Monthly Archives: August 2020

Poetry Box August challenge: some favourite colour poems

Drawing by the Van Clan family

Wow! I think you sent in a record number of colour poems which meant I had a weekend of poetry delights. But I always feel sad that I can’t post all the FABULOUS poems I get. You have to remember that every poem I read I loved and I told you in your letters just some of the things I loved. I am hoping poetry continues to give us little pockets of HAPPINESS as we READ and WRITE it.

Tomorrow I have a very cool September challenge and thanks to Te Papa Press four copies of a very cool book to give away.

There are so many ways to colour a poem. Some of you made lists, some just used colour here and there, some of you made a place come alive with colour, and others created a mood. Sometimes just one colour word or two was used (check out how Jacob does it). Sometimes a whole universe of colour words!

Poems can do and be anything – that is POETRY JOY!

I am sending a copy of Groovy Fish to Pranavi, Beau and Rynie.

The Poems

Pale blue

On a boring stormy day
Making paper things
While watching the pale blue waves
Crashing over the road
From my tiny beautiful house
While no one is at home.

Pranavi N, 11 years old, Year 6 at Churton Park School, Wellington


The night covering penwood street

Ants running across the dirt

A sleuth of bears sleeping

A box of old fashioned telephones

A patrol unit of arrows flying at the target

A bundle of cables like snakes

Beau T, Y6, Russley School


granny smith apple falling

healthy grass moving in the sun

prickly cactus

growing a new branch

a grasshopper jumping 

its last jump into the air

hot leaves in summer

swooping across the sky

Esme S, Y6, Russley School

Dear Mum

Your effort is gold

Your spirit is gold

You shine like gold

You are worth more than gold

And your heart is gold

People are like gold

Only those who can love everything

And stand out

Are pure gold

Everyone else is fools gold

And my mother is the purest gold of all

Daniel, age 11, Y7, Hadlow School, Wellington


With its clouds as fluffy as foxes’ fur
The sky is blue.
Blue is ocean water.
The colour of a forget-me-not
A little blue penguin with its navy feathers
As day fades, blue dies away.

Ivy M, age 7, Y3, Ilam Primary School, Christchurch


The time has come to see
the orange oranges
my favourite fruit
clouds can be orange
like the sun
windows can be orange
what if my whole body turns orange?
great it’s a juicy colour
orange orange orange

Layla A, 7 years old, Year 3, Ilam School

Hidden in Yellow

Neon yellow posters surround me with the same sentence: Unite against covid 19
Scorching yellow caution stickers, jumping at me to be less clumsy
Faint yellow sparkles booming at the stars
Yellow eyes staring at the busy streets
Honey-bee hives hanging in their tree houses
Yellow is surrounding us

Niya K, Ilam School


Sunflowers, rubber, ducks,
lemons and butter .
Buzzy bees,
sponges, chicks,
and omelets.
But most importantly
yellow is the colour
of friendship.

by Holly age 10 Fendalton School


pollen shining in the sun

dandelion moon in the sky

sunflower waiting for a bee to land

Evrin M, Y6, Russley School


Red. It’s fire. It’s blood. it’s fierce. Red.
My favourite color.
Red is in the dreams when I sleep.
Not blue, not orange but red.
My life is red.
It’s fire. It’s blood. It’s fierce.

Lev R, Year 3 and 7 years old, Ilam school

Four Yellow Riddles

Worth a lot
I live in the soil,
you must dig for me
to you I am loyal


We sing in your garden
we crackle like fire,
when you sweep us up
we will never fly higher.


I give guidance to sailors
I brighten your room,
I give comfort to coldness
you’ll no longer feel gloomy.


You must knock on my door
till I answer,
then I’ll appear
as the golden dancer.

gge kloy

Tom N Age 11, Y7, Christchurch South Intermediate

(Paula: Hunt for the answers in the mysterious words)


Dolphins are blue as a stormy ocean.
Blue, the sky they look up to.
They bounce like blue balloons on the wafty waves:
The dolphins glide, glistening under a shimmering moon.
Leaping and plunging playfully they click and giggle,
whistle-singing in the blue tidal waves.

Aneel B, age 7, Year 3 at St. Andrew’s College, Christchurch


Pink, the colour of the afternoon tea sky.

Pink, the colour of a clean, wet pig.

Pink, the colour of a tall tulip.

Pink, the colour of beauty.

Rynie, Year:  3  Age: 7  Ilam School

Restaurant Kitchen

Red peppers flying across the room,
Fingers brushing across hot stoves,
Red faces sweating,
Bubbling red soup spitting out onto the ground,
Red mushrooms sit still in the box,
Watching strawberries scramble onto plates,
Balloons popping,
Back home,
Cosy fire,
Red blanket being spread,
Time for Elmo toy to go to bed.

Eddie, age 10, Y6, Fendalton Open Air School

Colour Poem

I guess the grey clouds are back for another day
I mutter as I stare through the window
drops of water fall from the sky.

I put on my headphones and listen to some music
Hopefully that will shut the sound out.

but no, all I can hear are shatters of water
hitting the roof.

I put on my warm clothes
and wander downstairs
searching for something to do.

