Tūhono: A Sample of Poetical Delights

Exciting times — there are still a few days left to submit your poem for Tūhono 2021, our poetry journal for children and teens in Wellington. This year the theme is “whakaata | reflection” — and we’ve already seen some amazing poems come through. Note: submissions for Tūhono 2021 have now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted.

To help give you some inspiration, we thought we would share with you some of our favourite poems from last year’s volume, Tūhono 2020. Read on, and prepare to be blown away!

1. My Butterfly Journey — Ronan, age 5

Full text of poem written below.
My Butterfly Journey

I can’t move
I’m in a chrysalis
I will have butterfly powers when I come out

I will go where the butterflies go
I will lay eggs
Then I will die

The caterpillar will do the journey back home

— Ronan, age 5

2. The Verselet Tree — Amelia, age 9

Full text of poem is written below.
The Verselet Tree

Wise, knowing and smart,
When I sit beneath you I feel safe,
warm and comforted this feeling makes
me want to drift off in a slow and
steady sleep,
but before I do, a thought comes to my
mind,
the thought grows as I sleep,
When I wake the thought has formed
into a poem.
As I wander home,
I think of the poem and decide to write
it down,
And then I will go back and get
another poem from you.

— Amelia, age 9

3. Connection — Jericho, age 11

Full text of poem is written below.
Connection

I have a connection to music,
as if it’s part of my life,
as it follows the beat of my heart,
over and over again.
It lives deep inside me,
it burns inside my heart,
as an eternal flame,
raging on inside of me.
It shocks my soul,
It runs thru my body,
It harmonises my life,
As if when I listen to it
all fear and pain go away.
Music electrifies my very existence.

— Jericho, age 11

4. Connected — Pemma, age 12

Full text of poem is written below.
Connected

A thread, a rope,
The invisible link between us all,
Connected by soul,
The whispering call.

Shining stars twinkle above,
Our ancestors watching,
With the eye of the crescent moon.

Nature’s melody,
The sweet birds,
Our link with Papatūānuku
Has always been heard.

A thread, a rope,
A quiet trail,
Linked together, connected.

— Pemma, age 12

5. Little One — Rajvi, age 5

Full text of the poem is written below
Little One

Go to sleep little one
no need to cry
we will be there for you forever ……
oh my baby
go to sleep little one ….
O ho ho ……
Just go to sleep little one

— Rajvi, age 5 (written on 15/10/20 for her younger brother, born on 11/10/20)

Tūhono Submissions Are Now Open!

The 1st of October has finally arrived, and so we have officially opened submissions for Tūhono 2021, our annual poetry journal for children and teens! Visit wcl.govt.nz/tuhono to read the guidelines and submit your poem on this year’s theme of “Whakaata | Reflection.” We are so excited to read your entries this year — just make sure you get them in before the 14th of November! Note: Submissions for Tūhono 2021 have now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted.

To help you get inspired, Stephanie, one of the editors of Tūhono, has put together this list of awesome poetry books for kids. Why not reserve one to pick up at your local library? They just might give you the help you need to get started on your masterpiece!


Tūhono. a journal of poetry by children and teens / 2020 :
“Tūhono : connection. This is the theme that binds together all 197 poems you are about to read, which were contributed by young Wellington writers aged 5-18 and collected by Wellington City Libraries throughout the month of November 2020. The year 2020 was challenging for many people. Some had to spend time apart from their friends and the people they love. Some had to find ways to live with uncertainty and the sense that everything might not be okay in the world. But taken together, these poems represent a constellation of thoughts, ideas, worries, anxieties, hopes, loves, and dreams about how we find ways to connect, even in the face of adversity.” (Catalogue)

A treasury of NZ poems for children
This award-winning book includes poems by many of Aotearoa’s best and most well-known children’s authors, including Margaret Mahy, Hone Tuwhare and Denis Glover. A wonderful, comprehensive collection to delve into again and again.

