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I talk about children’s poetry with Lynn Freeman




from Groovy Fish

It was such a pleasure having this chat with Lynn in the studio before my memorable taxi ride.

I can’t believe I forgot my all-time favourite New Zealand children’s poet, Margaret Mahy whose word play and leaping imagination astonishes me more than that of anyone else. I was full to the brim with award-day nerves but still …. A thousand apologies.

The Sapling will post an A to Z of my favourite children’s poetry books on Poetry Day.

I got to read two poems from my new collection based on the titles you gave me: Daniel’s ‘Midnight’ and Lucy’s ‘Lick Lick Riff’. This is not a published book yet as I am still doing the drawings for it.

Listen here.



Three local children’s books make Kate De Goldi happy

Listen to Kate talk with Kim Hill here


Kate De Goldi joins Kim to discuss books for young readers: Two fiction works – Rona by Chris Szekely and Awatea’s Treasure by Fraser Smith; and in non-fiction, See, play, do; a kid’s handbook for everyday creative fun, created by Louise Cuckow. De Goldi is a fiction writer and book reviewer. Her most recent novel, From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle, won the Esther Glen Medal at the 2016 NZ Children’s and Young Adult Book Awards. She is co-editor, with Susan Paris, of ANNUAL, a miscellany for 9-to-12 year olds, which was published in 2016. (ANNUAL 2 is due out in September 2017.)

I sung praises of Chris’s book here. I love Rona! I must track down the other two.

My good news (the secret is out, young poetry fans)!


Paula Green, Peter Simpson (photo: Marti Friedlander), Witi Ihimaera


Dear young poetry fans

I had to keep a secret for ages! But I just wanted to let you know I have been awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Poetry – and yes! that includes my children’s poetry.


You have been such an important part of my poetry adventures – so it is a perfect time to say thank you. I love the way you take on my challenges and spark with poetry when I visit schools. I am always inspired by the poems you send me.

Once I have handed my big book to my publisher next year I will be able to come and visit classes again. I have missed it but I am writing every day at the moment.

The good news is I have finished my next collection Groovy Fish. I used the titles I collected from you on my Hot Spot Poetry Tour. Now I am doing black and white drawings to go with the poems which is fun.


Witi Ihimaera got the award for fiction and Peter Simpson got the award for nonfiction.

Very exciting and very special and my legs shook all day when I found out.


You can read about the award winners here.

I do hope you try my August challenge on Poetry Box.


And on Poetry Day I might show you one of my new poems and new drawings!


Warm regards


August challenge: list poems




I am a big fan

of list poems

because they might

play with sound

the way  a poem flows

collect things

twisty endings

twisty beginnings

the way rhyme can leapfrog through a list

collect more things

open up a topic

show what’s in your fridge

or under your bed

or in the sky

or red

or soft

or noisy

or swift moving

or makes you angry

or sad

or happy

or tastes good

or reminds you

of something or somwhere


a list poem

might be like

an old junk shop

or the back of a truck

or the sandpit

or inside my head

when I am thinking of a really really really long line that wants to stretch wide

or a short

snip snap


i n


because list

poems can do



you just need

to look

and list



Send to by 29th August. I will post some favourites on 31st August and have a book for at least one reader.

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

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








Toitoi 8 for young writers is now out – a great opportunity for Primary and Intermediate ages

This is a terrific place for young writers and artists to send work – Primary School and Intermediate ages!

Check out the latest issue so you feel inspired to send in work to the next one. Or get invited to illustrate!

I think the cover is magnificent!



We are delighted to introduce Toitoi 8! Congratulations to 10-year-old Isabella Lee on her fantastic cover illustration. Check out more of her work in the story “Can Kiwis Fly?” by Frederieke Beekmans, age 11, on page 60.


Get your copy of the journal at here.