Category Archives: NZ children’s book

A dazzling new poetry collection from Fairburn School in Otāhuhū

 

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A few years ago I was writer in residence at Fairburn School in Otāhuhū thanks to a programme initiated by The NZ Book Council. It stands as an extra special memory.

I was so delighted when Principal, Frances Nelson, popped the 2017 book in the post for me. Staff and students get right behind the author visit and the school just hums with poetry. This year Janice Marriot and Zech Soakai got the school exploring the theme, ‘cultural identity’.

I love the book and know from experience this is only the tip of the poetry treasures popping through the school.

Congratulations on this wonderful project. I am full to the brim with poetry joy.

 

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Some poems by children to celebrate NZ poets in the reissued Treasury

 

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Thanks for sending all the poems in – it was fun reading them all. I am sending a copy of The Treasury to Gabriella.

Extra thanks to Churton Park School for sending all the pop popping poems in! I loved them.

 

 

Paperclip
(a reply to Elizabeth Smither’s “The Stapler”)

Paper clips are nice to paper
not like any nasty staple
Can hold a lot of paper
5 or 6 its favourite number
Wants to end the staple families.

Paper clips can connect and bend
They are paper’s best friend
Easy to collect with a magnet
Never tears or rips the paper
Paper clips are best, not staples

By James K    Age 11, Year 6  Churton Park School

 

The scissors
As in response to ‘The stapler’ by Elizabeth Smither

What a ferocious beasts are scissors
With blades that ruin knickers
They do not like to feed on snickers*
They do not like large rocks

They must have two sheets at least
Or else they can’t be deceased
They prefer more at least four
As when you cut up a story.

 

*as in the chocolate bar
Gabriella R age 10, Year 6  Churton Park School
Note: There are ones similar, but these are all my ideas. By the way I put deceased there as in getting worn out.

 

The Scissors
In Response to Elizabeth Smither’s ‘The Stapler’

What a strange beast are a pair of scissors
With sharp blades that ruin pictures
They have an appetite for stickers
They do not like cardboard

Over time the things it can cut
Begins to be not as much
It does not care how many sheets
It will tear up your story

Nathan S Year 6    Churton Park School

 

 

Wiggly Wiggly

Wiggly, Wiggly,
Do the harlem
Wiggle a jellyfish,
Touch a marlin.

Wiggly, Wiggly,
Bend a worm,
Twist a leg,
Squirm a berm.

Wiggly, Wiggly,
Twist a head,
Break a led,
¨Oh! No!¨ he said

Wiggly, Wiggly,
Kiss a frog,
Buy a dog
Climb through fog.

In response to Joy Cowley’s Wriggly Wriggly

Ryan L 11 years old   Year 6   Churton Park School

 

 

Inspired by Joy Cowley:

Muddly Muddly

Muddly Muddly
feed a cat
It wears a hat
Big and fat
Muddly Muddly
Feed a cat

Muddly Muddly
Feed a dog
Eat a hotdog
Than take a jog
Muddly Muddly
Feed a dog

Muddly Muddly
Feed a horse
Use the force
Become the source
Muddly Muddly
Feed a horse

Muddly Muddly
Feed a kiwi
Wee wee
Very sneaky
Muddly Muddly
Feed a kiwi

By Angad Gill, Churton Park School, Year 6

 

To Joy Cowley

Muddly Muddly,
Feed a horse,
Give it a tomato,
Make a sauce,
Eat it up,
With some paws,
Put it down,
On the floors,
Feed a horse

Muddly Muddly,
Feed a dog,
In it’s bowl,
Feed it hogs,
Eat them up with,
Some Hogs,
Muddly Muddly,
Feed a Dog

Muddly Muddly,
Feed a cat,
Stuff it,
Inside a hat,
Tip it out onto,
A mat,
Muddly Muddly,
Feed at Cat

by Hannah age 10 Year 6 Churton Park School

 

 

Free

for Robin Hyde (inspired by ‘The Last Ones’)

Galloping along wild prairie
Paddling through the cool waters of the lake
Resting under a weeping willow
Braving the fierce winds of the desert
Soaring through grasses
Mane and tail billowing
To be wild
To be free

 

Name: Nell  Age: 9 Year: 4   Homeschool

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!