A world full of poems / Vardell, Sylvia M
Wow this book has just about everything! It covers all sorts of different poetry styles and themes (like sport, science and friendship) and mixes well known historical poems with more contemporary selections. And then there’s the beautiful detailed illustrations, included along with activities and ideas to inspire you create your very own poetry.

Can I touch your hair? : poems of race, mistakes, and friendship / Latham, Irene
This thought-provoking book explores race from the perspective of two kids that start off as strangers and become friends. As well as showcasing wonderful poetry, this book also highlights how powerful poetry can be in helping us to give voice to and understand different life experiences.

Feel a little : little poems about big feelings / Palmer, Jenny
This lovely book, written right here in Aotearoa, uses poetry as a way to understand and work through all sorts of big feelings. Poems are accompanied by cute different shaped and coloured characters that represent each feeling.

My first book of haiku poems : a picture, a poem and a dream : classic poems by Japanese haiku masters
Haiku is a type of short form poetry that follows a pre-determined pattern and are pretty fun to write! Haiku originated from Japan and this book introduces 20 classic poems that speak to the connection we have with nature. Poems are written in both Japanese and English and are accompanied by original paintings.

My village : rhymes from around the world
What places are your family from? This book has rhymes originating from 22 different countries around the world. Maybe you’ll discover one or two that are special to you and your family? The rhymes are written both in the original language and English. An interesting and fun glimpse into different cultures and countries through poems and rhymes.

Poems aloud / Coelho, Joseph
A really fun and funny book of riddles, rhymes and tongue twisters! Includes 20 poems by the award-winning poet Joseph Coelho as well as tips and techniques to help you bring your own poems to life in front of an audience. This would be a great book to share with a friend 😊

Poems from a green & blue planet
This stunning book celebrates our planet and the diversity of life that can be found on Earth. Explore mountaintop peaks, forests, deserts, deep blue oceans and discover all the animals and people that call this place home. You’ll find lots of different styles of poetry to enjoy as well – from haikus to sonnets, from rap to love poems.

Poems out loud! : first poems to read and perform
The poems in this book demand to be spoken OUT LOUD! Featuring poetry from award winning poets as well as hip-hop artists and spoken-word performers, this exciting collection will have you laughing, thinking and joining in! Includes a CD so you can listen to the performances yourself – and maybe even get a few tips!

Also available as an eAudiobook.

This poem is a nest / Latham, Irene
This beautiful book introduces children to the concept of found poetry. The author writes a 37-line poem, “Nest,” then finds 160 smaller poems or “nestlings” within it. The nestlings cover a wide variety of topics – from emotions and wild animals to planets and natural wonders. A wonderfully creative book that also includes tips on how to write to your own found poem.

Also available as an eBook.

Tiger, tiger, burning bright!
Do you love animals by any chance? Well if you do, this is most definitely the poetry book for you! An animal poem for every day of the year – that is a mind boggling 366 poems! (366 to take into account leap years) Included are both classic and contemporary poems that have been brought together from around the world. Bonus – the illustrations in this book are SPECTACULAR!

Woke : a young poet’s call to justice / Browne, Mahogany L.
A vibrant collection of poems tackling social justice issues to inspire and empower kids to create their own poetry and speak out on issues that are important to them.

Tūhono 2021: We Want Your Poems

Tūhono, Wellington City Libraries’ poetry journal for kids and teens, is open for submissions until 14 November 2021! All throughout the month of October (and part of November), we are accepting submissions of poetry from young writers aged 5 – 18 in Wellington City. Last time we had so many poems that it was hard to fit them all into a single book — so this time, we’ll be publishing two volumes — one for kids, and one for teens.

Unlike some other poetry journals, having your work accepted in Tūhono is not a competition — as long as you follow the rules of submission, every piece of work that gets submitted will be published. Tūhono itself — the collection of poetry from young people all over Wellington — will be published as an eBook on OverDrive, and in a limited print run for our libraries, so that everyone with a library card can borrow it and bask in your talent and glory! Check out Tūhono 2020 on OverDrive here.

