Tag Archives: poetry challenges

August Challenge on Poetry Box – telling little poem stories

Poems that tell little stories can be really fun to read. Your challenge this month is to write a story poem. It can be really short or medium.

Here are some tips for you:


Use something that happened to you or someone you know as a starting point.

You don’t have to tell the whole story! Tell the bits that interest or fascinate you.

You can keep it real or add a dollop of imagination. Or do more than one version.


Retell a story from a book you have read

You might keep bits the same and you might add your own twists but you will have to miss things out – it is a poem after all.


Retell a myth or legend

Which bits matter and need to be in your poem? You might write from the point of view of one of the characters.


Take a book title as a starting point for your poem and then write your own story poem.


Take a newspaper headline as a starting point and then write your own story poem.


Take a favourite character from a story you like and invent a little poem story for them.

What changes about them?


What changes in your story poem?

Is there a surprise? There doesn’t have to be!


Try different beginnings and endings.


h a v e     f u  n     ! * ! *!


SEND your poem to paulajoygreen@gmail.com

DEADLINE Saturday August 27th

Include your name, age, year and name of school. You can include your teacher’s email if you like.

P l e a s e    p u t   ‘Story poem’ in the subject line of your email.

I will pick some favourites to post on the blog and have a book for at least one reader and maybe even a book for a class.

I will post on Wednesday August 31st.

Autumn Poems on Poetry Box – a festival

So many wonderful Autumn poems arrived in my mail box – it was like a big mound of beautiful leaves to shuffle through.

With so many poems it was extra hard to pick a few to post – lots of wonderful poetry so I have made an Autumn festival of poems on the last day of Autumn. Poems can do so many different things!


Thank you so much for giving this challenge a go – just as winter is about to hit us.

I am sending Finn a book.

Please don’t feel sad if I didn’t pick your poem as I got so many it took all Sunday to read them and I have to leave out so many amazing poems. I will have told you what I loved about your poem in my letter to you. I am so happy there is so much poetry buzzing in schools and families.


Do try my new June challenge on Wednesday June 1st (tomorrow)!


A Small Boat

Sailing on the
deliciously warm
autumn days
when sunlight
dapples the sea

Finn P age 9, Ilam School





The gentle leaves fall and flow

down from the trees.

They change to lovely colours,

like kakariki,

to kowhai,

to whero.

They float down to the grass.

I wish I could be a leaf.

Erena H Age 6 Year 2 Epsom Normal Primary


The Autumn Wind

the autumn wind is a crunchy cookie

the autumn wind is a soft pillow

the autumn wind is a bird singing

the autumn wind is a beautiful mountain


Maddy W  7 years old Year 3 Pāpāroa Street School Christchurch



The Autumn Wind


the autumn wind is my great grandad’s wrinkly face

the autumn wind is a bird playing F-sharp minor being played on the piano

the autumn wind is a tornado blowing leaves down form the sky

the autumn wind is a swaying, turning whirlpool

the autumn wind is a cyclone lost from a breeze of wind


Jack S 8  years old Year 4 Pāpāroa Street School Christchurch


Windy Autumn

Crackle, crackle went the dry leaves as they bounced on the ground like they were on a trampoline.
I heard leaves making music as they crashed, crunched and clashed on to the ground like an enormous tom tom drum being beaten.
It made a sound like thunder.
I could see a crimson leaf swirling and twirling – twirling – twirling in the bright sunny morn. Leaves are memories floating down to be free.
I splash in pools of everlasting leaves.
Autumn, she blows the leaves.

Charlotte H 9 years 5 months, Year 5 Kohia Terrace School, Auckland.




It is a dull autumn morning.

The sun is peeping out from the clouds.

Insects are hiding in the golden leaves.

The colourful leaves look like a carpet on the damp ground.


 Zihao L Year 4 Age 8 Epsom Normal Primary


Autumn Treasure

The amber colours,
flutter down like soft balloons,
my cat follows the hibernating hedgehogs,
I get ready for the cold,
the blanket of sunset colours falls over me.

Ruby T Age 8, Y4, Ilam School



The Caretaker

As the children leave school

he sneaks out of his shed

with a rake and lawnmower.

He ruffles the bushes

and attacks the grass.

He rescues the leaves

and walks home.

His day is done.

Malo G 8 years old Fendalton Open Air School


Autumn Poem
Soft breeze pushing amber
Down to the lime green grass.
Popping candy pops
When I scrunch up
Scarlet red.
Twirling ballerinas
Falling to the ground.
Soft breeze
Pushing me away
From the beautiful leaves.
Oh, I love Autumn.

