Monthly Archives: June 2020

Poetry Box popUP sock challenge: two poems



I loved Catharina Valsckx Lisette’s Green Sock (Gecko Press 2020) so much I posted a 48 hour popUp challenge, and Daniel and Malia sent in these poems. I put the names in the hat and I am sending a copy of the book to Malia.

Do hunt this book down and buy a copy for someone who adores picture books.

my review



Strange Sock Stealer


Some say the washing machine eats socks

Or there is a Bermuda sock triangle under the bed

But not in my house

In my house

Socks disappear

Swiped from the clothes horse

Nicked off the washing line

Stolen from inside shoes

Even thieved off feet

Reappearing later in all sorts of places

Tangled in the curtain cord

Stashed behind the TV

Buried underneath my pillow

Even riding on the back of sheep

It seems that in my house

We have a dangerous




Daniel Age 11, Year 7, Hadlow School




Distinctive, colourful, striped, up and down,
Smelly, musty, coated in brown.
Stretchy, woolly, warm and thick,
Once they are dirty, in the basket with a flick.
Thrown, into the washing machine,
Tumbled about, until they are clean.
Once dried and warm,
A coloured foot begins to form.

Distinctive, colourful, striped, up and down,
Smelly, musty, coated in brown.
Stretchy, woolly, warm and thick,
Cosy, vibrant, comfortable and slick.


Malia, 12 years old, Year 8, Mapua School





Poetry Box review: Catharina Valckx’s Lisette’s Green Sock PLUS a 48-hour challenge and giveaway copy




Catharina Valsckx Lisette’s Green Sock Gecko Press 2020


Catharina Valckx was born in 1957 in De Bilt, Netherlands. She grew up in France with four sisters. She traveled back and forth between the two countries before settling down in Amsterdam. She started writing for children books after the birth of her son. Her books are like guides for a happy life. She believes children to prefer an absurd kind of humor, the one that makes you smile not laugh, a comforting kind of humor.


I adore this book. It is a picture book that is indeed a happy guide because it fills with you with joy as you read it. It is very comforting and it does make you smile. A warm smile that is as good watching your cat in blissful sleep by the fire, or eating the tastiest soup when you are cold, or looking for surprising things when you take a walk on a blue sky day.

Lisette goes for a walk on a blue-sky day and discovers a green sock. So she puts it on – but then she is missing the other sock!

So Lisette goes on a BIG HUNT for the missing sock. She meets a very good friend who shows an excellent and inventive use for one green sock. BUT she also meets some very MEAN characters who like to TEASE and play MEAN tricks and have no regard for how someone else feels!

The ending is sublime – it will make you feel very warm and very cosy and remind you (we know this anyway of course!) friendship is such a comfort.


The simple illustrations are full of gorgeous life and the writing flows like honey.

I love this book so much I think you need to buy one for yourself, buy one for a child you love, and then buy one for your best friend. What a Gecko Press treasure!


48 pop up challenge: Write a poem about socks, or looking for something lost, or how clever your mum or dad are at solving tricky things, or a friendship story. Or a poem that makes you feel warm and happy as you write it.

DEADLINE: Wednesday 10 pm


INCLUDE: your name, age, year, name of school

DON”T FORGET TO PUT sock in subject line so I don’t miss your email

I will POST on Thursday afternoon or Friday morning


I will buy one copy of the book to give away to one of you!



  happy days reading happy books!




Poetry Box noticeboard: Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright




Screen Shot 2020-06-10 at 11.49.09 AM

I am so excited I have a poem in this beautiful looking book!


Note from the British publisher:

This September – exactly three months from today, in fact – we are very proud to be publishing, in partnership with the National Trust, Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright! An Animal Poem for Every Day of the Year, illustrated by Britta Teckentrup and collected by Fiona Waters.

The follow-up to our highly-acclaimed, multi-award-winning collection, I Am the Seed That Grew the Tree: A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year, Tiger, Tiger is a lavishly illustrated gift book treasury of 366 animal poems – one for every day of the year – ranging from unforgettable classics to contemporary works from around the world, including poetry in translation.

And today, we are delighted to share a very first look inside the book.

The spectacular range of poems for children in Tiger, Tiger includes work by Roger McGough, William Blake, Dick King-Smith, Ted Hughes, Grace Nichols, Lewis Carroll, Christina Rossetti, and Emily Dickinson. Britta Teckentrup’s breathtaking illustrations bring together all the richness and wonder of the animal kingdom, making this poetry anthology a perfect gift that will be treasured by generations.

Go here for a peek inside the book.


It is out in NZ in August! I will keep you posted.


Poetry Box noticeboard: NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults





Congratulations to all the winners – these are some of the shortlisted books I have celebrated and loved on Poetry Box



Picture Book Award

Abigail and the Birth of the Sun, Matthew Cunningham, illustrated by Sarah Wilkins (Penguin Random House)

How Māui Slowed the Sun, written and illustrated by Donovan Bixley (advised and translated by Dr Darryn Joseph and Keri Opai) (Upstart Press)

Mini Whinny: Goody Four Shoes, Stacy Gregg, illustrated by Ruth Paul (Scholastic NZ)

Santa’s Worst Christmas, Pania Tahau-Hodges and Bryony Walker, illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White (Huia Publishers)

The Gobbledegook Book, Joy Cowley, illustrated by Giselle Clarkson (Gecko Press)



Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction


#Tumeke!, Michael Petherick (Massey University Press)

Lizard’s Tale, Weng Wai Chan (Text Publishing)

