Tag Archives: poetry challenges

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

The Day No One Was Angry is very good indeed: So good I am giving you an extra challenge!


I posted this a few months back way before the book was out but now that it IS out you have a chance to do the challenge.

The Day No One Was Angry is written by Toon Tellegen and has gorgeous illustrations by Marc Boutavant. Toon is from The Netherlands, and like Glen Colquhoun, was a doctor before he began to write books. He is a well loved children’s author in his home country. Marc lives in Paris and has illustrated lots of children’s books.

The book is made up of twelve short chapters that feature animals and different kinds of anger. It reminds me of reading Joy Cowley’s Just One More and Kyle Mewburn’s Melu. There is folk-tale-ish-ness about the tales. I love the way you see an emotion in so many different ways. Sometimes you laugh and sometimes you frown. Stories can be like poetry and poetry can be like stories.There is a hyrax, and elephant, a lobster, a hedgehog, a toad, a cricket, a squirrel an aardvark and many more.


Try writing a poem about an animal or two that have to cope with something that makes them angry. Your story might make the reader laugh or sad or think. Just like in this book.

How will it end? Test out three endings and then pick your favourite.

Thanks to Gecko Press I have a copy of the book for one young poet.

If you have already sent a poem for this, send it again!


DEADLINE for your Animal-Anger Poem Challenge: WEDNESDAY December 2nd

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 Animal-Anger Poem challenge.

I will post my favourites and have a copy of the book for a poet thanks to Gecko Press (Year 0 to Year 8).

My picks from the Treasury challenge to take a photo of a cool place to read poetry: a poetry nest and at the zoo

I challenged you to photograph yourself in a cool place reading poetry. Here are my top two picks. Love them!

This from Daniel and Gemma:

(Note from Paula: This is an extra cool idea and all you need is a cardboard box and some cushions. I have one $50 book voucher to give away for this challenge so I am giving it to Gemma and Daniel to get more stock for the nest. Thanks for sharing.)

We built a poetry nest and read lots of poems in it and then wrote poems too.  It was a stormy day so it was nice to be in a poetry nest! We go to Adventure school in Whitby.


This from Room 8 at Adventure School:

(Note from Paula: What a cool idea. I started to think of all the perfect poems in the Treasury to read at a zoo and I came up with quite a few! I love this and have shared with Stephanie. Thanks so much!)

Room 8 from Adventure School Whitby had a zoo sleepover last week at Wellington Zoo.  We had an amazing time and what better place than the zoo to read some poetry to the wonderful array of animals there.  We thought that ‘Zoo Chimpanzee’ by Stephanie Mayne was a pretty good poem to share at the zoo.

We hope you like the photo of Jorja, Noah, Matthias, Angus and Luci  — some of the children from the Room 8 Poetry Group, Adventure School, Whitby, sharing poetry at the zoo!

Poetry Group

The Treasury Challenges: A sandy poem in a sandy place!

Wow! The first poem in a surprising place. Thanks Imogen.  Maybe our beaches will fill with poems over summer.

Screen shot 2014-10-05 at 3.39.11 PM Screen shot 2014-10-05 at 3.39.27 PM Screen shot 2014-10-05 at 3.39.37 PM Screen shot 2014-10-05 at 3.39.48 PM Screen shot 2014-10-05 at 3.40.04 PM Screen shot 2014-10-05 at 3.40.15 PM

The Beach
There at sunset
The sandy sand
The cold violent waves
The beautiful view of Kapiti Island
The tall steep sand dunes.

by Imogen Rehu Aged 8, Year 4, Kenakena School

Happy Publication Day: A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children is out in the world


Finally, after all the work from so many people and the contributions from so many poets and children’s authors (and 20 children!), and the gorgeous illustrations by Jenny Cooper, this beautifully produced book is out in the world. Thank you everyone! Thank you! A big thank you to Random House. I have loved working with you, especially Jenny Hellen (Publisher), Anna Bowbyes (Project Editor), and Megan van Staden (Designer), Yvonne Thynne (Publicity Manager), Rebecca Thorne (Publicity Co-ordinator), Hannah de Valda (media) and Becky Innes (Marketing Manager). Jenny it was a real treat to work with you on this book and I want to thank you for involving me in so many stages.

To celebrate I am adding two more challenges to the three I have on offer (find them on my blog!).

I will post all FIVE again on Day ONE of Term FOUR when I set off on my Hot Spot Poetry Tour of New Zealand.

Challenge Number 5

The other day I watched a wonderful video by Izak from Russley School in Christchurch. Isak made a really cool speech about trees with a bit of poetry tucked in the end. Food for thought! I loved all the different shots and locations (all near trees of course!).

You can check out his fabulous work here on YouTube.

It gave me an idea to get you to make a poem video.

1. You would have to use one of my poems or a poem you have written.

2. Or you can pick a poem from the Treasury and I can see if I can get permission from the author. Otherwise we will run into copyright issues.

3. You would have to post it on YouTube and send me the link.

4. I will pick my favourites and post the links on my blog.

DEADLINE for your Video-Poem Challenge: Wednesday November 14th

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 Video-Poem challenge.

I will have a copy of the Treasury for a few favourites (up to Year 8).

Challenge Number 4

Take one of these titles from the Treasury and use it as the title of your poem.

The Growly Bear                                             Ode to the Orange

The Pumperknickle Pirate                               Elephap Rap

The Night Kite                                                  Old Man Wind

Getting a Fish                                                   Sea Ceatures

Spaghetti                                                           An Elephanty Poem

Who Am I?                                                         Morning on the Marae

Words                                                                Tree Cat

The Sneeze                                                       Ice Trolls

Tuatara                                                               Don’t Be Wet

Washday for the Clouds                                   The Dictionary Bird

Red Horse                                                           Weather Forecast

Porridge                                                               Rainy Day Wash Away

At Night                                                                What My Dragon Likes

Cocoon                                                                  A Grumpy Poem

Haka                                                                      A Chinese Song

A Visit to the Beachside Library                       Kick-off

The Old Owl                                                          A Lullaby

DEADLINE for your Title-Poem Challenge: Wednesday November 14th

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 Title-Poem challenge.

I will have a copy of the Treasury for a few favourites (up to Year 8).