Category Archives: NZ Author

A delightful bundle of Gecko Press books with TWO hidden poem challenges for you

Four gorgeous books from Gecko Press to share!

 

The illustrations are

s   c   i   n   t   i   l   l   a   t   i   n  g .

The stories are

m   o   u   t   h   w   a   t   e   r   i   n   g.

Which means I gobbled them UP in a F L A S H.

And then I came back for a   l o n g          s   l   o   w       feast.

 

Thanks Gecko Press!

 

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Bathtime for Little Rabbit by Jörg Mühle is a small board book for very young children about a rabbit that needs a bath so he gets to be SQUEAKY clean.  I love the way Little Rabbit gets dried. This is a FUN read.

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The Lost Kitten is a scrumptious picture book by Lee with illustrations by Komako Sakai. I loved reading this book, because as you know from my children’s poems, we have cats. In fact Charlie arrived at OUR door lost and hungry and wanted to stay with us for EVER and EVER. We seemed to become a magnet for lost and hungry kittens, but now we live in the country we are too far away.

In this story though, a mother cat brings her hungry kitten to Hina’s place because she knows it needs looking after. You will see it is the cutest little ball of fluff that deserves a warm and cosy cat basket.

Just like us, Hina and her mum feed the cat and make it a cat box and take it to the vet.

Just like us, the kitten makes Hina very, very happy.

But NOT like us (and Charlie), the sweetest cutest little ball of kitten fluff goes missing.

I especially loved the illustrations by Komako Saki. She is a famous and much-loved illustrator in Japan where she lives. You feel like you are inside the story when you look at the pictures, because she knows just how to paint how Hina feels.

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Bruno: Some of the more interesting days in my life so far is a splendiferous read by Catharina Valckx. There are six linked stories with very cool illustrations by Nicolas Hubesch that make me want to get my pencils and draw.

Catharina has written over 30 books and is published in over 11 languages and has been nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Awards 4 times.

Nicolas Hubesch lives in PARIS where he also draws comics. I LOVELOVELOVELOVE his drawings. They do have a PARIS feel about them.

The first story starts like this: ‘The peculiar day started out as an ordinary day.’

This is how poems start sometimes and it means you can begin with what you know and end up somewhere rather marvelous. Catharina has a very BOUNCY imagination because Bruno gets followed by a flying fish that is a tincy bit lost and is nowhere near the ocean. In fact this is a story of strange things in an ordinary day, AND to make it especially GOOD – normal things on a normal day.

In ‘A rainy day,’ Poor old Bruno finds his house is just as wet inside as it is outside when it is RAINING RAINING RAINING. All his friends turn up WET WET WET and EAT EAT EAT all his food. Everyone makes a MESS MESS MESS.

We get to read about:

A peculiar day

A rainy day

A day when the power went out

A much less interesting day

An almost perfect day

A stupid day (that ends pretty well)

This is a very INTERESTING book to read!

 

 

a    l i t t l e   c h a l l e n g e   f o  r   y o u        (YO – Y8 in NZ)

 

I LOVE LOVE LOVE these titles so much, I am challenging you to use one as the title for a poem (You can do more than one!). Let your imagination BOUNCE with what you know and what you make up!

 

Send to paulajoygreen@gmail.com by 5th MAY. I will post some favourites on MAY 10th and have a copy of the book for one reader.

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

Put GECKO challenge in the subject line of the email please.

 

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I am a HUGE fan of Joy Cowley and Gavin Bishop and I especially love their Snake and Lizard books.

 

So on a very wet Sunday afternoon I gobbled up the new one: Helper and Helper.

 

Gavin’s illustrations are sheer beauty.

Joy’s stories are warm and wise and witty. Her sentences are like clear shiny streams.

 

Snake and Lizard are full to the brim with life and show us the power of friendship. Being friends is bumps and hills and new days and arguments and listening and kindness and discoveries.

When I read these stories I fill with warmth and good feelings and just want to write poems or even give stories a go.

 

a n o t h e r   c h a l l e n g e

I LOVE LOVE LOVE these stories so much I am challenging you to write a ‘Snake and Lizard’ poem (You can do more than one!). Read the book first to get inspired by the characters. Make up what happens. It can be something very small and curious.

 

Send to paulajoygreen@gmail.com by 5th MAY. I will post some favourites on MAY 10th and have a copy of the book for one reader.

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

Put SNAKE and LIZARD challenge in the subject line of the email please.

 

PS: I won’t answer your emails until May as I will be away!