Miniwings Book 6 Moonlight the Unicorn’s High Tea Hiccup, Sally Sutton, illustrated by Kirsten Richards (Scholastic NZ)

Prince of Ponies, Stacy Gregg (HarperCollins Publishers)

Time Machine and other stories, Melinda Szymanik (The Cuba Press)



Young Adult Fiction Award


Afakasi woman, Lani Wendt Young (OneTree House)

Aspiring, Damien Wilkins (Massey University Press)

The History Speech, Mark Sweet (Huia Publishers)

Ursa, Tina Shaw (Walker Books Australia)

Wynter’s Thief, Sherryl Jordan (OneTree House)



Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction


Kuwi & Friends Māori Picture Dictionary, written and illustrated by Kat Quin, translated by Pānia Papa (Illustrated Publishing)

Mophead, Selina Tusitala Marsh (Auckland University Press)

Te Tiriti o Waitangi / The Treaty of Waitangi, Ross Calman and Mark Derby, illustrated by Toby Morris, translated by Piripi Walker (Lift Education)

The Adventures of Tupaia, Courtney Sina Meredith, illustrated by Mat Tait (Allen & Unwin, in partnership with Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum)

Three Kiwi Tales, Janet Hunt (Massey University Press)



Russell Clark Award for Illustration


Dozer the Fire Cat, illustrated by Jenny Cooper, written by Robyn Prokop (Scholastic NZ)

Santa’s Worst Christmas, illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White, written by Pania Tahau-Hodges and Bryony Walker (Huia Publishers)

Song of the River, illustrated by Kimberly Andrews, written by Joy Cowley (Gecko Press)

The Adventures of Tupaia, illustrated by Mat Tait, written by Courtney Sina Meredith (Allen & Unwin, in partnership with Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum)

Wildlife of Aotearoa, illustrated and written by Gavin Bishop (Penguin Random House)



Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award for books written completely in te reo Māori


Arapū Toi, Moira Wairama, illustrated by Austin Whincup (Baggage Books)

Ko Flit, te Tīrairaka, me ngā Hēki Muna, written and illustrated by Kat Quin, translated by Ngaere Roberts (Scholastic NZ)

Ngā Hoa Hoihoi o Kuwi,    written and illustrated by Kat Quin, translated by Pānia Papa (Illustrated Publishing)

Te Kirihimete i Whakakorea, Pania Tahau-Hodges  and Bryony Walker, illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White, translated by Kawata Teepa (Huia Publishers)

Tio Tiamu, Kurahau, illustrated by Laya Mutton-Rogers (Huia Publishers)

Best First Book Award


Michael Petherick for #Tumeke! (Massey University Press)

Weng Wai Chan for Lizard’s Tale (Text Publishing)

Isobel Joy Te Aho-White (illustrator) for Santa’s Worst Christmas, written by Pania Tahau-Hodges and Bryony Walker (Huia Publishers)

Belinda O’Keefe for The Day the Plants Fought Back, illustrated by Richard Hoit (Scholastic NZ)

Laya Mutton-Rogers (illustrator) for The Smelly Giant, written by Kurahau (Huia Publishers)

Poetry Box June challenge: writing wonder poems



Lost Wonders: Vanished Creatures of Aotearoa Sarah Ell, illustrated by Phoebe Morris, Allen & Unwin 2020



A few weeks ago I hosted the online launch of  Lost Wonders. To celebrate I invited you to write some poems on the lost wonders of Aotearoa. Daniel sent in this fabulous poem. Thanks to Allen & Unwin, he was sent a copy of the book!



The Haast Eagle


It’s wingspan causes wonders

Like a p-terrifying pterodactyl

It’s talons cut like butcher’s knife

Through firm leathery skin

The moa cannot survive

But in a twist of fate

The eagle extinguishes it’s own flame

As without the moa

The Haast Eagle cannot survive


As I wander through the native bush now

I’m a little glad those things are no longer alive


Daniel L, Age11, Year 7, Hadlow School


I got to thinking about how wonder is such a good ingredient for a poem. So I am challenging you to use wonder as the stepping off point for a poem.


Sky High

Imagine building a Lego

tower so high spiders crawl

to the very top to make

webs that float like clouds.


Paula Green




You could write about a lost wonder of Aotearoa.

You could write about a lost wonder of the world.

You could wonder about something that puzzles you in your poem.

You could wonder about something that surprises you in your poem.

You could wonder about something that challenges you in your poem.

You could begin with a question and get wondering.

You could write about something you have seen or heard that fills you with wonder.

You could write about one of the seven wonders of the world.


You are welcome to include an illustration.

With permission from a parent you are welcome to send an audio (MP3 or MP4)  or video (YouTube link or Vimeo)


I think wonder in a poem is a bit like wandering – I sometimes wander and a poem slowly forms in my head. That happens when I write too. I don’t know what is going to happen next. I love the way a poem can be a way of discovering.


TIP: Listen to your poem when you have finished it.

TIP: Leave your poem for at least a day and see what you would like to change.

TIP: Try three different endings -which is your favourite

TIP: Do the same with beginnings.

TIP: Have fun!


DEADLINE: Friday 26th June

send to

please include your name age and name of school

don’t forget to put WONDER challenge in subject line so I don’t miss it

don’t put your surname on drawings or paintings or collages (Poetry Box policy)


I will post on June 30th and will have at least one book to give away (this is not a competition, I just like giving books away). I answer your emails at the end of the month.


kia kaha

keep well

keep imagining