Posted in The School Magazine

The School Magazine November 2019

The School Magazine

The School Magazine is Australia’s most-loved and longest-running literary publication for children. The four magazines under The School Magazine imprint have been introducing young readers to a world of words for more than a century. The secret of its enduring success is the quality literature which engages and inspires young readers.”

This month’s post will highlight the poems and poets that appear in November’s issues of the magazine.

And first up this month is little old me – Jackie Hosking

Jackie’s poem, Metamorphosis, appears in ORBIT and is one of the poems that can be heard on YouTube read by the lovely Geoffrey McSkimming.


I wrote this poem in Canberra during my May Gibbs Creative Time Fellowship and I wrote it in ‘Notes’ because I didn’t have office on my laptop. And when I look back ‘Notes’ informs me that I wrote it on 22nd April which is my oldest son’s birthday. I don’t think I realised that at the time but isn’t that beautiful – in a way I was the chrysalis for my baby. Anyhoo, I remember I was standing facing the bed, and maybe I needed a hug, and it just tumbled out, fully formed although I may have originally said, I wrapped myself around myself….but that’s not what I wrote down.

Any news?

So much news! I have a picture book coming out with Larrikin House, illustrated by Leah Russack, two picture books coming out with Walker Books , one illustrated by Lesley Vamos, the other by Nathaniel Eckstrom and the one coming out with Scholastic Australia is being illustrated by Shane McG and fingers crossed I may have some more news soon. And of course I’m always looking forward to seeing my poems in the wonderful School Magazine!


Jackie is a children’s author and poet. Her most favourite thing to do is write in rhyme and metre and her second most favourite thing to do is to help others write in rhyme and metre. She puts together a kitlit ezine every Monday for anyone and everyone interested in the Children’s Book Industry. You can find out more about this ezine here PASS IT ON and she runs an editing service for writers of rhyme and metre. If you’d like to get in touch with Jackie you can email her at – she’d love to hear from you.

Next, please welcome Anne Bell

No website (yet) dinosaurs are dodgy with computers

Anne’s poem, Elsewhere, appears in ORBIT. She also has another poem, Daniel Dog Takes the Sun to Obedience School, in BLAST OFF.

“Elsewhere” fell into my mind when I’d spent a frustrating time trying to find someone to help with some repairs – everyone and everything seemed to be “elsewhere”. It was comforting to find the dog in situ when I returned home – and overjoyed to greet me. I wondered why everyone wanted to be somewhere else.

Any news?

Coming up(31st October -8th December) ART-WORD-PLACE at Tamworth Regional Gallery. A celebration of local landscapes of NSW, wherein artists interpret the written word of a literary partner. Maree Kelly and I worked together on this concept. This concept was conceived by Arts Northwest to display during their conference.


I’ve written poetry for yonks – publishing in The Bulletin while still at school (this makes me the original dinosaur). Published in numerous anthologies and magazines in Australia and overseas. Chance meeting with Lilith Norman, then Editor of the School Magazine set me on another course. Fortunately the muse still sits on my shoulder and that happy association continues. Awards include twice winner Henry Lawson Award, shortlisted NSW Premiers Award, Notable Book CBA. Also as (Anne Knight) a Printmaker.

And next up we have Annaleise Byrd


Annaleise’s poem, Peg Leg Problems, appears in BLAST OFF and it can also be heard here on YouTube.


I wrote this poem for a competition on author Vivian Kirkfield’s blog in March 2019. The task was to write a story with a beginning, middle and end… using only 50 words (or less!). Peg Leg Problems didn’t place in the competition, but someone suggested I submit it to a children’s magazine… so I did!


Annaleise Byrd woke up one day with her head full of story ideas and set about becoming an author. When she’s not writing (or reading) books, Annaleise enjoys strumming her guitar, building precarious Lego spaceships with her two young sons, and talking all things bookish at The Byrd and the Bookworms. She lives in Brisbane.

A big hello to Pat Simmons


Pat’s poem, Sally’s Secret, appears in BLAST OFF.

I’m ashamed to say that I can’t remember how this poem came to be. I wrote it a few years ago and it sat in my files until I submitted it to School Magazine. I’m absolutely hopeless with keys and have misplaced so many over the years that I truly believe that there’s a Sally in my life somewhere.

Any news?

Pat’s picture books, Ziggy’s Zoo illustrated by Vicky Pratt and published by Little Pink Dog Books and Little Spiral illustrated by Patrick Shirvington, published by Little Steps Publishing, entered the world in 2018. In October 2019, Little Spiral was released in the UK and USA. Her picture book, George, also published by Little Steps Publishing was released in 2019. Her fourth picture book, The Cat Thief will be published by Little Pink Dog Books in 2021.