Welcome back to Poetry Box 2017 – a little letter and a little challenge

 

 

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a blue sky at our place!

 

 

Dear young poetry fans,

I do hope you have all had a lovely summer even if the sun didn’t shine as much as it usually does, the wind was windier and the rain was rainier.

I have been hard at work writing my big book but after I did a stunt-woman routine in my bedroom (BY ACCIDENT!) and flew through the air like a frisbee and crash landed on the wooden frame of the bed – I injured my back! So I have not been able to sit at the computer and do all the things I usually do. Now I can have small bursts.

 

So I am going to start the year off with a small-poem challenge for you.

 

Little poems are like chocolates – they can taste sweet or sour but they do TASTE!

You can play with how many words you use on each line because that will change the SOUND and the LOOK of the poem.

You can HIDE a very tiny thing in the poem: a glorious word, a single rhyme,  an idea, an object.

 

The challenge: Try writing a bunch of small poems. Say no more than 16 words or no more than 10 words or no more than 20 words. YOU CHOOSE!

Give the poem a title. Those words don’t count in the total.

Try leaving the poem for a week before you send it to me and give it a sound check before you do. As a poet I always do this. I wrote a poetry ms last summer and I have left it for a whole YEAR!

 

Deadline: March 28th.

Email: write small poem in subject line

Send to: paulajoygreen@gmail.com

Include: your name, age, year and name of school. You can include your teacher’s email if you like.

I will post some favourites on APRIL 1st

and have a least one book to give away just because.

 

BTW I have finished my collection of children’s poems using the titles you all gave me! I loved doing it so much!

 

Warm regards,

Paula

 

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Molly wants to go for a walk! No swimming lessons for her this summer in the wild west-coast surf.

 

Happy summer days from Poetry Box; with a poem-notebook challenge and some family snapshots

 

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Our dog Molly waiting to go running on the beach!

 

 

Happy Summer Holidays young poets!

 

Thank you so much for all the poetry that whizzed and somersaulted and danced its way into my email box this year. I adored it!

What a treat to read poems from children all over New Zealand.

To get lovely letters from budding poets.

To send books out to hungry poetry readers.

 

 

Poetry Box will be back in poetry action in February (even though I am writing my BIG book!).

 

I will have some new challenges 

 

meanwhile

over summer you might like my  NOTEBOOK POEM CHALLENGE

to keep a poetry

notebook

over summer

 

with little poems big poems

skinny poems fat poems

funny poems sad poems

poems with endings that snap or sparkle

 

you might find inspiration

in the sky or the sea

out the window through the door

down the sand dunes

along the river

down the street

in a box

 

in your imagination

 

what you

see

or feel

or taste

or hear

 

…. NO RULES!         what fun!

 

If you like, you could copy your favourite pages to send me: paulajoygreen@gmail.com

Put NOTEBOOK POEMS in subject line please.

Or post: PO Box 95078, Swanson, Waitakere 0653

I will have some gorgeous new notebooks to give out.

Include your name, age, school. Deadline: February 1st

 

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I am going to spend summer reading and writing and running on the beach (at long last!) and eating fruit and veggies from our garden -and watching movies. And hanging out with my friends and family. A summer to look forward to.

 

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and here’s me when I was little and already a very BIG fan of books!

 

 

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Molly and Aggo are now the best of friends and Aggo thinks she is a dog I am sure. Charlie is inside sleeping on a cushion or my hat or my coat (just like in the poem!). And Molly will need swimming lessons every day this summer just like in my poem.

 

 

Keep safe

Keep happy

Keep poems floating

 

Warm regards

Paula x

Last of year: Poetry Box November Challenge: something summery and something small (and a Gecko Annual challenge)

 

This is the last challenge for the year! Thank you so much for reading my posts, following my tips, reading the reviews, trying the challenges and sending me letters and poems.

w o n d e r f u l

 

It has been an excellent year for poetry. I especially liked all the classes that sent in work. I could see the poetry buzz and the fun you had writing and reading. The poems have been magnificent.

 

s t u p e  n d o u s

 

I have agonised on what to set for our last challenge this year. So I am going to offer you two. I will have a book for each challenge. I will do two separate posts. Remember this is NOT a competition – it is all about the joy of writing!

My top tip: Don’t send the poem the day you write it. Leave it for a few days, edit it and then send.

 

w a i t    w o n  d e r        w a n d e r

 

l o o k    at my post on the Gecko Press Annual and find  my challenge to review it  (I have a book token for someone!)  Deadline November 10th         !!!!!!!!!!!!       **********

 

l  i    s   t   e   n

 

Challenge Number One: a set topic

Try writing a poem about summer.

