Tag Archives: poetry by children

Poetry Bonanza Monday; a little pack of popping poetry news and surprises for you



This is the last week of Term One!  Happy holidays dear poetry fans!

1. Last night the NZ cricket team showed they can be gracious winners and gracious losers. For me good cricket can be like poetry which ever side is shining!

2. Yesterday I went to the Storylines Award Ceremony where new writers won awards that will see their very first book published. Exciting!

Storylines also announced the Notable Book Awards for 2014. I was very delighted that The Letterbox Cat and Other Poems and A Treasury of NZ Poems For Children were picked. I got to read three poems there. I read one by me, one by my hero Margaret Mahy and Caleb‘s fabulous poem ‘The Poet’ (he was from Russley School in Christchurch).  Storylines work hard for children and children’s books all year!

Poetry doesn’t know where its home is! Sometimes it is non fiction and sometimes it is junior fiction! I always think it is fiction as so much of poetry is invented but sometimes it records the world and then I think it is non fiction …. so I guess it belongs in both places.


3. This week I am going to post my favourite odes on Thursday.


4. This week  I am also going to post a surprise pack of poems I got from Russley School that I just LOVE!

5. And I will tell you about my fabulous visit to another school.

6. In the first week of term Three I will announce the details of The Fourth Fabulous Poetry Competition!


7. I have started work on my next collection of poems for children … using the titles you gave me on my Hot Spot Poetry Tour. It is such fun.  It will take me at least a year to write these poems.

8. You still have time to send me an Ode to Cricket!

9. During the holidays you can write me a letter in the form of a poem and tell me something wonderful you saw. Details below.

10. Interview challenge: I am on the hunt for children and classes to interview NZ writers again this year. If you want  to do this you need to tell me the name of the author and why you want to interview them. You need to tell me your name, school, age, year and name of teacher and if you are a whole class. I will pick my favourites and see if I can get the author to do the interview  with you. I will post this challenge again at the beginning of Term 2. If I pick you, I will give your more details. I will have a prize pack of books for my favourite interview.




I also had a terrific visit to St Cuthbert’s cooking up poetry with the young poets

How I love the way children leap into poetry and take up my challenges and let imaginations go soaring and ears go hunting and eyes go searching.

This is what happened when I went to St Cuthbert’s. I had such a good time cooking up poetry with the young poets. It was a fabulous day. Here are some of our poems:


4MI, 4NA, 3BR & 2TH

Cheek Pockets

What does the bonnet macaque

Keep in her cheek pocket?

Crispy chips and hard bricks

Tiny mushrooms and crazy loons

Creeping lizards and crawling caterpillars

Bright rainbows and hard roads

Silvery snakes and quivering cakes

Sleeping babies and big blue whales

Healthy lettuce and purple turnips

Stripy cats and playful bats

Wolves that howl and bulls that bounce

Colourful posters and roller coasters

Squishy marshmallows and a soft pillow

Dogs with spots and dogs with dots


The Animal Poem

A fishagator swims like a shark

Caterfly walks along a leaf

Cox is searching through the forest

Micesnake chase their tails

Octobunny is slightly funny

Squirreldog stores nuts.


The Library

The library is my free pass to

The hills and the garden

The train station and the waterfalls

Sandy places and arctic spaces

Faraway lands and overseas

The rainforest and the sea

Dr Seuss and TV channels

Tropical lands and icy planes


5AR & 5BE

Kiwi Iwi

Pecking at worms

Chocolate fur

Shuffling, hopping in the dark

Dark brown streak running

Midnight eyes

Pecking at slimy worms

Walking in the shade


What does he do

In the midnight moon?


Cheek pockets

What does the bonnet macaque

Keep in her cheek pocket?

Black cats and dirty rats

Leopards and lettuce

Evil bats in heavy sacks

Silver Junes and Wednesday moons

Cooks and books

Elephants and pelicans

Colourful parrots and orange carrots

Lovely horses and tricky courses

Vicious dogs and big logs

What will we find

in store this time?