Pat lives at Scarborough on the NSW south coast.

She’s a writer of poems, short stories, flash fiction and children’s picture books.

Next on the blog please welcome Jenny Erlanger

Jenny’s poem, Change of view, appears in COUNTDOWN and can also be heard on YouTube here.


This poem was first published in The School Magazine in 2008 and has now been reprinted – once more with an illustration by Tohby Riddle – in November 2019. 

The inspiration for the poem came from my own experiences as a child of hanging upside down from a tree branch in a huge park just across the road from my house.  I couldn’t help marveling at how different everything looked from this angle. The sky really does look like a vast bowl and the absence of anything but lightly waving leaves on the edges and white fluffy clouds inside creates a sense of serenity in the viewer.

Any news?

I am eagerly awaiting the publication of some further poems submitted to The School Magazine.


I am an Australian poet specialising in rhyming children’s poetry.  My anthology, Giggles and Niggles was published by Haddington Press in 2007 and since then I have had poems published in twenty editions of The School Magazine, in several issues of the Caterpillar magazine and in six anthologies : Hopscotch (Jelli-Beanz Publishing, 2011), Our Home is Dirt by Sea (Walker Books, 2016), Short and Twisted (Celepene Press, 2016), One Minute till Bedtime (Little, Brown and Company), Play (Paper Dart Press, 2018) and Fire burn, Cauldron Bubble (Bloomsbury  Publishing, 2019).

My website is a work in progress at the moment, but I can be contacted via email (

And a very friendly wave to Peter Friend


Peter’s poem, Stop motion, appears in TOUCHDOWN and can also be heard on YouTube here.


This was one of those poems that was inspired in a moment, as you can probably tell for yourself after reading the text. I was in my house. The curtains were open just a little, revealing a sliver of green lawn outside. Suddenly a magpie appeared in just that little patch of visible lawn, and a moment later was gone again. So, really, the poem was simply playing with that tiny moment in time, putting the experience into words and thinking about it. I wrote the poem in free verse, which is unusual for me. Usually I write poems with definite rhythm and rhyme. But free verse “worked” for this sort of impressionistic poem. It meant I could focus freely on the ideas, images and word-sounds. The main idea, as the reader can see, involved a comparison with digital photography. My sighting of the magpie was like a single frame of a stop motion film, suggesting movement both before and after. This one moment was stuck in my memory (so it’s a poem about memory too) and was a moment “for future editing,” as the last line says – which ironically could also refer to the writing of the poem itself!

Any news?

Peter continues to write poetry and fiction whenever he can. His book What’s the Matter, Aunty May? was rereleased as a paperback by Little Hare Books in 2019. Peter’s latest book-writing project is taking him repeatedly to the zoo, a place where, he says, he feels very at home.


Peter Friend is an Australian children’s poet and author. More than fifty of his poems and some twenty of his short stories have appeared in The School Magazine. Peter is also the author of the picture book What’s the Matter, Aunty May? (Little Hare Books, illustrated by Andrew Joyner), which was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award and was a CBCA Notable book. His short children’s fantasy adventure novel, The Cliff Runner, was published by Blake Education. His writing interests are broad, ranging from nature-inspired pieces to fantasy and crazy comedy. In his spare time, Peter also works as a college lecturer, teaching ancient languages.

Now please welcome Charlotte Barkla

Charlotte’s poem, Prince Uncharming, appears in TOUCHDOWN. Here’s a teaser…

‘I can help, easy done,’ and the prince flashed a smile.

‘After all, I’m the best guy around by a mile!’

I wanted to write a fun, humorous story in the ‘fractured fairytale’ genre. The story turns the traditional Sleeping Beauty / Prince Charming storyline on its head, literally. (Spoiler alert: Prince Charming ends up being subjected to the Princess’s judo moves.) 

Any news?

My first three books are coming out next year – so 2020 will be an exciting (and busy) year! 

My debut picture book, All Bodies are Good Bodies, will be published by Hardie Grant Egmont (under the Little Hare imprint) in January:

Click here

The first two books in my middle-grade series, Edie’s Experiments, will be published by Penguin Random House (under the Puffin imprint), in February and July. Book 1, How to Make Friends, is online now:

Click here


I’m an Adelaide-based writer who worked as a civil engineer and physics teacher before rediscovering my love for children’s literature. My first three children’s books will be published in 2020.

Posted in The School Magazine

The School Magazine October 2019

The School Magazine

The School Magazine is Australia’s most-loved and longest-running literary publication for children. The four magazines under The School Magazine imprint have been introducing young readers to a world of words for more than a century. The secret of its enduring success is the quality literature which engages and inspires young readers.”

This month’s post will highlight the poems and poets that appear in October’s issues of the magazine.

