Monthly Archives: April 2019

Poetry Box April challenge: a festival of food poems


After the terrible sadness we felt about Christchurch I thought hard about what words can do, what poems can do. I decided it would be wonderful to celebrate the food we eat in Aotearoa – we all eat food but we eat many different kinds of food cooked in many different kinds of ways. And I love that.


Food draws us close to people.

Food shows us who we are.

Food is a time of sharing.

Food is a time of being creative.

Some of us grow out food and that is a good feeling.

Some of us are always hungry and that is not.

Whenever I visit another country I always eat the local food.

I love to cook meals for the people I love.

I can’t help the way food gets into my poems.


It made me warm inside to read all your food poems. Thank you so much for sharing them. Just remember how warm your poem made me feel, how some made me laugh, and some made my taste buds dance I even asked for recipes! I am always sorry I can’t post all your poems but I do hope you love writing poems for the sake of writing them.

This is not a competition but I am sending a book to Gemma at Churton Park School and  Phoebe at Selwyn College.


Check out my all year blog challenges below.


Churton Park School in Wellington set my taste buds sizzling with their poems. What fun they had writing these:


A crispy shell though very delicate
A simmering browned meat
juicy gravy
The crunchy lettuce
a stiff and strong leaf
A luscious smooth tomato
with little seeds moving around
A rough spice with a fiery tang
a runny white sauce

Elly  Age: 10 Year: 6  Churton Park School

Curry Time😋

Spicy flavour
Exotic roasting essence
Savoury smells
And sticky herbs
Runny curry
Soft taste
Warm and juicy
Golden roti and rice
Delicious butter chicken

Tiernan G Age: 10 Year: 6 Churton Park School



Warm out of the oven
Appetizing homemade roti
Mouthwatering soft crunchy bread
Spicy sauce, soft rice, moist chicken, creamy potatoes
A dinner for special events, birthdays and Christmas
Something everyone looks forward to
Comforting food,
Tempting to eat,
Savory goodness,
My favorite food

Brooklyn Age 10 Year 6 Churton Park School



Delicious mouth watering chicken
Creamy smooth potato and gravy
Crunchy spicy coleslaw
Salty tempting fries
Flavorful enticing KFC

Eva Age 10 Year 6 Churton Park School


caramel apple cake
The caramel apple cake comes into the bowl
I see the singed, burnt edges
The soft, spongy middle of the luxurious cake
Hazel brown apples on the top,
Heavenly with caramel ice cream.

By Gemma Age:10 Year:6 Churton park school


Sausages and Steak

pot pan
cook cook
sizzle sizzle
chop chop
my favorite
oh it was good!

Dylan age 10 year Churton Park School



As my taste buds unite with a spark
the words tasty, delicious, and crispy come to mind
The flavor of salt bursts in my mouth
It’s like a war with exploding bombs
attacking my tongue
I chew and swallow,
until there is only salt behind my teeth.

Maddison A, AGE: 10 YEAR: 6 Churton Park School



I put the chewy dumpling in my mouth
my tongue explores all the fillings inside the dumpling
I know all the flavors from the tip of my tongue
I try and get all the flavors out of the dumpling
I gulp it down my throat.

Lydia Age 10 Year 6 Churton Park School


Nana’s Chicken Pie

The smell of Nana’s chicken pie
travels through the kitchen
as she mixes and pours the chicken filling
into the perfect pastry base. She wears her
favourite apron with the fantail
resting on the Pohutukawa tree
with the hot New Zealand sun behind.
Skipping into the kitchen I ask when it’s ready,
10 more minutes until the warm softness
of my Nana’s chicken pie is in my mouth.

Phoebe J, aged ten, Selwyn House School, Christchurch


Bacon and Egg Pie

My Nana makes scrumptious egg and bacon pie
Yum Yum Scrum in my tum
Sometimes I help Nana make it.
It cooks for years
It might even disappear.