By Jacob age 10 Year 6 at Churton Park School

Coloured Memories

My blue jeans remind me of my first plane flight,
Watching us lift up into the air
In peace gliding over the countries

My pink t-shirt reminds me of our holiday in Fiji
Walking down the street with family,
Licking my chocolate icecream

My black boots remind me of the ocean,
The darkest deepest point,
Where the sharks hunt and swish their fins

My red headband reminds me of warmth
Lying under my favourite tree in the park
Under the warm sun, calming me

The rainbow reminds me of happiness and peace,
Like a crane flying through the sky
My coloured memories

Tilly, age 11, Selwyn House School

Red Face

red face fuming

stomping and growling

yelling and gritting their teeth

hitting walls then calming down




Conor age 10 Year 6 Churton Park School

The World

The world seems red to a girl like me,
When fire is reflected in glass.
The world seems orange to a girl like me,
When the sun reaches down to earth.
The world seems yellow to a girl like me,
When the shaft of sunlight glows.
The world seems green to a girl like me,
When grass sways in the breeze.
The world seems blue to a girl like me,
When waves pour onto the rocks.
The world seems purple to a girl like me,
When the flowers of spring are in bloom.
The world seems pink to a girl like me,
When a rose releases it’s scent.
The world seems colorful to a girl like me,
When a rainbow is in the sky.

Ellora, age 10, Y6, Point Chevalier Primary School

Brown Hare

Wild chocolate eyes
Searching for danger
Cinamon fur wrapping around
a trembling body
Warn out peanut feet
Scratching his maple syrup ears
Coffee nose twitching
to catch a scent of toast
A gingerbread
Tail following the hare

Phoebe, age 12, Y7, Selwyn House School


The colour of chocolate
Warm, gooey, soft
The colour best mixed
With strawberry red, kiwifruit green
Or banana yellow,
Made of all natural ingredients
Like cocoa beans

Kyra, 11 Years, Year 6, Churton Park School

Red Not the Colour of Anger

The sun while rising.
The first colour of the rainbow.
The colour of lipstick.
Tomato and red capsicums in my hamburger.

Lexie age 9, Y4, St Andrews College

Song Of Blue

Splish, splash, go the sky-blue waves.
Owls hoot up to the midnight-blue sky.
A big blue iceberg drifts out to sea .
Blueberries being picked fresh.
The sky high above the clouds and planes.
Blue, the look of sadness.
Blue, the hard feel of navy denim.
Blue, the shade beaming off the Aotearoa flag.
Blue, the famous Blue Whale,
the best colour.

Charlie J, age 10, Fendalton School, Christchurch


Red is a colour of fiery emotions,
Tall poppies grow on my lawn,
A sign of hope coming my way.
Red sunsets brighten my evening.
I see a Macau parrot flying in the sky.
My cousin and I go raspberry picking,
Secretly eating them as we walk.

Emily, age:10, Y5, Fendalton Open Air School

Biking home with colours

Red for the warning to warn others I am here
Yellow is the moon shining in my eyes
Green the grass waving side to side
in the cold wintery breezes
White for the lights leading my way home

Alyssa G, 9 years old, Y5, Selwyn House School


Red roses surround me as I’m eating juicy watermelon – my favourite fruit
Picking handfuls of strawberries into overflowing baskets
Strawberries drop to the ground

“Time to go home now” Mum says
But I don’t want to go yet
I feel spiteful
My face is red with anger

Genevye Age: 9 Year: 6 Churton Park School


A volcano
Born from red
Explodes with anger
Gasses that trigger it
Every so often

A crisp crimson apple
Perfect from the outside
Rancid in the inside
Don’t judge a book by its cover

A sparkling ruby
Meaning happiness
When the wearer looks at their reflection
They feel alive

Freya, age 12, Y8, Selwyn House


Hot steam slowly rising from inside the mountain
Molten lava creeping its way up
Bubbling, gurgling, boiling
Deafening explosion, rocks flying out of the crater
Sizzling magma oozing down the rocky mountain
Rocks smashing and destroying everything in its way
A thick blanket of ash covers all of its surroundings
Then silence with the occasional rumble

Lily,12 years old, Y7, Selwyn House School

Olive green

To make olive green you will need:
1 ripe lemon 1 dark night A glass of water
A single flame

Gather your ingredients and put aside a shallow bowl.
Pour a splash of aqua blue water into bowl.
Cut the lemon down the centre and squeeze the juice in with water.
Add a dark night and mix to combine into thick mixture.
Add a wisp of the flame, too much and could turn brown.
Finally stir with wooden spoon and use olive green. (Apply with caution)

Grace, Age: 11, Y6, Selwyn House

A Million Colours

I opened the box constructed of blue and a million colours came to bloom. I was thinking to myself is this really true?

I opened the wrapper and took them out my eyes as shiny as a silver snout.

A million colours in my hand, is this the best day I’ve had?

I sharpened them all nice and thin. 

They all glamoured in the wind. 

I went inside and got a rose book.

A million colours in my hand, I drew until I couldn’t withstand the pain in my hand.