Let your poetic thoughts take wing!

Here is all the information you need to submit a poem for inclusion in Tūhono 2021:

When?

  • Submissions will be open from 1 October – 14 November 2021.
  • The journal will be published and available to borrow from the library in December 2021.

Where?

  • Submissions for Tūhono 2021 have now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted. The journal will be published in late December 2021.

Who?

  • Everyone between the ages of 5 and 18 who lives in the Wellington region may participate.

What?

  • Theme: We want you to write a poem on the theme of “Whakaata | Reflection.” Exactly what this means to you is up to you — you could write a poem reflecting on something that has happened to you, you could write about a literal reflection in a mirror, window, or lake. The world is your oyster. We recommend you check out the definitions of the words ‘whakaata‘ and ‘reflection‘ in a dictionary to find out all the hidden meanings before you start writing. They don’t mean exactly the same thing — and that is intentional, to give you a wider range of stuff to write about.
  • LengthYour poem should not be longer than one A4 page typed, with size 12 font and 1.5 line spacing. Only one poem per person will be accepted.
  • Language: Your poem may be written in English or te reo Māori.

Why?

  • We want to give all young people in Wellington the opportunity to have their work published on an accessible platform. We think everyone deserves a platform and the chance to see something they created be part of the library’s collection, alongside all the great authors and poets represented on our shelves. The last edition of Tūhono proved itself to be a uniquely Wellington collection of writing, capturing the thoughts and emotions of kids and teens from all over the city and region across time. We are so excited to see what you come up with this time!

Throughout the month of October, we will be posting regular updates providing inspiration for your writing — so keep your eyes peeled! If you would like more information about Tūhono, you are more than welcome to contact the editors here. Happy writing, everyone!

Tūhono Returns This October

We have some exciting news to share with you — this October and November, we will again be inviting Wellington poets aged 5-18 to submit poems to our journal, Tūhono. Next week we will be sharing more details with you, including the new theme, the submission deadline, and other cool stuff — so why not take the time now to get inspired by checking out Tūhono 2020 on OverDrive?

Tūhono is Wellington City Libraries’ very own poetry journal for young poets aged 5-18. Unlike some other poetry journals, having your work accepted in Tūhono is not a competition — as long as you follow the rules of submission, every piece of work that gets submitted will be published. Tūhono first came into being last year, and was a roaring success, with nearly 200 of you submitting poetry on the theme of ‘connection’ during the month of November and being published in the inaugural volume. We can’t wait to see what you create this time.

Once you’ve checked out the original Tūhono, why not check out some of our other poetry eBooks for Kids? We’ve added some of our favourites below!

Overdrive cover Tūhono 2020, Wellington City Libraries (ebook)

Tūhono : connection. This is the theme that binds together all 197 poems you are about to read, which were contributed by young Wellington writers aged 5-18 and collected by Wellington City Libraries throughout the month of November 2020. The year 2020 was challenging for many people. Some had to spend time apart from their friends and the people they love. Some had to find ways to live with uncertainty and the sense that everything might not be okay in the world. But taken together, these poems represent a constellation of thoughts, ideas, worries, anxieties, hopes, loves, and dreams about how we find ways to connect, even in the face of adversity. (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover When We Were Very Young, A. A. Milne (ebook)

Composed of dozens of poems by the author who has delighted generations of children and adults alike with characters such as Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin, Piglet, and Eeyore, When We Were Very Young is a warm, whimsical journey through childhood that includes such classic verses as “Halfway Down,” “Teddy Bear” (which introduced Pooh to the world), “At the Zoo,” “The King’s Breakfast,” “Shoes and Stockings,” and “Buckingham Palace,” plus many more. (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Poems Aloud, Joseph Coelho (ebook)

