Category Archives: NZ Children’s poetry

Poetry Box August challenge: moon poems


Amber Moffat I Would Dangle the Moon, MidnightSun Publishing 2019

click for my review



I recently reviewed a magnificent MOON picture book on Poetry Box and was inspired to do a moon challenge this month with a copy of the book to give way thanks to the publisher and author. And it is of course a special moon anniversary!

I love moon poems. I wrote a book of poems called Macaroni Moon which is now out of print but maybe you can find in the library.


     t   h   e          m   o   o   n          poem challenge


There is something about the moon that is altogether mysterious, magical and marvellous. It can be such a thing of beauty hanging in the sky. So far away!

So this month your challenge is to write a moon poem. It can be a poem about the moon or a poem in which the moon makes an appearance as an object or even as a character.



Hunt for as many moon words as you can. What it looks like! Reminds you of.

Try different endings. Try different kinds of endings that makes the reader feel something different.

Try using real detail. Look for word strings (all the words like shine!)

Use your imagination and see where you moon leap.

What does the moon remind you of? Test out different possibilities.

Think carefully about how many words you use on the line. Play!

Find which words stand out in your poem? That are particularly delicious and moon perfect.

Test out different forms – do a monn list or a moon picture poem, a haiku or a triolet.

Keep your poem longer than the day you write it. Let it simmer so you can see if you want to change anything.


DEADLINE: Monday August 26th

Send to

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

PLEASE say: it’s for the Moon-Poem in subject line so I don’t miss your email.

I will post my favourites on August 30th

and have the moon book for a poet.  It is not a competition though! I just like sharing books.


h a v e    m o o n         FUN



The moon

the moon is like a gleaming hubcap

as it moves across the tarseal sky







July Poetry Box challenge: Some favourite poems using Groovy Fish titles




Wow! It has taken me a long time to read all the poems you sent using titles from my new book Groovy Fish.

So as you can imagine it was hard choosing.  I do hope you get to read these and hunt for one that inspires you to write a poem.

None of the poems were like my poems in Groovy Fish and I loved that –  if you find my book write me a letter and tell me what you think of it and I will post some on the blog (

I loved all the poems that came in from students at Rātā Street School so I am sending them a copy of Groovy Fish.

This is not a competition but I am giving away three of my original drawings. I put all the names in a hat and I sending Groovy Fish illustrations to Sam (Otari School),  Tom (Hoon Hay School – Te Kura Koaka) and Mady (Rātā Street School).

Do try my August challenge I will post tomorrow.

I loved all the poems and I hope you don’t feel sad you didn’t get picked this time but glad you had such fun writing it. My philosophy when I write books that don’t get picked!!



Lollipops and Chickenpox


The chickens have chickenpox

and big boxes on their heads.


Dr Loudbutton gives the chickens lollipops,

pumpkinseed flavour, boring flavour,


spider flavour, dirt flavour.

The chickens swell up!


‘Those chickens are going crazy

for lollipops,’ says Dr Loudbutton.


Brroock! Brroock! Brroock!


Sam Rastall, 8, year 3, Otari School

The Watermelon

I saw a watermelon going to the Moon on the road yesterday
Now, I see a tiny little resort
With a cool pool
On the Moon.
NASA says “a round green alien lives on the Moon”.

Ben E  Age: 7   St. Andrew’s College


The Biscuit Thief

One day at a house Alyssa baked some
Biscuits! But a thief came he
Was as quiet as a mouse
Dancing past the window
He has two pockets
Ready to steal yummy biscuits!
So be careful.

Olivia Age 8, Y4   Fendalton Open Air School


The seven seagulls


7 hungry seagulls waiting at the beach,

7 hungry seagulls looking at a peach.

7 hungry seagulls need some yummy lunch,

7 hungry seagulls want to munch and crunch.

7 hungry seagulls flying to the food,

7 hungry seagulls are in a good mood.

7 hungry seagulls sitting at the beach,

7 hungry seagulls have eaten up the peach.


Alicia (7) & Rosie (7) – Yr 3 – Rātā Street School



The Biscuit Thief

One midnight
when the moon shines
as bright as the sun,
one little racoon
lifts a kitchen window,
opens the pantry door,
knocks over the biscuit jar,
pushes it down to the floor,
sweeps away the glass,
picks up the vanilla biscuits,
balances them on his back,
and returns to his cubs.

Tom Age 10, Year 6  Hoon Hay School – Te Kura Koaka



I shine on the pier
At New Brighton Beach
Feeling the wind
Whipping my cheeks.
The busy streets of the UK
Beeping cars, Big Ben chiming,
But that wouldn’t be my perfect night
So the next night I go to
Papua New Guinea
I see rainforests and lots of things to do
I see humans alone with the animals disappeared
Although I’m just one moon,
Can’t I reach out and help them?
I have been to a million places.
What place is my favourite?
No one knows the answer.
Not even a fairy,
Or even a dancer…..?