Ibrahim, age 12, Mt Roskill Intermediate


I stare into the blazing eyes of my ancestors. FIRE

I look at the lumps sprinkled on top of my pizza. PUMPKIN

I glance at the sheet of plastic above my head. UMBRELLA

I bite into the delicious fruit. ORANGE

I munch on an orange stick. CARROT

I smile at the beautiful heads poking out of the ground. FLOWERS

Mia C, age 10. Y6, College Street Normal School, Palmerston North

Rainbow Ice-cream

Blue-berry, bacon, banana,
strawberry, sardines and hay
egg, grass and goodygoodygumdrops
rubber, radish and cockroach,

Red, Blue, Yellow, Green, Brown, Black, and Purple
Ice-cream is colourful, “yummy”, and cold,
I think I might give cockroach a miss.

Van Clan family, homeschooled, Whangarei


Yellow, reminds me of summer,
My cousin Abbie and I run through the sand
In our matching yellow dresses.
Running along the footpath,
Laughing happily.
Picking fresh, juicy lemons, fresh off the tree
Making lemon shortbread,
“Mmm, yum,” but Josh and Thomas disagree.

Alyssa, Age: 9, Y5, Fendalton Open Air School


The shiny honey drips down my hand 

But seeing the sun in sight

the best thing you could ever see in this world

The cheese coloured moon

is so cold it looks like a banana inside

egg yolk slips and splats onto the mustard rug

sun flowers sway

with the wind

sun shining on them

Morgan C, age 9, Russley School

Colour poem

Green is the colour of grass.
The colour of apples, pears, and trees.
Green tastes like pears growing.
Green looks like grass waving on the ground.
Green looks like slippery seaweed in water.
Green sounds like frogs going ribribrib.
Green smells like summer.

Aporo H, age 6, Year 2, Three Kings School

Colour poem

Black is the colour of whales.
The colour of ink, office chairs, and shoes.
Black tastes like black ice.
Black looks like a whale’s swishing tail.
Black sounds like fires.
Black smells like smoke.
Black is the colour of oil.

Louis S, age 6, Year 2, Three Kings School

Colour poem

Blue is the colour of sea.
The colour of rain, water, and sky.
Blue looks like snow.
Blue feels like my warmest jersey.
Blue sounds like wind in the snow.
Blue smells like salty water.
Blue is the colour of rain, water, and sky.

Moss B, age 6, Year 2, Three Kings School

Colour poem

Blue is the colour of sea water.
The colour of rain, berries, and raindrops.
Blue looks like water.
Blue feels like snow.
Blue sounds like a storm.
Blue smells like blueberries.
Blue is the colour of the sky.

Kaviyan V, age 6, Year 2, Three Kings School


I am a poppy

standing in a field full of crosses

I can be dark like anger raging, swirling inside


light like Christmas carols galloping into my ears

I sound like a beating heart

taste like a strawberry bursting full of flavour

I am lipstick

a crispy apple

the smirk on a child’s face

the delicate ladybug getting blown away for a wish

I am the colour of love

the feeling of warmth

blood oozing from a cut

a clown filling the room full of laughter

I am red

Madeleine H, Age 13, Y8, Russley School

Scale Green

I am a vicious python,

slithering through the swaying,

thick grass

I sound like 

a croaking frog,

bouncing tennis balls,

rustling leaves

I taste like fresh spinach,

peas and chives

I look like scales wiggling

flowers dancing

swinging vines

and poison ivy

Jay P, age 13, Y8, Russley School

A few things about orange …

I am a tranquil summer sunset,

filling the world with calm

I am graceful Monarch butterfly,

fluttering amongst grinning pumpkins

reminiscent of spring

I am soothing fire

crackling in the hearth,

a feeling of safety

I am a powerful tiger

roaming underneath the shadows of

alluring mangoes

I am a frisky fox

searching for adventure

or a reason to cause trouble

I am orange

Akhila S, Age 12, Y8, Russley School


I am tar, ash, despair.

I am night,

mysterious, silent.

I am death,

grim and vicious.

I am a funeral,

gloomy and bleak.

I am a shadow,

silent and unnoticed,

like a knife in the dark.

I am everywhere,

hiding in plain sight.

I am black.

Joseph S, age 12, Y8, Russley School

Burnt ash

Heroic Batman standing in the dark night sky

thinking about overpowering the wicked Joker

Rotten tooth decay aching in my painful jaw

Gooey burnt marshmallow melting in my mouth

Runny ink dripping from a light quill

Sizzling ash from a burnt out fire

 blowing away in the selfish wind

James, Age 9, Y4, Russley School

Burnt marshmallow  


Tiny pieces of ash

spread on the ground in 

world war two when the

tanks fired

Rubbery tires of a Fireblade

screeching on the ground like a night owl

at the big race

Warriors fans waving their flags around


as they won the match

Isaac E, Age 9, Y4, Russley School

Watermelon Pink 

Ballerina twirling like a spinning top

princess drinking tea

Mawhero morning sky, glorious

clouds and blue sky mixed.

Swirly cotton candy

Flamingos strutting like fashion models,

feathery tails poking out

Pigs snorting rudely.

Tongue of a cat licking its delicate, soft fur

Sunburnt cheeks as hot as kilns

Inside of a tasty, juicy watermelon

Fluffy marshmallows toasting on a fire.

Strawberry milk flowing into a cup

Blossom signalling spring

Bubblegum popping onto my face

Lips kissing good night.