Poems from the two challenges after Reading Stories For Six Year Olds (get ready for giants and flapping tshirts

9781775536123     9781775536123     9781775536123


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Haley, Age 10, Year 6, Mangatangi School

Haley’s poem was for the mixed-up-language poem inspired by Margaret Mahy’s wonderful story about three animals who speak different languages but get on well.

Mangatangi School sent in a bunch of terrific poems for this challenge and the Why The Sky is Blue? challenge so I am going to do something a little different and give a copy of the book to your class (THANK YOU RANDOM HOUSE!). I know you are Year 4, 5 and 6, but the stories are so cool you can take turns to read them to younger children in your school. Anyway, you are never too old for these stories. let me know which one you love the best!

Ewen and Isla also wrote cool poems for the sky question. I loved Isla’s imaginative leaps and Ewen’s idea that blue got there first!


Why is the sky blue?

The sky is blue in the day because

A giant spilled his light-blue paint

He couldn’t clean it up


The sky is dark in the night because

An old navy t-shirt hangs out to dry

with little holes that we call stars


The sky is blue in the day because

The sea has overflowed the land and

a great tsunami sweeps through space


The sky is dark in the night because

A great blue bird stretches out his wings

to shelter us from the sun so we can sleep.


By Isla Year 7, Aged 11, St Mary’s College, Ponsonby


The Sky is Blue

The sky is blue because

the ocean is

the sky is blue because

it likes my pen

the sky is blue because

blue got there first

the sky is blue because

it is

Ewen aged 11, Year 7, Cobham Intermediate School, Christchurch


And four poems from Mangatangi School, Pokeno. Imagination is hard at work here!

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Lily, Age 9, Year 5

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Haley, Age 10, Year 6


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Irene, Age 10, Year 6


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Sasha and Alice, Age 8 and 9, Year 4 and 5


The Results of The Second Fabulous Poetry Competition for Children

Aunt Concertina & her niece Evalina 13

A big thanks to all the schools that sent in entries (25 poems per school) for The Second Fabulous Poetry Competition for Children. I was looking for a school that sent in a range of entries over a range of ages. Some individual children sent in entries (I enjoyed reading them but didn’t enter them in the competition as I was on the hunt for a school winner!). Some classes sent in entries and again, I enjoyed reading them but I didn’t consider them for the school prize. I do want to make a special mention to Chris Lawson and the Year 3 and 4 class at St Ignatious Catholic Scghool in Auckland. It was a terrifc bunch of poems and I applaud what you have been doing this year with your writing. I particularly loved all the America’s Cup poem.

I picked three schools as my finalists because these schools showed poems doing all kinds of marvelous things and were written by various ages across the schools. I laughed, and I wondered, and sat back enjoyed as I read. Congratulations to the teachers, and the young poets in these schools as it is extra work gathering up the writing and sending it off to me.

The Finalists:

Green Bay Primary and Intermediate School, Auckland

Mahana School, Upper Moutere, Nelson

Russley School, Christchurch

The Winner:

Russley School, Christchurch

Congratulations! The entries ranged from Year 2 to Year 8. What impressed me is that for many of these students English is their second language. Poetry is always a terrific way to hook the attention and joy of students who have learning obstacles to solve. These winning poems ooze with a joy of words and a sense of play. They pay attention to the world about them and have used terrific detail to give their poems zing. As promised, I will comment on each poem.

Thanks to Gow Langsford Gallery, the school will receive a limited edition print of one of Michael Hight’s  original oil paintings for my book Aunt Concertina and Her Niece Evalina.

In a separate post, I will announce the five poems I picked out from all school entries to win a copy of my book Aunt Concertina and a book voucher (thanks to Random House for donating two of these).

The Russley School Poems

1. Riley’s poem grabbed my attention. I love the way a poem can explore the different meanings of words (like puns). So this poem is both surprising and funny and vivid. The image at the end of the poem was like a little explosion in my head. I loved it!



By Riley aged 10, Year 6


When my teacher first said,

“We are doing a brainstorm,’’

didn’t know what she meant.

