Tag Archives: Jenny Bornholdt

A very good picture book: Jenny Bornholdt and Sarah Wilkins’s The Longest Breakfast






The Longest Breakfast written by Jenny Bornholdt, illustrated by Sarah Wilkins

Gecko Press, 2017


I love breakfast. I love pouring my homemade granola in the bowl, picking strawberries from the garden to slice on top, adding a dollop of yoghurt and a swish of apple juice.

MMMMMMM! Heaven!

I love hearing the birds sing in the bush and watching the sea mist roll in from the ocean.


Now I have a breakfast story to love too. It feels special like The Tiger Who Came to Tea feels special. It is just the story to read aloud while you munch on pancakes or toast or boiled eggs (or granola!).

The story: The children are hungry and their dad is trying to find just the thing to hit the right hungry spot.


When I say children – there are a lot! Say 8! If you include the neighbour and friends.

Everyone seems to want something different and baby is giving his clues (toot toot buzz buzz).


I whizzed through the book, I drizzled through the drawings, I sizzled and word swam and got hooked.

The writing is plain and the story gets moving.

The drawings feel alive and the characters are EYE catching.


And the ending is perfect – a little breakfast surprise that makes the whole book glow!






The Treasury Interviews: Rm 24 at Royal Oak Primary interviews Jenny Bornholdt

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Room 24 at Royal Oak Primary School

In our class there are thirty Year 5 and 6 children who represent many different cultures from around the world. We are responsible and empowered leaders in the school and believe in encouraging and co-operating with others. As we have become more involved in environmental science projects, we have developed a keen interest in the environment and conservation. We are hard workers who believe in persisting to achieve our goals. This year our whole class goal is to improve the imagery in our writing.

Jenny Bornholdt

Biography of Jenny Bornholdt

Jenny was born in Lower Hutt New Zealand. She studied at Victoria University in Wellington and received a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a Diploma in Journalism. Jenny began writing seriously in 1984 and has since published many books of poetry. She has won several awards including the Montana New Zealand Book Award for Poetry in 1997 and was named New Zealand Poet Laureate in 2005. (Paula: She has written one of my all time favourite children’s books, A Book is a Book, published by Gecko Press)


The Interview

We read the article about you in the school journal and wonder why it took so long for you to share your writing with others?

I didn’t grow up wanting to be a writer, so I was quite surprised when I found myself writing poems.

When I started writing I felt quite shy about it and didn’t think my poems good enough to show to people. When I did the writing course at Victoria University we had to read and show our work to each other and because everyone felt nervous, it somehow made it easier. Also, once you’ve done this a few times, you feel more relaxed about it.

What inspired you to write your first poem?

One of the first poems I remember writing is the first poem in my first book, This Big Face. The poem also has that title, and it’s about a haircut my friend gave me on the front lawn of her house. I had long hair and asked her to cut it very short. So she did.

What is your favourite poem that you have written for children?

I didn’t write this poem for children, but it’s one that teachers often read to students (Paula: it is in the Treasury of NZ Poems for Children and it is fabulous and slightly spooky):

‘How to get ahead of yourself while the light still shines.’

It’s about riding my bike down a hill at night and being scared by my own shadow.

We noticed you used rhyming in some parts of the poem ‘Storm Birds.’ Do you ever write poems that rhyme all the way through?

Not usually. I do like rhyme, but I usually write poems that have half rhymes in them, or have some kind of rhyme going on, but it’s not regular. When you’re writing poems you need to pay a lot of attention to how the words sound and how they sound alongside other words, but this doesn’t mean that they have to rhyme.

What kind of books did you read when you were our age? – 10-12 years

Mostly novels. I did read the Voices poetry anthologies – I don’t know if they’re still around.

I still read a lot of novels, as well as poetry. I think reading is really important if you want to write. You can learn a lot from reading.

When we are writing we are encouraged to paint a picture with words. Do you visualise images when you are writing?