Henry P, Age 7, Y3, Russley School

Arctic Sky

Arctic Sky

Snow White’s robe flapping in the cold winter’s breeze,

Grains of sugar, in the forbidden jar in the pantry,

Luscious clouds, up in the pale sky

Creamy milk, as chilly as a falling glacier

Gooey marshmallows on a warm summer’s day,

Clown’s makeup on their old, wrinkled face,

popcorn in the popper, bouncing like an NBA basketball game

eager eyes of children watching its every move,

Pop, Pop, Pop

Polar bears from the arctic ice caps, up in the North Pole,

Penguin’s belly, sliding over the Antarctic Ice Sheet,

Waggly lamb’s tail, drinking milk from a plastic bottle

Tui’s neck feathers, strutting along a silver birch,

chest puffed out

Oliver P, age 9, Y4, Russley School

As purple as night

Purple makes Morning open her eyes.

It fills my eyes with hope.

Purple is the sound of sun rise.

When I see purple, it makes me be creative.

Mariella is 7 and attends Ilam School in Year 3

Go well

Keep safe

Kia kaha

Poetry Box hosts some winning lockdown poems from Kaurilands School

Kaurilands School in Auckland ran a poetry competition to celebrate National Poetry Day. The school is in Level 3 lockdown so the students were working and connecting from home!

I loved listening to all your fabulous lockdown poems – thank you so much for sharing. Oscar‘s Lockdown Happiness poem is so cool because I think we all need a lockdown happiness poem to pin to our wall. Anna‘s Bubble in the Rubble poem also has a top tip. And Elias‘s poem catches a brilliant picture of what isolation looks and feels like.

Have a listen everyone -these are cool!

Vidusha, 11 years old
Things to do in spare time: Sports (soccer, and cricket), coding and playing with friends
Places Vidusha likes going: Back to Sri Lanka to see family
Favourite Book: I Miss Mummy, by Cathy Glass
Favourite Poem: Lady in Shalott, by Alfred Lord Tennyson
Favourite foods: Chicken fried rice

Capucine, 8 years
Hobbies: trampolining, reading, singing, dancing, art, music & cinema
Favourite Books: EJ12 girl hero, Geronimo & Thea Stilton, Dr Seuss series, Dork diaries, Roald Dahl – Rhyme Stew (poetry book)
Food: cheese, anything with chocolate, pizza, sushi, hash browns with avocado & poached eggs
Places: beaches, playgrounds, malls, Rainbows End, Queenstown

Oscar is seven. He loves watermelon, drawing, bike riding, Kea Scouts, playing rugby and soccer, reading – especially Asterix, Tintin and Plants vs Zombies. Favourite places include Whitianga, Whangamata, Wellington, Napier and Nelson and his school, Kaurilands.

Alex age 10
My Favourite book is DOGMAN
My favourite thing to do is LEGO. I love making landscapes and animals.
My favourite food is pizza.
My favourite place is on our boat and I love fishing.

Anna is 8 years old and lives in Titirangi, Auckland. She loves writing stories and graphic novels, painting with watercolours and going to the beach with her dog Geordie. Her favourite author is JK Rowling and her favourite poems come from song lyrics.

Elias is 11 years old

Phoebe is 9 years old

By April age 6.
April likes ice cream, scootering, and hugging her tabby cat Moka.

Poetry Box: A National Poetry Day gathering of children reading poems

My study when I was hunting for animal poems

Today is the day we celebrate poetry across Aotearoa – and it seems like an especially important thing to do while we are in level 2 and 3.

Poetry makes me feel good. Poetry makes me feel warm inside. Especially when I hear children read poetry, written by themselves or others.

Yes, poetry is a special thing – so let’s work together to keep it alive and dancing in our beautiful country.

Yesterday I had a BIG UPSET day as WordPress changed me onto their new system which I am having difficulty with – but my daughter helped a bit. I haven’t quite got the hang of the use of colour yet! And there was one poet I couldn’t add in after the change over so will post her reading at a later date when I learn how to do it. She will have her own special spot!

I invited a few children to make audios and videos of themselves reading a favourite poem, that they had written or by an adult poet. Have a listen!


Maisie reads ‘At Night’ by Bill Nagelkerke from A Treasury of NZ Poetry for Children (Penguin Random House)

My name is Maisie. I am six years old. I like reading books and playing with toys. My favourite animal is a monkey. My favourite poetry book is Groovy Fish and other poems.

Savarna reads ‘Wood Stacking Day’, a poem she wrote for Paula’s project.

Savarna lives in Woodside, Otago, is 12, and has lots of pet sheep and hens. She plays the violin and loves soccer and reading. Her favourite book to read at the moment is City Spies, by James Ponti and her favourite poem is, ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’, by Alfred Tennyson.

Karuna reads ‘Binsey Poplars’ by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Karuna lives in Woodside, Otago, is 9, and loves playing flute, cooking, and making friends with birds and rabbits and other animals. Her favourite book is ‘Body-Hopping Hysterics’, by Tom E Moffatt and her favourite series is ‘Scarlet and Ivy’ by Sophie Cleverly.

Nalini reads ‘Empty Hutch’ by Elena De Roo

Nalini lives in Woodside, Otago and is six. She loves horses, red pandas, pigs, cows, owls and rabbits. She especially loves her pet sheep, ‘Plum’, ‘Star’ and ‘Diamond’. She likes eating kidney bean pie and making horses out of recycled cardboard. Her favourite books are Dave Pigeon, by Swapna Haddow, and My Farm by Alison Lester.

