The Letterbox Cat and other poems.



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Evangeline, 10 years old,Year 6, ACG Strathallan






Sam, Year 1, Age 5, ACG Strathallan [so don’t go near the bat right!]




Emmie , 8,Year 4, ACG Strathallan 











An ANZAC poem for Poetry Box


The dawn service


I am listening to the dawn

service on National Radio

in the dark. It feels like

I am right there.


The world is a puzzle of dark

and light because we have

peace and war, hungry and fed

greedy and giving, powerful and powerless

meanness and kindness.


The puzzle is hard.


I can hear our cats miaowing for breakfast.

Everything shines after the rain.

I picture the world is not broken.

I picture the world is a big heart.


Paula Green 25 April 2018











Poetry Box Audio Spot: Paula Green reads Blow Wind Blow





This is a new feature on Poetry BoxI invite children and adult writers to read poems they have written and poems they love by other poets.


I needed someone to go first in case it didn’t work out and that someone is me. Let me know what you think. I might even be able to post video clips.

A number of years ago I did my Hot Spot Poetry Tour of New Zealand and met lots of you. Wherever I went I got titles for new poems – I have now written a whole book full of them. Now to finish my drawings.

So listen here for my brand new poem!









A 48 hour poetry challenge based on Kate Hursthouse’s A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies




A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies by Kate Hursthouse, published by Little Love, Mary Egan Publishing, 2018

This is Kate’s first book! It is such fun!! It is bright, bold, imaginative.


In this book Kate illustrates collective nouns. Her list is like a poem!

A collective noun covers groups of things, people and animals.

We say a school of whales and a bunch of flowers.

We say a flock of birds and a fleet of ships.

This book should be in every school library because it is fun and it gets you thinking sideways!

These are the collective nouns Kate illustrated in eye-popping ways:

poets to do.jpg


I would loved to see poems inspired by the compound nouns in the book

or     you can make up your own collective nouns if you like

AND         this is a FLASH challenge

so you only have until noon on Wednesday 25th April.


I will post some favourites and give a book to one young poet.


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

Put: compound noun poem in subject line so I don’t miss your email


Kate’s website

Gecko Press’s The Old Man is essential reading especially in a long power cut



The Old Man   by Sarah V and Claude K Dubois  Gecko Press  2018



Last Tuesday we had such a storm in Auckland I couldn’t sleep with the rampaging wind. I live near Bethells Beach where the storm really roared and rattled. It felt like the wind was going to pick our house up like a kite and whisk it down the valley to the sea. But instead the house was a strong anchor. I was glad when morning came and I could see.

We lost power for 5 nights and, even though it was a pain at times, I learnt from the experience. We had no running water because we live in the country but got buckets out of the water tank.  We couldn’t use the internet. We couldn’t have showers or flush the toilet. I went to bed early and woke up early. I wrote things in my notebooks and read novels. I listened to National Radio by candlelight.

On the radio news I heard about the terrible hurricane in Fiji and my heart went out to people who had lost so much. I heard about the war in Syria and my heart went out to the families there.

I felt like my problems were little problems.



Most importantly I read a new book published by Gecko Press:

The Old Man   by Sarah V and Claude K Dubois


The story is about a homeless man huddling under a blanket.

He could be anyone of the homeless people I see on the streets of our cities and maybe even towns.

He has nowhere to call home, he has no food, and he has no one to hug and share his stories with.

In the story a young girl sees the homeless man and offers him her sandwich and says he looks like a teddy bear. He doesn’t remember his name.

I got goosebumps as I read this book and then I cried in the candlelight.

It is so beautifully written and so beautifully illustrated and it will make you feel something about something that matters.


I read this book and it put the Auckland storm in perspective. I have somewhere to live with roof and walls and windows. I have a name. I share my life with you. I have a garden and I can restock my empty (after the power cut) fridge with food.

I have a home.

I am really really hoping you read this book because although this book is sad it is also full of hope. The little things we do matter. I love this book so very much.



Based on Gecko Press’s spectacular invention book: You still have time to do the Holiday challenge 

Don’t forget: You have until Friday April 27th to do the APRIL challenge (on the way poems – perfect for the holidays too!!).





Librarian’s choice: Desna Wallace picks A Child’s Garden of Verses





A Child’s Garden of Verses

By R. L. Stevenson





When I was asked which was my favourite poetry book of all time, there was no hesitation. Without a doubt, it was and always will be,  Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses. My copy is over forty years old, a little worn in the corners but very much loved, and very well-travelled, having taken it with me when I lived overseas as I didn’t want to leave it behind.

It was bought with Christmas holiday money when I was a young child and has been treasured ever since. I owe my love of poetry to my standard four teacher Miss Leggat, who shared with the class classic poems such as Robert Browning’s Pied Piper of Hamelin, and Silver by Walter de la Mare. They were poems where we learnt to listen to the rhythm and magic of their stories and it was that rhythm I found in this collection of poems, that makes it still so wonderful today.

While first published in 1885 and perhaps a bit dated for some today, the collection still stands the test of time as the book continues to be published in different versions. The poem From a Railway Carriage stands out as a wonderful example of how rhythm can create a sense of being there and experiencing what the poet is experiencing.

A young boy watches out from the carriage of a train and shares idyllic images as he travels through the countryside.


