Monthly Archives: March 2019

Poetry Box March challenge: Some favourite Through the Window Poems


Thank you so much for the bumper BUMPER crop of poems. It has taken me all day to read them. So many poems from Christchurch children this time!  I wanted to be able to post all your poems but it’s not possible. I have picked just a few (well this feels like a BUMPER post)so please don’t be sad if you missed out this time.

The most important thing for is to LOVE writing the poem.

I do hope you try my April challenge and the bonus challenges I have running all year.

All poems are like little windows because we look into them and get transported to so many different places. These poems especially so. Thank you young poetry fans.

I have a book for Michelle Z from Ilam School because KINDNESS is my word of the month. And a special thank you to the young poets at Three Kings School for making me laugh with your brilliant sense of humour.


I think this is a record post – so go hunting for the poem you love best!


Sunset Roses

Through Granny’s living room window,
the wild yellow and red roses
open like sunsets.
Bees fill their pockets with pollen.
Ants carry sugar grains
on their shoulders,
from the kitchen through
leaves and thorns to their nest.
In the dark tunnels of soil,
a little sparrow looks for lunch.
A fat yellow cat nudges
a yellow rose as if to say,
“When is it winter?”

Tom N 10 years old  Year 6 – Hoon Hay School/Te Kura Koaka

Through the window
Through the window is a river which leads you to a secret backyard.
Fish lead you under an cave,
taking diamonds to you,
gathering for a festival,
just for you.
Be kind and have fun,
is the most important thing,
Listen to the eel slither,
to give help to everyone,
for an awesome day, giving food,
and be the best
you can be.

Michelle Z, 7 years old, Y3, Ilam School, Christchurch


Through the Window


The iron fences are tangled together,

The old wood pile is slowly sighing,

The birds are licking their lips during cicada season,

A leaf’s face is wooshed by wind.

My view through the window

Louis H Age 9  Year 5   Three Kings School

Through my window I hear the sea crashing.
I see boats, the yellow shining sun.
Dolphins jump up and down all day long like kangaroos.

Maddy H, Year 3, 7 years old, St Andrews College, Christchurch


Through the window of the garden


Through the window of the garden

I can see swallows

Chirping, swooping, diving

Something is stalking them

But it’s black

How can that be?

It is midday

The garden is as green as the grass

A cat is in the garden

Stalking the forever swooping swallows.

Adele S, 9 years old, Year 5, St Andrews College, Christchurch


Through the window onto the pollution

I look through the window into the pollution palace.
The seagulls pluck at the rubber tyres
like animal rubbish sorters.
Ripping old muesli bar wrappers
to fill their empty stomachs.
The waves wash over
the beach leaving foam filled bucket
like a dog with a angry mouth.
Sweeping into the sea.
Filling the sea.
Destroying the sea.

Phoebe J, 10 years old, Y 6, Selwyn House School, Christchurch.


Through the Bedroom Window


Street lights flicker over the cars

Foam on the waves look like little ghosts haunting the ocean

I hear the wind pushing the clouds along the air

Stars open the dark sky

Saskia F, age 7, St Andrews College Preparatory School


Through My Night Window

Stars shine in the dark night

Stars dance as the cold wind blows

Stars twinkle

When the moon awakes

Lucy, age 8, Y4, Ilam School, Christchurch


A Window Of Wonder
I looked through the window and saw lots of stuff
like a big buff baboon sitting on a balloon.
And a huge fat cat that was stuck in a hat.
And a great white centipede that looked like Canterbury
with a great brown cow that went meow.
There was also a centaur that had a metal kettle on its hair
and a great white sea that looked like a bee.
With a dolphin with a hole in its shoe.
And lots of stuff that looked like a nut
like a brown caterpillar that was curled up around a colossal fossil.
With a cloud that had too many great cows
and a frog that bobbed up and down
with a huge lizard tail coming out of its hat.
there was also a clock that had been sent to the none clock land and back
with an iron figure that looked like a digger.
And also a bird with three wings.
I looked closer to see something staring at me
was it a cow or a meowing cowering hound.
That’s when I realized it was brussel sprout covered in an orange skin tan.

