Monthly Archives: May 2018

Epic women poems from Waitakere Primary School gave me goose bumps

See here for my other favourite epic women poems from around NZ. Awe -inspiring poetry!






Dear Ms Tayla Williams and Year 3 and 4 students

Thank you so much for sending in poems for my epic woman poem challenge. It looks like you had fun doing these because I had fun reading them.

I have decided to post them all! This has never happened before on my blog. I usually pick some from each school but you made it too hard for me. So I am doing a special Waitakere School post with your poems. 

I loved the way you used your ears to listen to how a poem sounds.

I loved the way you hunted for fresh and fascinating similes that made me bounce off my chair and want to write my own poem.

I loved the way you showed an epic woman can be someone right next to us – our mums and our nanas and our aunts.

I loved the way you played with how many words go on a line because that changes the music of a poem. Sometimes you can try doing it in one poem so you keep mixing it up as you write like a musician.

Congratulations on your magnificent poetry. I have a copy of Laura Ranger’s book Laura’s Poems (it was published when she was a girl) for your school library so you can all get inspired by it. It is now out-of-print!

I also loved your recording of your group epic women poem. You can here it here.

Your poems gave me a warm glow!


Warm regards

Paula Green


I also have a copy of Barbara Else’s Go Girl book for Brianna. This is not a competition but I do like to share books around when I set challenges.




t  h  e       p  o  e  m  s


We wrote about our epic mums using similes to describe them (inspired by Laura Ranger’s ‘Mum’)


Her hair is like dripping dark chocolate.

Her hugs are as warm as a winter blanket.

Her personality is as sweet as sugar.

Her glasses are as black as the midnight sky.

Her love for me is as strong as a polar bear.

I love her infinity times around the world and back.

  • Kiera


Her hair is as dark as chocolate.

Her cuddles are as warm as hot chocolate.

Her eyes are as blue as the shiny ocean reef.

Her love for me is as beautiful and powerful as her heart beat.

Her kisses are as sweet as colourful candy canes.

Her skin is as soft as a fluffy blanket.

  • Nicola


My mum’s smile is like a sparkly diamond.

My mum’s red lips are as red as a rose.

She’s as smart as a dolphin.

She loves me as much as she loves nature.

  • Aria


Her hair is like black whittaker’s chocolate.

Her eyes are like a green forest.

Her nose is silky.

Her glasses are as spotty as a leopard.

Her hands are as soft as a dog.

I love my mum around the galaxy 400 million times and back.

  • Ben


She is as flexible as a rubber band.

Her hair is as soft as a white, fluffy, sparkly bunny.

She loves to read like a reading superhero.

She loves to wear lots of jewellery.

Her eyes are like sparkly hazelnuts.

I love my mum

55 million times around the world.

  • Zoe H


Her eyes are like sparkling blue diamonds.

Her hair is like burning ashes in a crackling fire.

Her hands are firm like stiff cow fur.

She sleeps in like a sleepy stubborn sloth.

She’s warm like a fluffy blanket.

Her baking is as good as a french baker.

I love my mum and she loves me back one million times.

  • Brianna


My mum, her hair is as gold as pirate’s golden treasure.

My mum’s glasses are as clear as a diamond waterfall.

My mum’s eyes are a blue pool of running river.

My mum is as nice as a cuddly, fluffy cat.

My mum’s perfume smells as gorgeous as colourful candyfloss.

  • Isabelle


My mum’s hair is as red as blood like veins.

My mum’s glasses are as clear as a waterfall.

My mum’s eyes are brown like the sand.

My mum’s cuddles are as warm as a bear.

My mum is as beautiful as a butterfly.

My mum’s love is as strong as a tsunami.

I love my mum a trillion times around the world.

I love my mum so so much.

  • Izzy


My mum is as familiar as my dog Axil.

My mum’s hair is as white as the clouds.

My mum’s lips are as red as poppies and are soft like a soft cat.

My mum’s hugs are as strong as a bear surprise.

My mum’s love is as strong as a tsunami.

I love my mum infinity times around the sun.

  • Seria


Her hair is as wild as a frisky swedish vallhund.

Her eyes are like shining blue diamonds.

She is as ferocious as a wild lion.

She signs as well as Michael Jackson.

I love my mum infinity times around the world.

