Category Archives: NZ children’s book

A very good picture book: Jenny Bornholdt and Sarah Wilkins’s The Longest Breakfast

 

 

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The Longest Breakfast written by Jenny Bornholdt, illustrated by Sarah Wilkins

Gecko Press, 2017

 

I love breakfast. I love pouring my homemade granola in the bowl, picking strawberries from the garden to slice on top, adding a dollop of yoghurt and a swish of apple juice.

MMMMMMM! Heaven!

I love hearing the birds sing in the bush and watching the sea mist roll in from the ocean.

 

Now I have a breakfast story to love too. It feels special like The Tiger Who Came to Tea feels special. It is just the story to read aloud while you munch on pancakes or toast or boiled eggs (or granola!).

The story: The children are hungry and their dad is trying to find just the thing to hit the right hungry spot.

 

When I say children – there are a lot! Say 8! If you include the neighbour and friends.

Everyone seems to want something different and baby is giving his clues (toot toot buzz buzz).

 

I whizzed through the book, I drizzled through the drawings, I sizzled and word swam and got hooked.

The writing is plain and the story gets moving.

The drawings feel alive and the characters are EYE catching.

 

And the ending is perfect – a little breakfast surprise that makes the whole book glow!

 

Wonderful!

 

 

 

Gavin Bishop’s Aotearoa is a splendid thing

 

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Aotearoa: The New Zealand Story by Gavin Bishop (Penguin Random House, 2017)

 

‘There was plenty of kaimoana in the sea.’

This book is like a treasure house of New Zealand history with text and illustrations from one of our very best children’s authors – Gavin Bishop. Penguin Random House have produced a gorgeous hardback book (it is very big and very beautiful!) that celebrates such a wonderful labour of love through publishing care.

Gavin shines a reading searchlight in all directions. History is like a prism – it has many ways of being viewed.

Aotearoa should be in every home and in every school because it is a book where you can lose yourself meandering and you can discover all kinds of things. You have to peer closely into each page to find things in the words and the images. Magnificent!

Gavin begins the Aotearoa story when an asteroid hit Earth (65 million years ago!).

He takes us through arrivals of peoples, wars, treaties, more wars.

We travel through the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the sports we play and the way our country has extraordinary natural beauty.

He shows us famous people and people who have told our stories, made art, films and music.

He reminds us of how we have protested – how we speak out.

That makes the book political, but it is also personal because it feels like it is my story, your story, and our story.

 

The book is a taonga that reminds us of our taonga and how important it is for us to join hands and find ways to care for this place we love. I absolutely love it.

 

Penguin Random House page

Gavin Bishop’s web page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November challenges: reinventing acrostic poems and leaping off from art

 

I am going to post a few more things between now and December but these are the last challenges for the year.

 

I was inspired by two books:

a poem by James Brown in Annual 2 which I really really LOVED (check it out!!)

and the brand new, absolutely AMAZING  The New Zealand Art Activity Book.

 

There are two challenges!

 

I will have a copy of The Letterbox Cat and a copy of The New Zealand Art Activity Book (grateful thanks to Te Papa Press) to give away.

 

Send to paulajoygreen@gmail.com by 27th November. I will post some favourites on 30th November.

Please include your name, age, year and name of school. I won’t post poems if I don’t have these details.

IMPORTANT:  Put ACROSTIC POEM or ART POEM  in the subject line of the email please. PLEASE say which artwork you picked under the title of your poem or in subject line of email.

First Up: Art Poems

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The New Zealand Art Activity Book by Helen Lloyd, Te Papa Press 2017 (a new edition)

Te Papa Press have published a new art activity book and it is such fun. Helen Lloyd chose more than 50 artworks in the museum collection and asked 15 artists to do page works for the book especially.

You get to see old works and news works, from famous artists and not so famous artists, from Māori, Pākehā, Pasifika and Asian artists.

I really really like this book  because not only do I get to check out art but there are very cool activities. It is the perfect book for the summer holidays when you want a break from gadgets or tree climbing or boogie boarding.

You can colour in, make a tivaevae or flying sculpture, design a treasure box or patterns. There are 150 pages of things to do and look at.

I thought it might be fun to use one of the artworks as a starting point for a poem.