Then I stopped looking through the window and went home to explode with what I had just seen.

Leon  age 9 year 5 Richmond Road School, Auckland



A list for a bedroom window


Charlotte Kerr, age 7, year 3, Ilam school, Christchurch



Through the Window


The field remembers when it was covered in sea water,

The road says, “I need to take a rain shower, so I can be clean again.”’

Kids try to take the rocks of the rock wall – this hurts the wall,

House roofs sunbathe,

Trees give a high-five to the sun.

My view through the window

Rhys J, Age 9, Year 5, Three Kings School, Auckland


A Smorgasbord of Colour

  • Scenes from a restaurant window


The midnight blue sea stretches restfully

Embracing the black silhouette of another island

The night sky beckons me

To watch its amazing colours

Deepest blue

Fading to turquoise

Morphing into a brilliant orange

I see the endless horizon

Reaching out to greet the sky

As I watch

Darkness swallows the magnificent colours

Leaving an inky black void

Dotted with stars

Night has arrived

Daniel, Age 10, Year 6, Adventure School, Wellington


Through the Window


Rocks in the rock wall argue over who should get the comfy spot,

The gate is calmly waiting to be opened,

Birds perching in the tree gossip about the new turf,

New houses are showing off their new hairstyles,

The court is waiting to get it’s new turf dress,

The goal post is persuading the rugby players to kick the ball over its head.

My view through the window

Louie A, Age  9 yrs, Year 5, Three Kings School, Auckland


The Window

I open my window
It’s Midnight, pitch black outside
The wind swallows me, taking me on a adventure
I land on the beach
The hollow sounds welcome me
The waves collapses on the shore
I kneel down to touch the golden sand
All a sudden, the sand disappears into space
Everything vanishes
I close my window
My dream has come to an end.

Reham Y, Age: 9. Fendalton School, Christchurch


The cloud out the window
I looked out the weirdly, wobbling, window,
I saw a cloud that looked like a rainbow.
The cloud turned into an ocean,
The waves had a slow, wonderful motion.
Then the ocean turned into suntan lotion,
Someone handed me some ice cream,
It reminded me of a sun beam.
The cloud seemed to linger.
It was close enough to touch with the tip of my finger.
The cloud turned into a pair of feet,
I sat on my little green seat,
And listened to a musical beat.
Out the window, the cloud was now an eagle,
Somehow I thought it was a beagle.
That was all the cloud wanted to be,
I would have liked more, but I had to agree,
That was all the window let me see.

Wolf C 10yrs old Year 6 Richmond Road School, Auckland


The Stranger’s Storm


I’m lying on my bed staring through the window

Of my parent’s house

My home staring at the storm out the window

It’s as dark as the oil of the ocean

The lamp beside me gives barely any light

Then a loud cracking noise fills the silence

And light fills the room

Then as quickly as it appeared it disappeared.

Suddenly I see a lantern outside

And open the front door which is next to my room

When it opens, the storm stops

The stranger and their lantern are gone.

William S, 11 years old, Year 7, St Andrews College, Christchurch


Screen Shot 2019-03-30 at 1.22.54 PM.png

Phoebe Age: 8 Years Old Year 4  Ilam SchoolChristchurch


Through The Window Of My Telescope
Aerial pulses lighting up my night
Bright supernovas casing a rainbow storm
The black bang that could end it all
Like fireworks on steroids
The stars as cold as diamonds hanging onto every sound
A meteor supernova to large
The zero gravity screaming into my limbs
Until the stillness of a new world breaks through

Sylvie K, Age: 12, Selwyn House, Christchurch



Through the Arctic Window


I feel the Arctic breeze

I hear Huskies yap

Their owners tell them to stop

And give them treats before the snowstorm rages

Ben, age 7, Y3, St Andrews College Preparatory School


 Through the window


The cloud looks like a beaver.