  • Faeryn


My mum’s hair is black like the night in the darkest hour.

My mum’s smile is like candy.

My mum is tall like a tree, tall and strong.

My mum’s love for me is like world war two.

My mum is smart like a scientist.

  • Jes


My mum’s hair is as dark as a chocolate fish.

Her eyes are twinkly like a diamond in the sky.

Her cuddles are like a soft teddy bear.

Her hands are as soft as cat fur.

  • Ella


My mum’s eyes are like gold ferns sparkling

And she dances like roses blowing in the wind.

She is as clever as an owl sitting in an old rusty tree.

She loves horses as much as i love toys.

Her hair is like golden silk.

  • Analiese


My mum is as strong as a racing bear and as wise as an owl.

When she hugs me i feel safe inside.

Her eyes are a deep pool of chocolate.

I love my mum a million light years away.

  • Leyton



Her hair blows in the wind like fifty billion roses in the wind.

Her black glasses are as bright as the galaxy.

She is as bright as a butterfly.

  • Ryan




We wrote about a busy (epic) woman we know, playing with how many words on a line?


Super duper busy Ms Atkinson

With massive piles of paperwork,

Her fierce exhaustion grows on,

Searching super schools for ideas,

Constantly checking calm clever classes,

Hurriedly searching top-bottom for paperwork,

She is extra extremely occupied

Organising teacher meetings everywhere, everyday

She’s calmly always driving everywhere,

Helpfully helping, running the school,

Showing excited, enchanted visitors around.

  • Phia


Busy nanny

Bakes cakes

Travels globe

Grows trees.

Reads books,

Creates books,

Great sewer.

Pet sits

Bee keeps

Walks dogs

Baby sits

Makes kids.

  • Lars


Busy nana

Sings in

The shower,

Sends gifts,

Grows veggies,

Loves dogs.

Loves baking,

Likes gems,

Walks dogs,

Loves cats.

  • Ellis


Nan she

Walks dogs,

Bakes cakes,

Loves sewing,

Hates knitting,

Reading lots,

Travels world,

Always shopping,

Awesome cook,

Bird lover.

  • Rhys


She’s an awesome Nana.

She keeps bees to

Make honey and she

Uses the honey to

Make money so she

Doesn’t lose all her money.

  • Marcus


Busy Nana

Washes dishes,

Goes shopping,

Clever cook,

Cleans books.

Plays games,

Cleans greatly,

Good gardener,

She’s active.

  • Petta


My busy nanny cooks dinner,

Babysits me and my cousins,

Looks after the amazing pets,

Works at the grand home.

Drives to dancing every tuesday,

Knits clothes that are warm,

Looks after the house crazily,

Blooms flowers and plants trees.

Runs around crazily in supermarkets.

She loves me so much!

  • Emma


My hardworking Nana

Feeds greedy children,

Washes dirty dishes dishes.

Cleans multicoloured clothes,

A keen gardener.

Bakes delicious cakes.

  • Ashlee


Sings in

The shower,

Horse rider

Delightfully coaches

In the

Sun shine.

Buys icecream,

Walks pets,

Draws horses,

Visits stables,

Answers papers,

She reads.

Loves horses,

Champion rider.

Loves art,

She’s kind.

  • Hilda


Super sonic granny

Amazing house cleaner

Bakes yummy food

Vacuums the floor

Feeds hungry pets.

  • Yulian


Girl archeologists are busy

Busily polishing dazzling gems

Madly sips strong lemonade

Munches cheese & bacon toasties

Amazingly soaks fossilized fossils

Drives honda safari jeeps

Shovels rock hard sandstone

She is awfully famous

Examines old reptile bones.

  • Louis


Awesome amazing aunty

Bakes delicious cakes

Scrubs dirty dishes

Folds clean washing

Walks the dog

Feeds hungry children.

  • Summer


My busy nana bakes cakes calmly

She gardens til dark cutting petals

Travels around the world missing me

Scatters through the sloppy dishes madly

Drives truck to electrical shop.

Dinner’s on the table by 5 o’clock

Emails the people that need help

Builds things for me and my sister

She multitasks every day and night

She goes out for dinner sometimes

And sometimes she even takes me.

  • Liam


Busy nan owns kindergarten

Hunts for white bait

Feeds the generous family.