Nalini reads ‘Four Ducks on a Pond’ by William Allingham.

Karuna reads reads ‘Snorkelling’ by Elena de Roo


Mya reads ‘The Forest’

Mya is 11. I like dancing. I’m currently doing ballet jazz and contemporary. My favourite book and movie is Harry Potter.


Emma reads ‘Ginger and Cream’

Emma is 10: I like animals but horses and bunnies to be specific, I also like the season spring because that is when the flowers bloom but summer because I don’t have to be cold, within that May or March and December because that’s my cats and bunnies birthday. I love the color yellow, ginger, cream and white, also my trio of friends which are the best of people.


Campbell reads ‘Sisters’

Campbell is 10: I like playing rugby, soccer, cricket and hockey.


Sofia reads ‘Spiders’

Sofia is 10: I like writing poems and reading books.


Kate reads ‘Storms’

Kate is 10: I like reading books and writing them too. My favourite poem books are the Toitoi magazines.

I do hope you have a fabulous Poetry Day – and take a listen to these poems. I can tell the children had fun writing their own and picking poems by children’s authors. Elena de Roo and Bill Nagelkerke are two of my favourite children’s poets in Aotearoa! So great choice.

Do try my poetry challenges at the start of each month. I read all your emails at the end of the month when I post your poems and pick a few children to send a book to.

A big thank you to all the children who made these wonderful audios and videos and to the adults who helped (especially Leanne, Sophia and Eileen!)

x Paula Green

Poetry Box review: Kimberly Andrews’s Hound the Detective




Hound the Detective Kimberly Andrews, Puffin, 2020



Kimberly Andrews’s award-winning Puffin the Architect was a very good book. I adored the illustrations. So how exciting to get my hands and eyes on Hound the Detective.

I love mysteries. I love detective novels and programmes, because I love solving things. I also love cryptic crosswords and jigsaw puzzles. Playing with how clues fit together to make a whole picture or a whole word, is fun. So if you love solving things, this is the perfect book for you! It will make you puzzle, and then it will put a smile on your face!

The illustrations are glorious. Imagine going into a treasure-trove shop where you look and gather fascinating things.

Hound the Detective gets a clue – and then that clue leads to another clue, which leads to another clue, and then another … and I am not going to spoil the story by giving clues to what happens. That would ruin it for you.

But I will whisper to you that Hound goes to a cabin in the woods, a railway station, the village fair and the general store  … and then back home to spread the clues all across the table and get solving!

Maybe you could have a go at writing your own detective story!

And I wonder if you will guess this mystery before you get to the end? There are some excellent clues for you.

Kimberly has created an extra cool story that is fun to read, exquisitely illustrated, and leaves you feeling good. At the moment the good feeling that books can give you is worth its weight in gold. Fabulous!


cabin in the woodsHoundTheDetective_.jpg


Puffin – Penguin Random House page

Poetry Box Review: Jonathan King’s The Inkberg Enigma




The Inkberg Enigma, Jonathan King, Gecko Press, 2020


Last week Auckland moved back to Level 3 and it felt like a leaf storm through the house, and I couldn’t sleep and I couldn’t concentrate. So I picked up a book I have been wanting to read for awhile: Jonathan King’s The Inkberg Enigma. It’s a graphic novel pitched at 8 to 12 year olds – and any age after that if you like a dose of scary!

WARNING: There are NO spoilers in this review!

Miro lives in Aurora, a maybe weird town, with a mysterious castle, and some strange and scary happenings. Miro loves collecting and reading old books that fill him with the joy of reading adventures. Stories in books are the thing for him. He is slowly selling off objects in the attic to a second-hand shop so he can keep buying fascinating books. The attic is emptying out but the spare room fills to the brim with reading material.

Miro is bullied and called a bookworm, but one day Zia, a girl with curiosity and a camera, comes to his rescue. Zia also loves adventures but she loves adventures in real life. Zia prefers stories in real life, while Miro is a fan of stories in books.

Zia is so full of daring and real-life adventure that when the two new friends witness something very strange and very suspicious, she pulls Miro along with her, in the wake of her daring, and together they try to solve the mystery of Aurora.

This is one scary read. My heart started beating faster (from about page 29) and I could not stop reading until I got to the end. I do scare easily but this was just a delicious amount.

There is so much to love about this book.

I love the way I connect with the characters. They are like gleaming prisms (not just one-sided!) and they feel real. Miro and Zia not only hooked me into their gripping adventure  story, but also who they are as children. AND I especially like Miro’s dad’s girlfriend, the ultra cool Doc (no witchy stepmother here). Doc is busy testing out the marine life and has an excellent relationship with Miro.

I love the setting, a fishing village by the ocean, which Jonathan loosely based on Lyttelton. Ah! Oceans are so mysterious with their mysteriously murky depths. They are also something to care for.

I love the plot, the way the story fits together like a cool jigsaw puzzle with twists and turns. I especially liked discovering what the title means and how that plays a big part in the adventure.


This is an ultra imaginative, perfectly scary, sublime read with great drawings, especially when you need a gloomy day diversion. Imagine a big road sign: take the paths in this book if you want time out from boredom or anxiety, or if you are a fan of graphic novels and slightly scary stories.

