Monday, 16 September 2019

Space Poetry

A Wasteland of Beauty

shimmering stars
as far as the eye can see
raging sun invades the night 
colossal craters scattered across  planets

engulfs me like a warm blanket
black holes stealing stars
sweltering mars like an infinite desert 

determined rockets hurtle into the abyss
mysterious  creatures scuttle across earth

a wasteland of beauty

- by Reuben Veenstra age 11 


I saw the glimmering moon 
shiny in my glass eyes. 
The night sky is mesmerising 
black holes sucking things into the dark pit.
The galaxy is wonderful…

But… I have a few questions about aliens.

Are aliens real? 
If so are they grey or white?
Are aliens humanoid or big fat blobs? 
Are there other species of aliens?
Where do get aliens food? 
Maybe they come to earth and get grape jelly.

- by Sousuke Feng
age 9yrs

Space to Earth 

Glistening oorte cloud
 and a child's teary eye

Deep black hole 
and a mysterious forest night

Multicolored  supernova 
and a hypnotising tv screen 

Fiery neutron star pair
and rage filled eyes

Sprinting stars
and a child racing in the moist morning  field

- by Bella Folesi (Age 11 )

My Spacey Memory

Dangerous Jupiter just in sight
Spinning meteorite plummeting to earth

Multi-coloured Saturn chatting to friends
Freezing Pluto, an icy freezer

Twinkling stars, hot like lava
Fiery sun burning like an oven

Greedy black hole slurping up light 
Glowing eclipse, mysterious in the sky

This memory plastered in my head 

by Ella-Rose Evans age 11

Space as We Know it           

The shining moon like glittering art 
Saves us in the night like a hero’s heart 
Microscopic Mercury, shining bright
Orbiting the sun, a spinning light.
Sweltering Venus whirls like her twin,
Through the blank sea of night she gracefully swims.                                                            

But far away I glimpse the soul          
Of a sucking, massive jet black hole.
No matter how they shine today
In the end, they’ll be sucked away

- by Yathindra Kulathunga, Age 12

Bright Sun, 
burning like fire

rocky Mercury, 
tiny like an ant

a globular cluster,
 like a shiny disco ball

sparkly Ganymede
black and yellow like a bee

the mini pulsar 
shaped like a friendly stingray

Boiling Venus as hot as lava
and clouds as thick as 
a dictionary

- by Taliah Lesatele, Year 7

Monday, 9 September 2019

Bella wins Poems on Buses!

Congratulations to Bella Folesi, who has won first prize in the Metro Poems on Buses Competition 2019! Bella's poem, World Cake, was selected as the top entry in the Year 7 and 8 division.

Bella has won a journal set from Paper Plus, valued at $80, and her poem will be published on the website and displayed in Metro buses during September and October.

World Cake
by Bella Folesi, age 11yrs

a dose of joy
a pinch of a smile
stir for a while

heat it up under the sunshine
leave it to sit in a 
   lily of the valley, daffodil 
   and snapdragon

sprinkle on a spoonful
of children’s laughter

do enjoy your freshly baked 
world cake

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Reuben, published author!

Congratulations to Reuben Veenstra, who has had his poem A Wasteland of Beauty, published on the fingers comma toes journal.

A Wasteland of Beauty – Reuben Veenstra

shimmering stars
as far as the eye can see
raging sun invades the night
colossal craters scattered across  planets
engulfs me like a warm blanket
black holes stealing stars
sweltering mars like an infinite desert
determined rockets hurtle into the abyss
mysterious  creatures scuttle across earth
a wasteland of beauty

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Published on Poetry Box!

Congratulations to our very talented Russley poets, who have had their poems published on Paula Green's Poetry Box website:

Once in a Blue Moon

by Ruby JJ, age 10

The moon is a silver pin
 into dark velvet

It is an ash wolf
             on a large rock

It is a cluster of glowworms
 into a cave

It is a colony of butterflies
 with life

The moon is a crescent shaped

Bright Moon
by Noel H, age 10

The moon is a hat
left hanging in the closet

It is a bumpy tire
stuck on the back of a car

The moon is an old grey picture
kept in a drawer

It is a block of silver
hidden in a safe

Silvery Moon
by Amelia Y, age 11

The moon is a fat grey mouse
who ate too much cheese.

