I am really excited because Penguin Random House
are going to reprint a paperback version of
A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children.
It will be out in November this year!
Yeah! I am so happy, thank you PRH!
H a p p y N a t i o n a l P o e t r y D a y !
Kennedy Space Centre
Long time Poetry-Box contributors, Gemma and Daniel, have just finished a great big American adventure. I invited them to share poems and photos.
It felt like the perfect way to celebrate National Poetry Day.
A challenge: If you have something special coming up and would like to make a poem-photo diary for Poetry Box (with parental permission) let me know what you have planned. I will let you know if I am keen to post it and give you tips.
Or an idea for a poem feature. Tell me what you would like to do. I can not post ALL but I can post a few.
write about your idea to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tell me which school you go to, your age and put POEM FEATURE in the subject line please. I will just choose two or three.
p o e m s a r e a w a y o f d r e a m i n g
I loved reading these poems because they set me dreaming about space and beaches and movies and magic and travelling the world – from my kitchen chair. Thank you!
I was selected from student applicants across the world to receive a full tuition Hall of Fame scholarship to attend a 6 day space camp programme at the U.S. Space and Rocket Centre in Huntsville, Alabama. I then had to fundraise to pay for my airfare, which I did by completing 6 weeks of sponsored challenges (that was exhausting!).
At space camp I spent the week with 15 other trainees, aged 9-11, and we did all sorts of amazing science and engineering challenges including: building and launching solid fuel rockets, astronaut training on simulators, mars and space shuttle mission simulations (I was flight controller on the space shuttle!) and more. We also did lots of learning about astronomy and the history of space flight, and met astronaut Hoot Gibson.
I was invited to visit Cape Canaveral and the Space Coast as well, so we decided to make this trip as a family, so my science crazy brother could have some amazing experiences too. Then we built a road trip around it, so we got to see some of America while we were there.
Our ages are Gemma – 11 and Daniel – 8.
Gemma at space camp
(We mostly wrote the poems together, usually when we were driving because we did a lot of that!)
4th of July
Fireworks that disappear in a silvery cloak
Explosions swallowed by the hungry night
Illuminated splashes of colour pierce the air
Sparks rain down from a translucent sky
Loud rumbles echo overhead as the gods battle in the heavens
Colours flood along the seamless sea
Light fades away into the endless wall of nothing
But the magic is everywhere Gulf coast
There is a place
As big as the universe
Where you walk around and around
And around and around
Until you don’t know where you started or where it ends.
Did you start in Diagon Alley?
Or within the mayhem of the Minions?
Where did you emerge after saving the princess?
And how did you transform into this dark character in a dark world
When just moments ago you were laughing with woody woodpecker
In this universe
You see twinkles in the visitors’ eyes
And you know
Anything is possible
Diagon Alley, Universal Studios
Gulf Coast beaches
Some of the most beautiful in the world
But all I can see
Is a sea of people
Sweeping down the coast
An endless wave of colour
Reaching for the horizon
Hidden in sweltering heat
You might find cats
With five toes on their feet
Roaming a tropical paradise
That is cool and nice
Hemingway is famous as a writer
But for us, seeing his cats
Made our visit brighter
The Florida Keys
A chain of bridges
Joins the island keys
Each one different
Hinting at the personality of the island ahead
Yet each one the same
Crossing the crystal Atlantic
A magic carpet
Alabama Ice Cream
*In Alabama they have really crazy ice cream flavours. We wonder what a kiwi ice cream poem might be like?
Are you back from the trail?
Alabama pot hole
At the fair?
Watching a movie?
It must be
Martian rocks dipping dots
And at the end of the day,
A Lemon sorbet
To keep that sweet tooth at bay
B eautiful turquoise water
A bundant sea life
H appy people everywhere
A place to swim with pigs
M uch to do
A tlantis its own Paradise
S unsets stretching in to the morning
New Life for Mum’s Sunglasses
The boat flew across the turquoise
The strong wind whipped the sunglasses
Right off mum’s face
They landed on a stingray
He thought he looked stylish
So he splashed about along the sandy bottom
Until a fish swiped the sunnies
And swam away
Through the crystal ocean
The fish didn’t see the shark
His new glasses were too dark
The shark swallowed him whole
But spat out the glasses
When he swum forward
They stuck to his face
And suddenly he was looking super cool
He flaunted his new look
But was so busy looking at himself
In the reflecting water
That he crashed
Into iguana island
The sunglasses flipped off his head
Sailing through the air
Landing on a big ol’ iguana
Who said, “Who turned out the lights”?
