Tag Archives: Treasury interview

The Treasury Interviews: Jack P interviews John Parker — find that everyday things and activities have imaginative possibilities


John Parker is a very well published New Zealand author who writes a huge variety of children’s books, adult fiction, sporting and radio articles. I think he is a hilarious author because he makes the characters and story lines in his books really funny. I am so glad to have got John Parker as my given author.

He is Christchurch born and has degrees in English and History. He has also been a teacher and an opera singer before taking up full time writing. John loves golf, tramping, travel and skiing.

I have also read two of his books, Sucked In and Sucked Out, which I highly recommend for ages 7-10.


jack may 2014

Hi, my name is Jack. I am a 10 year old writer, who loves writing poetry and using technology.
I go to Fendalton School in Christchurch. I enjoy swimming, football, tennis, French, cubs and I am a tech wizard at school. I enjoy reading poems on Poetry Box and I have sent in a few of mine. I also belong to book club at school and have enjoyed researching my author John Parker and creating questions for him.

The Interview:

What primary school did you go to? I went to two Auckland schools: Royal Oak Primary and Remuera Primary. My teacher at Remuera, Miss Adams, was stern and scary!
How many books a year do you publish? It depends on how hard-working I am, whether publishers like what I write, whether the books I’m writing are short or long and other factors, including the state of the economy. One year I published 13 books; some years I’ve published none. My average is around 4-5 a year.

Do you remember how you felt when you first piece got published? Elated! It was a play, called ‘The Giants’ Attack,’ published by The School Journal in 1980.

Out of all your poems which is your favorite and why? I can’t answer that question, sorry! I find that a poem is itself, and seems to resist grading or an order of merit.

Many of your poems and stories are humorous where do you get the ideas from? From life. I find that everyday things and activities have imaginative possibilities. And my mind seems to work in ridiculous ways, at times. Can’t help it! Many poems come from a little jolt in my brain-cells – that something relates to something in a way I didn’t think of before. For example, a handful of wool might have the shape of a starry galaxy, or that a bumble-bee and a postie are similar in that one goes form flower to flower and one goes from letter-box to letterbox.

What is your first step you take when you are writing poetry? It depends. I sometimes write down thoughts, knowing or hoping that some words will stick for me and develop into something bigger. Sometimes I get a line flying into my mind that arrives fully formed and perfect and I build the poem around that.

In Sucked In and Sucked Out where did you get the idea for the character Zainey? I read that a school class in USA was asked to think of ways they might like their bodies changed. One kid, who was possibly short, wanted an eye on the top of his finger so he could see over crowds. Once I thought about that, Zainey started.

I would like to write a poem in 10 or 12 words about my sister and how she is addicted to macaroni. What would you write?? It’s your poem, but ‘macaroni’ is such a nice word to say and look at. So I might make up words like ‘macaroniac’ or ‘macaronly’ – stuff like that.  Or maybe change her name in a macaroni way? And you could do things with your own name, too. After all, ‘Jack’ rhymes with ‘macaroniac’. Wish you luck!


What a fabulous interview Jack and John. John writes terrific poems for children. There are 7 of them in A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children and lots more in The School Journals.

9781877404276 9780958260060 1877404268 9781877471162sucked+in