I thought she meant brains

would plummet from the sky.
I went up to the teacher…

“Are brains going to fall from the sky?’’


I discovered

clouds of ideas

and words

that shoot out like lightning.




2. Riley has come up with another surprising poem. He has picked his words carefully so they shine on the line. He has brought the real world and his imagination together beautifully. I particularly like the simile at the end. Awesome!


If I Could Fly

by Riley aged 10, Year 6


If I could fly

when we play tag,
I would just lie on the roof
until the bell rings.

In races

I would soar
to the finish line.

After school

I would go to the Eiffel Tower
and sit there,
until I was on the news.

Then I would jump off and

fly into the night sky
like an owl.



3. Jess has written a simple poem about eating a slushy. It’s a bit like a talking poem but she pays attention to how many words on the line and which words to pick. I like the way poem shifts mood when her dad joins in. Then the last line uses three words to say so much more. I loved it!


I am Happy
by Jess aged 9, Year 5

I am happy
when I am eating
a plushy slushy.

I sometimes
have a race
with Dad-
but he always wins.

Brain freeze… aah!

4. Jess has written another poem in parts. I love way she picks out a couple of details to help build a picture in my head of a storm. The word ‘hit sounds good on the line and it also adds to the power of the storm. The ending makes it really clear how big a storm this was, without spelling it out. Magnificent!


The Storm
by Jess aged 9, Year 5

The wind storm
hit Canterbury,
some houses
will not get power
until Sunday September 15th

At the time
I saw
a flying chair



5. Raevyn’s poem sounds good. I love the first verse—the way the words flow to the last line with th one word. Dramatic! Again I love the way the poem shows what the storm has done to help a picture of the storm grow in your head. Tremendous!


The Massive Wind
by Raevyn aged 10, Year 5

One night, with a big bang,
the wind screamed
like a hooting, howling

In the morning I went to school,
and saw a gigantic tree
had fallen across
Pinehurst Street.



6. I love the way Gypsy’s poem goes from dark to light and how certain words stand out on the line (quiver, howling, flickers, creaky). I also like the way the poem flows in one breath like it is the walk through the spooky house. Terrific!


Power Cut
by Gypsy aged 12, Year 8

The candle flickers
as I slowly walk
through the cold, creaky house–
the wind howling
makes me scared,
then all of a sudden
the lights quiver
making the room light up,
the power is back on.



7. Dylan has been on the hunt for fresh and vivid similes that make a picture of the storm grow. I also like reading the verbs (howls, moves, pounds, sounds). Brilliant!


The Wind
by Dylan agd 11, Year 6

The wind howls like
a wolf.
It moves forcefully like
a steam train.
It pounds the roof like
Rocky Marciano.
My home sounds like
a bass drum.



8. Ben has chosen a title that hooks your attention. I like the little bit of repetition with the trees. There is also a mix of rhyme which adds to the poem. Super!


Storm of the Century
by Ben E aged 10, Year 6

The latest storm-
is the storm of the century
with trees waving
and trees falling…

The only thing you hear
is thunder clapping
lightning zapping…

The next morning
when you wake,
cleaning up
is your fate.



9. Hajar has taken a simple activity such as looking at the clouds and turned it into a rich poem. I love the combination of words (sea sky, cloud ducks). The lines sound really good, but they also create a scene that is enjoyable. I love the ending when you discover what the wind gets up to. Brilliant!


Cloud Ducks
by Hajar aged 12, Year 8


I’m lying on my back

looking up through the trees,
I see…
branches like fingers,
sea sky, cloud ducks…
hands reaching out…
and there comes the wind,
scaring them off and away
goodbye, I say



10. I love the way Todd’s poem gets different views of the earthquake – the museum is okay but the fountain is not. I also loved the line when his ‘history thinking’ wakes up. The earthquake is now part of our history (and Todd’s daily life) so we do need to be thinking about it. This little poem takes you on a very big journey. Wonderful!