Abbie M, 8 years,  Year 4 Ilam School, Christchurch




The brown leaves

smell like sweet cinnamon

and are as crunchy

as a twig.

Light red leaves

slowly fall.

The ground is as bumpy

as a potato chip.

Trees are wet and bare.

William S  8 years Year: 4  St Andrews College, Christchurch


Falling Autumn Leaves

When I stepped out down came an autumn leaf

and landed swift and sound

with all the others,

all the autumn leaves in their many colours,

I watched in wonder.

By Lachie M 8yr Year 4 Mairangi Bay School, Auckland


Fire Red, Deep Brown, Pale Yellow

The Autumn leaves whirl around
like a hurricane in the chilly weather.
They have colours like fire red,
deep brown and pale yellow.
The trees, bare to the brim
are covered in sharp twigs.
It is as cold as ice.
My fingers are becoming numb
and my lips are turning blue.

Meg S, 9 years old, Year 5, Saint Andrew’s College, Christchurch.


Moonlight Autumn

In the sun of the Moonlight

I lay on the grass

with seven fireflies around me

I stand up and let the wind go by

I stand and say goodbye to Summer

and hello to Autumn after midnight

Seven minutes pass and I’m still

not tired.

Max Wilson Aged 6 Ilam School




Leaves fluttered down.

Trees blow in the wind.

They look like a skeleton.

Crunching like a ball of fire.

Maddie  Age 8  Year 4 Pāpāroa Street School Christchurch



Old ugly branches hung

like bats in their cave.

Bald tree

with curved witches nails.

The wind blew

like a tornado.

Leaves like red flames.

A nosy fantail followed me

for food.

 By Soverin T Y5 age 9 Russley School Christchurch



Autumn Wind

The autumn wind is a blowing circus.

The wind is like a tsunami.

The autumn wind is a rumbling tummy.


Nicholas T Age 7 Year 3 Pāpāroa Street School Christchurch



It’s getting darker now

My friends and I discuss in hushed voices

About how were getting ready to fall

When mother tree tucks us in

I dream about a world on the ground

By Daisy-Jane Lowe, age 11yrs Russley School




An innocent pile of leaves,

Drying in the morning sun.

The red-brown colours,

Fluttering in the crisp air.

The pile shifts,

Ever so slightly.



Out jumps my brother.

With damp leaves in his hair.

Isis W 13 years old Year 8 Selwyn House School



Thin old leaves

hang like a wrecking ball

on the end of a chain.


A curved purple leaf


on a thick brown branch.


A bald Silver Birch

stands like the Statue of Liberty

a leaf stem

as long as a baby snake.


Saffron leaves

like a bowl of nachos.


A game of rugby on a freezing icy day,

getting thrown on the ground

walking home with dirty legs.


By Gustavo D, age 10yrs, Russley School


I Love Autumn

I love the nice and cool autumn breeze

The way it raps its cold fingers around my knees.

I love watching the leaves get blown around

Down, down towards the ground.

I love the sound of the whispering trees

Moving back and forth as they please.

I love the taste of boiling hot stew

Waiting for winter to come to you.

I love the smell of sweet apple crumble

As soon as I see it, my tummy starts to rumble.

I love the feel, taste, sound, smell and sight.

I love autumn, but try as I might

I can’t find a way

To love winter in this way.

By Paige M West End School





The sun peeked behind the dead trees.

Wind raced around the place.

Leaves float gently down to the ground.

Ella X Year 4 8 years old Epsom Normal Primary


The Autumn Poem

Leaves, crackling, gold,

like a crunchy bar. Branches,

brown, thin, like an old man’s arms.

Leaves, quivering, hanging off.

Me and my friends play

rugby union at school, I hear people

yelling from the side line, I have

dirt on my legs and I’m laughing

and I have butterflies in

my stomach.

by Makenzy M, age 10 Russley School


My Little Autumn Tree

My little Autumn tree,
Stands strong and tall beside me.
Flaky branches reaching high,
Fingertips just scraping the sky.
The early morning frost makes you shiver,
But the warm fiery sun makes you shimmer.
Your crisp golden leaves twinkle and twirl,
And in the wind the whirl.
But my little Autumn tree,
What happens when your leaves begin to flee?
For they leave you all alone,
Cold and bare to the bone.
You watch them fly away,
Day after day.
Scattered beneath you,
Slowly drifting far away.
But don’t worry my little Autumn tree,
You’ll always have me.

