Tag Archives: Te Papa Press

November challenges: reinventing acrostic poems and leaping off from art


I am going to post a few more things between now and December but these are the last challenges for the year.


I was inspired by two books:

a poem by James Brown in Annual 2 which I really really LOVED (check it out!!)

and the brand new, absolutely AMAZING  The New Zealand Art Activity Book.


There are two challenges!


I will have a copy of The Letterbox Cat and a copy of The New Zealand Art Activity Book (grateful thanks to Te Papa Press) to give away.


Send to paulajoygreen@gmail.com by 27th November. I will post some favourites on 30th November.

Please include your name, age, year and name of school. I won’t post poems if I don’t have these details.

IMPORTANT:  Put ACROSTIC POEM or ART POEM  in the subject line of the email please. PLEASE say which artwork you picked under the title of your poem or in subject line of email.

First Up: Art Poems



The New Zealand Art Activity Book by Helen Lloyd, Te Papa Press 2017 (a new edition)

Te Papa Press have published a new art activity book and it is such fun. Helen Lloyd chose more than 50 artworks in the museum collection and asked 15 artists to do page works for the book especially.

You get to see old works and news works, from famous artists and not so famous artists, from Māori, Pākehā, Pasifika and Asian artists.

I really really like this book  because not only do I get to check out art but there are very cool activities. It is the perfect book for the summer holidays when you want a break from gadgets or tree climbing or boogie boarding.

You can colour in, make a tivaevae or flying sculpture, design a treasure box or patterns. There are 150 pages of things to do and look at.

I thought it might be fun to use one of the artworks as a starting point for a poem.


The challenge:

Pick an artwork. There are four images below to choose from.

let the artwork take you wherever you like!

You might take one small thing in the work that catches your eye as a starting point. Then you can leap into your imagination.

You might just use a colour and see where it leads you – mindwander on a page before you start writing. Especially for Sara’s painting.

Does anything in the painting hook a memory? Use that for your poem.

Play with colour words to make a word pattern (blue ultramarine grey). Try doing it in black font. Listen to your poem.

Try describing what you see in the painting in a poem. Play with the words.

Explore the feeling you get from the painting in a poem.

Invent a little story that your imagination hooks up from the work.

Try painting a picture with words – real things help make pictures grow.


Four artworks from four of my favourite NZ artists to choose from:



  1. ‘Millions of colours’ by Sara Hughes




2. ‘Ulumago’ by John Pule



3. ‘Untitled’ by Saskia Leek



4. ‘The dancing chicken’ by Dick Frizzell



Thank you!!!!   Activities/images reproduced with permission from The New Zealand Art Activity Book by Helen Lloyd, published by Te Papa Press. Available at all good bookstores or online here.


Second Up: Acrostic Poems


We all write acrostic poems where the first letters of each line spell a word – and often it is just one word that follows:


My cat





Sometimes the lines stretch and make the poem grow:


My cat

Catching scraps of paper

As though she is a vacuum cleaner,

The tail flicks, the whiskers quiver.


James Brown though was a very tricky acrostic poet because he made the first letters make a word and the last letters make a word. I have had a go with my cat poem:


My cat

Cheeky cat crept,  kitchen hectic

Ate the fishy pasta

That  we cooked tonight.


I decided to try putting the word in down the middle of the poem:


My Cat

The Cat sleeps on

my lAp, dreaming

of sTrange sardines.


Have fun playing with what acrostic poems can do!


And    h a v e   fun doing these two challenges.

An award-winning book from Te Papa: 100 Amazing Tales from Aotearoa — this is a treasure box


Te Papa Press makes beautiful books. This book was first published in 2012 and was a winner at the Children’s Book Awards. It is a fabulous, fun, facty book that really inspires me to do things!

i    l o v  e     t   h  i   s      b  o  o  k  !

This is the perfect book to have over summer because it is a DIP and DELVE book.

You can SINK into pictures and SWIM through facts and GLIDE through stories.

There are even DVDs of the TV series Tales from Te Papa.

Simon Morton and Riria Hotere were the EXPLORERS and DELVERS and AUTHORS of the book.

Some of my favourite topics so far:

Cloud of Kiwi English

Almighty Albatross

Dinosaur Tooth

Ocean Armour

Whale of a Mystery

Art of Tinned Food

Pigeon Post

Mail Order Moths

Seaweed Pantry

Snail Mail

Nature’s Hitchhikers

Pacific Princess

Curious poems, curious things–thank you Curioseum!

The_Curioseum_cover-197x300   The_Curioseum_cover-197x300

I introduced you to this astonishing new book from Te Papa Press called The Curioseum: Collected Stories of the Odd and the Marvellous (It’s filled to an electric brim with poems, stories and illustrations). You can hear some of the writers read here! See my post here.

