Tag Archives: Renee Liang

Poet Renee Liang gets Y1 and 2 writing poetry

Hot tip: Try my September poetry challenge

 

Meanwhile this is a delightful set of poems from a class that poet and playwright Renee Liang worked with.

 

My Toys

Sisters arguing.
Blocks smashing.
Everything so loud.
Plastic spinning wheels.
Squeaky wheels and little sounds.
Smelling the hard plastic.
Feel metal screws.
Feel the cold.

-Max

 

When I Jump

I fly through the sky
I smell Mum cooking while I fly
It feels like a bouncy marshmellow on the moon
I see Mum jumping next to me
I touch the net and remember I’m on the tramp
Then I smell a yucky thing
So I fly away again.

Charlie

 

Dragon toy

I can hear in my dragon toy the flapping of the wings.
I can smell the smoke and fire from my dragon’s mouth.
I can feel the bumpy skin.
I can taste the blood from a man that the dragon ate.

Quinn

 

Trampoline

When I stand on the trampoline I sink through bubble gum.

Nathan

 

Trampoline

When I taste the clear breeze it’s often on the trampoline.
I hear the squeak of the trampoline.
I see the top of the trees.
After jumping on the trampoline my feet feel fuzzy.
I feel the metal springs on my feet,
The birds tweet at me for hours.
I get tired of jumping.

Isabelle

 

My sandpit

I fly when I hear the wind whistling through the sky
And I smell the salty sand.
The birds are tweeting in the sky.
That makes me fly.

Daniel

 

from Room One (Y1/2) at Gladstone School in Mt Albert, Auckland, taught by Mrs Hubert.

We did a brainstorm on ‘Things That Make Me Fly’ and then came up with some words to describe these things, making sure to focus on each of the five senses. We talked about using a real thing to describe a feeling.

Then we used these ideas to write a poem.

The children are used to writing narrative stories describing their weekends, but handled the switch to poetry and more focussed word use really well!! Lots of enthusiasm too with the evidence on their faces as we talked that they were really feeling the words when we discussed ‘exploding bubblegum’ or ‘tasting the breeze’.

Renee

 

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Poetry Box audio spot: Renee Liang’s Caterpillar

This is the perfect audio to go with our July butterfly challenge. Listen out for the butterfly song in te reo.

 

 

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Note from Renee

 

Here’s a recording of me reading the poem to Ferndale Kindergarten followed by the kids singing ‘Purerehua‘, a song they love.

The ‘Caterpillar‘ poem is inspired by a Cantonese children’s rhyme we also practised (but I did not record): 

點蟲蟲, 蟲蟲飛。飛去邊﹖飛去荔枝畿。荔枝熟, 摘滿一包袱。

dim chung chung, chung chung fei. fei hoey bin? fei hoey lai ji gei. lai ji suk, jaak muun yat bao fuk. (Not proper Cantonese romanisation)

Almost word for word translation:

point insect insect, insect insect fly. fly to where? fly to lichee area. lichee ripe, pick (and fill up) full a haversack (bag).

Here are some pictures of their hands being butterflies and also a shot of my son Luka G (4) who attends the kindy. 

 

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You can find Renee’s poem in A Treasury of NZ poems for Children

Renee Liang has always loved telling stories and making worlds in her head. Like the caterpillar, when she spins a house around her stories and snuggles with them for a while they often turn into something unexpected. Sometimes they are poems, sometimes plays, once even an opera. She loves showing other people how to write down the worlds in their heads. Renee has two children aged 4 and 5 who are also world-makers.

 

 

 

 

The Treasury Interviews: Joni interviews Renee Liang

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About Joni  Year 3 (7 ½ years old), Haumoana School.

  1. My mother and father named me after Joni Mitchell (one of their favourite folk singers), Dad’s grandma Beatrice Ashton, and of course, I have my Dad’s family name (Uytendaal – pronounced Oh-ten-darl), originally from the Netherlands.
  2. I was born in Tasmania and then I moved to New Zealand four and a half years ago.
  3. I live in Te Awanga with my sister, Erin, and mother and father.
  4. I love to write stories and draw pictures. At the moment I like to write about haunted places (mansions, streets, ships) and draw people and plants and animals.
  5. My birthday is on October the fourteenth, the day after my father’s birthday. This year I’d like to go camping under the stars with a few of my mates and family at Kuripapango and eat birthday cake and hard-boiled lollies!

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Bio about Renee Liang

Renee Liang is a paediatrician (a doctor who specialises in children’s illnesses) who also writes poems and plays. Her parents moved to New Zealand from Hong Kong before Renee was born. She has two sisters. Her Chinese Wen-Wei which means literary blossom. She lives in Auckland with her husband and two children.

When did you decide you wanted to be an author?
When I was about your age. When I was six my teacher started reading The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, by CS Lewis, to us in class.  I must have talked about that book all the time because for my seventh birthday my parents bought me the entire set of Narnia books.  From then on I was hooked on reading – whenever I got the chance, and even sometimes when I was supposed to be doing something else, my nose was in a book!  I remember reading C S Lewis’ introduction to his stories, when he said that he wrote the stories that he himself wanted to read. That made complete sense to me. And from that day on I wanted to be an author.
What is the first story you wrote called?
It was called “The Hole In the Forest”, and I wrote and illustrated it aged five. I still have it. It features a tiger who falls through a hole in the forest into a magical world. And it has a golden spine, made of stapled cardboard.
Where are you from?
I am from New Zealand, but my parents are from Hong Kong and they were born in China.  My family has always loved travelling – my parents must have been on the biggest adventure of their lives when they decided to come a third of the way across the world to live here!!  I have their sense of adventure to thank for my wonderful life and opportunities.  I love to travel too. I’ve been to Europe, Africa, South America and Antarctica.
When do you mostly like to write stories?
My most creative time is at night. I’ve always been a night owl. There’s something about staying up past everyone else, and staring out my dark window, and dreaming of far away worlds.  Sometimes I’ve stayed up so late it becomes morning again.
Why did you choose to be an author?
I don’t think people choose to become writers….writing finds them.  When people tell me that stories bubble up inside them and they can’t stop thinking about them, then I know they are true writers. And my advice to them is, to write. To give in to the delicious urges and let themselves indulge in creating these worlds and characters that only they could make.
Who is your inspiration?
I’m inspired all the time by everyone that I meet. When I meet people, whether it be in my job as a children’s doctor or at the supermarket or elsewhere in my daily life, I start wondering about what it is that makes them tick.  Sometimes the wondering turns into a character in a story. Other times I learn something from the things that they tell me.  I read a lot too, and watch a lot of plays. I think, ‘oh, this is an interesting question’ or ‘I’ve never seen a story told this way before’, and it all goes into my brain for later.  Right now I’m watching my kids (a toddler, and a baby) a lot as they’re constantly exploring and learning. They teach me how to see the world in new ways.
7.  What do you like to write about most?
I write about whatever’s affecting me in my life. It’s changed over the years.  I wrote a lot about love; about family; and about who I thought I was.  I’m used to people asking me where I’m from and complimenting me on my English, even though I was born here! So I write about identity.  Now that I have kids, I’m starting to think about writing stories for them.

Thanks for the questions Joni, and also sharing the information about yourself!  I hope to read some of your writing one day. Renee

 

Note from Paula: What a fantastic interview. I loved reading this.  Thanks Joni and Renee. Renee has a cool poem in A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children called ‘Caterpillar’ about a children’s game.