The puffer fish from the sky is anxious.

The power pole is sunburnt.

The field is shaped like a fish.

   My view through the window

   Dana C Age 8, Y5, Three Kings School

The Crazy Window

I looked out of the reflecting window.
It was raining so everyone I saw was wearing raincoats.
I saw different colours like Red, Blue and Gold.
All the cars turned on their window wipers, wishing and washing the windows.

Up in the sky I saw a big bright Rainbow.
Slipping and Slopping went the people who were walking,
Rock and Crazy Rolling went the vehicles driving passed.
Falling and Crawling went the raindrops on the windows,
Crissing and Crossing across the crazy window.

Kavafau P Age: 10  Year 6  Richmond Road School  Auckland


A window on the kittens
The breath of the kittens
Like warm wind.
Climbing up the scratching poles
They are kitten ninja warriors,
As playful as toddlers,
As brisky as the wind.
As soft as pillows.
Just the sweetest things you’ve

Emma Geddes, age 9, Y5, Selwyn House School, Christchurch

The Race

As I look through the commentator’s window
Onto the race course,
The 7 horses and their jockeys leave the gates,
There is tension in the air
The smell of horse manure,
And fresh hay from their breakfast
It’s my favourite place in the world watching the horses
The 7 horses sprint over the finish line
As fast as a quarter horses
And it’s all out my window

Alice Murphy, 9, YR5, Selwyn House School, Christchurch


Through The Window

Through my bedroom window, I a see a drop two drops of rain, dripping down a leaf from the old kowhai tree, racing each other until they hit the ground and the race is over.

Through the library window, I see a bee, delicately sipping nectar from a flower.

Through my kitchen window, I see a cat, roaming around the fence, waiting to pounce on a bird.

Ruby W M, age 10, Selwyn House School, Christchurch


The Sea Window

Through the creepy waved deep blue sea.
I see a window shining at me.
I see a giant eyed squid very heavy but tiny.
I hear it squirting out ink that has words.

William Y,  7-yrs, Year 3, St. Andrew’s College, Christchurch


Through the Window


Coffee-coloured trees sway from side to side,

Seaweed-green grass gets stomped on by happy children,

Mossy rocks are bundled up in a big bunch,

Birds glide joyfully over the huge trees,

Air whips into acorns as they fall from an oak tree.

My view through the window

Raffaella C Age 9, Year 5, Three Kings School, Auckland


Through the Window


“Woosh, woosh! I’ll keep you cool,” say the trees all at once,

“You can’t see me, you can’t see me!” taunts the aeroplane that just flew over.

“I’ll never let you go!” cried the mountain to the houses clinging on to its side.

My view through the window

Georgia L Age 8 Year 5 Three Kings School



Watching the World

I’m looking out the classroom window, watching the clouds scudding by.
I can see skyscrapers in the distance, watching the world come to life.
Early morning, late afternoon, the view is always changing.
Trees rustling in the cool afternoon breeze, leaves blowing gently about.
Harsh winter winds outside, blowing everyone away.
Outside the window, everything is happening, going by without a sound.
In the city, looking out the window there are buses and cars, people and noise.
When the window is open, smells and sounds drift in and away.
Hot summer afternoon, freezing winter morning, I’m looking out the window.
Looking out the library window, books blocking the view.
Looking out the car window, watching everything rushing by.
I’m looking out the classroom window, watching the clouds scudding by.

Gretel H, age 9,yr 5, Richmond Road School Auckland


Through my Window

I had a window
it was sort of bad because
I could not see through
It rhymes and chimes
when I asked it to.
It turned as a friend to it.
One day I turned my
back on it. It started calling me names
like bay.