Amy B Opaki School Age 12


Autumn poem

Leaves fall

slowly to the cold ground.


Red, orange, yellow everywhere,

not a drop of green in site.


Running through the colourful

crunching leaves, jumping

in wet leaf mountains.


Sleeping in warm toasty bed,

when the fire is out.


Waking up to a cold damp morning, ready for a new day.


Jenna L Age: 12 School: Opaki School



brown, old and ugly

like a witch’s nose

crunchy like stale bread.



bumpy like a climbing wall

swerve like big waves.


Leaves, red like a mad man

orange like juice

yellow like hard cheese.

By Bridget Egan, age 10yrs Russley School

Poetry Box March Blog: Poetry is Play


I  love to play with words no matter what I am writing.

When I write a poem I like to have fun.

So this month your challenge is to play with words.

I like to hear and see what happens when I put a word next to another word.


Use my tips however you like! All my rules CAN be broken!

I will publish some of my favourite poems on the last day of March. I will have a book for at least one young poet. This is not a competition …. think of it is a PLAYFUL challenge!


YOU can ALWAYS use EXTRA Words NOT just the ones you COLLECT!

  1. Think of a subject.
  2. Collect some words. Use your senses to help collect them. Get 10 or 20 or 30 or 40 or 5o. You choose! The more the better.
  3. Make a word pattern poem with only 3 or 4 or 5 of the words. Repeat them in different ways. Listen and look!
  4. Use some of the words to write a short poem on the subject but use NO adjectives or adverbs (maximum 20 words).  Now rewrite your poem and out in some juicy adjectives.
  5. Write a poem using some of your words and  use no more than three words on the line.
  6. Play with how many words you use on the line.
  7. Hide something in your poem for me to find.
  8. Play with the ending. Will it surprise me? Put a smile on my face? Make me feel something? Sound good?
  9. Set your poem out so it looks different on the page or screen.
  10. Play with how your poems tell me a little story.
  11. Play with how you leave gaps or white space in your poem.
  12. Play with what happens at the end of the line.
  13. Pick three of things in this list to play with in one poem.
  14. hmmm … just thinking! your choice
  15. Think of three favourite things you like and out them all in the same poem.
  16. Find three surprising similes and put them all in the same poem.
  17. Think of something that has happened to you that sticks in your mind. Tell me some things about it in your poem but keep some things to yourself.
  18. Let you imagination go wild in a poem.
  19. Write a poem where you have to imagine what it is like to be somewhere you have never been or be someone you have never met. Play with the idea.
  20. Write a really really really small poem. Try it a few ways. Play with it!


Send to: paulajoygreen@gmail.com

Deadline:  27th March.

Include your name, age, year and name of school.

You can include your teacher’s email address.

Happy holidays and a happy holiday challenge or two and a puffer fish on the sand


Today is the last day of Term 2 so you will all be looking forward to a good break. I do hope you have safe holidays, wonderful holidays and discover something new.

Poetry Box goes on holiday but I don’t because I am hard at work writing! And I have to get ready for my Northland Tour which starts on the first day of Term 3. Very exciting.

This morning when I was running along the beach I saw a puffer fish which gave me the idea for the postcard challenge. Holidays are a great chance to discover something different, to see some different, to do something different. You can turn these experiences into poems and put them on postcards (see below).

Here are some things you might like to do in the holidays:


1. Vote for the Whitcoulls Top 50 books so a NZ book makes the cut! Whitcoulls are giving away 100 $20 book vouchers. You vote for your three favourite books and three favourite authors. Vote here.

2. Pick a NZ author you would like me to send the questions you write to. I will see if I can arrange the interview. You can email if you come up with a name. paulajoygreen@gmail.com

3. Review a NZ book. Any genre. Just tell us what you love (and don’t love about the book). send to paulajoygreen@gmail.com

4. Vote for Children’s Choice for NZ Book Awards here. You and your school might win some books.

5. Find a notebook and fill it with poems. Ah! happy poem days!


6. Try my holiday-poem-postcard challenge.

* make your own postcard

* write a poem on it that shows me something you have seen or done in the holidays

* hunt for yummy words, strong detail, listen to each line

* you can illustrate and decorate it if you like

*write your name, age, school  and email address (so I can get in touch with you!)