Best of all books play a key role, Miro is a voracious reader. So BOOKWORMS unite I say – read this book, borrow it from the library or get your own copy. I so hope Jonathan has another graphic novel in the pipeline for children and another one for adults. Jonathan King is a graphic novel whizz. GLORIOUS!


Gecko Press page

You can watch a cool trailer here


Screen Shot 2020-08-16 at 11.45.59 AM







Poetry Box review: The Nature Activity Book with a hidden 72 hour POPUP challenge for you



The Nature Activity Book: 99 Ideas for Activities in the Natural World of Aotearoa New Zealand, Rachel Haydon, illustrated by Pippa Keel, Te Papa Press, 2020


This book is FABULOUS! I think every home and classroom should have a copy of The Nature Activity Book. The book is a treasure house of possibilities for rainy days, for sunny days, for days when you feel bored, for days when we need to stay in our bubbles.

The Nature Activity Book is exquisitely written, beautifully illustrated and lovingly crafted. It is a book that opens our understanding of and relations with the natural world. If you love discovering, testing out, exploring, making, collecting, drawing this is the book for you!

If you are a curious child who loves MUCKING ABOUT & CREATING in order to discover things – including QUESTIONS – this is the book for you!

You might need: pens pencils paper paint chalk string ruler glue nails wire straws

AND the book shows science and imagination are GOOD FRIENDS because Rachel has been very imaginative in creating the activities.


There are five cool categories:


Shapes and Patterns

Environment and Spaces

Experiments and Enquiry

Sense and Mindfulness

Action and Kaitiakitanga


These are strange unsettled Covid times for us all – I think the Sense and Mindfulness activities might be perfect over the coming weeks. Well the whole book really. I love the one called ‘Peace of Mind’. You could try this today. Jot down your answers and then give it a go!


What activity makes you calm or gives you peace of mind?

Where do you need this activity? Do you need anything for it?

Encourage your friends or whānau to try the activity. How do they feel when

they do it?


Hidden challenge: Try the Peace of Mind or the Mandala challenge and send me a letter or poem about what you did and how it went. Deadline: Monday 17th, 4 pm. Include your name age year school. Put Peace of Mind in subject line. Thanks to Te Papa Press I am going to give a copy of the book away.

I want to try so many things in this book! And I am an adult.


Here is another mindful activity that would be very cool to do this weekend. You can use what is in your back garden. If you don’t have chalk you could use string or leaves or pebbles or paper to make the shape. This is one of my hidden challenges – draw or photo what you make and send details as above.


The Nature Activity Book_Mindful mandalas.jpg



The Nature Activity Book gets us to LOOK MAKE DRAW COLLECT FEEL.

Here is another activity for you to check out. I love the way CURIOSITY is King! I have always thought poets are curious. Creating poems is a way of being curious about ourselves and the world we live in!

I so love this activity. How wonderful to look for things that FASCINATE us. This is the perfect time to track down what we find fascinating. Give this a go! It is exactly what poets do.



The Nature Activity Book_Curiosity is King


One last page to tempt you! I so hope every classroom and every home in Aotearoa buys a copy of this book – because the rewards will be feel-good! This book makes me warm and happy and tingly inside – that’s what happens when I get curious.


The Nature Activity Book_Egg carton seedlings.jpg



I LOVED this book so much my head started to bubble and brew poetry ideas as I read. In fact I got so many poem ideas reading this book, I am going to pick one or two for my September poetry challenge and thanks to Te Papa Press I am going to give a few copies of the book away.

Congratulations Rachel, Pippa and Te Papa Press: this book is a most glorious treat for the curious child.


Te Papa Press page


Rachel Haydon is a qualified primary school teacher and scientist with a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology and a Master’s in Marine Science. She has more than 15 years’ experience of teaching science to children of all ages in schools, museums, zoos and aquariums in Australia, South Korea, the United Kingdom and Aotearoa New Zealand. She has been lucky enough to work at the Natural History Museum (London), the Zoological Society of London, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and the National Aquarium of New Zealand.

Rachel is committed to motivating children of all ages to get outside and explore, and to enjoy and protect the natural world and all that lives within it.

Pippa Keel is an award-winning illustration designer, who has an Honours degree in illustration and a huge love of the outdoors. From her small studio in Wellington, Pippa has worked with a variety of New Zealand-based companies and publishers, including Zealandia Ecosanctuary and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Getting outside into nature to camp, tramp and explore has been a part of Pippa’s life since before she could walk, so she was stoked to help create this book and encourage others to do the same.









HUGE Poetry Box congratulations to all the winners at the 2020 NZ Book Awards for Children & Young Adults.

I watched the awards online last night and utterly loved it – the choice of winners, all the speeches, and especially the speech from the supreme winner, Selina Tusitala Marsh, poet, former Poet Laureate, and now children’s author extraordinaire. I have read and loved most of these books.


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You can watch here


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Here are the winners:


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Poetry Box August challenge: colour your poems





my early morning beach walk

looks like a watercolour painting

even the estuary glows



I love reading poems with hints of colour.

Sometimes a poem is FULL of COLOUR and sometimes just one C O L O U R  word in a poem makes a line tingle.