Babysits the children

Buys the healthy groceries

Makes scrumptious apple crumble

Scrubs the dirty dishes.

Gardens til pitch dark

Sketches pro detailed drawings

Dances like Michael Jackson

She is so busy

She still loves me.

  • Lenny


A busy woman i know…

Shares crispy chocolate chip cookies,

Cooks soft, delicious carrot meals,

Makes soft, snuggly, silky beds,

Drives to treat filled toyshop,

Fills bread with delicious fillings,

Irons t-shirts, pants and teatowels.

  • Grace


(My nana)

Believes in god and loves him

Calmly sews jumpers fast,

Angrily fixes shirts,

Loves going to church,

Loves reading the bible.

Likes very old music,

Likes taking my photo,

Her baking is delicious,

She loves kissing me.

She loves baby sitting.

  • Sam


My awesome aunty

From english culture

Really good driver

Super fun aunty

Best uncle boyfriend

Super amazingly strong

Mega shopping master

Humongous big thighs.

  • Calder


Awesome busy nan

Bakes yummy dinner.

Folds clean washing.

Scrubs dirty dishes.

Enjoys food shopping.

Loves travelling places.

  • Sienna


Busy Jill

Does dishes,

Sews jumpers,

Cleans houses.

Makes dinner,

Makes beds.

Babysits me,

Reads books,

Goes shopping.

  • Maihi


Busy nana

Likes puzzles

Gardens often.

Does cooking

Earns money

Likes shopping

Sews clothes.

  • Tate


Super epic nan

Sells wonderful jewellery

Loves me everyday

Cooks lovely tea

Makes delicious milo

Walks lots streets

Baby sits babies

Watches tv tons.

  • Rocco


Busy nana

Knits toys,

Bakes pancakes,

They’re yum.

Cuddles me,

Loves me,

Bakes cakes,

Eats porridge,

Loves flowers.

  • Navane


(Busy nan)

Feeds squealing chubby pigs,

Walks the active dog,

Builds big chicken pens,

Gardens like a madman,

Cooks the yummiest cakes,

Goes shopping for treats,

Scrubs dirty damaged dishes,

Pet sits the chickens,

Travels the wide world,

Walks long, long walks.

  • Ash


My aunty

Rubix cracker,

She studies,

Gets drunk,

There’s more.

Shower singer,

Hates screaming,

Reads books,

Loves dogs,


  • Micah


My busy nana

Washes dirty dishes

Folds clean clothes

Makes messy beds

Walks excited dogs.

  • Jodie


My nana is busy,

Busy indeed. She will

Make a phone call,

Wink, and come dressed

In pink. She will

Sew and sew. Give

Her a needle and…

She’ll be done like a

Pro. She will bake

A delicious cake, that

You’ll think it’s fake.

And then she will

Dance and prance in

And out of doorways,

Begging me to join her.

  • Leo


Busy hardworking Ms Atkinson

Her exhaustion grows on

Searching for lost paperwork,

Rushing around like buffalos,

Galloping on with work.

Organising meetings 5 mins flat,

Constantly driving everywhere,

(Almost blowing her top)

Constantly checking clever classes,

She must be exhausted!

Wonder if help’s needed?

  • Ruby









Some favourite epic women poems from my May challenge


Published by Penguin Random House, 2018


To celebrate Barbara Else’s spectacular book, Go Girl: A Storybook of Epic Women, I challenged you to write poems about epic women. I also said epic women might be famous but they might also be the girls and women in our neighbourhoods, in our schools and in our families.

Thank you so much for sending in an epic amount of poems. I couldn’t post them all but I read them all. If I didn’t write you a letter back it is because your email got lost in my system so let me know. And extra thanks to Westmere School and Richmond Road School – you are epic poem writers. You continue to try my challenges and and make new discoveries as you write. I love that!

I am doing an extra post for the poems from Waitakere School.

I loved the way you all picked epic women from your mum or your aunt, Kate Sheppard our pioneering suffragette , Amelia Earhart daring pilot to Maria Tutaia netballer.


I love the way poems can do many things! Words can dart and dash like an agile sports player! They can risk and scoot and sing. Stop on a poem and discover what it is doing because these poems are doing SO MUCH! This is a treasure trove for your ears and eyes so thank you young poets!


I hope Barbara’s book continues to  inspire you! I was inspired by all your fabulous poems. Thank you.