* put it in envelop and send to me (so no-one can see your private details)

* send to Paula Green PO Box 95078 Swanson Waitakere 0653

* I will scan and post my favourites and have a book for one child


h a p p y     h o l i d a y s     x

Poetry Bonanza Monday: winter challenges for our shortest day, the cool LIANZA notebook to giveaway

1. If you vote for the  Children’s Choice books at The NZ Children’s Book Awards you and your school will go into the draw to win some books. A vote for The Letterbox Cat is a vote for Poetry! Voting form here.

2. Don’t forget I am on the hunt for children to pick a NZ author to interview. You pick – I try and set it up for you (class, reading group or an individual). It is a golden opportunity to do something special. paulajoygreen@gmail.com

3. I am on the hunt for children to review NZ books – any genre!   paulajoygreen@gmail.com


4. Still time to enter Fourth fabulous Poetry Competition

You send in 12 poems in total from your school  (an age range is an advantage but not essential).

There is no theme.

You can write any kinds of poems you like.

They get sent to The New Zealand Book Council not me.

Only winners will be notified.

Finalists and winners will be posted on the blog and on NZBC web site on Monday August 10th.

You need to send in one entry form with all the details completed.

Each poem must have child’s age, name and year.

Entry Forms here


5. I got some really cool notebooks at The LIANZA Children’s Book Awards. I have some to give away for this challenge.

It is the middle of winter, so time to write a winter poem. Remember real detail will make your winter poem sing.

Collect words first using your senses.

Collect things you do and see and eat.

What does it look like out your window in winter?

Does your poem sound good?


DEADLINE for your Winter-Poem Challenge: Wednesday July 1st

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

PLEASE say it’s for the Winter-Poem challenge. Put in the subject line of the email please.

I will post my favourites and have cool notebooks for a poet (Year 0 to Year 8).

photo 1 photo 3 photo 2


Poem bonanza Monday: poems sparking poems sparking poems sparking


978-1-877448-18-8  978-1-877448-18-8   978-1-877448-18-8   978-1-877448-18-8   978-1-877448-18-8



Don’t forget I am on the hunt for children and classes  to interview NZ authors and children to write reviews of NZ books.

This week I will share some books I have enjoyed.

And here is a wee poem challenge for you.


Try writing a poem inspired by another poem, especially a poem by a NZ author.

1. You might borrow the title.

2. You might borrow the first line.

3. You might borrow the last line.

4. You might be inspired by a phrase.

5. You might be inspired by the subject of the poem.

6. Or the mood.

7. Or anything else.

8. After the title write: Inspired by and then the name of the poet and their title

for example: Inspired by James K Baxter’s ‘The Tree House’

9. Thanks to the very lovely Helen Parsons, I have a copy of James K Baxter’s poems for children to give to one young poet.


DEADLINE for your ‘Poem inspired by a Poem’ Challenge: Wednesday May 20th

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

PLEASE say it’s for the ‘Poem inspired by a Poem’ challenge. Put in the subject line of the email please.

I will post my favourites (Year 0 to Year 8) on May 22nd.



Term 2 on Poetry Box: a movie, a show and three challenges


Welcome back to Poetry Box. I hope your break was as lovely as mine. I went to Australia to go to a family wedding which was a special treat indeed.  Back home, I saw the movie Cinderella which I loved. My favourite line was when the mum told Cinderella that two very important things in life are kindness and courage. I so agree! And I saw Singing in the Rain with my daughter which was spectacular.

Here are a few challenges to kick start the term. Two big ones and one little one.



1. A poem challenge for this week:

Poems can have all kinds of moods just like we can have all kinds of moods.

Try writing a poem where something funny happens in it. It might be a little bit true as lots of mine are. Or totally made up. Use you ears to check the sound on each line. Where will you put the funny bit. At the start,  the middle or at the end as a surprise? All work!

Try three different endings then pick your favourite. Try three titles and pick your favourite.

DEADLINE for your Funny-Poem Challenge: Wednesday April 29th

Send to paulajoygreen@gmail.com. Include your name, year, age and name of school. You can include your teacher’s name and email. PLEASE say it’s for the Funny-Poem challenge.

I will post my favourites and have a book for a poet.


2. Interview challenge:

I am on the hunt for children and classes to interview NZ writers again this term. 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  see if I can get the author to do the interview  with you.  I will have a prize pack of books for my favourite interview by a class and a book for my favourite interview by a student (up to Year 8).



3. Review challenge:

I am on the hunt for children and classes to review NZ books this year. If you want  to do this you need to tell me your details then I will tell you what to put in the review. You need to tell me your name, school, age, year and name of teacher and if you are a whole class. I will have a prize pack of books for my favourite interview by a class and a book for my favourite interview by a student (up to Year 8).