First up please welcome Carrie (CL) Clickard

Carrie’s poem, Bongo Bellies, appears in ORBIT, you can also hear it being read on YouTube here.


As a life long dragon fancier I’ve always got some dragonish idea rolling around in my head. Last year, Bongo Bellies came about after watching a wildlife documentary about the Amazon with a marvelous soundtrack of drums. I started thinking  if this is supposed to be about wildlife, who is playing those drums? Naturally for me, it had to be dragons. And ba-da-boom, Bongo Bellies was born.

Any news?

Most recently Carrie has published her fourth children’s picture book, Thomas Jefferson and the Mammoth Hunt, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. 


Born in the Midwest and transplanted to Florida Carrie Clickard has spent every free moment with a book in her hand or one in her head waiting to be written.  A band, drum corps and drama geek throughout high school, she graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in advertising and quirky roommates. Having worked as a colorguard instructor, copywriter, pressroom manager and marketing VP, she credits her writing success to a firm belief that dragons exist and that competitive baton twirling should be an Olympic sport. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Highlights, Cricket, Ladybug, Andromeda Spaceways, Spellbound, and Under the Juniper Tree. 

Dumpling Dreams, Simon and Schuster, Paula Wiseman
Magic for Sale  Holiday House
Victricia Malicia, Flashlight Press

Next up we have Kristin Martin

Kristin’s poem, On the Pond, appears in COUNTDOWN

This poem was first published in To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme? written by Kristin Martin and illustrated by Joanne Knott (Glimmer Press, 2019).

I wrote this poem after going for a walk in the Adelaide parklands and coming across a pond full of cloud reflections. I love clouds, but I’d rarely paid attention to their reflection in water. Now I notice them everywhere!

Any news?

Kristin will be speaking at the Marion WordFest in southern Adelaide in late October. She’d love to see you there! Her meet the author session is free, but bookings are essential.

Book Here


Kristin Martin is the author of two poetry collections, To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme? published by Glimmer Press in 2019, and Paint the Sky, published byGinninderra Press in 2016. Her poems and short stories are published in numerous anthologies, including Tadpoles in the Torrens and Wild, in magazines, including Page Seventeen, Orbit, Count Down, Blast Off and The Caterpillar, on websites and in art exhibitions. She lives in Adelaide near the sea, where she spends much of her time admiring the clouds.

Glimmer Press

A big hello to Claire Saxby


Claire’s poem, Pelican Landing, appears in ORBIT

Pelicans just look too big to be able to fly – just like planes. Yet both can lift off the ground, stay aloft and land gently as if were nothing (which of course is part of the skill – making it look effortless). Watching a pelican ease down is as mesmeric as watching a plane. All the muscles/motors, feathers/flaps, speed and direction just seem to happen. I like finding the similarities between disparate entities and painting a picture to inspire young readers to look more closely at this wonderful world in which we live. 

Any news?

Upcoming releases include: ‘Kookaburra’, illustrated by Tannya Harricks (Walker Books Australia); ‘Treasure’ illustrated by Tull Suwannakit (Scholastic) and Haywire (Scholastic). More details can be found at


I am a writer of fiction, non-fiction and poetry for children. My work is published, and has been awarded, both here and internationally. ‘Anzac Billy’, a picture book illustrated by Mark Jackson and Heather Potter (Black Dog Books) was released in 2019. ‘Dingo’ a Nature Storybook picture book illustrated by Tannya Harricks and published by Walker Books Australia was co-winner of the 2019 NSW Premier’s Literary Award (Patricia Wrightson). It also won a Whitley Award and was shortlisted in the CBCA New Illustrator’s Award. 

Next up we have Neridah McMullin and facebook

Neridah’s poem, Washing Day, appears in BLAST OFF

I wrote this poem in January this year as part of my ‘Month of Poetry’. MOP is a FB group I’ve been a part of for the last five years. I do MOP every year in January and the idea is to write a poem a day and every Saturday there are set challenges to write poetry using different forms. It’s a great discipline and is great fun with a very supportive bunch of poets.

My poem ‘Washing Day’ is free verse and was inspired by two things. My youngest child had a teddy whom he loved (still loves) dearly and took everywhere with him. He always became stressed when teddy had to be washed. And trust me, he needed to be washed. My youngest would cry at the washing machine and wail at the clothesline until teddy was dry and back in his arms. I always told him teddy was having a great time in the washing machine and loved being in the sun on the clothesline. Anyway, the other thing that inspired my poem was that I also love to browse through pics on Pinterest (I always use an image to write a poem) and I found this pic (attached) which reminded me of my youngest and his teddy.

Any news?

I’ve got two new picture books coming out in 2021, one with Walker Books and the other with National Library of Australia.