Ameila, Selwyn House School


The Tree House


Soon I am moving to a new house

I’m going to live in a tree house


My tree house will be a serene lookout tower

Accessed by a cauldron pulley

High in the branches of a Kahikatea tree

Looking out over smooth grassy fields

Like American prairies

And a vast swampland

Like the Florida Everglades


My tree house will be made from nature

Living there will feel like being part of the tree

It will be a sanctuary for tired birds

Like a giant nest we can all share

It will be hiding place for cheeky boys

A place to refresh feelings

Like a day spa for ten year olds


Soon I am moving to a new house

I’m going to live in a tree house…


You can visit any time


Daniel L, age 10, Y6, Adventure School


Zip Zap Zang

Zip zap zang I flipped when I ran,
I twisted i wished when i was a sizzle pan.
I saw a dancing potato when I said malaaawaloooo.
I said zang wang when I hooked up a man.
I saw a strawberry eating a pizza,
but I saw a fridge licking a whiteboard pretending to be a duster!!!!

William   Age: 8 yrs  St Andrew’s College


Swimming With An Alien  


I swim across the wide ocean

with my friend the alien,

I feel faint as I look in to his eyes

red like fire

The water fills my lungs with happiness

as we glide through the cheerful water

My body freezes with delight

And now its time

to take flight


Violetta, Age : 10, Y6,  Fendalton School


Tea with Aunty Lee

Today I am having tea with Aunty Lee.
At Aunty Lee’s house I see a mouse.
I smile with glee.
It’s just me with Aunty Lee.
Aunty Lee says I must have cake with my tea.
At Aunty Lee’s I see a tree.
It has a bee looking at me.

Carolyn Age: 8  Year: 4 Fendalton School


The Glass Door


My heart melts as I see the emptiness within

A glass door with no beginning and no end

As I touch the substance it feels icy against my hand

The moon reflects against the surface

During the day there are two suns

If something heavy lands the door will shatter


Johanna Age 10, Year 6, Fendalton School


Dancing Fish

Yesterday I was out swimming and I saw something quite peculiar
There was a group of fish springing out of the water, and I didn’t
Know what they were doing so I swam over and asked what on earth
Are you doing, the leader of the group did this some sort of twirl over to me
And said, “what do you think we are doing we are dancing.” That fish had quite
Attitude. I said well it doesn’t look like dancing to me. So I’ll give you a quick
Lesson on how to dance. I taught them how to turn, leap and plié, it took quite a while for them to get it but when we did we started making up a dance. While they were practising I Raced back home and made some costumes, I made bright coloured sequens tops for the Fish. They loved the costumes. After the rehearsal had finished we went and found an audience. We had Mermaids and dolphins and turtles and even starfishes. I counted them in, 5,6,5,6,7,8. The audience were wordless they had never seen dancing fish before. The fish were blushing with pride.

Samantha Age 12 Y8 Selwyn House


Banana Land


Everyone loves bananas!!

I love bananas and Alex does too.

Bananas are awesome.

They are yellow and they are yummy.


Jonti  (8) & Alex (8) Yr 3 – Rātā Street School

Zip zac zang

Zip zac zang went the tall power line.
Zip zac zang went the electrical car.
Zip zip zac zac zang zang went the tall power line and the electrical car.
Then someone said,zip zac zang.
Then the light went zip zac zang.
Then I said zip zac zang.
Zip zac zang said everyone.
What will come next?
Zip zac zang from everything.
Alex age 8, Y4, Fendalton School



(Acrostic Poem)



In a dream.



Ink eyes.

Good night sleep

Hiccups !!!

Time to wake up.


Kade (8) Yr 3 – Rātā Street School




The six rainbow rabbits

The six rainbow Rabbits have
Lots of bad habits.
They try to
Bounce on their squeaky rainbow beds
Until they fall off and hurt
Their heads.

Alyssa Age 8 Y4  Fendalton open-air school

The Highway Rat

The highway rat
wears a hat
that flips and flops in the breeze
His matted fur and tattered hide
is fully infested with fleas

Isaac age 9 Y4 Fendalton School



The Dog Climbed up the Curtain


The dog climbed up the curtain

The cat jumped on his head

They both fell howling backwards

And landed on the bed.


In the door walked owner Sam

With a frown upon her face

The curtains were ripped and torn apart

And all around the place.


Hamish & Jackson (7) Yr 3 – Rātā Street School


Howling Wolf

(A haiku)


Very spooky wolf

In the night you howl loudly

Like a large grey dog


Mady (8) Rātā Street School



Sky High

(Acrostic Poem)


Kite flying high in the sky.

Yikes it’s too high.

Helicopter flying in the sky.

I’m scared of flying up in the sky.

Grass floats to the sky.

Hectic flight.