The Museum After the Shake
by Todd aged 12, Year 8

My class is in the museum
(it’s not affected by the Earthquake),
now my history thinking is awake…
(these clay Maori people are so fake).

We decide to go outside to get some fresh air;
now I’ve ended up all the way up here.

I’m high up, in a huge oak tree;
I admire the beautiful peacock fountain I see,
but the fountain is under repair
from the trembling earthquakes
that I fear.



11. Kyle has used some great sounds in his poem – I especially like the way you bounce along the different words at the end of his lines. Terrific!


by Kyle aged 9, Year 5

A storm
in my backyard

sounds like
a hurricane

feels like
an earthquake

it’s like
a bomb
in my backyard

Boom! Boom! Boom!



12. In this poem Kyle uses his imagination to ignite his poem. I love the idea of imagining something tremendous and then seeing where the poem goes to next. The ending put a smile on my face. Great job!



by Kyle aged 9, Year 5



if there was no gravity


I would do back flips

to my heart’s content.


I would feel

like a disco dancer.



13 Ben T has slightly changed his first line to make it his last line which is cool. This poem has a lovely rhythym and a nice dose of imagination. Wonderful!


Imagine a Day
by Ben T aged 10, Year 5

Imagine a day …
when doors lead to adventures
in space or on earth
to planets or jungles
where no one has ever been
and you make it
your new home.
Imagine tomorrow.


14. This is like Part 2 to Ben’s first poem! Terrific idea!


Books Are the World
by Ben T aged 11, Year 5

Imagine a day…
when books are the world
where anything could happen
on any page
make it your own world…
Imagine today.




15. Archie has also used his imagination to see what his house can get up to in his poem. I like the way the word ‘down’ goes down the page. Great job!


If Only My House Was a Fun Park
by Archie aged 10, Year 5

If only my house was a fun park
I would slide

to my living room
like a shuttle from the moon.
I would watch my bouncing T.V.
that could bounce to the sky.

I would feel excited!



16. Josh has made a little list in the middle of his poem and that adds zing. Bravo!


by Josh aged 9, Year 5

Imagine I could win
every race…

I would get heaps of awards,
I would go to the Olympics
I would be on T.V.

That would be awesome!



17 Isak has a sense of humour in his poem and some zany rhymes that add zest and zip to the poem. I loved the last line (guess what Isak doesn’t like!). Wonderful!


If I were a Millionaire

by Isak aged 8 Year 4


If I were a millionaire

I would wear silk underwear

I’d drive a V-12 Ferrari

and go on a bush safari

I would sail a ship

that would never flip

I would eat lobster and KFC

and I’d never eat a single pea.



18 Cody has added extra detail to his idea and that makes his poem magic. It is not just that he can fly like a hawk! Awesome!


Imagine If I Could Fly

by Cody aged 10, Year 5


Imagine if I could fly…


I would fly like a hawk,

as high as the clouds


I would give my friends a ride to school

on my back…


I would feel awesome!



19 The endings of poems can be tricky but Dylan’s has paid off! It is not what you expect and it makes you grin. Awesome!


I Wish I had Superpowers
by Dylan aged 11 Year 6

I wish I could walk through walls
I wish I was invisible…
that way, I could do what I want when I want.

I wish I could fly…
I would go to every country in the world.

I wish I had superhuman strength
so I could lift buildings
and cars
and open the pickle jar.



20 Alex has written a feel-good poem. I like the way the poem has two halves (behind the scenes of the poem you can imagane the not-so-good things). The poem uses real detail to show how to care, which makes the poem more alive. Terrific!


Imagine a Life

by Alex aged 10 Year 6


Imagine a friend that will never let you go

and always be at your side

and take blame for something he didn’t do,

for you.


Imagine if every family

always had time
for their kids

and helped them do their homework

and gave them good treatment

when they needed it.



21 What a great idea to go back to the very hour you were born! I want to borrow this idea for a poem Maddison! I really like the last line as it made a picture grow. I also liked the sprinkling of ‘s’ sounds in the poem. Super!