Penguin Random House have donated a copy (thank you!) so I am sending Go Girl to Lucca.



Watch out for my June challenge on June 1st.

Check out the audio spots I am posting where you get to hear NZ poets read their poems for children. You can hear Barbara read her a piece on fabulous poet Selina Tusitala Marsh. Selina is an epic woman! She is an epic poet and an epic friend!


t h e       p o e m s


My mum      


My mum helps me with my homework, and she looks after me.

Even when I’m sick, she looks after me.

Even when I go to sleep, she still looks after me.

She dances by herself on the stage, and I am so proud.

She is awesome.

My mum is the best in the world.


Lucca W  age 10     Richmond Rd School Samoan Unit



Kate Sheppard

“We want to be treated as ordinary human beings, with feelings, thoughts, desires, aspirations, all requiring opportunities for development…we must be ourselves at all risk.”


Gone down in history,

A suffragette,

Kate Sheppard.



Urging women to vote,

Kate Sheppard.


Changed history,


Kate Sheppard,


Changing lives, beliefs, choices and global recognition of women.


Olive Morrison-Lopes Age 10  Westmere School LS7


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Benaiah J,  Age 10    The Hub    Richmond Rd School





In the cockpit

Of a small plane

Rations packed in any spare space

Squishing her,

Jean Batten

Breathe, calm down

She can do this!

Fly across the vast ocean

freeing her,

Jean Batten

Finally, success!

Let’s do it again!

But this time the plane is lost

Losing her

Jean Batten

Is remembered

As a hero!


Evangeline, 10, Year 6, ACG Strathallan


Alice D

Alice D

Likes reading.

Alice D

Is Humble,

She’s Funny,

Full of great ideas.

Alice D

Likes music, sometimes it can be a little unusual.

Alice D

Likes adventures,

She Likes biking

Alice D

Is an Animal lover.

Alice D

Is Kind.

Alice D

Always tries new ideas.

Alice D

can speak French.

Alice D

Likes Alice in Wonderland.

Alice D

Does a range of art,

She enjoys  Sewing.

Alice D


Alice D


Alice D

She Inspires me.

Isabelle G Age 10 Westmere School LS 8



Amelia Earhart

Splutter, Splat and Zoom!

Pat Pat Pat on the plane’s metal roof.

Flying through the clouds,

lightning and thunder all around.

She didn’t have much food,

but a can of cold tomato soup.


Flying higher Zoom! Zoom! Zoom!

The crowds were cheering Woo! Woo! Woo!

But then one day when she was out flying,

people thought the papers were lying,

she disappeared like a flash in the night.

It gave the world a massive fright.

Amelia Earhart was an extraordinary pilot brave and strong,

That was my poem, I hope you enjoyed,

even though it was written by a boy!


Jamie G Age:10 LS6 Westmere school


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Maisie H 10 Years Old LS8 Westmere School



                  Lilly Rylev

Lilly Rylev so brave, nice, beautiful, and awfully funny.

Whenever you feel glum she always there to cheer you up!             

She started off as a little girl at her kindy and moved up to Westmere School.

After Westmere she was so famous!

(well to me she has always been my famous role model)

Ever since I was born she has been ever so nice, she is


a mean person.


We never get into fights, some people may say it is because we have a huge age gap

(well she is 17 now)

But I know that that’s not the case.

Lilly is a teenager

(which means one thing)

All teenagers always


go on their PHONE!

It’s Ridiculous but that’s the thing,

when I want some company then I ask her

and of course she comes and makes everything fun again! Her personality is a little cheerful funny weird

(in a cool way)

Amazing person.

Next year she is going to Denmark for a year

but nothing is going to stop me and her from still being together.

I love her Very much,

And yes she is My Sister.


Hana Rage 9 LS6  Westmere School      



Suzie-Jo poem


Miss Susie-Jo was a very strict teacher…

and nice…

because every time when school was almost finished she took us out for a game.

Miss Susie-Jo was the best teacher I have ever met.


Dre T Age 10  Samoan Unit Richmond Rd School


Miss Mareta

Miss Mareta is  the best teacher ever.

Miss Mareta is very strict.

Miss Mareta is fun, modern, cool and a very funny teacher.

When she is angry she growls half the day.

She helps me with my school work every day.