Jonny A 6 years old Year 3 Ilam School Christchurch


Through My Porthole


Every night

I watch the sun set

And orcas breaching over the moon

Flying fish gliding

Over the vessel.

Every night

The waves

Rock me to sleep.

I’m as warm

As a whale

In an autumn tornado.

Zachary Y3  Ilam School Christchurch



Through the window


Chimney tops chatter in the cold wind

Clothes lines rotate in the breeze,

Banana trees sprout of the ground,

Cicadas gossip,

Plants quiver,

Goal posts eye each other – ready to fight,

Houses hang on to the hill, as still as statues,

Trucks beep like an alarm clock,

Diggers grunt and moan,

The view through the window.

Sam C 10 years Year 6  Three Kings School Auckland

Through The Window Poem

I see black birds singing
I remember
The window
I see the the field that sits behind a factory
I see a balcony that nobody sits on.
I see a window that is blistering.
I see the rain drops falling.

Maria B age 6 Y2 Ilam School Christchurch

Poetry Box noticeboard: children getting voting for your favourite junior fiction novel from NZ Book Awards

Storylines Kids’ Pick Competition

Storylines in partnership with What Now will launch their competition, Storylines Kids’ Pick, on What Now on TV1 on 31st March.

Children all over New Zealand will be invited to vote for the Storylines Junior Fiction Notable Book they would most like to read, based on the reviews and books-sells produced by a panel of young readers. The book that receives the most votes will be identified as the 2019 Storylines Kids’ Pick of a Junior Fiction book written by a New Zealand author in 2018.

The vote will be promoted live on air over two weeks, with presenters directing viewers to the What Now website  to watch the video reviews of the books and to vote.

The winner will be announced on What Now on air on April 14th. Voters will go into a draw to win a set of the Storylines Junior Fiction Notable Books.

The books to be voted from as per this press release are:

The Short but Brilliant Career of Lucas Weed (Scholastic NZ)
by Chrissie Walker
ISBN 9781775435082

Whetū Toa and the Magician  (Huia)
by Steph Makutu, illustrated by Katharine Hall
ISBN 9781775503538

The Mapmakers’ Race (Gecko Press)
by Eirlys Hunter, illustrated by Kirsten Slade
ISBN 9781776572038

Rafferty Ferret: Ratbag (One Tree House)
by Sherryl Jordan
ISBN 9780995106437

The Fire Stallion (HarperCollins)
by Stacy Gregg
ISBN 9780008261412

Cuz (One Tree House)
by Liz van der Laase
ISBN 9780473421885

My New Zealand Story: Dawn Raid  (Scholastic NZ)
Pauline (Vaeluaga) Smith
ISBN 9781775434757

Sticking with Pigs (One Tree House)
by Mary-anne Scott
ISBN 9780995106406

Lyla: Through My Eyes – Natural Disaster Zones (Allen & Unwin)
by Fleur Beale
ISBN 9781760113780

Kiwis at War – 1918: Broken Poppies (Scholastic NZ)
by Des Hunt
ISBN 9781775432821

These books are likely to be in demand in books shops throughout the country over the next few weeks as a result of this competition; a display of these books will attract attention.

See further information here



Poetry Box review: Nan Blanchard’s Hazel and the Snails


She looked out the window at the passing sky. Somewhere up there was heaven. You went there when you died. When you ‘carked’ it as Henry liked to say.

‘Carked is a perfectly acceptable expression,’ Gran said to Henry. ‘Just don’t say passed away. Passed away is a ridiculous euphemism.’

‘Ridiculous euphemism,’ Hazel had repeated later in her bedroom. Something to do with sneezing.


Editors Kate De Goldi and Susan Paris produced the gorgeous ANNUAL 1 and ANNUAL 2 – two feasts of quality writing and illustrations  – that I celebrated on Poetry Box.