The moon is a white football
filled with helium.

The moon is a silver coin
dropped from the giant’s land.

The moon is a grey reflection
shining in the sky.

The moon is a huddle of fireflies
all sound asleep.

The moon is a pearly beach
with people playing beach ball.

Just like…
by Ava M, age 11

The moon is a shining pearl
waiting to be found

The moon is a dragon’s eye
gleaming in the sunlight

The moon is a silver disk
constantly on repeat

The moon is a metallic pastel
drawing on sapphire paper

The moon is a white scarf
fluttering hopelessly in the cold winter wind

Shining Night Skies
by Ava S, age 10

The moon is a white rabbit
jumping from one place to

The moon is a silver
coin, lying there waiting
to get somewhere

The moon is a curvy
ball, getting kicked into the
night sky

The moon is a round
lollie, getting re-wrapped
when the morning comes

The Moon, our Guardian
by Reuben V, age 11

The moon is a black motorcycle jacket
against the wind

The moon is a grey sheet of metal
protecting soldiers from

It is an olden days photo
of a child
in an old man’s journal

The moon is our guardian
keeping us safe
through the night

What is the Moon?
by Yathi K, age 12

The moon is a white blank page
flying in the breeze

It is grey like an old man’s hair
waving in the wind as he walks by

The moon is silver like a tip of a pen
writing history

It is a perfectly burnt marshmallow
tempting to look at

The moon is gold like a treasure
waiting to be stolen

White Pom-pom on an Indigo Hat
by Ella-Rose E, age 11

The moon is a white pom-pom bobbing on an indigo hat.
It is a silver ornament sparkling on a beautiful tree.

The moon is a gold medal glistening in the summer sun.
It is a multi coloured disco ball shining in a dark room.

The moon is a grey concrete path revealing dusty footprints.
It is a red stop sign captivating looks of awe.

My Great Grandad, the Moon
101 Years Old
by William B, age 12

The moon is my great grandad
trudging along the endless sky

It is my great grandad’s hair
white, and swaying in the breeze

The moon is my great grandad’s smile
whenever I come and visit

Spiky Moon
by Jade H, age 11

The moon is a grey dog
playing with a white shiny bone

The moon is a black computer
doing tiring homework

The moon is a white piece of paper
ripping in the dark spooky night

The moon is a glowing tooth
under my pillow

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Moon Poetry Challenge

Our writers have been hard at work creating some incredible poems about the Moon for Paula Green's Poetry Box Moon Challenge.

Our challenge was to think up some fresh, creative similes and metaphors to describe the qualities of the moon.

We made a list of adjectives to describe the moon (like shiny, round, crescent, white, silver, gold, bumpy). We then brainstormed interesting objects that shared some of those same qualities. We made sure to use strong verbs too, to give our poem movement.

Here are some of my favourite lines from our Russley Writers' poems:

The moon is a silver pin
  into dark velvet

- by Ruby

The moon is a hat
left hanging in the closet

- by Noel

The moon is a fat grey mouse
who ate too much cheese

- by Amelia

The moon is a dragon's eye

- by Ava M

The moon is a black motorcycle jacket
against the wind

- by Reuben

The moon is gold like treasure
waiting to be stolen

- by Yathi

The moon is my great-grandad's smile
whenever I come and visit

- by William

We are hoping some of the poems may be selected for publication on Paula Green's Poetry Box blog. Fingers crossed!

Poetry Box Moon Challenge

Leo, to be published twice!

Congratulations to Leo (room 6), who has had a second piece of writing accepted for publication by Toitoi. Leo's amazing poem, My Name is Leo, was selected from over 1500 submissions from writers all over New Zealand. It will be published in Toitoi 17, at the beginning of term four.

Well done Leo!

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Ode to a Vegetable

What's an Ode?
An ode is a very old form of poetry. In ancient Greece, poets wrote odes to celebrate heroes, nations, ideas and nature. These days odes are more informal and are often funny. They can be any length, and rhymed or not. The ode is a poem of praise (a bit like a love letter!), addressed to a person, place, object or an idea.

We hope you enjoy the odes written during the writing workshop with author Belinda O'Keefe. Look out for the juicy language, alliteration, rhyme and similes.