Tamaia (8) – Rātā Street School



Six Rainbow Rabbits


Up in the hills,

In the valley of sheep


Six rainbow rabbits,

Hidden away, fast asleep


On waking, they make rainbows of joy

Busy on the vast slopes that are far too steep


Saskia 7 years old St Andrew’s Preparatory




Making up new Groovy Fish poems at the Dorothy Butler Children’s bookshop




A very big thank you to Cuba Press, The Dorothy Butler Children’s Bookshop in Auckland and all the children, mums, nanas and other adults who came. A special thank you to the lovely Mary from the bookshop for writing down our poems when our words were whizzing fast!

You still get a chance to win a drawing if you send in a poem to my Groovy Fish challenge. All the names will go in the hat and I will pull out one or two. Plus I will give away a few Groovy Fish books.

These two launches have been really special – it felt like the bookshops filled with warm poetry glows and I took poetry glow home with me.

Thank you!

Here are some photos – and under that are some poems we made up together using titles from Groovy Fish.









Thunder Monkey

Thunder’s in the sky

bang crack

boom crash

coupled with lightning blue


The monkeys are in the trees

swinging, revelling, trembling

in the storm


Thunder monkeys are lit up by lightning

thunder monkeys are super monkeys

and are fine in the storm


Lollipops and Chicken Pox

I have chicken pox

but I really like lollipops


I have measles

but I really like weasles


I have the flu

but I like the colour blue


I have a cold

but I make paper folds


I have diabetes

but I really like sweeties   (uh oh!)


But today I’m well

and I’m writing a poem


The Little Fish

The little fish lives

in a deep dark watery cave.

It’s as little as a pin

and black

and has an electric blue fin.

It makes a ginormous friend.


They play and splash

on a bright summer’s day.


The Biscuit Thief

Chocolate cream biscuits

sitting in a jar

on a picnic blanket

by a feast of cakes.


Ants take the cake

to their ant hill

but the ants are in cahoots

with the imperial cruisers

and the biscuits are lost in space.


Tap Dancing Fish

Glorious, blindingly beautiful

tap dancing fish

tappity tappity tap tap tap


jumping stomping leaping

in a disco fish bowl

right on top of the high cabinet


The fish jump so high

out of the bowl

kissing the ceiling

they land on the floor

crash bang wallop

and tap dance away

never to be seen again


What a fun day we had!





Poetry Box June challenge: some favourite pattern poems

Making patterns in poems is such  fun. Poets have been doing it for centuries. Nowadays making patterns is as much about play is as it is about tight rules.

This was a challenge you loved! I got a MOUNTAIN of emails. So it has been extra hard choosing just a few poems to post.

Remember I love reading your poems; and the most important thing is you love writing.

You might like to try writing a poem with one of the titles from my new book Groovy Fish and other poems. My July challenge!

You might like to come and meet me at my Groovy Fish holiday events in Auckland and Wellington.


I am sending a copy of Groovy Fish to Ella at Oranga School.


Some favourite pattern poems



The dog, the cat, the cheese and the moon

The dog chases the cat
The cat chases the mouse
The mouse chases the cheese
And the cheese chases the moon.
The moon chases the sunlight
Reflecting shattering glass.
The dog dreams of the cat
The cat dreams of the mouse
The mouse dreams of the cheese
The cheese is on the moon.

Georgie, Selwyn House School Christchurch



Wind whistles through the gaps
moonlight filters through the thatching
a straining, brittle beam snaps
wind whistles through the gaps
a thin dry sapling cracks, bends and snaps
a nightingale calling its mate, singing
wind whistles through the gaps
moonlight filters through the thatching

Rain W, 11 years old, Year 7, Selwyn House School


The ocean

The ocean is shining like the big bright sun
The waves are crashing into each other
Some of the people are going for a run
The ocean is shining like the big bright sun
I see some people eating a Spanish bun
I go to see the cave with my mother
The ocean is shining like the big bright sun
The waves are crashing into each other

Ella C, 9 years old, Year 5 from Oranga School


Morning Butterfly

The butterfly is woken by birds
The dew lands gently on her wings
The butterfly is woken by birds
The dew sparkles in the sun
The butterfly is woken by birds
The dew makes her look like she is made of crystal

Charlotte K, age 8, year 3, Ilam School


We sing

The cat sings along the beach
The dog sings down the road
The cat sings her milk down
The dog sings by the fire

I sing to the cold mountains
I sing to the shimmering moon
I sing to the starry night
I sing to the sun that is ever so bright

The cat sings to the mouse
The dog sings under the tree
The cat sings by the ocean
The dog sings in his bed

Anneliese S,  Age: 10  Selwyn House School


Two birds in a tree

Two birds in a tree
singing a song
singing a song
Two birds in a tree
getting along
getting along
two birds in tree
singing their bracket
two birds in a tree
making a racket!