These are my favourite poems from my challenge to write about an object that fascinates you.

It was really hard to pick just one poet to give a copy of the book to, but thanks to Te Papa Press I am sending a copy to Mitchell. I loved how he used so few words to say so much. He made the watch come alive for me.

First up Ewen‘s terrific poem. I love the mood of this poem and I definitely agree with the ending! She told me: ‘I borrowed this book, The Curiouseum, from our local library and my favourite part was ‘The Saurus’ by Marisa Maepu, I loved how this animal ate so many words that it couldn’t fit in its book! My poem is about my grandfather’s calculator.’


Complicated Simplicity

From my grandfather

math teacher,

something filled

with numbers.


Inscribed in small,

delicate letters,

‘mini calculator’

it says.


Though how

does it work,

my brother comes

to see,

clicking numbers

discovering how.


It’s simple when

you know how

but more complicated

than it looks.


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


Dylan‘s poem has super-duper detail and super-duper similes. I love the picture it makes in my head and I love the ending! Great job!


My Witch

I bought a witch from the shops.

Her hat is like a dinner-plate

with a carrot on the top.

Her hair looks like spider webs

her eyes are like pebbles.

Her eyebrows are like caterpillars

or worms.

Her nose is bony

she has a broomstick chin.

Her shoes are black and old

(they are dirty too)

her toes are poking out.

I think my witch

needs a bath.

by Dylan O, 6yrs old, Year 2, Roydvale School, Christchurch


My other favourite poems for this challenge came in a cluster from Russley School in Christchurch. The teacher (and writer!) Melanie Koster told me this:  ‘I brought in some old, curious objects to school to inspire the young poets. We had an old pocket-watch, a florin and a battered old German dictionary that was given to my grandfather while he was in a POW camp in Germany.

I got a copy of The Curioseum and read a couple of pieces to the children (fantastic book! Thanks for the recommendation!) We also listened to some of the writers read their work on YouTube.’

How wonderful! Here is what a couple of the young poets came up with (I loved them all but just picked a few to post today):

I love the way Riley‘s poem ends and the way it flows:


Bang! Clatter!

I’m made.

1962 has a new florin in town.


I’ve met up with my million relatives.

I’m thrown in a big sack.

The top opens

thousands of my relatives

start screaming.

As they go away from me

tears start to roll down

my surface.


As 46 years have passed

I’ve nearly been around every shop

but one

antique store.


I see a person walking in

through a small crack

in the cash register

He purchases a pound of butter

he hands over five dollars

the register opens

I’m handed over to the man.


He walks straight over the road

and into the antique store.

He looks at me and I look back

I’m put on the shelf

as an antique.

By Riley G, Year 7


Holly‘s poem has great detail and sounds good when you say it out loud:

I Am the Great Old Book

I’m old

a great old book

I’m thin

the front of me is bent

I was published in Great Britain

my spine is getting wrecked

and turning light green

edges coloured with pinky purple

and cream

By Holly, Year 5


MItchell‘s poem shows how an object can hold such memories and move you:

The soldier’s watch

looks like a circle

the back is green

with silver sparkles


sounds like guns

banging very loud


feels sad in the heart

missing family


smells like gunpowder

By Mitchell, Year 7


Azryn‘s poem is short but full of things to discover in it:

Understanding German


The old tattered spine

has string falling out.

Nowhere to go but on a bookshelf.

Should it be in a museum or

should it be in a house?

My prisoner of war number will always

be remembered.

By Azryn Year 6


Monica‘s poem makes a book come alive inside her poem with stunning detail. I loved it!:

Life of a Book

I was once a beautiful tree.

My leaves were so smooth that they shined,

but the axe cut through my waist,

a disgusting stump left behind.


My body was sliced into slithers,

a needle stitched me together.

Words were tattooed on my belly,

I was bound in a cover of leather.


I rode in a monster of wheels,

to a place of joy and delight.

I was placed with more of my kind,

and stayed there overnight.


In the early morning a bell rang,

adults and kids filled the shop

I felt myself fly through the air,

and then I came to a stop.


In front of my cover a girl stood,

she opened me up wide,

she read the words that covered me

I felt an amazing feeling inside.


I heard her read my story,

of adventure, mystery and quest,

I felt the love that she had for me,

my heart felt very blessed.


Now I’m a very old book.

my home is the little girl’s shelf.

I’ve watched her live her life.

now she’s getting old herself.


That girl made my life amazing,

I’m glad I’m the one that she took

I was once a beautiful tree,

and now I’m a beautiful book.

By Monica K, Year 7