The Fourth fabulous Poetry Competition:

I am posting the details of this in the next few days!

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.




Poetry Bonanza Monday: Some tips, a challenge and poems about t h i n g s

I really love reading and writing poems about things.

Sometimes poets write poems that sing the praises of things.

They are sometimes called odes.


You might find a poem called Ode to a Couch

or Ode to a Toaster    or Ode to my Shoes.


This week the challenge is to write an ode to      a    t h i n g.


Here are some tips on writing an ode:

Go on the hunt for real detail (words) that makes the thing come alive in the poem.

Show what it looks like, what it does, where it is. You don’t have to do all of it!

Show what is special about it. Funny? Sad? Strange? Fascinating?

Maybe you might show a bit of its history.

Who loves to use it?


In the past there were rules about the form but nowadays the ode can take any shape you like. You can use verses or not use verses. You can use long lines or short lines or a mix.

It doesn’t have to rhyme.

There will be clues as to what the poet thinks of the thing.


DEADLINE for your Ode-Poem Challenge: Wednesday April 1st

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

PLEASE say it’s for the Ode-Poem challenge. Put in the subject line of the email please.

I will post my favourites and have a book  for a poet  (Year 1 to Year 8).






Some favourite poems from the Summer Poem Challenge

It was such fun getting the first poems of the year in my mail box.  Summer poems! The nights are still steaming hot and I am still swimming at the beach every morning but I can see the first leaves on some of our fruit trees are starting to turn orange and brown.

Thank you for all the summer poems. Here are some of my favourites.

I like the idea of Gemma’s bucket list when buckets are just what you have fun with at the beach. Daniel was very inventive and with the help of his Mum used pictures to end his lines and tell his poem story. Kim‘s poem has sizzling similes perfect for summer and Pearl, Abby and Ewen‘s have sizzling detail. I love the way Jacob and Zara catch the end of summer in their poems. I love the summer mood in Rewiti‘s poem.


Hard to pick but I am sending Rewiti a copy of my book The Letterbox Cat and Other Poems. Congratulations!



Summer is over

I pack summer away

I pack the rosy red roses away

I pack the green leaves away

I pack away the warm air

I pack away the ice-blocks

I pack away the ice-cream


Jacob Age 7. View Road School, Waiuku



Summer is over

I pack away the hot summer

I pack away the wonderful flowers

I pack away the green leaves

We don’t need the sunblock

Time to pack away the tent

We don’t need iceblocks

No more butterflies

Time to pack away singlets and shorts

Summer is leaving


Zara Age 7, View Road School, Waiuku




I can see the wind blowing

The plants swaying across

We went to the beach

The sun danced off the water

I feel the wind rushing across me

I can feel my bag go up and down

as I run home from school

Rewiti Age 8, View Road School, Waiuku


Summer Sun

The sun is a sparkling diamond
It is a large yellow sunflower in the sky
The sun is a sizzling barbeque
It is a huge morning star

Kim, aged 10, Russley School


Waking to Summer

Waking to the sun shining ever so brightly
like a beacon in the sky.
Waking to vivid green leaves, sticking to a tree,
showing the way of the wind.

Waking to find your jandals
searching for your feet.
Waking to dry, hot weather
where rain is a distant memory.

Waking to orange leaves dropping down
leaving the wind to pick them up.
A sign that summer will not stay
and Autumn is already on its way.

Ewen W aged 12, Year 8, Cobham Intermediate School, Christchurch


Daniel's poem Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 4.39.07 pm

Daniel is Year 2 and aged 6, Adventure School



Bucket List






TV watching


Lots of fish

Interesting experiences

Sharing stories

Time together with wonderful crew


Bucket List!


By Gemma, Age 8, Year 5, Adventure School



It’s summer

Every day’s hot

I love to smell fresh daisies

When I wake up in the morning

I smell honey from the bees

I can hear cicadas clicking

I love listening to the birds chirp

I hear splashing from the pool next door

Running across the burning sand

Splashing in the ocean is refreshing

I feel shells

Rough and smooth

The sun dancing off the ocean

It glimmers

I see fishing boats

Also people swimming

I love summer

It’s the best season ever.


Abby Age 8, View Road School, Waiuku



In my summer there are
Burning suns
Cold lemonade
Ice blocks

In my summer there was
Swimming in the refreshing pool
Running in the emerald grass
Smiles and joy

In my summer there will be
Fresh air
Delighting laughter
Jumping into clean lakes

Pearl, aged nine, Riverhead School