The other iguanas wanted those sunnies
So they fought and scrapped
The glasses dropped back into the glassy tide
And floated away
A day later
On a nearby island
A pig called Panda saw something sparkling off the shore
He swam toward it
It could be food
But the sunnies bounced off a wave onto his face
The pig grinned
He turned to his piggy friends
“My future’s so bright,
I gotta wear shades!”
About Huntsville, Alabama
It IS Rocket Science
In the rocket city
There’s a rocket around every corner
People rocket around
Talking about rockets
In The Rocket City
The Mars Generation
Eager young faces
Look to the stars
Searching for the path
To our new destination…
Sweet home Alabama
The locals long to listen to
Our kiwi accent
And dream of coming to
Just as we soak up the southern hospitality
And dream of staying in
Look Out Mountain
In the Appalachian range
Is a mountain they call
Because it is so steep
That the train runs almost
And the view from the top is
Astonishing as you
Over 5 states
Within the heart of the hill
To find the cavern of crystals
The underground waterfall and
Mysterious magic of the mountain
Tearing up trouble
Sending alerts off everywhere
Trees trembling in the vacuum torrent
Will it be ripping things to shreds?
Will there be roofs coming off?
Rocketing rubble everywhere
Causing death and destruction
Tragic and terrifying
(Daniel wrote this while the tornado was happening, then afterwards we used it to make the tornado shape poem J
USA has 50 states
To see them all would be so great
And so the mission has begun
To tick them off and have some fun:
Californ-i-a – a nice place to stay
Arizona – we could phone ya
New York – its all talk
Delaware – just didn’t care
New Jersey – felt so free
Washing DC – that was easy
Nevada – was a little harder
Ohio – had to try so
Texas – tried to hex us
Georgia – have I bored ya?
Alabama – heard strange grammar
Kentucky – we got lucky
Mississippi – not too tricky
Tennessee – done, yippee!
North Carolina – couldn’t be finer
Florida – weather couldn’t be horrider!
Thanks Gemma and Daniel – I really enjoyed reading these.
Gulf Coast Beach (clearwater)
This is a very cool journal for young writers and illustrators.
Check it out here.
You can go on their mailing list here and get a free copy of Toitoi.
Here is a taste of Toitoi Quarterly Newsletter:
Submit to Issue 10
September 29, 2017
Find out more
From the Editor
We are delighted to bring you Toitoi 8 with 100+ pages of awesome writing and art by Kiwi kids. A special congratulations to 10-year-old Isabella Lee for the spectacular cover artwork. You can see more of her illustrations in the gorgeous story “Can Kiwis Fly?” by 11-year-old Frederieke Beekmans in the pages of the journal.
Over the past few months, Grace and I have been working hard to celebrate New Zealand’s young writers and artists and spread the word about the journal. We have started visiting schools as part of our Toitoi on Tour programme and last month I was thrilled to talk to Kathryn Ryan on RNZ’s Nine to Noon about how Toitoi started and what we are trying to achieve. You can listen to the interview by clicking on the link below. It made me realise how far we have come in such a short time. Thank you so much for supporting us on this incredible journey!
With best wishes,
Toitoi on Tour
Congratulations to Katrina Hsieh from Grey Main School. Katrina won the Teacher Subscription for nominating her school on Facebook to get a visit from Toitoi! We are putting together a schedule of schools to visit and we can’t wait to meet you all.
Thanks to Thames South School, Ngatea Primary, Pillans Point School, Te Kuiti Primary and Goodwood School for having us over the last few weeks. We hope we have inspired your young writers and artists!
This is my first ever children’s event on Poetry Day! I plan to read some BRAND NEW poems and you can tell me what you think! Plus you can bring a poem to read at the open-mic bit. It is actually on Saturday.
Look forward to seeing you ALL!
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.
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.