Neridah McMullin has written seven books for children. Her recent picture book ‘Fabish: a horse that braved a Bushfire’ published by Allen & Unwin, was shortlisted in 2017 CBCA Book of the Year in the Eve Pownall Information Books category.

Neridah loves to write true stories, animal stories and Australian History stories. She also loves to write poetry and has been published in several magazines in Australia and overseas. Neridah was a recipient of a Maurice Saxby Mentorship in 2013 and was awarded a May Gibbs Creative Time Fellowship in 2017. Neridah loves reading in bed and walking her dog, she also enjoys meeting other people’s dogs.

Please welcome Kate Williams

Kate’s poem, Dragon in the Sky, appears in COUNTDOWN


I’m excited by glimpses, traces, hints of what we can’t quite make out – a distant horizon, a muffled sound, a strange scent… so why not signals of a passing dragon? I decided to keep back that word ‘dragon’ until the end of the poem, so readers could keep guessing and imagining with the observer. It was fascinating to write, but I never guessed it would be accompanied by such a thrilling picture. David Legge’s cloud-camouflaged creature sets the poem a-quiver.


Kate has about 200 published poems for children, many of them in The School Magazine, and others contributing to books, such as the recent Poems About... anthologies chosen by Brian Moses for Wayland publishers (details on her website).

Kate lives in drizzly Wales in the UK, but writes about Australian beaches, Amazon jungles and all sorts. She loves the fact that a poem can be about absolutely anything, and can be stretched, squeezed and twisted however you like – such fun!

Kate provides poetry workshops and child-friendly readings for schools in the UK. Details on her website.

And a very warm welcome to Jenny Erlanger

Jenny’s poem, One day…, appears in BLAST OFF.

A number of times in my writing I’ve enjoyed applying a bit of a twist to common or idiomatic expressions that lend themselves to misinterpretation.  Normally when we start a sentence with “One day…”, the activities which follow are not intended as events to be completed within a twenty-four hour period. 

Any news?

I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the German translation of One Minute till Bedtime.  I’m very curious, as I’m sure many other contributors are, to find out how the German translators managed to maintain a rhyming structure in the rhyming poems they were allocated.


I am an Australian poet specialising in rhyming children’s poetry.  My anthology, Giggles and Niggles was published by Haddington Press in 2007 and since then I have had poems published in twenty editions of The School Magazine, in several issues of the Caterpillar magazine and in six anthologies : Hopscotch (Jelli-Beanz Publishing, 2011), Our Home is Dirt by Sea (Walker Books, 2016), Short and Twisted (Celepene Press, 2016), One Minute till Bedtime (Little, Brown and Company), Play (Paper Dart Press, 2018) and Fire burn, Cauldron Bubble (Bloomsbury  Publishing, 2019).

My website is a work in progress at the moment, but I can be contacted via email (

Now please welcome Sally Murphy

Sally’s poem, Rain, appears in ORBIT

I wrote this poem in 2011, and it was first published in the School Magazine in 2014, so I must confess that my recollection of when and why I wrote the poem is a bit vague. However, rereading the poem I can see that I brought together two of my favourite topics – whales and clouds., and that in the poem I really tried to extend the metaphor of the clouds as whales, focussing on their colour, their migration and the way whales blow.  I love to play with metaphor and I think that comes across here.

Any news?

My latest book is My Australian Story: Bushfire (Scholastic Australia, 2019) , and coming in 2020 I have a new verse novel Worse Things, being published by Walker Books.


I am a children’s author, poet, and teacher. I love poetry so much I spent more than three years focussing on children’s poetry for my PhD, so I like to say I’m a Doctor of Poetry, but this suggests I know everything about poetry – and really, I feel like there is so much more to learn.  The best thing about poetry, though, is you don’t need to be an expert – and I am happiest when experimenting with putting words together to try to make someone else smile, or laugh or sigh with satisfaction.  When I’m not writing I work at a university teaching future teachers. And when I’m not doing that you can find me walking on the beach, or swimming, or reading.

And welcome back Sandi Leibowitz

Sandi’s poem, Beware of Dragons, appeared in TOUCHDOWN


A number of years ago I wrote a book of poems “by” dragons, which included an entire world in it. “Beware of Dragons” was the last poem in the collection. The book never got published and I decided to work that world and the poems into a novel. This poem no longer fit the novel version and I had to edit it out. I hope my story of how the dragons moved from our known world to a world touching but distinct from ours, and their subsequent adventures, will someday end up in readers’ hands. I can’t express how much I love the superb illustration Jenny Tan has created for this poem in the School Magazine, and how over the moon I am over Geoffrey McSkimming’s superb reading. He sounds exactly how I imagine the speaker of this poem to talk—in fact, I’m wondering if he isn’t actually a dragon in disguise. 

