Tag Archives: Reading

Reading Festival: Bill Nagelkirke says books are like old friends


Bill Nagelkerke is a writer and translator living in Christchurch. He has some very tasty poems you will get to see in A Treasury of New Zealand Poems for Children next year.

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What kind of books did you like to read? I enjoyed lots of different books. Some favourites included the Rupert annuals, Enid Blyton’s Tales of brave adventure and the Tom Swift series of science fiction stories. The Rupert annuals gave me one of my early introductions to poetry, as each of the illustrations was accompanied by a rhyming couplet.

What did the library mean to you? We went every week. I was always on the lookout for the latest Tintin or Asterix adventure.

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Do you remember being read to? Yes, definitely. My mother in particular read stories to us. She loved books and reading.

Was there a book that stood out that a teacher read to you? I have a vivid memory of a teacher reading Elsie Locke’s The Runaway Settlers. It had just been published. This was probably the first time I heard a story where events were happening in a place close to where I lived, not somewhere else altogether. It made me look at those places differently.

Runaway settlers  Runaway settlers

What did books mean to you? How did they add to your life? I borrowed books from the library and bought my own books, too. I seemed to have kept a lot of them! They’re like old friends, and full of memories.

Do you still read children’s books? Do you have a favourite this week? All the time. I’ve just finished Geraldine McCaughrean’s latest, The Middle of Nowhere, set in Australia. I feel it’s not her best book but, as always, her writing sings. She chooses her words so carefully.

Reading Festival: First competition for children and schools


To celebrate our Reading Festival I will post a number of competitions over the next two weeks.

I will post my favourite entries as I get them and on Friday November 29th there will be a prize giving!

At the end of the three weeks I will give out the prizes to the winning children BUT I will also give an original Michael Hight painting from my book Flamingo Bendalingo to the school that participates with enthusiasm and inspires me.

For Competition Number One, I am so excited as I am going to give one of my favourite books as a child to the winner! I LOVED the poetry of AA Milne and I have a gorgeous colour edition of his book Changing the Guard at Buckingham Place (Egmont, 2013) as a prize.

Competition Number 1 (for Years 0 to 8)

Write about what you love about reading and books. You can include names of your favourite books. You could write it as a letter to me or a paragraph or a little story. You can use questions below to help you.


Do an interview with me by answering some of these questions (pick SOME you want to answer and ADD you own if you want):

What books did you love when you were little?

Did anyone read to you?

Where is your favourite place to read?

What do you like about reading?

Do you have a favourite book character?

Do you have a favourite author? What do you love his or her books?

Has a book ever made you sad?

Has a book ever made you happy?

Has a book ever made you laugh out loud?

What kind of books do you like and why?

Do you have a favourite illustrator?

Have you ever read a book and hated the ending (I have!)?

Has a teacher ever read you a cool book? What did you like about it?

If you were stuck on a desert island what three books would you take?

Do you like reading New Zealand books? Do you have a favourite NZ author?

Do you like reading poetry? Do you have some favourite poets? What do you like about them?

Do you like to visit the library? What do you like about it?

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

Poetry Box Tip #1 Read Read Read

I think a poetry box has lots of secret compartments and is rather wonderful because there is no end to what can fit in it. That goes for poems and that goes for poetry tips.

My very first tip is an oldie but a goodie. If you want to get good at writing poems you need to read other poems.

Read all kinds of poems. Poems that make you laugh. Poems that make you a little sad. Poems that make you think. Poems that puzzle you just a little. Poems that tell a story. Poems that are so short they are over in the blink of your eye. Poems that are so long they might fit along the Great Wall of China. Poems that are really easy to understand. Poems that challenge you. Poems that rhyme. Poems that don’t rhyme.

I love all kinds of poetry so I love reading all kinds of poems. Sometimes I like to sit curled up on the sofa. Sometimes I like to read under a tree with one of our dogs listening as I say the best lines out loud.

Perhaps you could tell me the name of a poem you have read lately that you love and I will go hunting for it to read.