 

The challenge:

Pick an artwork. There are four images below to choose from.

let the artwork take you wherever you like!

You might take one small thing in the work that catches your eye as a starting point. Then you can leap into your imagination.

You might just use a colour and see where it leads you – mindwander on a page before you start writing. Especially for Sara’s painting.

Does anything in the painting hook a memory? Use that for your poem.

Play with colour words to make a word pattern (blue ultramarine grey). Try doing it in black font. Listen to your poem.

Try describing what you see in the painting in a poem. Play with the words.

Explore the feeling you get from the painting in a poem.

Invent a little story that your imagination hooks up from the work.

Try painting a picture with words – real things help make pictures grow.

 

Four artworks from four of my favourite NZ artists to choose from:

 

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  1. ‘Millions of colours’ by Sara Hughes

 

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2. ‘Ulumago’ by John Pule

 

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3. ‘Untitled’ by Saskia Leek

 

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4. ‘The dancing chicken’ by Dick Frizzell

 

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Thank you!!!!   Activities/images reproduced with permission from The New Zealand Art Activity Book by Helen Lloyd, published by Te Papa Press. Available at all good bookstores or online here.

 

Second Up: Acrostic Poems

 

We all write acrostic poems where the first letters of each line spell a word – and often it is just one word that follows:

 

My cat

Curious

Agile

Trickster

 

Sometimes the lines stretch and make the poem grow:

 

My cat

Catching scraps of paper

As though she is a vacuum cleaner,

The tail flicks, the whiskers quiver.

 

James Brown though was a very tricky acrostic poet because he made the first letters make a word and the last letters make a word. I have had a go with my cat poem:

 

My cat

Cheeky cat crept,  kitchen hectic

Ate the fishy pasta

That  we cooked tonight.

 

I decided to try putting the word in down the middle of the poem:

 

My Cat

The Cat sleeps on

my lAp, dreaming

of sTrange sardines.

 

Have fun playing with what acrostic poems can do!

 

And    h a v e   fun doing these two challenges.

Maria Gill’s Toroa’s Journey: This is a must-have glorious book

 

I love watching birds: the kereru, tūī and pīwakawaka around my place and a symphony of birds at the beach near me. I especially love seeing the endangered dotterels scampering across the black sand. They do scamper and they do cheep! I also love going out to the gannet colony at Muriwai. It is the best-view bird colony in the world I reckon. You can watch the chicks learning to walk and fly. The parents head out swooping and feeding across the wild waves. So happy days to get a bird book in the mail!

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Toroa’s Journey Maria Gill Illustrated by Gavin Mouldy Potton & Burton

 

Maria Gill is on of my favourite non-fiction children’s authors. Her new book, Toroa’s Journey follows the life of a baby albatross chick hatched at Taiaroa Head (near Dunedin). The bird was named Toroa which is the Maori word for ‘albatross’. Just before the little bird has leaned to fly (fledged), a transmitter device was attached to his back.

This is astonishing: the royal albatross is one of the biggest seabirds in the world ( think of two cats!) and once it takes flight, it takes flight for years, hardly ever touching land.

This is astonishing: Will Toroa arrived back at Taiaroa Head? Around seventy per cent of the birds make it back to where they were born and start new families. What dangers will he face on his journey? What can we do if we care about birds and the environment?

Maria has used facts for her story. There are gold-mine information boxes that helped me understand more about the life of this extraordinary bird. However Maria also uses her imagination to imagine what happened sea. The tracking device told her where the bird went but not what he saw and felt. That was up to her.

 

At nightfall, Toroa rides the waves like a sea plane.

He swoops squid with his hooked bill and gobbles it up.

 

When full, he taxies off the watery runway,

paddling his webbed feet and spreading his

wings wide ready to catch the up-draught.

 

I have been to the albatross colony and gazed out at the baby birds in awe. Now that I have read this story, I want to go back. Maria writes beautifully; her sentences flow like honey and she makes the journey and the bird spark with life on the page.

 

 

Plus you get the evocative illustrations by Gavin Mouldey.

This is a must-have glorious book.