Any news?

I write poetry and fiction for children, as well as fantasy fiction and poetry, often based on myths and fairy tales, for adults. I’ve written two books of poems for adults, Eurydice Sings and the Elgin-nominated The Bone-Joiner. My adult fantasy poems have won second- and third-place Dwarf Star awards and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Rhysling and Best of the Net awards. I founded and edit Sycorax Journal, an online poetry magazine for adults, and Sycorax Press, a poetry micropress.    


I have pounded keys in a typing pool, proof-read for a medical magazine, planned galas behind the caribou diorama at NY’s Museum of Natural History, ghost-written grant proposals for a monsignor, and currently hook kids on books as an elementary-school librarian.  

Music is an important part of my life. I’ve performed with numerous choruses, created and directed an all women’s madrigal group, and co-founded an early music ensemble in which I sang and played recorders, psaltery, and other instruments. I love to travel, and have set foot on a glacier in Norway and a volcano in Greece, and ridden in a hot-air balloon over the Rio Grande, but I haven’t gotten to Australia yet.  


Posted in The School Magazine

The School Magazine September

The School Magazine is Australia’s most-loved and longest-running literary publication for children. The four magazines under The School Magazine imprint have been introducing young readers to a world of words for more than a century. The secret of its enduring success is the quality literature which engages and inspires young readers.

Here is the second post where I highlight the poems and the poets who wrote them in the September issues of The School Magazine.

Reposting as part of Poetry Friday

Hosted this week at Jama’s Alphabet Soup

Following Jama’s lead I too would like to share one of Father Goose’s poems that appeared in last month’s issue of our beloved The School Magazine.

First up is Charles Ghigna

Facebook: Charles Ghigna Facebook
Facebook: Father Goose Facebook
Blog: Father Goose Books Blog

Charles’s poem, Nervous Vegies appears in COUNTDOWN

Nervous Vegies! on the YouTube Channel

My granddaughter and I love puns and word play. I wrote this one for her while we were sitting at the kitchen table eating some of the vegetables that showed up in the poem.

Here’s a pic of my granddaughter, Charlotte Rose picking blackberries. 
She’s the one who inspired the veggies poem.

Any news?

Two new books. Dear Poet: Notes to a Young Writer and Stones: The Collected Short Poems of Charles Ghigna


Charles Ghigna – Father Goose® lives in a treehouse in the middle of Alabama. He is the author of more than 100 books from Disney, Hyperion, Random House, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Time Inc. and other publishers. He has written more than 5,000 poems for children and adults that have appeared in anthologies, newspapers and magazines ranging from The New Yorker and Harper’s to Highlights and Cricket magazines. He served as poet-in-residence and chair of creative writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, instructor of creative writing at Samford University, poetry editor of English Journal for the National Council of Teachers of English, and as a nationally syndicated poetry feature writer for Tribune Media Services. He speaks at schools, conferences, libraries, and literary events throughout the U.S. and overseas, and has read his poems at The Library of Congress, The John F. Kennedy Center, American Library in Paris, American School in Paris, and the International Schools of South America. For more information, visit his website at

Charles’s Books


The Night the Forest Came to Town – 2019 Green Earth Book Award Nominee

Alabama: My Home Sweet Home – 2019 Reach Out and Read Book

Who Can? – 2018 CCBC Best Books for Kids Starred Selection

Tiny Tales: Four Book Series – 2018 Accelerated Readers

First Times – 2018 CCBC Best Books for Kids

A Carnival of Cats – 2017 Kirkus Starred Review

A Parade of Puppies – 2017 CCBC Best Books for Kids

Strange Unusual Gross & Cool Animals – 2017 NSTA Outstanding Science Book


Dear Poet: Notes to a Young Writer

Stones: The Collected Short Poems of Charles Ghigna


Books for Children

Books for Adults




Next say hello to Janeen Brian

Janeen’s poem, If I Stretched My Tongue, appears in BLAST OFF

I can’t remember the exact trigger, but I sense that it was simply a case of me playing around with an idea; ie. how far can you stretch your tongue? Of course, it was great fun, then, to keep on exaggerating until the tongue became incredibly and humorously long. And it gave me a chance to combine words to work with the rhyming pattern.

Any news?

I’ve just signed a contract with Walker Books for a mid-grade, magic realism novel called Eloise and the Bucket of Stars.

Within the next 18 months I will have four new books published.

Work is progressing for a statue to be made of the dinosaur character from Ann James’ and my award-winning and best-selling picture book, I’m a dirty dinosaur. In November 2019, it will be placed in the Storybook Walk in Thalassa Park, SA.


I am an award-winning, children’s author and poet with over 100 books published in both trade and educational publishing. I enjoy writing picture books, junior fiction, poetry, novels and non-fiction.