Before you write hunt for summer things.

Use your senses to find words.

Make a chain of interesting summer words. Pick your favourites to put in the poem.

Link three summer words together. Make a pattern poem with summer words.

Hunt for a summer memory.

Imagine a summer you would love.

Paint a picture of summer with words.

Listen to every line and do a sound check.

Find some sizzling summer similes to use.

Hunt for things you to do in summer or eat.

What about the place you like to go in summer?

What is your favourite summer mood? Write a poem and hide that mood in the poem for me to guess.

 

 

Challenge Number Two: small poems

I love writing poems that use only a handful of words.

Every word has to count.

Your poem might paint a little picture.

Does it sound good?

You could try writing a couplet poem: just two lines that might hide or use tricky rhyme or no rhyme.

You could try writing a haiku: 3 lines and can be 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables (doesn’t usually rhyme).

You could try writing a limerick.

You could write a small poem that is surprising.

You could write a small poem that is funny.

You could write a small poem that is thoughtful.

You could write a small poem that makes a pattern with words.

 

 

SEND your poem to paulajoygreen@gmail.com

DEADLINE Monday November 28th

Include your name, age, year and name of school. You can include your teacher’s email if you like.

P l e a s e    p u t   ‘Summer poem’ or ‘Small poem’ in the subject line of your email.

I will pick some favourites to post on the blog and have a book for at least two readers and maybe even a book for a class.

I will do two posts on  Wednesday 3oth November.

The Gecko Press Annual is a sumptuous swirl and it got me puzzling (and there’s a challenge with a book voucher for you!)

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

 

(pitched at 9 to 12 year olds)

 

If I had opened the Gecko Press Annual when I was ten I would have jumped a jig of joy under the Christmas tree.

I would have loved the bright orange cover, the gold floating leaves and bird.

I would have loved the sumptuous swirl of words and illustrations inside that meant before I read I would have to do an awful lot of looking.

 

When I was ten, I would have wanted the Annual to last and last for a whole year. I wouldn’t have known what to read first. Probably the poems first and the activities second.

 

Now that I am way-old, I still need to look at the Annual for ages before I start reading it.

This is because the Annual is very very beautiful. It is a very special book.

 

There are three poems written by poets (Jenny Bornholdt, Tim Upperton and James Brown) who usually write adult poetry books. I am a big fan of their poetry. There is also a handful of ninja-rhyme poems by Michael Petherick. The poems are like chalk and cheese. They give you  different feelings as you read. One is thoughtful and slightly mysterious, one is madcap crazy and one is like a wonky funny found poem that is all made-up.

I find the whole question of children’s poetry fascinating -as you know! Some people say when you write a poem it should be for anyone – child or adult. This is a very popular point of view. Most poets I know think like this. I guess I feel like a fish out of water because when I write poems for children, my head fills with all the children in all the schools I visit and I feel like I am writing for them. As I write, I am wanting the words to be so infectious that children will want to jump for joy and race out and read and write poems. They feel ALIVE with poetry.

 

p o e t r y   is a   wan   der     playground for children

 

When I write poems for adults, I write for myself first. I am not writing because I want adults to jump for joy and race out and read and write poems. I don’t think about the reader at all. It all seems very different and mysterious and puzzling.

… so the Annual got me thinking about writing poems … and where I fit as a poet

 

For the annual, the poets were given starting points for their poems – as everybody in the Annual was (a bit like I do on Poetry Box!). This what happens now for School Journals.

So it’s not a book where people send in what they have written – but a book where authors  (and comics, and illustrators and all the rest) are commissioned to do something in particular. I think that gives the Annual a particular feel. A special feel. Like an exhibition with a curator. Not a lucky dip.

 

There are so many different kinds of things in the Annual, it is like a magnificent magic box. You might fall upon a painting or a photograph or a comic strip or a very cool craft idea from the fabulous Fifi Colston.

 

My favourite story is from one of my favourite NZ children’s authors, Barbara Else: ‘Tingirl and the Crying Time.’ The story features Assistant Squint with apple stuck in his teeth, Madam Upright with a tooth that glinted silver and Tingirl who yearns to turn into a Realgirl. Oh so imaginative and deliciously written, it will make you think about robots in a whole new light. Wonderful! Gorgeous illustrations by Kieran Rynhart.

 

I also loved Paul Beavis‘s guide to visual storytelling. Do I want to give it a go? Yes!!!!