 

Craig & Burton page

Maria Gill’s teaching notes on her website

Annual 2 is just the ticket for the older reader (say 9 to 12)

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Annual 2, edited by Susan Paris and Kate De Goldi, Annual Ink,  2017

 

Annual 2 has the coolest cover ever – it features two legs with stripy blue socks poking out of an open book.

It makes you want to dive into the ELECTRIC mix of comics, poems, stories, games, and essays inside  (and other curious things!!).

 

I would have LOVED this when I was a girl  – I would have scooted off to a hiding place to read and read and read until I got to the very end. And the next day I would have dipped and delved and reread all my favourite things.

I especially LOVE the LOOK of the collection but LOOKS are only the start if you are a hungry reader.

And the LOOK of this BOOK pays off because it is a VERY GOOD read.

 

I LOVE the poems.

I really LOVE the poems.

 

Nick Ascroft has written a poem about wealth – and it turns into LIST poem that shows wealth is not all about counting money but what you do with your TIME ! Here’s a taste:

 

Wealth can be counted, but in time

not in dollars or things –

 

days since you ate a macadamia nut,

hours since you last rode a bike

 

Lynley Edmeades has written ‘Island’, a poem about camping that is so vivid you think you are in the tent. Here is a sample:

 

It’s always yellow inside

and the nylon is an island

for the to and from the grass.

 

Kate Camp has written ‘Emergency Haiku,’ the best haiku ever that made me laugh out loud. Here is a sweet morsel:

 

In emergency

break glass. Unless the problem

is a smashed window.

 

James Brown has written ‘Cheat Sheet for My Enemies’, an acrostic poem, that is rather keen on fudging the truth. It is very tricky as the right-hand side shows the acrostic title going from bottom to top, while the left-hand side shows it going from top to bottom! Here is a little bite:

A prime number is the first one on a number line.

The Titanic was a famous lifeboat.

 

I highly recommend Annual 2 for readers that love to be challenged or delighted or amused.

Even though I am no longer twelve I scooted off to my secret reading hidey-hole and read the collection from cover to cover. WONDERFUL!

Poetry Box September challenge needs a tablespoon of imagination!

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Go here to The Sapling for my alphabet of children’s poetry books. Joy is Joy Cowley and also in my list.

 

The Sapling is a great new NZ website that celebrates children’s books. I got asked to list some of my favourite children’s poetry books for Poetry Day and decided to make an alphabet of them.

One of my favourite children’s poetry books is by Margaret Mahy – she had such a TERRIFIC imagination, her poems fill you with surprise. She also had an excellent poetry ear and was very good at making up words.

So in honour of dear Margaret Mahy, your September challenge is to use your imagination in a poem.

 

You might want to invent things or places or people.

You might want to invent new words to do the best job.

You might want to imagine somewhere you have never been but that is a real place or time.

 

Imaginations work with real things and with invented things.

Imaginations let you have fun.

 

The most important thing about Poetry Box is to light up with the joy of writing poems.

 

You might play with how you set your poem out.

You might play with how your poem sounds.

 

Send to paulajoygreen@gmail.com by 26th September. I will post some favourites on 30th September and have a book for at least one reader. It is not a competition though!

Please include your name, age, year and name of school. I won’t post poems if I don’t have these details.

IMPORTANT:  Put IMAGINATION challenge in the subject line of the email please.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a taste of my A to Z of some favourite children’s poetry books at The Sapling – I have a small challenge and a book on offer

For the delight of reading poetry to your children and the delight of your children reading poetry to you, or to themselves as the sun comes up, here is an A to Z of some of my favourite children’s poetry reads (this is merely the start!). Most New Zealand poetry books for children are out-of-print, but you can find them in libraries. Maybe next year we will get some new poetry treats!
And my good news is that Penguin Random House is reprinting A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children as a paperback and it’s out in November.
I really love the way Sarah at The Sapling set out my A to Z. Thank you!
AmaZing!
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Here is  C  and   I   :
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Go here to find my A to Z!
Let me know your favourite poetry book or books I have missed (I couldn’t say all the books I love on my shelves!!). Say why you like it.
I have a poetry book for my favourite answer. I will post a wee list of your picks.
paulajoygreen@gmail.com
Include your name, age and school if a child, just your name if you are an adult!
You might like to do this as a class.
Deadline: September 3rd
…. what other alphabets can I do?