Tasmin W, age 7yrs, St Andrews College, Christchurch



My mother picks fresh tasty lemons from the tree.
They taste so good just like me.
The moon makes the lemons taste so good.
My mummy puts slices of fruit, and cream, and lemons, and pinch of sun, and me!

Maddy H  Age: 7  St Andrews College, Christchurch


Pani Puri / Golgappa


The delicious crunchy puri with the hole in the middle ,

With the masala in the hole.

The magic masala pani pours in the puri ,

then mixes with the masala.

It’s crunching and munching in my watery mouth.

OH pani puri you are super tasty ,

I can have this every day !!!


Namasvi, Age 11  Fendalton School, Çhristchurch




The dark tomato sauce is as sloppy as mud

The mozzarella cheese is as stringy as elastic

The spotted pepperoni perches upon cheese

The olives are scattered over pepperoni

The blushing ham sunbathed under a layer of cheese

The mushrooms sit in between olives and ham

The scent drifted, filling the air with the smell of pizza

(And a side of garlic bread)


Amy V Age: 9  Year: 5 Fendalton Open-Air School, Christchurch




As I slurp the curly/ stringy/ warm noodles

As I sip the hot/ steamy sauce

The spice shoots fire….into my stomach.

What a meal for lunch!

Angelina P Age: 8 years, Y4, Ilam School


Pizza…. I hear it munching and smunching in my mouth
Its cheese melts like a stick of butter
Eyes of salami stare at me
My fingers swimming in the river of cheese
With its sweet, sweet aroma

Maia R (age 9)  Fendalton Open Air School, Christchurch


My mum’s fish burritos


The sour cream smooth and light

The bitter lemon giving me the shivers

Chilli sauce electrifying my taste buds

The great taste of coriander

Red onion diced into tiny segments

Cheese melting in my mouth

Fish crumbed to perfection

Grated carrot fresh and orange

Violetta D Age :10  Fendalton Open Air School


Sponge Cakes

My Mum makes lovely Victoria sponge cakes
My neighbours can smell my Mum baking sponges
My mouth waters
After she bakes
On top she puts cream
Which she makes merry

Ben E   Age 7   Y3  St Andrews College, Christchurch

Red Velvet Cake

I hear the oven whirr to life. I see the batter
twirling, swirling, red as a rose
A wave of heat warms me up.
I open the oven.
I see the batter
pouring into the pan
like a rose-red waterfall.
I put it into the oven
let it bake
rising like mölti
up towards the sky.
I pour the sugar
into the bowl
falling, tumbling, twirling
like snow from an ashen sky.
The melted butter
comes pouring down like beams of sunlight
through my windows.
The cream cheese and vanilla
go into the bowl,
then Whoosh! swirling, twirling, curling,
around and around and around.
I spread the icing onto the cake,
rolling and tumbling like hills
covered in snow before spring.

Katja C, Age 9 Ilam School, Christchurch


Fantastically Funny Food

Curious Capsicum Curry
Please don’t eat it in a hurry
You know what comes next dear Murray
Be careful with capsicum curry

Perilous Pernickety Peas
Although they might drop on your knees
They can’t be worse than these
Pongy Piffles of Peas

Crazy Cottage Pie
I really want to say goodbye
If I see you I might even cry
Why oh why put mash in a pie

These are my least favourite foods
Now let’s go see the big old goods

Big Bulbous Burritos
They look a bit like giant mosquitoes
And smell like spicy doritos
Just don’t spill them on your feet-os

Proportions of Pasta and Pizza
If you have some where can I meet-ya
You know I might try and beat-ya
For a slice of Italian pizza

Humongously Wholesome Hot-Dogs
No I didn’t say leap frogs
When I eat it i’ll try not to hog
The partially elegant Hot-Dog