No I don’t, but I do often write poems about something I’ve seen, or, more often, something I’ve heard.

Painting a picture with words – that would make you think hard about the words you use and what you’re saying, and those are good things to think about when you’re writing.

Do you ever visit schools to inspire kids to write poetry?

Yes I do and I always really enjoy it. I like it when kids ask lots of questions – often I get asked about things I haven’t thought about before and that’s really interesting. I also like hearing what kids think about poems.

I love knowing that kids are writing poetry. I think it’s a great thing to do.

Thanks very much for your questions – I’ve really enjoyed answering them.

Best wishes,



What a marvelous interview, thanks Jenny and Room 24.

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A tip top garden poem to celebrate a tip top gardenening book


I posted about this here on my blog because this is such a good book. I am going to test my soil today before i leave on tour. So much to do in my garden and not enough time!

Elizabeth took up my challenge to write a garden poem.  It sums up gardening beautifully!

By Elizabeth L, age 9, Year 5, St Mary’s School Tauranga.

Spring into the Garden!
Weed wildly
Dig deeply
Fertilise freely
Sow selectively
Label liberally
Plant purposefully
Water wisely
Mulch madly
Anticipate eagerly
Spring into Action!
I am sending her a copy of Jenny Bornholdt’s beautiful A Book is A Book (Gecko Press) because sometimes a book is a like a garden and sometimes a poem is like a garden.

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Reading Festival: Second poetry competition for children and schools


To celebrate Jenny Bornholdt’s A Book is a Book (with illustrations by Sarah Wilkins),

I invite you to write a poem about reading or books.

Thanks to Gecko Press and Whitireia Publishing the winner will get a copy of Jenny’s book.

I will post my favourite poems as I get them and post the winner on Friday 29th November.

Send to paulajoygreen@gmail.com. Include your name, age, year and name of school. Include your teacher’s name and email address if you can.

see my review of Jenny’s book here

Jenny Bornholdt’s A Book is a Book is the bee’s knees, the cat’s pyjamas, a glorious thing

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Sometimes a book arrives in the world and you know that it is a very special thing. It is a book you want to give everyone for Christmas and for birthdays and on days when you just feeling like giving someone a book.

A Book is a Book by Jenny Bornholdt (one of my favourite New Zealand poets) with illustrations by Sarah Wilkins is one such precious thing (Whitireia Publishing and Gecko Press, 2013). It is a little, hardcover book with a paper-dust jacket and exquisite drawings. It feels like it is from another age, perhaps the 1960s, so it takes me right back to when I was a young girl and I loved the magic of a new book (I still do!).

As the title tells us, this book is all about books — about reading books. Each page only has one or two sentences, but each page shimmers with wisdom, humour and truthfulness (I kept thinking that is so exactly right as I read!). Such a mix means that it is a very happy book! To sit down with a book that is so HAPPY it makes you feel HAPPY which is a very good thing.

To be honest, I couldn’t bear to finish this book for ages (in fact I left a little bit for today); like a box of chocolates I wanted to go on and on. Every page is a favourite page, but here is one I love:

‘If it’s Sunday and it’s raining,

a book is the perfect thing.

Even a small book, because

boredom can be very big.’

You will find places to read books, what to do if you don’t have a book, what’s inside books, about a -glow–in-the-dark book, games you can play with books …

… but as soon as I start to describe what the book describes, I know I have to stop because all Jenny’s word magic is gone.

This, my number-one-book-I-have-read-in-a-very-long-time book, you just have to read for yourself, and then get another copy to give your best friend. Because it is the perfect book to read when you want to feel good about life.

Thank you Whitireia Publishing and Gecko Press for the gorgeous production, thank you Jenny for the terrific words and thank you Sarah for the delicious, little paintings that are just perfect.

To celebrate my love of this book that has filled me with such book joy, I am going to host a three week READING FESTIVAL on Poetry Box starting on Monday with all kinds of prizes and surprises.

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