Ode to a Lemon
by Hollie, age 10

Oh! You sweet sour glorious lemon.
When I rest I think of your zest.
I love the sourness and tastiness.
You’re as bright as the sun, my hun.
When people’s faces squirt
I take as an alert
there’s someone that does not like lemon
to them it must be venom.
I love it when I see you be put on my family’s fish
it has to be their absolute favourite dish.
Never fear lemon's here!

Ode to Corn
by Adrianna P, age 10

I love how your skin is like a yellow giraffe
your smooth soft texture drives me crazy.
Your taste is sweet and juicy

I love it when my Dad
puts you in hot water
and deep fries you!

I also like it when he puts you on my plate
then I eat you and feel
warm as an oven.

I love you, corn!

Ode to a Purple Kumara
by Ava

Oh! glorious kumara
your skin is like a fresh purple grape
you have a couple of roots
that look like your hair
you smell like an asteroid from outer space
you look like a purple little mouse
that always gets stuck in a house

I can mash you, roast you, and even burn you
we can grate you, hate you or even rate you
your texture is like a bumpy pink petal
floating down through the air

Do you like kumara?
Can you compare?
Because I like kumara and hopefully you like kumara too
So listen loud and clear
Please eat your vegetables, kumara and never fear
because kumara is here

Ode to Potato
by Hugo

Oh potato, you have spots on you
like the moon.

You’re as yellow as the sun,
spots as grey as stone.

You’re eaten mashed, fried,
but don’t forget fries.

On Thanksgiving you’d be perfect
with turkey.

Ode to a Cucumber
by William B

Oh! You beautiful vegetable
Your skin is as rough as the bark on a tree
You’re dark green, but light on the inside
It reminds me of the bright leaves in summer
Your crunch is as loud as the leaves in winter
the knife glides through you
like a soft loud or cotton candy
and as I take a bite
the only sound you hear is CRUNCH!

Ode to a Potato
Riley M

Oh! You luscious potato
You’re yellow as the sun on a cloudless day
Your thin skin
is as scarred as a stuntman

the mud is as brown as tree bark
dotted on you like a kid that fell
over in the field

Fried, roasted, baked, pretty much anything
I can eat you with everything I want

You taste like seasoned heaven
or flavoured life

Ode to a Pumpkin
by Payton, age 9yrs
The smooth sensation, the roundness of a soccer ball
oh how heavy
very heavy as a weight,
all the seeds, the bright orange
as bright as a light
oh the strong smell when it’s cooked.

But the smell, oh how revolting
as yuck as a pair of socks

BUT the awesome carvings
at Halloween
Oh! Oh!
How extravagant!

Oh Yam!
by Sophie E, age 9yrs

Oh! Yam!
Your skin feels like a bumpy book of bible verses
Your dark red colour looks like blood
Your silent way you lay there
makes me wonder
if you will ever move
(even with a hint of magic).
Are you best mashed? Boiled? Roasted?
I can’t wait to try!

Ode to a Cabbage
by Sophie H. age 10

Oh! Cabbage, your wrinkles in your skin
are like an old piece of scrunched paper.
You’re as soft as a moth
as crunchy as a cracker.
You’re as heavy as a brick
you’re as green as a bean.
Are you best cooked fried, baked, heated
or fresh from the bag?

Monday, 19 August 2019

The Day the Plants Fought Back

Last term, Russley School was lucky enough to have a visit from Christchurch author, Belinda O'Keefe. Belinda shared her brand new picture book with us, The Day the Plants Fought Back

Some of our Russley Writers were treated to a special writing session with Belinda. 

Belinda brought in a bunch of vegetables - everything from yams to parsnip. We brainstormed adjectives and similes to describe the veges. We then wrote an Ode to a Vegetable

What's an Ode?
An ode is a very old form of poetry. In ancient Greece, poets wrote odes to celebrate heroes, nations, ideas and nature. These days odes are more informal and are often funny. They can be any length, and rhymed or not. The ode is a poem of praise (a bit like a love letter!), addressed to a person, place, object or an idea.

Keep an eye on the blog for some of the odes written by our Russley students in the writing workshops with Belinda.

