Here is a selection of my books for children and a couple of others I really enjoyed working on.
The Letter Box Cat and Other Poems has just been released by Scholastic (August, 2014). It is illustrated by Myles Lawford and has a Dr Seussy feel to it. There are poems about our cats but also about our dogs. Some poems are funny and some poems are full of made-up words. There are bird poems and snail poems. What is special about this book is that it has some of my picture poems in it. You could call also these concrete poems. I really love using these poems when I visit schools as I get children to join in with them too.
Flamingo Bendalingo was my first book for children so it is rather special to me. It is also special because I chose 50 children from Swanson Primary School in Auckland to be my co-poets (after doing workshops in every class). We went to Auckland Zoo where I had designed a poetry trail and then set off on the great (and long!) adventure of making a book. My partner Michael Hight did the beautiful watercolour illustrations. Half the poems are by me and half the poems are by children from Years 2 to 8. It was published by Auckland University Press in 2006. $34.99
My second collection of poems for children is called Macaroni Moon and was published by Random House in 2009. This collection is full of funny poems. I had fun playing with words when I wrote these. One of my favourite poems in the book is ‘Where the Wild Things Are.’ I hid the names of some of my favourite children’s books in the poem. I love the fabulous drawings that Sarah Laing did for the book. $24.99
Aunt Concertina and Her Niece Evalina is a story rather than a book of poems but when I wrote this story I listened to the sound of each line. I wanted the words to make music like Aunt Concertina makes music. This is a story I used to tell my daughters when they were little. Aunt Concertina and her niece Evalina are pulled by a magical kite to superlative places around the world. We would have a different episode every night and I always wanted to write it down but when I got up in the morning I would be full of mother tiredness so it stayed in my head for years. My partner Michael Hight did the magnificent oil paintings for the book. Each page is full of such wonderful detail I never get tired of looking. I have one of the paintings in my study so I am lucky I still get to look at the real thing. Random House published the book in 2009. $34.99
The Terrible Night is a junior chapter book. It is based on something that really happened to me but then I let my imagination go as I wrote. One very stormy night in Auckland I was driving to my daughter’s parent-teacher evening and the window wipers hardly worked the weather was so wild. I saw the Principal being blown across the playground like a leaf. When I walked into the classroom I saw beautiful work but no teacher and no other parents. Then in walked a cat that went and sat on a pillow in the library corner. In my book the cat keeps telling the moaning, groaning teacher what might be worse than the wild and stormy night. It was published by Random House in 2008. $18.99
I co-wrote this book with Harry Ricketts and it is suitable for poetry fans and secondary-school students onwards. It includes poems, book covers, photos and lots of writing on everything from sonnets to cities, and from love to metaphor and rhyme. It has over 600 pages so it took a huge amount of research and writing. I loved working on this book, and all the time that I spent at university doing my degrees (I ended up with a Doctorate in Italian) helped me enormously. It was published by Random House in 2010. $44.99
Editing a collection of New Zealand love poems was the most gorgeous job when the weather was wintry. I collected poems about all kinds of love; poems written in all shapes and sizes. I found poems that made me smile and poems that made me nearly cry. Random House have produced a beautiful book that I am proud to hold. I invited nine New Zealand artists to illustrate each letter of the title. You can find these again inside the book. Dear Heart: 150 New Zealand Love Poems was published in 2012. $36.99