Lily M. and Lily A. ages 10-11 Paekakariki School


This Is An Arrow





This i

This is

This is a

This is an

This is an a

This is an ar

This is an arr

This is an arro

This is an arrow

This is an arro

This is an arr

This is an ar

This is an a

This is an

This is a

This is

This i





Kahu Age: 10, Year: 5, Gladstone Primary School, Auckland



Skip skip skop
Bop bip bap
Gop hip cop
Cob cib bib
Dib dob dap cap.

Ben E, age 7, St. Andrews College, Christchurch


Bottle Lake Forest Rondelet
We’re by the sky.
The clouds are building misty fog.
We’re by the sky.
My brother makes a cottage pie.
My father finds a giant frog,
that disappears in the smog.
We’re by the sky.

Tom N, 10 year 6, Hoon Hay School/ Te Kura Koaka


Koalas Climb Trees

Koalas climb trees

Above all the predators

Koalas climb trees

Usually eucalyptus

Koalas climb trees

That get cut down by humans

Koalas climb trees

But soon there won’t be any more

Lucile Age: 10 yrs Yr: 5 Gladstone Primary


The dog prances along the long grass
The astronaut prances along the moon
The cat prances along the fuzzy carpet
The pilot prances along the clouds

The sun
The sun shines on the ocean
The sunset goes to bed
The sun peeks through the clouds
The sunrise wakes up

Mia D Age: 10 Selwyn House School, Christchurch (two poems)



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Tahi H age: 9 year: 5  Gladstone Primary School


Matt the Fluffy Bubble Cat

Bubble Cat
Trouble cat
Bubble trouble cat
Bubble trouble Flat
Bubble trouble Flat Cat

Matt the cat sat on the mat
Matt the cat chased a rat
Matt the cat took of his hat
Matt the cat is flat

Fluffy Cat
Scruffy Cat
Lucky cat
Funny Cat
Kitty Cat

Charlotte, aged 11,  Selwyn House School

The Dog

The dog sleeps on pepperoni
The dog sleeps on cotton candy
The dog sleeps on a Ruru’s back
The dog sleeps on a baby’s hand

The dog sleeps in the middle of a lake
The dog sleeps in some strawberry pie
The dog sleeps on a soft fern

By Zoe S,  Age 7  Year 3 St Andrews College


Sing Sharp

Hip Hop Hip
Skip Slop Skip
Sing King Sing
Triangle Sharp

Maia T Ilam School, Year 3


My Cat Star

My cat Star loves chewing tuna and crunchy fish
but boy she leaves a messy dish
My cat Star loves to jump up on my bed
she purrs when I stroke her on the head
My cat Star loves her toy cat and won’t let go
and I like that too you know
My cat Star enjoys catching mice
I think Star is better than nice

Olivia Burt Age 8 Year 4 Maoribank School


The Fantail

The fantail is flapping towards water for a drink
The fantail is catching flying bugs
The fantail is frolicking in a nest full of family
What a fantastic fantail!

Krysta T Age 9, Year 5 Te Awaiti Maoribank School


A, B, C, 1, 2, 3

Argyle acorn A’s.
Blotch bug B’s.
Checkered cheese C’s.
Dotty Dandelion D’s.
Every Even E’s.
Fleck Fan F’s.
Gingham goat G’s.
Herringbone Hamburgers H’s.
Iced igloo I’s.
Jelly June J’s.
Keyboard kitten K’s.
Lotus leaf L’s.
Mosaic May M’s.
Nimble nice N’s.
Octopus old O’s.
Paisley perfect P’s.
Quilt queen Q’s.
Ribble rose R’s.
Speckled scarf S’s.
Tartan turtle T’s.
Umbrella uncle U’s.
Village van V’s.
Waffle wagon W’s.
Xylophone x – ray X’s.
Yoyo yield Y’s.
AND Zigzag zoo Z’s.

Mia B, age 10,  Selwyn House School

Clothes Colour Pattern
Argyle aubergine asics.
Blotchy blue beanie.
Checkered cyan coat.
Dotty dandelion dress.
Eerie ebony earmuffs
Floral flamingo frills
Gridded green garment
Herringbone hazel hat
Isolated iris ice skates
Jagged jade jumpsuit
Knitted Keppel kilt
Lattice lilac leggings
Mosaic magenta mittens
Navy star neon nightgown
Oblong orange outfit
Paisley purple pom poms
Quilted Quartile quilt
Ribbed red robe
Stripy scarlet scarf
Tartan turquoise top
Ubiquitous umber uniform
Very violet vests
Wiggled White wetsuits
Xylophone Xanthic X-treme sports top
Yo-Yo yellow yoga wear
Zigzag Zunza zip up hoodie

Leona K 9 years old Selwyn House School

Note from Paula: These two poems are pretty close but I don’t mind that – I think the girls had fun writing them and they are very cool!


The herd

Sparkly, swooping, magical, speedy.
Speedy, magical, swooping, sparkly.
Swooping, magical, speedy, sparkly.