Your challenge this month is to play with COLOUR AND POETRY



Seems like I have an orange

poem fizzing in my head –

we went for a birthday lunch


by a blazing fire and ate fiery pizza

while my sweet orange delivery

waited at home in the sun.



There are many ways to play with colour and poetry:


You could write a poem and use a colour word just once or twice to add interest.

You could write a poem inspired by a particular colour.

You can use colour words or you can show the colour in the things you mention.

You could make a list poem.

You could write a haiku poem that showcases a colour.

You can link colour and mood without using the mood word (or you can!).

You could write a colour memory.

Colour similes might be fun to play with.

Go on a walk and pay attention to colour – turn that into a poem.

Make your poem into a colour explosion.


Your poem can be short or long.

Use lots of words or just a handful.


TOP TIP: Don’t send the poem the day you write it. Let it sit and then read it out loud to hear if there are any words you want to change.


DEADLINE: August 28th


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

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

I will POST at the end of the month and will have a few books to give away.




e n j o y  m y  p o e t r y  c h a l l e n g e !  x   P a u l a






Poetry Box July challenge: some favourite self poems




When I write poems

and ride bicycles

I discover new things

sun or rain, wind or sleet



Hello young poets – it has taken me two whole days to read your wonderful self poems.

I loved the way they are all so different – so many poems flowed like honey and used fascinating detail. Pictures of YOU grew in my head as I read.

We are all UNIQUE and SPECIAL – that is what your fabulous poems showed me.

It was so hard not being able to pick all your poems but remember the joy is in the writing.

This is never a competition but I am sending a copy of GROOVY FISH to Layla, Ameer, Stanley, Charlie and Amelia.


Do try my August challenge – I will post tomorrow.





Layla loves dark chocolate and hates white chocolate. Yes of course she is as dark as chocolate. When the sun goes down you will see Layla singing in the green green grass all alone. But when the sun goes up you will be too late to hear her amazing voice.

Layla A, Age 7, Year 3, Ilam School.



As I write in my room
The cold wind
Flushes through my bedroom window
My ideas are like fish in a sea:
They are there,
But you don’t know where they are
I look down at my paper
And guess what I see
“I am who I love
Because this is me”

Ameer  9 years old, year 5 at Ilam school.


Just me

Just me
Freckles like stars
Eyes like avocados
Running and jumping
Energy, she has a lot
She’s with her friends
“Ha ha ha,you can’t catch me”
Lives with a dog that barks all day
Goofy creative ecstatic

Mia  Age: 9  Fendalton Open Air School


I am me

I am me
I like my family
I love my sister so much
I don’t like my bed because I can’t do flips on it
I have blue eyes like my whole family
I like to sing and dance
I am me

By Lara age 6 Richmond Rd School


I am me
I am me
I like butterflies
I love my funny family
I don’t like soggy weetbix
I have long straight hair
I like to get wet and dive in the ocean
I am me

By Etta age 6 Richmond Rd School




I am a six year old boy, who loves to ski.

Who loves the breeze in the sky.

Who doesn’t like pressure.

That’s who I am.


Vitek, 6 years old,  (Year 2) at Ilam School


Me, me, me

Cheerful, funny, ecstatic.
Click, clack, click goes the Tap shoes.
Jet black eyes.
Compassionate, reliable, outgoing.
Always caring for others.
Never betrays a friend.
Merry, gleeful, jolly.

By: Carolyn X Age: 9, Fendalton Open-Air School


Just me
(charlie w)

A boy who dreams about cars,
who generates mountains of energy,
who loves playing with friends.
Traveling pumps excitement
into his body,
mountain biking is the funnest.
A boy who is funny, happy, clumsy, kind.

Charlie, age 10, Fendalton School




Just Me

When snow has fallen,
I will be found inside beside the fire.
If the sun is out,
I will be found at the beach in the ocean,
Playing with the crabs,
This is Just Me.

Libby age 7, Ilam Primary School, Christchurch


I am me

I am me
I like white chocolate with nutty Nutella
I love this poem
I don’t like black clean beans
I have silver shiny hair
I like to watch mermaid cartoons
I am me

By Iris age 6 Richmond Rd School


I am me
I am me
I like chewy gooey lollies
I like roller skating fast and slow
I don’t like nuclear explosions that blow up half the Earth
I like playing with things I build with my friends
I love school
I am me

By Stanley age 5 Richmond Rd School



With shoulder-length brown hair.
Lover of cats.
When the stars shine
Down on the river
I sleep peacefully.
Kind, respectful, me.
My hazel eyes sparkling
In the sunlight.
One scratched hand
From my cat Harry
That won’t be carried.
A bookworm.
I am me.

Ivy,  age: 7 Y3  Ilam Primary School, Christchurch


He has a heart
as warm as the sun
and a kind loving soul.
He wants to give
the Pandas a chance,
make the hunters go.
He knows he isn’t perfect.