 

….. have I read the whole Annual? No! Have I tried all the activities? No! I am like that ten year-old girl because I want to make the Annual last and last.

 

 

I would love to post some reviews by children of the Annual.  Give it a go! send your review to paulajoygreen@gmail.com.

Include your name, year, age and school

Put Annual review in email subject line

I will have a book voucher for my favourite review and a copy of The Letterbox cat for another reviewer.

Deadline :  November 1oth

Chris Szekely’s Rona – The story is so like real life it shines

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Rona Chris Szekely, illustrated by Josh Morgan, Huia Press, 2016

Sometimes I think good junior chapter books are as rare as hen’s teeth. Yet it is a time when you are hungry to read good books. I used to gobble books up in a swizzing second when I was that age.

Chris Szekely’s new junior chapter book, Rona, is so very good. I gobbled it up in one sitting and I didn’t want it to end because it is a book that makes you feel good (and I had a sore throat!). There are lively illustrations by Josh Morgan.

Chris is the Chief Librarian of the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington and is the first Māori person to hold this position.

Chris is already an award-winning author. In 2012, his book, Rāhui won the Picture Book Category at the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards, as well as the LIANZA Russell Clark Award for Illustration and the Librarian’s Choice Award.

Fleur Beale (a favourite author of mine) says this ‘s a gem of a story’ and I agree.

 

Rona stars in her own story. She lives with her Nana and Grandad – and her cousin Jessie comes to stay one summer. Rona is brave, bold and cheeky, inventive, and she knows how to stand up for herself. She is not-quite-good because she does some mischievous things (especially in the poetry competition!). I just love this character.

The story is so like real life it shines. Chris must take notice of little things like a sharp camera and store them in his memory bank because the detail is magnificent. I loved the china teacups, the boiling hot days, the fruit soaking for the Christmas cake, the teacher who could see through lies, the ice-cold-water dive by the wharf, the set of coloured pencils. I felt like I was staying with the family for the holidays I was so grounded in the story.

I especially loved the joy of a fresh set of coloured pencils ‘like a rainbow.’

 

The dialogue (what people say to each other) flows perfectly. It feels real not fake.

The sentences flow and sing – the verbs dance and pop.

I love the way Chris hides clues to things.

The glossary at the back is very witty.

 

Nana is a strong, wise and loving grandmother. She won’t stand for any rubbish behaviour but she is there to mop your brow.

This story, which is like a kete of little stories, is all about friendship and families. Things get in muddles. Life gets a bit messy. But Rona shines through. She is new classic kiwi character that we will all grow to love!

 

I think every school library needs a class set of this book! And if you feel like a warm, toasty, zingy sparkling reading feeling -then this book is for you. I recommend it highly. And I do hope there is a sequel.

Huia author page
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October Poetry Challenge: some favourite imaginative poems

… I am bit late posting these as I have in bed with a sore throat …

What a lot of fun you had using your imaginations – to get them sizzling and bouncing and popping in poems. Sometimes the poems made me laugh out loud. But imaginative poems can also be thoughtful, show you different ways of seeing the world. Invent worlds. Imagine how other people do things.

I couldn’t post all the amazing poems – so here is a selection of some I enjoyed.

I am sending a copy of The Letterbox Cat to Oscar and to the class at Greenhithe School.

Do try my last challenge of the year that I am posting tomorrow.

I posted Daniel’s poem first as I loved the way he imagined a world with no imagination!

 

Without Imagination

Imagine a world

Without imagination

There would be no inventions

No new things

No modifications

No songs

No pictures

No stories

No adventures

No fun at all

I am glad I cannot imagine

A world without imagination

 By Daniel L, Age 8, Year 3, Adventure School, Wellington

 

I got a terrific bunch of poems from Greenhithe School. They all zinged with imagination. What great fun you had writing these! Here are just a few:

 

Have a Look

A moment in time

is like a lime sitting still

on the windowsill.

The sun is brightening

As the lime is ripening.

Then the moment passes.

By Ferguson Mc, Age 10, Year 5, Glenhithe School

 

When the Pie Danced with the Tie

 

The pie danced with the tie when the bread turned red

The pie danced with the tie when a rock ate the clock

The pie danced with the tie when my hand joined a band

The pie danced with the tie when Jill ate the hill.

But did those things really happen?

No.

The pie never danced with the tie.

By Maria S, Age 10 years, Year 5, Glenhithe School

 

Brussel Sprout Land

What if the world was made of brussel sprouts?

People would be passing out

from the smell.