There go the unicorns,
And pegasus,
And allicorns.

Magical, speedy, swooping, sparkly.

Eva F Aged 5, Year 1,  Stirling School


I am happy
Yay! Yay! Yay!

Everyone is happy
Yay Yay Yay!

Best day of my life
Yay Yay Yay!

Pouring honey on myself
Yum Yum Yum!!

It is delicious
Yum Yum Yum!

I slurped it off my face
Slurp Slurp Slurp!
Yum Yum Yum!

Aditya C Age: 9 years Ilam School, Christchurch



(A triolet)


The sun is bright

Birds sing in the trees

Summer is at its height

The sun is bright

The sky is light

The people make cheese

The sun is bright

Birds sing in the trees


Keir, age 9, Gladstone Primary



The lake water sprays

The sun shines

The never-ending days

The lake water sprays

On the sandy bays

The shore’s wiggly lines

The lake water sprays

The sun shines.

Zoe S, Age: 12, Y8, Heaton Normal Intermediate


The Moon

The Moon shines bright.
Everybody is sleeping soundly.
The Moon lights up the night.
The Moon shines bright.
The Moon produces light for the night.
The world is sleeping quietly.
The Moon shines bright.
Everybody is sleeping soundly.

Mickey Z,  aged 8 , Year 4, Ilam School


The Moon

Moon star moon
Star moon star
Moon and star
Best friend together.

Michelle Z, 7 years old, Ilam school


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Keir, age: 9 year: 5  Gladstone Primary School


Screen Shot 2019-06-29 at 12.37.07 PM.png

Tully C  Age: 10   Year:  5 Gladstone Primary School


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Hector, Year:5 Age:9 Gladstone Primary School


A Triloet for Duke


My Maine Coon is just a kitten

Even though he’s super sized

When you see him you’ll be smitten

My Maine Coon is just a kitten

At least that’s how his birthday’s written

Though it might come as a surprise

My Maine Coon is just a kitten

Even though he’s super sized


My Maine Coon is a dork

He loves to zoom around the house

He likes to join me for a walk

My Maine Coon is a dork

He’d really like to hunt a hawke

Instead he rips up his toy mouse

My Maine Coon is a dork

He loves to zoom around the house


My Maine Coon is my best friend

And he loves me back

He sometimes drives mum round the bend

My Maine Coon is my best friend

And I will keep him ‘til the end

Hopefully way down the track

My Maine Coon is my best friend

And he loves me back


Daniel, age 10, Y6, Adventure School


Pattern Poems from Rangeview Intermediate Readers & Writers Book Club


Jump dance 

jump dance jump

dance jump dance

jump jump jump

dance dance dance

by Amelia Y7


Chortle Bird  

Chortle chortle chortle

Goes the chortle bird

Warble twitter chortle

I wish it would

Sound less cheerful

Chortle twitter screech

Goes the chortle bird


Away flies the chortle bird

by Amelia Y7    


Running by Isabella Y7

I run from the volcano

I run from the flood

I run from the tsunami

I run from the hurricane



I dance with my friends

I dance with my family

I dance with my sister

I dance with my grandparents

by Isabella Y7


Screen Shot 2019-07-01 at 5.48.02 AM.pngScreen Shot 2019-07-01 at 5.47.52 AM.png

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My new book – Groovy Fish celebration 2: an invitation to NZ children use one of my titles to write a poem


Groovy Fish and other poems  The Cuba Press, out early July



When I did my Hot Spot Tour of NZ in 2014 I collected amazing titles for poems from children. It was such fun I am tempted to write another book getting titles from children! Oh and I LOVED doing the drawings.

I thought it would be cool to get YOU to write a poem using one of my TITLES from the book. So I am sending them back to you! See the contents pages below.

I will pick one poem per title to post at the end of JULY.

I will give away 2 of my drawings and 2 copies of the books – lucky dip style!


Deadline: July 26th

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

Send to:

Don’t forget to put GROOVY FISH CHALLENGE in the subject line so I don’t miss your email.






h a v   f u n

h a v e   e x t r a    s p e c i a l   p o e t r y   f u n









Poetry Box May challenge: some favourite poems from Talking with Our Grandparents




Thank you so much for all the fabulous poems inspired by your grandparents (and an aunty!). I felt so moved reading these.

I imagined having grandparent poetry readings in schools! You could invite gandparents in for morning tea and then read them all your poems. How wonderful. I once took a group of young poets to a retirement village and it was completely amazing! I must do it again.

I really like the way Westmere School went hunting for grandparent secrets because there is so much we can learn from our elders. I like the way some of you wrote about how your grandparent was when they were your age! I like the poetry play and the surprising detail.

Remember this is not a competition but a challenge – but that each month I send a book to at least one poet. This month thanks to Gecko Press I am sending Encyclopedia of Grannies to Charlotte C at Ilam School.