Austen, age 8, Y3,  St Andrews College




In the art room splashing the paint running
the brush over each white spot
Dressing in bright yellow and hot pink
You can pick me out of 1 million people
Orange nail polish and rainbow scrunchies
Oh yeah that’s me I am bold and bright
I don’t care what other people think
I just get on with my life and be me
Because why waste your time you only
Have one life so make it count I take
A leap of faith when I am 20 my hair is
Going to be bright pink my car is
Rainbow some say I am weird and…
They are right weird, quirky, funky
Yep that’s me!

by Holly age 10 Fendalton School



Self poem 



Sushi with chicken and rice for dinner

The fun whirls and the winds down the slides

I love fudge my bunny rabbit

Funny, kind, really like adventures, nice friends happy

Loved by lots of amazing people


Lily Higgs 10 Year 6 Pt Chev



Jessica’s self poem

Lover of cats
If you go to a cattery, cat cafe, cat litter of kittens she’ll be there doing all she can to keep the cats entertained.
When you are in need of a friend she will be there to help you like a cat would do to a kitten.
Who is completely and utterly obsessed with cats!

Jessica Age : 9  Ilam School



Books I have
I read, I read.
I live on a golf course.
I see golfers everyday.
I want to go to Schouten Island.
For me, milkshakes
are as yummy
as can be.
I enjoy drawing the sea,
peaceful and colourful.
I would love to go on a super fast go-kart.
I love laughing with my friends.
Ballet is my favourite.
Dancing, dancing.
Netball is my sport.
I love tricking the ball into the goal.


Sophie Age:10 Year 5 St Andrews College

I am me

I am me
I like brown horses
I love macaroni and cheese
I don’t like the dark
I have straight yellowish hair
I like to play on the playground
I am me

By Willa age 6 Richmond Rd School



Soccer and summer
Cats, family and friends
Kind, caring and helpful
Taupo, Fiji and Queenstown
Snowboarding youtube and food

Oscar age 10   Year 6  Pt Chev school


I am me
I am me
I like playing with Lara my dog
I love when Theo comes for a playdate
I don’t like smelly hot pools
I have a big cheeky smile
I like being a jockey on my rocking horse
I am me

By Gerry age 5 Richmond Rd School





I am Maggie,

I dream of being famous at netball,

I dream of being a chef,

I am Maggie,

I wish for clean oceans,

I wish for no racism,

I am Maggie,

I love snakes as they were babies,

I love chocolate,

I am Maggie,

I am good at cooking,

I am good at netball,

I am Maggie,

I like Harry Potter,

I like school,

I am Maggie.


 Maggie, age 10 Year 6 Fendalton School



Self Poem

I like my dog Sylvie.

My parents and friends are what I love.

My stuffed toy dalmatian sven is important to me.

I don’t like spiders and being in small spaces.

It makes me happy being around people.

I have strawberry blond hair, green eyes.

It makes me sad being lonely and getting hurt.

Comfy clothes are what I wear the most.

My brother makes me cross.

England is the place where I want to be.

I like to eat toasties, strawberries and chocolate.

Friendly, kind and thoughtful is who I am.


By Amelia, 10 years old, in Year 6, Point Chevalier Primary School, Auckland



Self poem

I am friendly, kind and sporty.
Sports, family and friends are my favourite things.
I don’t like that trees and animals homes are getting destroyed.
Light brown hair and dark brown eyes, average height this is my appearance.
Sporty clothing, plain or patterned do you like my clothes?
I would like to be in a different country or at a famous place.
My family are brilliant, doing new things is cool.

By Alex  9 years old Year 5 Point Chevalier School


Self poem

Has longish flowing brown hair
Is friendly and shy
Who likes to read and loves cats
Really wants to see the world

My name is Alexa I’m 11. My year at Point Chevalier Primary is 6.


Self Poem

Kind and friendly
Videos and games
Ice cream on a hot summer day
Steaks are better in the ground than on my plate
Football with friends
Dark blue is the colour for me
So is my cat, Silky

Luke 10 years old Year 6 At Point Chevalier School




My wonderful self

My wonderful self
Has the energy of an airplane
Motor and all
The attitude of a rainbow
Colors and all
The eyes of an oak
Deepness and all
A smile like a sponge
Texture and all
Wishes like water
Clouds and sunshine
Happy, helpful, funny
This is me

Hannah age  9 and Year 5 Fendalton School



Creative, empathetic, entertaining and joyful,
Sister of Solomon and Bella,
Lover of books, writing and sport,
Who feels intrigued when reading, thrilled when pounding a ball on the court and happy at the sound of loud, out-of-tune shower singing,
Who needs twelve hours of sleep, books, and toasty fires in winter.
Who gives time to family and friends, encouragement to those who are down and laughter to those who understand witty puns,
Who fears cockroaches, large spiders and tall heights,
Who would like to see an NBA game, Belgium and the inside of a chocolate factory (possibly in Belgium),
Resident of Upper Moutere, Nelson.


Malia Y8 Mapua School (note from Paula: the last line was Malia’s surname but I don’t post children’s surnames on Poetry Box so you can picture how the poem would be like a circle)

The Tom Nalder Poem

Tom Nalder is a nerf gun wrapped in yellow balloons.

Tom Nalder is a brown puppy with three dots running around to be somebody’s pet but he doesn’t know who.

Tom Nalder is an ancient sea trying to find someone who is the chosen one.

Whenever I look into a mirror, Tom is trying to see if that reflection is really mine.

If you want to find Tom he would be sleeping on the couch.


Tom  Age 11, Year 7  Christchurch South Intermediate