The Very Hour That I Was Born

by Maddison aged 12 Year 8

The very hour that I was born
I imagined being a princess
I imagined swimming
upon the beautiful sea
I imagined spinning and spinning around
in circles
in my exquisite dress



22 Yunru has contrasted two things in her poem. The first verse has a surprising line (‘and never complains’) that I loved. Everything about the first verse is flipped over in the second. Check it out! Awesome!



Love and Hate
by Yunru agd 12 Year 8


I love grass

it always stays strong
no matter what happens
I like grass
it’s so quiet
and never complains
when people sit on it
or step on it
I feel so peaceful when I lie on the grass.


I hate sports

especially running
because it’s soooo annoying
(cross country and middle distance are the worst)
I hate sports
I can’t even catch a ball
and it makes you sweat like a pig.



23 Danial has written a deliciously simple poem that is surprising and musical. Every word is in just the right place. I like the way the line lengths change in the scond half. It is a brilliant image to have grow inyour head … and then change. I loved this poem. Wonderful!


The Clouds

by Danial G agd 6 Year 2


The clouds look like ghosts

moving so slowly in the sky.

At night

the ghost clouds

go away.



24 Sona has chosen some cool similes for her poem – they make the dog come alive in her poem. It is a great poem to read out loud. Awesome!


My Dog

by Shona B aged 6 year 2


My dog’s fur

is as soft as clouds,

his tongue

is as rough as bark



25 Corey has written a poem about a tough subject (which is something poems like to do!). He found just the right words to say what he felt, so it is a moving poem. Wonderful!


I Love …

by Cory aged 13 Year 8


I love my sister

even though
I have never met her.

No matter what
I will always love her
and she will always be
in my heart
and spirit.


I just hope

I will see her
on the other side
safe and happy.


May God guide her

on the right path
so I might see her
in the afterlife.


I just hope

when it’s my time to die,
she will still be there
safe and sound.

I will always be with her.








Holiday poetry bonanza challenge: pattern poems

Here is a little challenge for you.

Make a number pattern for the number of words on each line of your poem.

Five lines of five words or
Five lines of three words or
Four lines of three words

Or even trickier make up a pattern:

One word
Three words
Two words
Five words
Three words
Two words

Now pick a room in your house. Collect words that describe it. Now use the words to make your pattern poem. Make the room come alive with words you pick.

Have fun! Send to paulajoygreen@gmail.com Include your name, age, year and name of school.

Breakfast and books in one delicious gulp ….. mmmm!

Yesterday I visited Blockhouse Bay Primary School (thanks to the NZ Book Council) as they are having their Book Week and it was such a fabulous visit I want to share it with you.

We started off with a newish initiative called Books n Brekkie. By the time I arrived the room was packed with parents, children and teachers eating toast and drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows.

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I stood on a chair in the middle of it all and talked about some of my favourite new NZ children’s books, gave a quick behind-the-scenes tour  of my books and then read some of my poems, old and new.

It felt very buzzy, very warm, and the room filled with good feelings about books. Bravo!!

After that it was a full school assembly where three librarians interviewed me on stage (and did  a great performance of my poem ‘Where The Mild Things Are’). The librarians (Rhea, Celesti and Nethra) asked really thoughtful questions.  I read some poems and a group acted out a story. Very entertaining!

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For the rest of the day I did interactive sessions with syndicates and finished up with a workshop with the writing group.

Mandy Barrett must be a School Librarian extraordinaire as she worked hard to make this an exciting and innovative week. So huge congratulations Mandy and a big hug from me. I walked out of the school aglow with poetry.

Here are two poems we made up in the Year 3 and 4 sessions (several hundred students I think):


Humungous giant

stomps like an enormous beast


like an old grandpa

like a big slow slug


massive, majestic, mammal

The Golden Lion Tamarin

The golden lion tamarin is

a shiny golden ticket

a bunch of passionfruit

hard delicious carrots

golden kiwifruit

beams like the sun

a squished orange

priceless as a golden cup

golden syrup.