Category Archives: NZ Children’s poetry

A Poetry Day event for young poets

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YOU are warmly invited !
… to the NEW Poetry Anthology book launch:
LakeHouse Art Centre, Takapuna
Saturday 25th August 4.30pm

** featuring:
readings by young poets and “wordcore”/music by Midnight Poetry Band

all welcome

BIG Thank you!! to the National Poetry Day 2018 and LakeHouse Art Centre

Please check out our new website

Librarian’s choice: Bee Trudgeon picks Baxter Basics


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Baxter Basics, Poems for Children by James K Baxter (Steele Roberts Publishers)


How wonderful it is, to have the line that will lead children along the road toward poetic Jerusalem inscribed by the master wordsmith latterly known as Hemi. The poems in this collection date from the early 50s, and were published as The Tree House in 1974. In 1979, Price Milburn produced the poems in separate Baxter Basics booklets in the PM Readalongs series. Steele Roberts brought them together in this modern compendium version in 2008.

What a wonderful way to preserve them, when one’s original school readers become the stuff of half-remembered dreaming. And what a gift to me, as a new librarian at Cannons Creek Library, looking for solid ways to turn kids on to reading and poetry. In a modern world, sometimes vintage turns out to be the most amazing flavour to taste. My familiarity with the poems and affection for the illustrations made it easy to pick up and enthusiastically share.
What do you love about it?

It reminds me of the excitement of learning to read in the days when I did – in the early 1970s. I love the way it introduces unmistakable rhyme schemes that have the kids punching the air to tell me they have noticed them. I love the way its economy of line has met the sort of playful typographic design that leads us to taking exactly the right size bites to best serve each line.
Which poems really hook you?

I like the balance and sway of “I’m A Tree” – ‘I’m a man out walking in the thick green bush; I can’t see the sun, So I push, push, push! / I’m a boy with a banjo, Clever as they come; I pick up my banjo and I strum, strum, strum!’ (And who wouldn’t want to be the boy with the banjo and the fans, as Lynley Dodd sees them.)
Speaking of the illustrations, Dodd’s fine work – along with that of Judith Trevelyan, Dawn Johnston, and Ernest Papps – hark nostalgia now, although only ‘The Firemen’ would have seemed vintage when first published. The renderings of home, town, bush/forest, beach/sea and sparse traffic in uncrowded cities combine with the words to make me feel like the world is my oyster, and that I can transport myself into any form of being from nature, to occupation, to location.
Have you seen children reading it?
This is probably my most-shared poetry book, and it is always well received. The offering of a first line or two is easily transformed by the invitation to turn Baxter’s observations into one’s own.
What three words sum up the book?
Vintage, transformative, classic. (I consider any book capable of turning us into poets via uncluttered example transformative!)
Can you think of a book it is similar to?
Margaret Mahy’s rhyme-alicious “My Wonderful Aunt” shared a similar publishing history, in that it was served up as a compendium of stories after years of being loved as individual readers. There is something quite special about honouring ‘the reader’ – seen so much as a tool by those doing the teaching, but with the capacity to lodge themselves very deeply into the psyches of those making reading revelations with them.


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Bee Trudgeon is the Porirua Children’s Librarian Kaitiaki Pukapuka Tamariki. She is a writer, strummer, storyteller, dancer in the dark, film buff, perpetual student, and the mother of a couple of big kids who still love bedtime stories. Often spotted urban long-distance walking wearing headphones and a ukulele, she lives in a haunted house in Cannons Creek, and works wherever there is an audience.


Check out the Poetry Box August challenge here





Poetry Box audio spot: Adrienne Jansen’s wonderful ‘Next year’



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This wonderful poem is about Adrienne’s local diary owner and the way he was treated so badly. I love this poem so much. The poem is from All of us, a collection of poems around the themes of migration and refugees, by Adrienne Jansen and Carina Gallegos, to be published in October by Landing Press.


Adrienne Jansen has been listening to stories of newcomers to New Zealand, and writing those stories with them, most of her life. This poem, “Next year”, is one of those tiny stories. She lives in Titahi Bay, near Wellington, and writes fiction, non-fiction and poetry.


Check out the Poetry Box August challenge here

Poetry Box August challenge: playing with nursery rhymes


The wonderful poet Glenn Colquhoun had fun making up a nursery rhyme. You can listen to it here.

So I thought it would be fun to write poems that play with nursery rhymes.


They can be long or short.

They can rhyme or not rhyme.

They can use the nursery rhyme we know and love but with different words.

They can take a nursery-rhyme character and invent a new story.

They might change the beginning or the ending.

They can make the nursery rhyme take place in New Zealand.

They be funny or surprising or have a hidden message.

You might be in it! Or someone you know.

You might do a nursery-rhyme mash up. More than one in the mix!


h a v e    n u r s e r y  r h y m e   F  U  N


Deadline: August 28th

Include: your name, age, year and school

Open to: Year 1 to Year 8

Please put Nursery rhyme challenge in email subject line so I don’t MISS it

Send to:


I will post some favourites on August 31st and have a book for at least one poet

Poetry Box audio spot: Glenn Colquhoun reads his nursery rhyme






Glenn reads and talks about: ‘A nursery rhyme for Barney Whiterats


Glenn Colquhoun is a poet and children’s writer. He works as a GP in Horowhenua.


Watch out for my August challenge inspired by this tomorrow.