Kate and Susan have now taken their ANNUAL Ink children’s imprint to Massey University Press – their aim is ‘to seek and work closely with new writers and artists’ in a variety of forms but always aiming for  high quality. That is an admirable aim.

The first book was launched this week:

Hazel and the Snails by Nan Blanchard with lively illustrations by Giselle Clarkson.


This is Nan Blanchard‘s first book – in her author bio she says she was ‘brought up by books’. She lives in Wellington with her partner and two cats and has two adult children. Her favourite activity is reading but she likes going to museums, swimming and walking by the sea.





Hazel and the Snails, Nan Blanchard, ANNUAL Ink (Massey University Press imprint)



Nan’s book is snail paced and that is a very good thing because when you read at the pace of a snail you get to absorb so much more. I love reading slow and even slower and gliding through the gleam of a story. Then again there are speedy bits where I zoom faster to find out what happens  – such as when Hazel’s beads go flying.

This book is also polished. I was imagining a troop of squirrels polishing the words and the sentences until they shone because the writing is so beautifully crafted. It sings in my ears. It is plain and it is fresh and it is sometimes surprising (the similes are excellent!).


The story: Hazel is a young girl who needs to care for snails because her world is toppling over. I don’t want to ruin the snail’s-pace unfolding of the story by telling you what happens but I will say her dad is very very sick, her friend insists on speaking French words and her older brother is a bit of a pain. So looking after ten snails is just the trick to help a bad feeling in your stomach when bad things happen.


Hazel nodded. She followed Sue to the car, keeping the snail box away from her togs to stop it getting wet.

‘Au revoir,’ Meg called.

Hiss,’ replied Hazel under her breath.


I love the way words are played with by Hazel and her family (a bit like what poets do).

I love the way Hazel is a complicated character who feels joy and puzzlement and loss and anger and sadness and delight. I love the food in the story and the two Grans who come to stay and the bit where Hazel shares news with her class.

Hazel and the Snails is a gorgeous book, full of life and humour and sad bits and I feel all the better for having read it – at my  delicious snail’s pace so I can savour all the pieces that gleam. And Giselle’s illustrations are pitch perfect. Highly recommended. Ah!!



Massey University Press author page


Giselle Clarkson is a freelance illustrator and comic creator from Wellington. Her work has appeared in a bunch of School Journals as well as Gecko Press’ ANNUAL. Her secret talent is rescuing moths from the shower without accidentally drowning them. She illustrated the 2018 picture book Secret World of Butterflies by Courtney Sina Meredith (Allen & Unwin NZ).

 Visit her website

You can read the latest edition of the fabulous Giselle Clarkson comic at The Sapling.















Poetry Box noticeboard: Storylines Notable Books 2019

Storylines Notable Books List 2019

The 2019 Storylines Children’s Literature  Notable Book List, for the highest quality books in four genres published during 2018, is compiled from more than 100 entries from publishers by expert panels of authors, teachers, librarians, academics and parents.

The annual list was begun by Storylines in 1999 and selection is eagerly sought by authors, illustrators and publishers. It provides a useful reading and purchasing guide to families, schools and libraries, and to young readers.

Go here to see the list
If you have a favourite on the list let me know why you love it and I will post your comments and the book cover.
This was my favourite. I posted about it on the blog because I LOVED it so much!

The Mapmakers’ Race, Eirlys Hunter, Gecko Press, 2018

The Mapmakers’ Race is a glorious read.

If you are looking for a story that ripples with imagination and sings in the ear because it is so beautifully written, this your perfect holiday read. I adore it.

The Santander family is an adventurous family and they are hoping to go on The Great Map Race to win lots of money. But the father is mysteriously not back from exploring and the mother got left behind in a train mishap.

So it is up to the four children to get to the finishing line first (it takes a month) and chart the best train route through treacherous terrain.

Most of the other teams are so greedy to win they will do anything to get there. Villainous!