It was so hard picking poems to post – I loved them all – I do hope you try my June challenge.



My Grandad


When my grandad was alive, we lived in Rambukkana, in Sri Lanka.

The clothes he wore were black, white or grey.

His hair was as white as a snowflake.

My grandad used to love to play with me when I was a baby.

He has passed away.

Rynie R  Age: 6 yrs, Ilam School


The Collectors

My Grandparents’ house is wonderful
What is best about them is that they collect
Knucklebones, greenstone, scout blankets
And Grandad’s old school pencil case

Ben E,  Age 7, St Andrews College


My Grandpa

My Grandpa’s face
Is as crumbly
As can be
So you can tell he is old.

He lives in a special house
As big as can be.

Max D, age 6 – Ilam School



My Gran


My Gran

Bakes lemon slice

Chops it into squares.

She sings like a bird

And walks like

A queen.

She is as sweet

As a buttercup.

Charlotte C Age 7 Year 3 St Andrews College




Grandad as old as time.
Grandad who watches the trees turn green, then brown, then green again.
Grandad your brown hair is now grey.

Isobel P, Age 8, From Ilam School, Christchurch


Sumner Beach

At Sumner beach my grandma watches a clown fish find a new home to lay its eggs.

My grandma sails on the sea.

She goes snorkelling with dolphins and sees a coral reef.

By Caitlin Coupé  Age 6  Ilam School


My Granny and Grandad’s House

My Granny and Grandad’s
House, a place where
I like to
Play in the grass
Rolling, tumbling
With my grandparents.
A place where I like to
Make amazing cakes
That are big, small,
Skinny and fat
With my grandparents,
But the thing that I like
To do the most is
Just being with my
Granny and Grandad

Aine, Age: 11, Year: 6, Fendalton School



In memory of Grandad


As time passes slowly by, my branches start to snap

I am growing older and my trunk could soon collapse

But I need never worry, my grandchildren are here

My tiny seedlings in the soil will always be near

I am only human but my inner thoughts tell me

That nothing ever truly dies – life is like a tree


Skylarose,  Te Awanui Class Years 4-6. Maoribank School, Upper Hutt

(Teacher’s note: Skylarose wrote this after talking to her grandad who died this week of cancer, making his thoughts even more pertinent.)


For My Grandad

I love my grandad, he cares for me, like I’m a fern in his garden
He keeps me healthy and gives me things I need like his soil for his trees
He lets me visit great granddad Warner who isn’t so fast and agile anymore
And lets me visit my great grandmother’s grave,
I love my grandad like he’s all the stars shining as one
he makes me feel alive, he makes life fair.

Georgie M, Age:9, Selwyn House School


Hide and Seek (written from the perspective of Nan)


When your big cousins were young

I loved to play hide and seek with them

I would pretend I didn’t see their tippy toes

Peeking out from under the curtain


When you Dad was a little boy

I loved to play hide and seek with him

I would pretend I didn’t know that under the bedclothes

He was curled up like a hedgehog


When I was a little girl

I loved to play hide and seek with anyone

I would pretend to hide as I galloped through the orchard

And no one could ever find me


Now I am an old granny

I love playing hide and seek with you

I can pretend I am young again

And remember my whole life has been one happy game

By Daniel L. Age 10, Year 6, Adventure School, Porirua


Poppy’s Lolly Jar

Poppy hides his lolly jar.
Lachie and Michael look in the car.
Where are the jelly snakes?
Where are the chocolate flakes?
Poppy’s put them on his bedside table.
Come and get them if you are able.
His camera will catch you.
There’ll be a hullabaloo.
When Poppy shakes the jar
you’ll be no star.

Tom N  Age 10 Year 6  Hoon Hay School/ Te Kura Koaka


My Auntie Denise

My Auntie Denise flies as high as a bird
With the clouds
And the sun
And the moon.
With what rises
And the leaves
That blow the wind
That howl
And the trees
That crash into little pieces of smoky wood.
I know she loves the wind
And nature.
Her hair is brown
As a crunchy leaf
Cracking to the stars.

Mathilda H  Age 6, Year 2, Ilam School



Richmond School sent a wonderful bunch of poems – I really loved the way these poems took me back in time and made the grandparent in the poem come alive. Here are some:


Grandma’s Life of Secrets
Going on a ship from England to NZ,
learning the Kiwi vibe,
wasn’t quite what Grandma was made for.
Her posh accent vs the kiwi twang…
Grandma never understood why
she sounded like a horse,
in a pack of ponies.
Grandma had two brothers,
and a Dad.
Two girls in the family was like
being ice cream in the hot sun.
When Grandma was 10
she had a lot of friends.
She loved that she had been brought
to a brighter nicer place of warmth.
She didn’t mind much…
apart from the fact…
she never
had a

Francesca F age nine year 5 Richmond Road School


Grandma’s Secrets
Grandma is a survival specialist.
She survived the night,
In a hole, in a glacier,
Watching the stars shine bright.