Thursday, 15 August 2019


The Russley Writers' Club chose a fear and used their senses to describe it. Can you use the clues in these two poems to work out which fear they are writing about?


Fear is slithery and long
it is a whispering hiss
it is a stinky swamp
it is slimy and slobbery
Fear is choking, painful and

- by Team Awa Nui Writing Club


Fear has eight, hairy legs
it is stealthy and silent
it is salty and crunchy
it smells like dirt and dried blood
Fear tickles and scuttles
and crawls up your arm

- by Team Moana Writing Club

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Congratulations Ahmed and Nathan!

Congratulations to newly published authors, Ahmed and Nathan. You can find Nathan's poem, The Greenhouse on page 38 of Toitoi 16. Ahmed's poem Fear is published on page 106.

Nathan's poem is about a childhood memory. He describes playing an imaginary game in the greenhouse, pretending he's "blasting aliens through the greenery". Can you think of an imaginary game you used to play when you were younger? Maybe you had an imaginary friend? Did you like dressing up, or pretending to be an actor or rock star. Perhaps you could write a poem or short story describing this? 

Ahmed wrote a powerful poem describing fear. He used the five senses; sight, sound, taste, smell, touch. What are you afraid of? What are some fears other people might face? Try brainstorming a list of fears. Choose one particular fear to write about. Here are some ideas:

Public speaking

Try using the five senses and without naming the fear, see if you can give enough clues for the reader to work out what the writer is afraid of. Some of our Russley Writers' Club members tried this yesterday, so I will post some of their poems here soon!

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Toitoi Connect Special Project

Congratulations to the following writers, who will have their work published in special editions of Toitoi, later this year:

Franklin, Room 2, for his poem titled Spotted Cuscus
Leo, Room 6, for his poem titled Humming Llama
RJ, Room 4, for his poem titled A House on a Hill
Daria, Room 7, for her story and illustration titled A Trip to Ancient Mexico

These special editions of Toitoi are part of the Toitoi Connect project, which celebrates the cultures of Latin America and Southeast Asia. 

One special aspect of this project is that all of the writing in the journals will be published in translation, in both English and a language of either Latin America or Southeast Asia. Toitoi are working with the School of Languages and Cultures at Victoria University of Wellington to translate the students' work. Editor of Toitoi, Charlotte Gibbs, said, "What a fantastic way to celebrate all the different languages that are spoken by young New Zealanders!"

We will have a long wait for these journals, as they are being worked on during the remainder of this year, and will be released in the beginning of week one in 2020!

Thanks to the Centre for Asia-Pacific Excellence for Southeast Asia and Latin America, every primary and intermediate school in New Zealand will receive two copies for their school library.

Friday, 10 May 2019

Introducing new authors...

Harry F and Isabella R received their copies of Toitoi #15, in which they both had poems published. Harry's poem, 'Wilderness' and Isabella's flash fiction, 'Snap!' have been beautifully illustrated by artists from other schools. We think they have done a brilliant job. Congratulations to these talented students!

Monday, 1 April 2019

Coral Reef City awarded Highly Commended

Congratulations to Robbie de Groot-Tsuji, who was a finalist in the NZ Association for Environmental Education's Seaweek Poetry Competition. 

The competition's theme was  “Tiakina o Tātou Mōana - Care for our Seas”  and received over 170 entries from schools across Canterbury. Robbie's poem, titled 'Coral Reef City' was awarded Highly Commended. Robbie was invited to attend a formal prize-giving ceremony at Tūranga on Wednesday 27 March. 

You can read Robbie's poem here:

Coral Reef City

In the coral-reef city
the starfish are lying down on
their balconies with the hot sun panting
down on them

The turtles, flying from city to city
carry massive loads of fish

The fish, crossroads,
looking out for other fish,
walk down the streets
and shop for groceries

The coral houses strong and sturdy
keep the fish safe…
crumbling and fading
losing calcium in our sunscreen,
destroyed by us.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Sea Week Poetry Competition

Our Russley Writers have been busy writing ocean-themed poems for the Sea Week Poetry Competition.

Robbie and Jack M were fortunate to be able to attend a School for Young Writers Master Class with poet Gail Ingram.

You can read their work here on the blog, along with poems from our other Russley Writers, who rose to the challenge to craft a poem for Sea Week.