Some favourite butterfly poems from the July challenge

The butterfly poems have been such as a popular challenge. Thank you so much for sending me poetry that filled my house with butterflies – it felt like they would lift off my screen and go flying because the language was so bright and lively.

I have a posted a few poems from all the schools – and it was so so hard choosing.

Just because I didn’t pick your poem doesn’t me it wasn’t AMAZING– I just tried to get a variety.

I am sending a copy of my book The Letterbox Cat to Leona.

AND I got such a gorgeous bunch of illustrated poems from Raumati School that will brighten your day I am going to post a cluster separately.

Do try my August challenge.

(if I haven’t replied to your poem let me know!)


Lonely Butterfly

Soft wing,
light as feathers.
The butterfly
flies from place
to place.
She lands slowly
on a forget-me-not
and remembers
her mother.


My name is Leona K,  8 years old, Year 5, Selwyn House School


The Butterfly Artist

With her orange 

and black wings, 

the butterfly draws 

the cherry blossom, 

with a swan feather.


Runika, age 8, Year 4, Selwyn House School



Fragile wings shimmering

In the morning sky

Coloured as pink

as cotton candy.


Lucy Fraser, age 7,  St Andrews Prep


Butterfly poem

The monarch butterfly

swoops down on

the sunny summer

day and eats a drop

of sugar and flies back.


Rose Age 9 Year 4  Fendalton School, Christchurch


Butter flutter

Butterfly flutter

In the summer sun

Their shiny wings

Glow in the sun

Like waves

They are very quiet


Estelle Russell Age 7  St Andrews College Preparatory School


The Arrival of the Butterfly

hanging by a silky thread

she emerges

crumpled wings straighten

delicate as rice paper


light reflects off

her metallic blue wings

fading away at

the blackened edges


flitting among the branches

like petals in the breeze

she lands on my shoulder

whispering secrets in my ear

Olivia L Age: 11 Selwyn House School




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Gemma L, Year 8, Adventure School, Wellington





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Daniel L, Age 9, Year 5, Adventure School, Wellington



Fluttering Butterflies

I am a beautiful butterfly spreading my wings.

I can taste the sweet sweet honey that I suck up with my very own long straw,

I can smell the scrumdiddlyumptious nectar,

I can hear the thunder on a bad day as I hide under a leaf,

I can see the terrifying toad approaching me as I glide out of reach,

I can feel the petals on a flower as soft as silky silk.

Peggy N  Age 9  Westmere School LS6




The butterfly is as delicate as a ballerina.

The butterfly is as strong as a an eagle.

The butterfly is as colourful as confetti.

The butterfly is as stunning as a rose.


The butterfly makes me feel happy when I look at it fluttering in the wind.

The butterfly cautiously dances in the breeze while avoiding a sly frog.

Butterflies are graceful, beautiful and strong.

I wouldn’t mind being a butterfly.


Maddie H Age 9  Westmere School LS6


The Butterfly

A ragged butterfly head peeks out of a chrysalis

after the devastating earthquake

The lonely butterfly flaps its wings feebly

It glides,then lands on a rose

It sucks the delicious nectar

The graceful butterfly finds some others

and flies out of sight –

A sign of hope after the earthquake.


Aaron K Age 10, Fendalton Open-air School


The Butterfly

Every warm summer day,

She spreads her pink wings,

To find some juicy nectar,

From a new yellow flower,

After a day of exploring,

She lays down on her leafy bed,

     Thinking about what tomorrow brings.

Zian Age 10 Fendalton Open Air School


26th July 2018

Green leaves on green grass

A flap of a butterfly’s wings is the only sound

The moon is out

The sky is pitch black

Then a huge group of butterflies pass

Butterflies red

Butterflies blue

Butterflies multicoloured too

Butterflies pass over my head

I go to sleep with a butterfly on my nose!


Amy Viles Age: 9 Fendalton Open-Air School



Butterflies flutter by,

like the fluttery buttery bugs they are!

Curly wurly,

diply durly,



skies so blue!

Poppy T, age 10, Kiwi Connection Hub Richmond Road School



The moonlight reflects on the butterflies wings,

The butterfly dances while the morepork sings.

The butterfly is as beautiful as the stars,

They fly, frolic having fun.

They dance in the night,

They dance in the light.

The ballerina of insects.


Florence S, age 11, Hub, Richmond Road School



Butterfly lays eggs                      

Underneath a leaf                 

The eggs are really small

The eggs are yellow

Eggs hatch

Red caterpillars wriggle

Feasting on food

Lie down on the leaf and sleep

Yet they wake up and start again


Xavier L, 9 years old, Samoan Unit, Richmond Road School


I am a Butterfly

I am a butterfly and I fly high in the sky

I also crystalise

So I can do some exercise

Sometimes I cry

Then I eat some pie

But I also lie

So I can eat some french fries

Then I apologise

Then do some more exercise

But I also say goodbye

Then I see a cat’s eye

And NOW I  say goodbye!!!!

Siena S,  10 years – Samoan Unit, Richmond Road School



butterfly butterfly flying through the trees

butterfly butterfly flapping happily

butterfly butterfly pounced by a tiger!

butterfly butterfly narrow escape

butterfly butterfly lived ever after


Charlie J, Age 8, Fendalton Open Air School


Room 4 at St Francis School visited the butterfly exhibition at Auckland Museum and then did shape poems back in class. Here are a few:

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