Many of my books have been translated and distributed worldwide while more than 200 stories, poems, plays and articles have been published in children’s magazines or anthologies.

I was the recipient of the 2012 Adelaide Festival of Literature Carclew Fellowship and in 2009 also received a May Gibbs’ Children’s Literature Trust Fellowship.

I am proud to be an Ambassador for Raising Literacy Australia (The Little Big Book Club.)

I love reading, creating mosaics, aqua-aerobics, Yoga, walking, gardening, travelling, craft work, singing, watching theatre and films and spending time with my family and friends. I live in the seaside city of Glenelg, in Adelaide, South Australia with my husband. I have two daughters and four grandchildren.

And here’s Beverley McWilliams

Beverley’s poem, Sock Monster, appears in BLAST OFF

Being a mother of four, I always end up with a plethora of odd socks. I keep a bag in the laundry which is forever blooming with socks awaiting the return of a long lost pair. I often tell my children that there’s a sock monster in our house…and from this, one odd sock morning, my poem was born. Writing poetry is a relatively new venture for me. The Sock Monster was the first poem I was brave enough to send out into the world so it was especially thrilling to have it accepted by The School Magazine and featured on their you tube channel.

Any news?

This year has proved to be a very exciting one. My debut picture book Born to Fly (illustrated by Timothy Ide) was published in August by MidnightSun Publishing.

Born to Fly is the story of pioneer South Australian aviator Captain Harry Butler and was written to coincide with the centenary of his historic mail flight.


Beverley McWilliams was born in North Yorkshire, England. She moved to Australia in 2008 and now lives in South Australia with her family and menagerie of pets who provide an endless source of inspiration. Beverley has worked in law, corporate tax and ran her own consultancy business, but she much prefers her life as a writer. Beverley particularly enjoys writing historical non-fiction. She has published a  picture book with MidnightSun Publishing and has written for a number of children’s magazines.

Mike Lucas is up next

Mike’s poem, The Exactly One Minute Poem, appears in COUNTDOWN

The story behind the poem – a few years ago, I was going to give up writing. I didn’t feel as if I was getting anywhere and I had writers’ block. I was sat on the toilet, looking at my phone, when I saw an email from Kenn Nesbitt. He had seen my poems on a website and wanted me to write some for his new anthology, One Minute Till Bedtime. KENN NESBITT!! Within a week I had written 19 poems, including this one, and sent them off. The one he chose wasn’t this one, but it got me back on the road and I put this poem, the others and more in my poetry books Big Silly and Little Sensible. The lesson in life is that a little positive reinforcement can do wonderful things. At schools I get the children to time me and I’m getting very good at getting it spot on! And the fact that I was sitting on the toilet – very apt for the humour in my poems.

Any news?

In 2020, I have two humorous books due for publication by Little Hare and Larrikin House.


Mike Lucas has written and published 5 books of nonsense poetry, had some work highly commended in Caterpillar magazine and contributed to Tadpoles in the Torrens, dedicated to Max Fatchen. He also had some work selected by US Poet Laureate, Kenn Nesbitt, which appeared in One Minute Till Bedtime by Little Brown, published in the US in 2016. His first picture book, Olivia’s Voice was published by MidnightSun in March 2017 and was a CBCA Notable. Vanishing, a picture book about animal extinction was published a year later.  He owns and runs a bookshop, and often visits schools and libraries for readings. He is also a full time engineer and has very little spare time.

Please welcome Raven Howell

Facebook Author page:

Raven’s poem, At the Museum, appears in ORBIT

Being a full time author, I write every day. Many of my poems I “cook up” and then “let simmer” for months and even years. At the Museum was written about a year before its publishing. I already had the poem organized the way I wanted it when I found that it may be a good match for an upcoming theme in The School Magazine.

The inspiration for my poem was the double wonder factor! What does that mean? First, history, our planet’s past, holds thousands of mysteries, some explained, some still unknown. It’s a vast, unique land of wonder for children to discover from a museum visit and some fun researching. At the same time, poetry is beautiful and enticing, often conveying some sense of wonder for the reader as well. Poetry can be a lantern of light on an as yet undiscovered path, or provide an enchanting echo that stays in the heart, beating.

Any news?

I’m very excited to report my upcoming picture book, So You Want a Puppy? has been scheduled a November 26th release date!

This rhyming children’s book in verse tells the story of a family welcoming a new dog into their home. The family learns how to train, care for, and share love with new dog Murray as they explore daily life adventures. Getting a new puppy is exciting, but it’s also a lot of work, and plenty of fun times abound!

Here’s my publisher’s pre-order link:

Meanwhile, my fractured fairytale, Jack and the Lean Stalk, was just picked up for publication. It’s possible it will be the first in a series, and I’m thrilled to be working with British illustrator Sarah Gledhill to make the book come to life!