Poems are made to read OUT LOUD! Perfect for confident children and shy readers alike, this book teaches all sorts of clever ways to performing poetry. Children will learn 20 techniques for reading aloud by trying out 20 funny and thoughtful original poems by the much-loved and award-winning performance poet, Joseph Coelho. There are tongue twisters, poems to project, poems to whisper, poems to make you laugh. There are poems to perform to a whole class and others to whisper in somebody’s ear. Richly textured, warm and stylish illustration by Daniel Gray-Barnett bring each page to life. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Is This a Poem?, Roger Stevens (ebook)

Do you like poems? Are you sure you know what one is?!
Join popular poet Roger Stevens for a trip through the different types of poetry: from advertising jingles to football chants, and from free verse to rap. Then, why not have a go at writing a poem of your own? (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, T. S. Eliot (ebook)

Cats! Some are sane, some are mad and some are good and some are bad.

Meet magical Mr Mistoffelees, sleepy Old Deuteronomy and curious Rum Tum Tugger. But you’ll be lucky to meet Macavity because Macavity’s not there! In 1925 T.S. Eliot became co-director of Faber & Faber, who remain his publishers to this day. Throughout the 1930s he composed the now famous poems about Macavity, Old Deuteronomy, Mr Mistoffelees and many other cats, under the name of ‘Old Possum’. In 1981 Eliot’s poems were set to music by Andrew Lloyd Webber as Cats which went on to become the longest-running Broadway musical in history. (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussy-cat, Julia Donaldson (Audiobook)

Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson revisits Edward Lear’s favourite rhyme in this wonderful audio edition of a new story set in a nonsensical land full of adventure. When their beautiful golden ring is stolen, the Owl and the Pussy-cat must travel far from the safety of the Bong-tree glade as their search for the thief leads them across the Sea, to the Chankly Bore and beyond…This lovely audio download features a reading of the poem by Julia Donaldson and a performance of the poem set to music, written and performed by Julia Donaldson (vocals) and Malcolm Donaldson (guitar). (Overdrive description)

Tūhono — We Want Your Poems!

We are excited to announce that Wellington City Libraries is launching its very own poetry journal for kids and teens — Tūhono! All throughout the month of November, we will be accepting submissions of poetry from young writers aged 5 – 18 in Wellington City. Unlike some other poetry journals, having your work accepted in Tūhono is not a competition — as long as you follow the rules of submission, every piece of work that gets submitted will be published. Tūhono itself — the collection of poetry from young people all over Wellington — will be published as an eBook on OverDrive, so that everyone with a library card can borrow it and bask in your talent and glory!

Let your poetic thoughts take wing!

Here is all the information you need to submit a poem for inclusion in Tūhono 2020:

When?

  • Submissions will be open from 1 – 30 November 2020.
  • The journal will be published and available to borrow from the library in December 2020.

Where?

  • Submissions for Tūhono 2020 have now closed. Thank you to everyone who sent us their work!

Who?

  • Everyone between the ages of 5 and 18 who lives in the Wellington region may participate.

What?

  • Theme: We want you to write a poem on the theme of “Tūhono — Connection.” Exactly what this means to you is up to you — you could write about your family; friends; your connection with history or your place in the world; disconnection during lockdown — anything at all. We can’t wait to see what you create!
  • LengthYour poem should not be longer than one A4 page typed, with size 12 font and 1.5 line spacing. Only one poem per person will be accepted.
  • Language: Your poem may be written in English or te reo Māori.

Why?

  • We want to give all young people in Wellington the opportunity to have their work published in an accessible platform. We think everyone deserves a platform and the chance to see something they created be part of the library’s collection, alongside all the great authors and poets represented on our shelves. We hope that Tūhono grows into a uniquely Wellington collection of writing, capturing the thoughts and emotions of kids and teens from all over the city and region across time. We are so excited to see what you come up with!

Throughout the month of November, we will be posting regular updates providing inspiration for your writing — so keep your eyes peeled! If you would like more information about Tūhono, you are more than welcome to contact the editors here. Happy writing, everyone!