She is very fun to play with.

She can wiggle,

She can dance,

She can move her body heaps.

Now you know why she’s the best teacher ever.

Zephan P    Age 10   Samoan Unit  Richmond Rd School



Miranda Harcourt

Amazing actor











Lives in windy wellington



Out of this world

Perfect Auntie

Queen of the Aunties

Ray of sunshine




Visits Auckland             


Xiexie (thank you)

You are awesome, Miranda


Madeleine  H Age 9 Westmere School LS6


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  Eleanor P, 9 year old, LS7, Westmere School      



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Stanley B Age: 10 Westmere School  LS8



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Layla A 10 yrs Westmere School LS8


Epic Women

An epic woman doesn’t have to be strong,

or be great at throwing or standing tall.

There might be a woman who is special to you,

who’s kind and loving and giving too.        

A friend might be very special to you,

but don’t go on thinking that you have to choose.

You don’t have to choose who’s most special to you,

all woman are special and you are too!


By Azaria R Age 11 School Homeschool


Maria Tutaia, Netball Extraordinaire.

Maria Tutaia,

Everybody gives a cheer,

Her shooting is superb,

Her footwork needs no work,

I like to watch her play,

I could do it all day,

I love the way she wears black socks,

How her dress is thin around her middle,

Just thinking about her makes me jiggle,

The way she trains,

Is definitely not lame,

Though it is quite confusing,

That instead of shooting,

She prefers defending,

Maria Tutaia.


Olivia P Age : 9 Ls8 Westmere School


Screen Shot 2018-05-29 at 1.35.41 PM.pngHonor M 10 years old Westmere LS8


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Sadie C 10 years old  Westmere School LS8



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Maggie S Westmere school LS7 Age 10



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Jasper S Westmere School LS7  age:11


Suzie Bates

Suzie smashes the circular cricket ball

over the big bumpy boundary rope.

She pulls the shortball and drives the full ball.

She catches the highball and stops the low ball.

She captains the team and is athletic as can be.

Suzie the black ferns captain.


George C Westmere school LS7   age: 11




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Gabriel W 10 years Westmere School.


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Scarlett age 9 LS7 Westmere School


Kate Sheppard

The marching image of our land

the Sheppard girl so strong so grand.

there was a time in which people said

women were made to serve.

The days were gray and tireless  

But when many unique stand together,

and look fear in the eye,

Even the deepest darkest secrets of life,

are soon to be revealed.

Our nation’s grandest girl

for which we salute and stand tall.

She is the maker of dreams and desires

To tell the story that anything is possible.

Brooke W  Westmere school lS7 10 years




Lily Hanson

Inspires me to dance.

Laughs like crazy.

Yay! she says every day!


Awesomely cool,

Nice and noisy.

Super and Great.

Ok, every day,

Nails everything she tries…

And that is why she is the best friend ever!!!

Hollie B Age: 9 studio: lS7 Westmere School




Poison Ivy is amazing

Poison Ivy likes to sing.

Poison Ivy loves to scare

Poison Ivy has ginger hair.

Poison Ivy is a villain

Poison Ivy wears green.

Poison Ivy has super powers

Poison ivy’s power, is shooting flowers.

Poison Ivy has two friends

Poison Ivy’s evil never ends.

And even though she’s really nasty, she still looks really pretty

She’s strong and clever and  is queen of the city!

Emetose L  Age 10  The Hub Richmond Rd School




A great friend to have around.

Someone I’m glad I found.

Has a great smile.

Love her style!!!

I can play with her for hours

Nicer then a bunch of flowers.

Perfect bottom to top

Energiser, she will never stop

Tougher than a walnut

Extreme without a doubt

Running out and about

She’s very special to me.

(And now thats a way to rap it up my poem about Ashlin.)

 Jemima G Age 9 LS6 Westmere School



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Ashlin P Age:10 LS6 Westmere School



Maria Sibylla Merian

She became an artist

She became a writer

She became …

Oh when will she stop?

Yeah! Slap on that canvas

Write on that paper

And look at those bugs

With a magnifying glass

Butterflies out of mud?

no no no!

But Maria knew better.

Lola T Age:10 School: Westmere Class:lS8



 Tasmyn Benny the boxer  

Smash ! Bash!

She hits her opposition,                         

as she takes her position.