Raven Howell is the author and poet of nine children’s books including Glimmer/Sing of Sun, Greetings! and the Mom’s Choice Award release, My Community. She writes poetry for a variety of magazines such as Highlights for Children, Humpty Dumpty, Cricket, Spider, and Hello Highlights. Her work is included in anthologies and educational publications.

Raven has received awards for poetry from the SCBWI and Poetry Soup. Other book awards include NABE’s Best Children’s Poetry Book, and Excellence in Children’s Literature. She enjoys sharing workshops and book presentations with children in schools and libraries, and serves as Creative & Publishing Advisor with RedClover Reader.

Her family, long dawn hikes, being at the beach, and munching on warm butterscotch chocolate chip cookies straight out of the oven are all sources of inspiration!

A big hello to Jill Carter-Hansen

Great Women Animators
SCBWI public profile

Jill’s poem, Song from Spring, appears in ORBIT

As a child brought up on a farm my love of Nature has never left me.  I often watch the birds in a nearby park and a few weeks ago noticed they were very noisy and competitive! The poem : Song from Spring emerged that evening  as I recalled their sounds…realising that Spring and fledglings would  soon be appearing. 

Any news?

I read a work of mine at the NSW Art Gallery last week…. part of the WoMAP program where I am Poet in Residence,   Hoping to attend the Don Banks writing evening this Wednesday…a reading – possibly including acapella- rendering of a couple of my own songs.   


Brief ART Biographical Details: 2019 Jill Carter-Hansen (aka Jill Stewart:)  Multidisciplinary Artist, Born in NZ Moved to Australia in 1987.MA hons –  University of Western Sydney  BFA – University of Auckland – Certificate in Animation – NSW TAFE

Jill is represented in both public and private collections in Australia & New Zealand . As a combined multi-mediums artist she has exhibited in many group exhibitions and solo shows and also reads/performs her written work at public venues.

Two off her three Artist’s films. were supported by the Australian Film Commission, NSW Film Office and CANON Australia,  These poetic experimental films  –  also screened in London, Germany, Italy & Belgium, have been awarded  Internationally. In addition to creating several Artist Books  (acquired by Rare Books Collections)   several of her children’s books (written and illustrated ) plus illustrations  for other authors – in image and word – for various publishing companies and news outlets  i.e. P/T  illustration work and photojournalism : Fairfax and other Publishers.

Jill – as a combined Mediums artist – has tutored and lectured part-time at major tertiary art Institutions in NZ and Australia, visited International collections (in Europe, Gt Britain and the USA, has held more than twenty solo shows and been represented in many group exhibitions. The subject-matter in her work often refers to JOURNEY – a metaphysical search to find a place of sanctuary.

Several of her children’s books have been published in Australia and her children’s poetry in both the NZ School Journal and currently the NSW School Magazine with other written pieces in anthologies. etc.  Jill also volunteers at two major health centres: assisting in programs: of Art as Therapy .ie POET IN RESIDENCE for RPAH in 2019.

And now please welcome Colin Varney


Colin’s poem, The Muttaburrasaurus Chorus, appears in ORBIT

Children have long been intrigued by the Jurassic antics of northern hemisphere giants like diplodocus, the gentle brontosaurus and the prehistoric delinquent, t-rex, but I felt our local Oz-saurs were being neglected. With a twinge of cultural cringe, I decided to become an ambassador for the humble muttaburrasaurus. Yet ultimately, this piece is less about dinosaurs and more about poetry itself. I’m not sure at which stage I decided to chime every line (except two) with “…saurus”, but I recognized this would enable me to indulge in my passion with wrought rhymes. In a way, it is anti-poetry: bludgeoning and unsubtle. I recall giggling as I scribbled it. Composed some time ago and graced with a witty illustration by Peter Sheehan, it has been reprinted twice in School Magazine.


Back in the mists of time, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I scripted for the children’s television series “Mulligrubs” and “Here’s Humphrey.” My picture book, “Jellylegs,” has been used to promote protective behaviours in children since 1996. It was reprinted in 2016.

I’ve had children’s stories and poems published in “Contagious” and “School Magazine” and adult fiction and articles in “Meanjin” [], “Kill Your Darlings” [], “The Lifted Brow” and elsewhere. I recently completed a Masters’ in creative writing at the University of Tasmania, under the aegis of the inspiring Danielle Wood (AKA Minnie Darke, author of “Star-crossed”). As a result, I wrote the adult novel, “Earworm,” a tragi-comedy narrated by a love song. It was published in 2018 by Margaret River Press.