Once I started reading this book, I didn’t want to stop. I loved the characters and their special skills, especially the way Francie draws the maps for the train routes by seeing everything from above. She doesn’t talk but she has a special sight skill that drains her rather perilously at times.

I also grew very fond of young Beckett who drove them in a horse and trap to the race meeting. He ended up travelling with them because he wanted the train route to go through his neglected village. He turned out to be a godsend because he made their food supplies stretch further in the most delicious ways.


Plus there are the bonus little stories that get told to Humphrey, the youngest sibling, to soothe him. Oh and the mechanical horses that belong to another team!

This book, like Barbara Else’s magnificent Travelling Restaurant series, is set to become a classic because it has all the ingredients that make a story shine: suspense, tricky situations, learning curves, real things shifted a little by an agile imagination, fascinating places and equally fascinating characters.

I was sorry when the book ended but I spotted a launch point for a sequel. Fingers crossed!

Congratulations Eirlys Hunter on this must-read book.


Gecko Press page


Poetry Box March challenge: through the window







I will reply to your letters after the deadline.

I will post some of my favourite poems on Friday March 29th.

I will have at least one book to give away.

Read my tips before you start!

Remember: Poetry is PLAY! So have fun.



Poems start from all kinds of things – ANYTHING!!

Sometimes I stop everything and look out the window and turn the view into a poem.


I might try making the view fresh by using new similes or making my poem sound good.

I hunt for small details that surprise me and big things that fascinate.


Sometimes my poem is as short as lizard and sometimes as long as a snake.

I always read my poem out loud to hear the way it flows.


I like to use my ears: today I can hardly think because the crickets are making a racket, our dog is whining and our cat is scratching and the kereru is flapping and the umbrella is slapping in the south-west wind.

Sometimes what I see reminds me of something else.


Your challenge is to write a poem sparked by the view through a window.

There are no rules but I strongly recommend leaving your poem for a few days and then reading it again before you send it to me.


Look out the window for at least 5 minutes before you start writing. Wait to see what surprises you. What intrigues you. What delights you. What makes you feel something.

Jot down words and phrases before you start. See where you mind and eye and ears DRIFT!

Your poem can be plain or tricky!! Funny or serious. Real or imaginative. Rhyming or not rhyming. Have long lines or short lines.


Deadline: Monday March 25th

Send to:

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

Don’t forget: put through the window poem in subject line so I don’t miss it!!


Here are some xtra challenges for extra keen poetry volunteers:

Let me know if you want to  do any of these (then I will tell you what to do next!)


Review a poetry book

Interview a NZ children’s author

Write a letter to a NZ children’s author

Write a letter to a poet from anywhere and any time ( I will give tips)

Show a cool class poetry exercise with poems you have done (one child or from teacher and class)


I really want to post some of these this year!!! I need some volunteers:  children and classes.

Poetry Box is about to wake up



our snoozing cats are waiting for me to wake up Poetry Box!!



Dear young poetry fans


Goodness me summer is almost at end and my blog is still snoozing

which means I have been hard at work on my own writing and books.


My exciting news is my new collection of children’s poems will be out in July

with my own drawings. And I even did a painting for the cover.


Groovy Fish and other poems   Ahoy! Press   July 2019


I used the titles I collected on my hot spot tour of NZ for poems – so finally you will get to see what I wrote!


Meanwhile I am planning what to do on my blog this year.

What would you like to see?

I want to find ways to involve schools and classes as well as individual children who are passionate about poetry.


Teachers, parents, school librarians, children: Write me a letter and tell me what you want to see:


poetry challenges

new poems by me

interviews with authors

reviews of NZ children’s books

reviews of poetry books from anywhere in the world

reviews of favourite poetry books

children doing reviews and interviews

favourite poems by other poets (I need to get permission so NZ is easier)

classes that do a cool poetry exercise

schools that do a cool poetry project

letters to children’s authors by children

interviews with school librarians

your ideas  send by Friday 8th March