Toby R 9yrs Year 5 Richmond Road School
Butter chicken

Mmm, butter chicken,
It’s worth nickin’
If ye’ get the chance.
It’s so tasty, it makes me wanna dance.
I love the spice,
It’s best with a pile ‘o’ rice,
But the chicken is the best,
Better than the rest.
Always have it with some naan,
The taste will make ye’ wanna ruun.
I really like the the colour of the curry,
It’s orange, there’s no need to worry.
The first time I had it, it was like a dream,
And it had the texture of cream.
It sometimes ‘as a couple almonds, that can make it good,
But with or without them it’s still ma’ favourite food.
The first thing that comes to ma’ mind when I eat it,
Is that no food can beat it.
Mmm, butter chicken,
It’s worth lickin
Wolf C Year 6 Age 10 Richmond Road School


The Amazingly Disgusting Burger
Burping, Squirting goes the sauce on the burger
Burning and exploding goes the chili on the burger
Yucky And Unlucky Go The Pickles In My Mouth
Regretting and Unforgetting goes the lettuce on my tongue
Blasting and Backfiring goes the chilli in my tummy
I ate more…. It made my nose go runny.
The Amazingly Disgusting Burger

Kavafau P Y6 Age 10 Richmond Road School

Favourite Foods

My Favourite food? Well, it’s hard to choose.
There’s miraculous meat, and blissful berries.
I like chicken and rice,
Don’t forget coconut slice.
There’s fantastic fruit, and nutritious nuts.
Better bread, super spread.
But my favourite food, by far…
Is the food from the restaurant, down by the bar.

Gretel H,age 9, Year 5, Richmond Road School



Chili dribbles from my Volcano.

Chili is the color of fiery red autumn leaves.

Chili sizzles in the pot.

I swirl with hunger, when will I EVER get some spice in my life!?



I hear the rice cooker crackling, as though it is a witch.

I hear the chili drop into the pot. It swirls like my stomach swirling with hunger.

The chicken thumps into the pot with the chili. The chicken sizzles with anger.

The curry drops like a heavy statue onto my plate, T H U M P.

The salt drizzles like rain on my hot plate.

My curry is ready to eat!!


Two poems from Niya Age: 9 Year 5  Ilam Primary, Christchurch


Curry Night

The delicious aroma fills the air
My nose twitches in excitement
And leads me to the source of the irresistible scent
A steaming bowl appears upon the table
I wave may hands so the vapours of temptation waft towards my face
Drowning me in deliciousness
The blissful taste
Fills my mouth
With an explosion of spices
Flavours bomb my tongue
My taste buds are set alight
I am lost in a world of curry
My food heaven
Daniel L Age 10, Year 6, Adventure School


The Nalder Boy of Corn
I have a head of corn
I have a mouth of corn
I have a nose of corn
I have a tummy of corn

I have an eye of corn
I have an eye of corn
I have an ear of corn
I have an ear of corn

I have an arm of corn
I have an arm of corn
I have a leg of corn
I have a leg of corn

I am the corn who lives in a pot.
I lift the lid when I get too hot.
I burst open to form fluffy balls,
and pop and pop and hit your walls.

I go to the theatre with Nalder.
I watch Toy Story 4 when I’m older.
I go on the Abel Tasman with Nalder.
I help him avoid any boulders.

Corn Cakes
The corn cakes are in the oven,
they’re bubbling in small muffin tins.
They’re strong and determined,
as a yellow storm.
They beg me to set them free,
they smell like corn smoke.

I stack them like pancakes
on my yellow plate.
The sun has fallen,
I call her corn cakes.

Corn Haiku
The corn,
in her green jacket
like whale wings.

Sunny morning
I wake the corn
so she can pop.

4 poems from Tom N Age 10, Year 6 Hoon Hay School/ Te Kura Koaka


What is… Watermelon


A watermelon is a pink

pulpy sponge full of pips.


It’s a set of triangles

making a delicious puzzle.


It’s a handful of seeds

sprinkled like slippery sand.


It’s a squishy squashy Juicie

dribbling down my chin.


A frozen flamingo coloured treat on a stick,

the light in my day.

Zoe S Age: 12  Year: 8  Heaton Intermediate School, Christchurch



Remember my blog is all about the joy of writing and reading poetry – and setting you challenges! Here are some I am running in all year. Email me if you want to do one and want tips on what top do next. I will email you back asap!