You wouldn’t be able to write.

You wouldn’t be able to play a ball sport because the ball would keep disintegrating.

Your house would keep rolling around and

you wouldn’t be able to watch TV.

Just a brussel sprout.

By James D, Age 9, Year 5, Greenhithe School

 

And here are some poems from all over New Zealand:

 

Imagination
I went to bed and closed my eyes
and I saw red and suddenly my bed
lifted off the ground and my room turned
oval round.

I floated out of bed and through the ceiling
and saw rainbows and werewolves and foxes and monsters.
Suddenly I dropped back through the ceiling and my Mum peeked
through the door and told me off for making too much noise.

Oscar Mc, Age 8, Fendalton Primary School

 

Coloured World

If the sky was green
What about the trees?
Would they be green too?
Or would they be blue?

Would the seas be purple?
Or would that make everyone gurgle?
Would they revolt,
With orange lightning bolts?

If the sun was indigo
Would we need some mistletoe
Made out of red teacups,
Brewed by Monkeys DeluxeⓇ?

So I must say,
Be careful on your way,
In hope you don’t meet,
Some flowers with very yellow feet.

By Freya D, age 12, Tamatea Intermediatee, Napier

 

 

Writing

Hands gripping pencils,

breaking through paper.

Imagination racing.

Words into sentences,

sentences into paragraphs,

paragraphs into stories.

This is writing.

Jonathon Y, Gladstone School, Auckland

 

What If?

What if the world was made of cheese?
Would cheddar be the land, would edam be the seas?
What if all 3 of your little black cats?
Owned an illegal black market for purple top hats?

What if a pug called Swipp Woolly Lee?
Ruled over the world, how crazy would that be?
What if your granny was a world renowned thief?
And her hideout was under the great barrier reef?

What if all milk tasted like trash?
Would the dairy industry suffer a financial crash?
What if it was impossible to flush the loo?
Would the whole wide world smell like poo?

What if your teacher worked for some top secret spies?
Could she spy on you using robotic flies?
What if you lived in the sewer of a train station?
Thank goodness this only in our imagination.

By Jackson S, 12, Year 8 Tamatea Intermediate School, Napier

 

Running Away

When Imagination ran away with me

He took me by the hand

And led me away on an adventure

Adults wouldn’t understand

 

He showed me glorious green forests

And silvery snow capped mountains

Ancient ruins and relics

And exploding fantastical fountains

 

He took me to a magical world

Where dragons roam

Cauldrons foam

And children save the world alone

 

He showed me what the world could be

If no one put restraints on me

Gemma Lovewell, Age 10, Year 6, Adventure School, Wellington

 

Imagination Sampler
Painting,
The colorful rainbow flows onto the paper,
White never to be seen again.
Summer,
A shield of sun protects me from the rain.
Clouds,
Icing the bright blue sky.
Monkey,
The love for bananas is never enough.
Cross country,
A soft patter of feet as you pass the finish line
Jellybean,
Ant size but giraffe size in flavor.
Letter,
What kind of message does it carry?
Ice Cream,
Deliciousness slips down my throat.
Holidays,
Every corner you turn fun is blocking the way.
Rainbow,
The colours never end.
Stars,
The skies necklace
Crown,
Queen of jewels.
Lipstick,
Paint covers your lips like a hat.
Your brain the imagination station.

Evie J, Age 11, Selwyn House School, Christchurch

 

 

The    Best    Creation    Ever!

a small computer with a hard shell to protect it,

two projectors to sense where it’s going,

Many engines to work different parts,

all close together to stay running,

a cage, able to hold the many engines in place,

a pipe for fluids, to keep on moving,

a hole on each side of the computer to hear and interact.

A squishy yet solid material, all over,

Layers of soft material, covering everything, to make it look even better,

This machine is the best creation ever!

It is you and me…… Human beings.

 
Winter Dragon

Cold biting fingers and nose
Snow white on the trees and ground
Sun rising in golden robes
Setting the snow alight

Movement out of the corner of an eye
A snow sparkle on bluish white scales
Crest of icy horns
Arctic blue eyes
Sparkling white wings

A gasp escapes an open jaw
A dragon turns
Cold air escaping an open maw
Eyes glittering
Joined for a moment
Sun turned white scales gold

Leaping up into the air
Breathing ice on frozen trees
Rising higher
Caught in golden light
Then vanishing in the sunrise

Running feet to a small house
Excited voice shouting
I saw the winter dragon!

by Sarah-Kate  Age 11 Homeschooled