Faster than fairies, faster than witches,

Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches; …

All of the sights of the hill and the plain

Fly as thick as driving rain


I love how we can hear the sound of the train as it rumbles over the tracks. It is of course a poem that needs to be read aloud, although all poems by default, should be read aloud.

The poems are charming, a little sentimental and very nostalgic for the innocent days  of childhood.

Everyday poems about shadows, having to go to bed even when the sun is still up, the wind and so much more. R.L. Stevenson found happiness in the everyday things and considering he spent much of his childhood ill in bed, this was a wonderful quality to have. It is also why this simple, very short poem stands out. Not brilliant, but the idea that we can find happiness anywhere and be grateful is a lovely concept.


Happy thought

The world is so full

Of a number of things,

I’m sure we should all

Be happy as kings.

The illustrations in my 1972 edition are by Eve Garnett and are simply gorgeous. I completely fell in love with them. They are simple line drawings yet they express so much warmth and emotion.

Whether it is a romantic view of the past, wonderful poems, or wonderful memories of sitting on my bed reading this book at night, I’m sure of one thing. This particular book is a real treasure.






A Poetry Box holiday challenge inspired by Impossible Inventions: Ideas that shouldn’t work (Gecko Press)



Impossible Inventions: Ideas that shouldn’t work, Aleksandra & Daniel Mizielinski and Malgorzata Mycielska, Gecko Press, 2018

Find out the book here


I have just read the most AMAZING book from from Gecko Press:


Impossible Inventions: Ideas that shouldn’t work


It gave me an idea for some tricky holiday challenges to get your poetry teeth into!


Inside the book

… you will find glorious illustrations to match magnificent ideas.

Sometimes people have thought of bold ideas that everyone thought were CRAZY and WOULD NEVER WORK.

Some make you laugh, some NEVER worked, some make you think the inventor was a GENIUS!!!!!!

Did you know Heron of Alexandria thought of automatic sliding doors 200 years ago? Everyone thought it was a trick of the gods.

You will discover the Passenger Dragon, the Bubble Messenger, the Bird Ship, a personal Cloud Maker, a Concentration Helmet, Ice Tunes and many more.

This book is RIVETING



I really love it and I think YOU will love it too!


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Three holiday poetry challenges


poems can be simple tricky smooth flowing use hardly any words use lots of words


1. Extraordinary inventions that DID work


Hunt for some extraordinary inventions. You could go to the library or use the internet with the help of someone.

We might not think it is EXTRAORDINARY now but maybe it was then.

Write a poem about the invention.

Test out strong verbs.

Use physical words to describe it.

Play with how many words you put on the line.

Listen to the poem.

Try three different endings then pick your favourite.

Make your poem tell a story.

Make a really short poem that uses the best words to describe the invention (especially verbs).

Travel back in time to when it was invented. Show me that time in your poem. Just a word here, and a word there.


2. Extraordinary inventions that DID NOT work: 

You might find one of these to write a poem about – you could write a poem about one in the book! You will get a MOUNTAIN of inspiration there. I think those 25 inventions are HUNGRY for poems.


3. OOOOOOOH   EXTRA TRICKY challenge: try writing a poem about an imaginary invention.  You imagine it!



Deadline: Saturday 27th April

Send to:

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

Important: Put Invention poem in subject line so I don’t miss it.


I will post some favourites on May 3rd and have a book surprise for at least one poet.


Don’t forget: You have until Friday April 27th to do the APRIL challenge (on the way poems – perfect for the holidays too!!).


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Come set a world record during World Poetry Month! 

I just got invited to invite you to join in this challenge! If you have always wanted to be part of a world record this could be your chance! Check out below where to send your poems – not to me!

The World Poetry Month seems to be a big thing overseas.

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From the organisers:

Come set a world record during World Poetry Month! 

Commaful is hosting a poetry contest that has been approved by the Guinness Book of World Records to attempt the record for the world’s largest poetry contest.

Every entrant will be listed on the contest page after the record is broken and the winning poems will be showcased as well! Your poem could be part of history!

 Submit your poem here.

Lit Hub recommend reading to children and the staff offer picks – plus my read aloud tips

This year on Poetry Box there will be new features!

One is In the Hammock where I share children’s books I am loving at the moment.

But I am also going to go back to old favourites – especially children’s poetry books.


My read aloud tip. We could read to:

people in hospital (old and young)

people in retirement homes

add to story times in public libraries

in schools

in bookshops (readers read aloud!)

at weekend markets (a read aloud stall)



I thought you might like to read this from the amazing  Lit Hub. Their staff sing the praises of reading to children (parents and teachers) and have picked old favourites to share:


‘Almost everyone agrees that it’s a good thing to read books to your children. Sure, it bolsters language skills, concentration, empathy and curiosity, and probably it strengthens the bond between parent and child—but also, children’s books are just fun to read. Well, some of them anyway. And if you’re someone who reads (and writes, and writes about) books for a living, chances are you started out pretty early, and with some pretty good material. To that end, the Literary Hub staff would like to recommend our very favorite children’s books, sourced from our own personal childhoods.’

See the list here.


Here is one example:

I haven’t read this book! I love the sound of it. So I am off hunting! I might read it to my cat.


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Poetry Box April Challenge  is here