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 (from a child or from teacher and class)




A Gecko Press invite


Dear Gecko Press friends and family,
You may already have heard about our visiting French illustrators who are about to embark on a two-week tour around New Zealand. We’re so pleased to have them here! This is a rare and wonderful opportunity to hear from some world-class illustrators and celebrate the art of the picture book – and for children to get their fingers inky.
The illustrators are Clotilde Perrin, whose lift-the-flap exploration of fairytale villains Inside the Villains we released last year, and Eric Veillé with his new and very funny Encyclopedia of Grannies as well as a person favourite My Pictures after the Storm.
We have events for adults, where the two will discuss illustration and writing for children – for all curious picture book lovers as well as illustrators, designers and authors – and events for children (workshops, storytimes, live drawings).
All the events are free, details on the tour programme here.They will be in Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin between 2 and 11 May.
We hope you will come along to events in your area and please pass on the information to your friends and family. We would love for Clotilde and Eric to have full and warm audiences while they are in New Zealand.
For Wellingtonians, our gala end-of-tour event will be at the Children’s Bookshop Kilbirnie on Mother’s Day, joined by a band of Gecko Press illustrators celebrating picture books, grandmothers, villains, stories and more.
With best wishes and thanks,
Gecko Press




Poetry Box LOVE LOVE LOVES Eric Veillé’s An Encylopedia of Grannies



Eric Veillé, An Encyclopedia of Grannies, Gecko Press, 2019


You can tell by now I only post reviews of books I love on Poetry Box – books I want you to







in a FLASH

to find


and this one requires extra dashing and darting because this book is so cool.

Eric Vevillé’s Encyclopedia of Grannies filled me a warm glow because it is

funny and wise and imaginative and real! All in one glorious package.


Eric opens our eyes to grannies – to what they can do and feel and remember.

This feels really important to me because our elders feel really important to me.


Every page is a treasure house of good feelings, a sizzling banquet of questions. I was reading this in a waiting room and I kept laughing out loud and so everyone else started to laugh out loud. I wanted to read them the book! But I came home and read it to my partner Michael as we ate lunch.



I am SAVING my FAVOURITE page for my May poetry challenge

but I love the page where a granny sits high up in a tree in the dark of night with her grandson eating extra long filled rolls. I love that adventurousness. The page is called ‘Wisdom’. Eric reminds us that:


Grannies know a lot of things!

So let’s make sure to ask them

the important questions.


Then the grandson asks in his speech bubble: ‘Grandma when we’re dead, will we still have potato chips?”

And the grandma replies in her speech bubble: ‘Definitely!’


A good book makes you feel the world differently – it might make you laugh, it might make you ponder. An Encyclopedia of Grannies does all these things. We get to see grannies in a thousand new lights! I highly recommend this book. I plan to give a copy away in my poetry challenge next month so give my MAY poem challenge a go (Y0-8). I will post around May 1st. Do get young passionate writers to watch out for it.



The Gecko Press page


Eric Veillé was born in 1976 in Laval and studied at the Duperré School in Paris. While working as an artistic director in publishing, he decided one spring day to devote himself to writing and children’s book illustration. He has since released many books including The Bureau of Misplaced Dads and My Pictures after the Storm (Gecko Press).










Poetry Box book review: Barbara Else’s Harsu & the Werestoat

Poetry Box April poem challenge





Barbara Else, Harsu & the Werestoat, Gecko Press, 2019


Barbara Else wrote the magnificent Tales of Fontania adventure series so I was very excited to read her new children’s novel out with Gecko Press. It is completely fabulous and I was gripped from the first page to the last.

Gripped is such a good word to use for a book you love. I gripped hold of the book on the couch and couldn’t put it down until I finished! The characters gripped me, the setting gripped me, and the way the story unfolded gripped me – I just HAD to find out what happens. Harsu’s world gripped me and it stayed in my mind as I cooked dinner (chopped onions just like Harsu had to – well not quite so many!) and watched the sun go down.