She went diving solo
Watching a shoal of stingray
Gliding past her face.

When she was a child,
(That’s hard to imagine)
All her siblings,
In the beginning,
Were younger than her,
I think.

When she was young,
In her classroom among
All the children
There wasn’t a single screen.

Instead of a white-board,
There was a single blackboard.
Just one teacher
To forty kids.

She was born in Scotland,
Made her way to New ‘Land.
Went to Whāngārei.
She went to stay.

Then she moved to Port Chalmers.
It certainly charmed her.
She decided to stay.
My perfect grandma today!

Gretel H, age nine, year 5, Richmond Road School, Auckland


Poem for Nana Banana

My nana has lived in New Zealand, since she was a child,
Her young life wasn’t particularly wild.
She often spent her holidays at a farm,
Which sounded quite calm,
Except for her 6 or 7 bothers and sisters.
She told me that her leather shoes gave her blisters,
When she ran in the green field.
But if she hopped in the bath her feet healed,
It felt nice, but it was quite slow.
In the morning her dad would get his hoe,
Gather his crops, and make some dough.
A few days later she would go home,
Back in Auckland it wasn’t as nice to roam,
Because it wasn’t as green,
And it was a different sort of clean.

Wolf C Age 10 Year 6 Richmond Road School


Glorious Granddads

(warning only half of this poem is true otherwise my granddad would be bald)

My grandad was a child in the blitz,
he must of thought it was more evil than Voldemort’s nose slits.
If you were in the blitz, you would know that the bombs would make big old pits.
So people would move you to the countryside,
where you eat stuff a bit like rotting silverside.

Old gramps was very sad when he had to move in with Brad, (that’s a random name).
It might have even made him mad.

The guys (and girls) who got him there saw that he was tearing his hair.
So they sent him back hoping to keep his hair intact.
He went without slack and didn’t even look back.

When he arrived home
his mother didn’t dare pass him the comb.
She gave him a hair growth lotion,
to grow more hair in a nice smooth motion.

For my glorious granddad who is turning 90 this year.

Toby R 10 yrs old Year 5 Richmond Rd School



Thank you Westmere School for sending a terrific bunch of poems – i really enjoyed the sense of humour running through them and the way some used strong detail to make the person in the poem come alive. Here are some:


My Teency Tiny Grandma

My Grandma
was born on a farm.
When she was was younger,
she was mini,
she was little,
she was tiny.
She complained about being short…
So her dad said…


So she did.
For ages.
But it obviously did nothing,
she is still..
(but she is pretty cool!)

Ashlin P Age:11 LS6 Westmere School


Nanny Maree

Her favorite toy was Bestest, the doll.
Her favorite ice cream was strawberry.
She had a favorite subject, English
and she didn’t have a nickname
(she hated them).
She was nice,
and didn’t get bullied.
nor did she do it herself.
She read a book
(or two)
when she was bored.
She had an incident with a cat…

Ella M Age 9 LS6 Westmere School




Secrets about Grandad…
My Grandad had a teddy called Ted.
His favorite colour was red.
He liked hokey pokey ice cream.
His favorite food was pork chow mein.
His favorite plant was a poppy.
He had a rabbit that was hoppy.
His favorite sport was to run.
He thought school was fun.
Secrets about Grandad…

Olive W Age : 9 LS6 Westmere School


My Gran’s Life

My granny’s very fun
But was she fun when
She was young?
Yes she was.

She had a friend called Cath
She had a huge bath.
Guess what?
They are still friends.

She had cats.
She made them hats.
How many cats did she have?
10, 20, 30?
No only 2.

My granny liked licorice,
And she would wish,
For a big dish,
full of licorice.

My granny had her feet in plaster.
It was a huge disaster,
but it didn’t last a…

Tilly Obrien 9 years ls8 Westmere School


My Nan

My granny is called Nan
I am her biggest fan.
She used to love to help bake steak and mash,
with my great gran Lorna.
They used to knit sweaters in the winter,
to be warmer.
Her favorite color was red, like the flowers at the beach,
swimming with her pony, called Peach.
She fell off her pony,
it kicked her in the head.
She woke up in the hospital bed,
luckily she wasn’t dead.

Molly Davidson age: 9 LS8 Westmere school

My Grandma’s Childhood.

When my grandma was young,
her favourite book was Peter Pan.
Her favourite food was plum jam.
She was a straight A student.
She was very diligent.
She loved to dance and sing.
Tap, ballet, jazz… everything.
Her favourite color was red.
She loved to lie in bed.
She dyed her sister’s hair green.
Her first friend was Eileen.
When my grandma was was young.