The uppercut hits her so bad,

she starts to get mad.

Tasmyn Benny is not afraid,

she is brave.

Tasmyn Benny gets her hand held up high,

as she starts to emotionally cry,

that is definitely not a lie.

Tasmyn Benny is a knockout !  

Smash! Bash!        

Ava W10 years old  LS8  Westmere School    


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Ella C  LS8. aged 9. Westmere School.


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Henry C LS6 Age 11 Westmere School

Shawna Robinson

Shawna Robinson is brave to race more than 100 miles an hour

Shawna Robinson is very fast when she is in the race

Shawna Robinson is focused to make sure she doesn’t crash

Shawna Robinson is intelligent to know how to not crash

Shawna Robinson is sweaty when she races

Shawna Robinson is quick when she goes into the pit stop

Shawna Robinson is a winner


Ted P Age 10LS6  Westmere School Screen Shot 2018-05-29 at 3.16.20 PM.png

Sienna Smith  Age 9 Ls6 Westmere School



Natural like a tree, she’s older than me.

Inspiring as she is, no one else can be a better friend.

Nicer than Santa on his way, to the UK, carrying toys for the children in his sleigh.

Awesome, more awesome than you think.


Beautiful like a rainbow

Amazing Nina.

Rad red panda.

Lovely like a kitten.

Owesome is awesome.

Wonderful like a poem.


Nina is here, no she’s there in the clouds made of candy floss, picking money off trees, getting fanta out of a tap, then lying on marshmallows to take a nap.


Luella P Age: 9  Class: LS6 School: Westmere


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GAIA C Westmere School Age 9 LS8  




Poetry Box Audio Spot: Elena de Roo reads ‘Elk’ by Emma Neale




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Elk drawing by ZacZac is 8 years old. He loves reading, playing football and drawing dragons and minotaurs.




‘Elk’ by Emma Neale, published in A Treasury of Poems for Children edited by Paula Green, Random House, 2014, and new edition 2017.



Elena de Roo is a children’s writer and poet from Auckland. She lives next to Cornwall Park and often makes up stories and poems in her head while going for long walks there, hoping only the cows and sheep notice she is quietly talking to herself.

Emma Neale loves reading books aloud to her children, even her teenager, when she can find him away from the piano or the drums. Her youngest son is such a keen reader he knows more about history than she does. He loves to test her on all the facts she doesn’t know. She has written stories and poems for children, and a picture book that will probably be buried with her because nobody seems to think it’s as funny as she does.










Check out NZ junior fiction at The Sapling

Sue Copsey has matched international junior fiction books with local examples and it is a terrific list. I applaud local publishers who are publishing for this age range. I applaud readers who buy in this age range to support our local publishers and inspire our local readers.

…. and I applaud The Sapling a website that continues to shine a welcome light on New Zealand children’s books.

Go here for list

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Y0 -8 students – Have you read one of the books on the list? Would you want to tell me what you love about it so I can post on Poetry Box?



Poetry Box video spot: Year 3 and 4 made up an epic woman poem

I love this!

I also love the way poetry gets you moving – your mind and your body.

A big thank you to Tayla Jane Williams who worked with this Y3/4 class at Waitakere Primary School.

I do hope I get to post more videos on Poetry Box.



An epic woman poem.

The May epic woman and girls challenge deadline is Monday 28th May so you still have time!

See here for details.









Librarian’s Choice – Stephanie Mayne picks 101 Poems for Children: a Laureate’s Choice


shopping.jpeg  shopping.jpeg


101 Poems for Children: a Laureate’s Choice

compiled by Carol Ann Duffy, illustrated by Emily Gravett (2013)


Carol Ann Duffy has selected poems she personally enjoys for this collection. Classic and modern poems are included and the book is appealingly illustrated.

The poems are suitable for a wide range of ages. Some poems are quirky, some highly visual, many humorous.  Old favourites are here – but  work from largely unfamiliar poets is also represented.

Many selected poems make ordinary things extraordinary (e.g. “Balloons” by Sylvia Plath), others rely largely on repetition and rhythm for impact (   e.g. “There was an Old Lady”).  Some are funny and instantly strike a chord with children (e.g. “Rat it up” by Adrian Mitchell). The poems by Norman MacCaig are simple and evocative. Don’t miss “Toad” and “Caterpillar.”