What an imagination at work!

What honeyed language at work!


Harsu is human but he has five godlet drops of blood. He wants to grow up to escape his mean mother Daama (who is a daughter along with nine thousand or so other children of the Wind God). His father was a human – a warrior and a doctor – but he has gone (mysteriously!). He left his son a cloak fringed with gold coins, a clay tablet and an old war horse. BUT this is not a happy family: Harsu’s face was scarred by illness so his mother kidnaps children in her hunt for the perfect child.

Barbara has also invented the mysterious Gate of Time and Place which sends travellers to elsewhere. I love portals in novels that tip the story over so you are not sure what is going to happen next or where you will end up.

By the end of the novel – when my heart was racing like a high-speed locomotive – I desperately wanted things to turn out well for Harsu. I had really become attached to his patience, his courage, his curiosity, his cunning, his smartness and his EMPATHY! Empathy is like kindness and he has many droplets of kindness bubbling away in his bloodstream.

I also love the way the kidnapped children are all so different and have such feisty personalities. I itched to find out what happened to them too!

Ah dear young (and not so young) readers this is such a gripping, marvellous book I can’t wait for you to discover its magical highways, its fascinations and its gripping secrets. I do hope this is the first of a series!  Highly recommended.


Author page at Gecko Press











Poetry Box April challenge: a celebration of food




Pop’s Garden


out of my big green

back garden I pluck

little red tomatoes

sweet explosions

and I think of my Pop

and his tomato rich

greenhouse the berries

and the lettuces

we picked for lunch

and our secret walk

to the diary to get

an ice cream cone

that dribbled

onto my gardening

knees and shiny shoes


Paula Green




The past weeks have been weeks of such sadness and pain as we come together to mourn those who died in Christchurch’s terrorist attacks.

We have come together, listened, laid flowers, prayed, sang songs, reflected.

As a nation we are thinking hard about what happened in Christchurch, and what has happened in the past, and how to be a country that is tolerant, loving, kind and caring. We use the word solidarity because we are making a chain of hands that will be strong and welcoming.

Many of us were born in New Zealand Aotearoa but many of our grandparents and our great-grandparents and our ancestors were not. Some New Zealanders are new arrivals who have come from places of terrible suffering.

Our openness and our kindness will be our strength. Our willingness to welcome our different ways of dressing, our different food, our different religions. Because humanity will hold us together. Our Muslim communities are showing us the way. With such compassion and forgiveness and warmth.

The past few weeks have filled me with such hope that we will continue to stand up against racism, violence and needless suffering with our joined aroha.


I have thought and thought about what to set you as a poetry challenge. Because in tough times, when we feel helpless and lost for words, it can be hard to write. But it can also be good to write.


I have decided to host a celebration of food poetry in April.

Food is so important.


April will be a time to share our food memories, the food our families make, the food we love, the food that sets our taste buds tingling, the food we grow, the food of our cultures, food experiences, the way food connects us to those we love (like my Pop).

Let us show we are made of many foods, many memories, many shared tables, many harvests.

I will write back to all young poets after my deadline.



start by gathering a feast of words and then play with them (can you get 50?)

how many words will you put on line? Play with this.

which word do you like on the END of the line? Play!

try three endings and pick your favourite.



Deadline: 26th April

Send to:

Please include: your name, age, year, name of school

Don’t forget to put FOOD POEM in subject line so I don’t miss your email.

Open to Year 0 to Year 8 in Aotearoa.

I will write letters back at the end of the month.

I will have a book or two to give away.



A cabbage poem

My nana would boil cabbage to billy-OH

I slice it into thin threads with apple spears

and chive confetti and spring onion rings

a peppery dressing and I’m set to GO!

Paula Green


Remember my blog is all about the joy of writing and reading poetry – and setting you challenges! Here are some I am running in all year. Email me if you want to do one and want tips on what top do next. I will email you back asap!


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 (from a child or from teacher and class)