Laura J Age 10  LS7  Westmere Schoo



When my Grandma was Young

When my grandma was younger,
she was wiggly, jiggly all over the place.
She just didn’t sit still
in Maungawhau Primary School.
Her favorite subject was grammar,
she loved it the best,
forget about the rest.
The thing that made her sad,
was when people left her alone.
She had two pets,
a cat called Sandy
and a bluey called Budgie.
a budgie called Bluey!
That’s my grandma’s childhood.

Ava R Age: 9  LS7 Westmere school



My Grandma’s favorite color is red
But before it was blue instead.
Her favorite animal was a bird
And it has not changed.
She would come in the room
To make everyone’s day.
She was always happy,
Just like today.
She ate eggs and rye bread
And she still does.
She had golden hair the color of honey,
And she was always so funny.
She was an artist just like now,
And that is my Grandma
From then to now.

By Maya B Westmere school age:10


The Strange But Funny (But Maybe Not True) Poem About My Nana

We call her Nina,
although she wasn’t a cleaner.
She was very funny,
and her hair was quite fuzzy.
She had a cat,
and her best friend’s name was Pat.
Her favourite food was schnitzel,
and her boyfriend’s name was Mitchell.
Her favourite colour was green,
but she didn’t like ice cream.
It maybe quite funny,
but only a bit is true …

Katelyn M LS7 Age:9 Westmere school


We call our grandma Oma.
No, she is not Dutch.
She lives in New Zealand.
My cousin named my Oma, from her first words.
She liked wiggly jiggly jelly.
She doesn’t like to be called Sally.
She hated grotty, green beans.
She loved the colour red
Like the rug on her bed.
She liked walking along logs
With her eight little dogs.
Oma sings us songs every night
In the soft moonlight.

Georgia M age 9 LS7 Westmere school


My Nana’s Story

When my Nana was little,
she had little to do.
She ate chocolate,
from the chocolate fondue.
She got in trouble, but that didn’t stop her,
to have kids, at 16,
and move out for her own good.
She raised them good,
but not good enough.
She’s old now, and my dad is too.
She used to play tag,
now she plays the lotto.
She used to like pink,
now she’s in the red rose spirit.
She was very fit,
now she barely gets
out of the house.
There was not much to do,
so she sat on a couch,
Not on her computer like now,
because there was no such thing…
On her phone?
Why no, it’s like the last line
There was not much tech,
But there was a TV,
only one channel,
but that’s OK.
She had brothers,
to play games,
in the nice, cold, rain.
Anthony J LS7 Age:10 Westmere School

Poetry Box May Challenge: Talking with our grandparents




TIP: If you are a keen young writer get a parent to follow my blog so you keep up to date with the challenges I post. Look down the sidebar.


Last week I posted a review of Encyclopedia of Grannies because I loved the book so much. It has inspired this month’s challenge.

Here is my favourite page from the book (thanks Gecko Press for letting me share it!).



Encyclopedia of Grannies spread 3.jpg


Thanks to GECKO PRESS one young poet will receive a copy of the book!



I invite you to write a poem after talking (in person, on the phone, by email or snail mail) to one of your grandparents, or an elder in your whanau, or an old person you know and care about.

Inside every old person is a little house and the child that used to be! That is like a poem!

Let’s go exploring and find out about the girl granny, the boy granddad, the child elder and the youngster old person. Let’s go exploring and find out what your granny loves to do right now. What is it like being old?


First: make a list of questions

Second: ask the questions

Third: use the answers to write a poem. Show me what surprised you. Show me how our treasured old people are rich in stories and wisdom. You might want to write a suite of little poems or one long poem.




Here are some starting points to help (I say granny but it can be any old person):


Does your granny have a nickname?

What can she remember about when she was little?

What does your granny like to do now?

What is it like being old?

What makes her happy?

What makes her sad?

What important question would you ask her?

What bit of wisdom can she share?

Does your granny have a saying?

Has your granny ever done some funny? Adventurous? Surprising?

What is the most adventurous thing she would love to do in a made-up poem or story where she can do ANYTHING!!

What is her favourite meal / food?

Where does she like to hang out?

What is her favourite animal?

What is the most fascinating place she has ever visited?

Find a copy of Encyclopedia of Grannies as it might give you inspiration like it did me.


Deadline: 26th May

Send to:

Please include: your name, age, year, name of school

Don’t forget to put OLD PEOPLE POEM in subject line so I don’t miss your email.

Open to Year 0 to Year 8 in Aotearoa.

I will write letters back at the end of the month.

I will have the book to give away thanks to Gecko Press.


Extra challenges for passionate young poets

Remember my blog is all about the joy of writing and reading poetry (it is never a competition!) – and setting you challenges! Here are some I am running in all year. Email me if you want to do one and want tips on what top do next. I will email you back asap!


Review a poetry book

Interview a NZ children’s author

Write a letter to a NZ children’s author

Write a letter to a poet from anywhere and any time ( I will give tips)

Show a cool class poetry exercise with poems you have done (from a child or from teacher and class)