Poems are not all Eurocentric, which is useful. Try “How to Cut a Pomegranate” by Imtiaz Dharker, for a poem that will resonate with migrant students. You might use “Ten Things Found in a Shipwrecked Sailor’s Pocket” by Ian McMillan as a prompt to get students writing their own list poems – ten things found in schoolchild’s satchel, maybe?

This is a fresh, rewarding, useful poetry book that belongs in every school library!

Stephanie Mayne


Stephanie Mayne is an Auckland school librarian and teacher who writes poetry and flash fiction in her spare time. She has been published in newspapers, anthologies and online literary journals.







Poetry Box Audio Spot: James Brown reads ‘Lost things’



Annual 1, edited by Kate De Goldi and Susan Paris, Gecko Press, 2016


You can find James Brown‘s found poem in the magnificent Annual 1. He talks a bit about it before he reads. Found poems are fun to do – so I will set a challenge for this later in the year.




James’s poetry has appeared in the School Journal and both editions of Annual. His three early reader books – My New Zealand Colours Book, My New Zealand 123 Book, and My New Zealand ABC Book – were among New Zealand’s gifts to the British royal baby Prince Louis. 









Librarian’s Choice: Zac McCallum picks There’s an Awful Lot of Weirdos in our Neighbourhood




There’s an Awful Lot of Weirdos in our Neighbourhood by Colin McNaughton,

Walker Books 1990  [first published 1987]



This book was a present from my grandparents on my 6th birthday. I’ve had to part with a lot of books from my collection over the years but this is one book that I can never part with.  I don’t think that six-year-old me really appreciated it but it started my love of Colin McNaughton’s poetry.  Whenever I needed a poem for a poetry competition at primary school it would always be a Colin McNaughton poem.  His poems are perfect for performing which is why I would always choose them. Whether you want a short but silly poem or a rap about a T-Rex you can find it in this book.  My mum still recites ‘Don’t Put Sugar in My Tea, Mum’ regularly and there are some that pop in to my head from time to time.

I think the thing I love the most about Colin’s poems is his funny illustrations that go with each poem.  My favourite poem (complete with hilarious illustration) is ‘Sick of Being Pushed Around,’ about a kid who is being bullied so sends away for a course to help him get muscles.  The illustration shows a weedy kid with hugely muscly arms and makes me laugh every time.  Another of my favourites is called ‘A Poem to Send to Your Worst Enemy,’ which is really just a list of insults that rhyme.

Colin McNaughton has written other collections of poetry like this one, including Who’s Been Sleeping in My Porridge? and Wish You Were Here and I Wasn’t, as well as some fantastic picture books, like the Preston Pig series and Captain Abdul’s Pirate School.  His books are a great way to hook boys in to poetry, especially if you share some of his grossest poems about being car sick or eating too many jelly babies.  Any kids who love Andy Griffiths’ The Bad Book should check out Colin’s poetry.



Zac is a school librarian in Christchurch.  He runs a blog about children’s literature called My Best Friends Are Books, featuring news, reviews and interviews.  His favourite authors include Aaron Blabey, Lisa Thompson, M.G. Leonard and Patrick Ness.  When he’s not reading or talking about books with his wife he is chasing after a boisterous little girl and twin teenage boys.























Poetry Box Audio Spot: Fifi Colston reads ‘Needy Cat’





Image by Carla Martell – check out her website here


Fifi: The poem is based on our old cat Tres. He’s loud, shouty and very demanding, but we love him dearly.

Graduating in Wellington with a Diploma of Visual Communications Design, Fifi freelances with fingers in many creative pies. She is a published junior fiction novelist, children’s book illustrator of more than 30 titles, poet and was a long standing television presenter of arts and crafts on firstly TVNZ’s ‘What Now’ and then ‘The Good Morning Show’. Fifi is a veteran of Wearable Arts; a finalist and award winner over 23 years with 24 entries in show. She has also worked with Weta Workshop, 3 Foot 7 Productions, Pukeko Pictures and The Production Shed in the New Zealand TV and film industry as a costumier, puppet maker and illustrator. When she has a moment, Fifi visits schools and community groups, inspires budding artists and writers and runs workshops in creative process.



Fifi’s blog spot

Here’s Paula’s May poetry challenge.