And here’s Sandi Leibowitz


Sandi’s poem, Bridges, appears in TOUCHDOWN

I wrote the suite of poems “Bridges” because bridges play an important role in my life. I live in in Astoria, Queens (just named the eighth coolest neighborhood in the world!), part of New York City, which is situated on two rivers and made up mostly of islands, Manhattan being the most famous. The window of the room I write in looks out onto the 59th Street Bridge, which leads from Queens to Manhattan. At night it’s beautifully lit up with decorative lights called necklace lights. From my kitchen window, I can also see the Triboro Bridge, which I take to drive to work every day.  


I write poetry and fiction for children, as well as fantasy fiction and poetry, often based on myths and fairy tales, for adults. My adult fantasy poems have won second- and third-place Dwarf Star awards and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Rhysling and Best of the Net awards. I founded and edit Sycorax Journal, an online poetry magazine for adults, and Sycorax Press, a poetry micropress.   

I have pounded keys in a typing pool, proof-read for a medical magazine, planned galas behind the caribou diorama at NY’s Museum of Natural History, ghost-written grant proposals for a monsignor, and currently hook kids on books as an elementary-school librarian. 

Music is an important part of my life. I’ve performed with numerous choruses, created and directed an all women’s madrigal group, and co-founded an early music ensemble in which I sang and played recorders, psaltery, and other instruments. I love to travel, and have set foot on a glacier in Norway and a volcano in Greece, and ridden in a hot-air balloon over the Rio Grande, but I haven’t gotten to Australia yet.

And hello now to Renae Wilks

Renae’s poem, Her Story, appears in BLAST OFF

This poem was inspired by many of my dear old relatives, all of whom have sadly passed away.  I have always loved listening to stories told by older people and I have many beautiful memories of being curled up on the lounge next to my grandpa listening to his recollections of the ‘olden days’. The idea of focussing on the eyes as a repository of memories came about by thinking of my great aunty. She had the most beautiful blue eyes and, even though they faded and became a little watery as she grew older, there were times when they still danced with joy and mischief and youth.

I wrote this poem to highlight the precious nature of family history and the simple joy of listening to stories from the past. I also wanted to touch on the idea that, despite some of my older relatives suffering from dementia, they each had so much to offer. The poem was inspired by the theme of ‘History’ and I played with this word in order to come up with the title for my poem. Like many of my poems at the moment, this one was composed on the rocking chair in the wee hours!


As a little one, I always loved books, stories and poetry and I spent many hours in my own imaginary world. I published my first story on my mum’s old typewriter when I was four…I think it was two lines long! Now I have the privilege of helping children access the magical world of books through my work in education.  While I have always written as a hobby, I have only recently sent some of my work out into the big wide world. I am honoured to have many of my poems published by the wonderful School Magazine – a publication that I remember reading and collecting as a child. I currently live in a seaside city with my beautiful little family.

Posted in The School Magazine

The School Magazine August 2019

The School Magazine is Australia’s most-loved and longest-running literary publication for children. The four magazines under The School Magazine imprint have been introducing young readers to a world of words for more than a century. The secret of its enduring success is the quality literature which engages and inspires young readers.

There aren’t many outlets for Aussie Kidlit Poets in Australia which is why we all love The School Magazine so much.

Next month’s issues (August) are about to be released so I thought it might be fun to interview the poets whose poems will be appearing. As I receive their info I’ll add them to the post.

First up is Jenny Blackford.

Jenny has two poems, Pleiades in TOUCHDOWN and A Hairy Tank in BLAST OFF.

I’ve always loved the stars in the bright sky. The Pleiades is a small but particularly lovely constellation, a group of stars that people all over the world have identified as sisters. I wrote the poem a few years ago after I’d followed the nervy cat out into the night garden, looking at Taurus and the Pleiades over our north fence, trying to count the Pleiades for the umpteenth time. The poem started to coalesce in my head that night, and I worked on it for days until I was happy with it. “Pleiades” was included in my collection THE LOYALTY OF CHICKENS (Pitt Street Poetry 2017), and was nominated for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association’s annual Rhysling Award anthology. I sent it to the School Magazine before they started working with themes, and I’m delighted to see it appear now with the beautiful star illustration! The poem is dedicated to my friend Thoraiya, because her name means Pleiades in Lebanese.

“A Hairy Tank” was another free-range poem which I wrote after a friend who moved to country Victoria gave a very funny description of how the local wombats casually bulldozed and destroyed her garden every time she replanted it and put the bricks and stones back together. The idea demanded a rhythmic, rhyming poem. Once more, I sent it to the School Magazine before they introduced themes.

Any News?

My most exciting piece of news is that my middle-grade magic-mirror adventure novel THE GIRL IN THE MIRROR will be released by Eagle Books in only a few months: October 2019!!!

My website is

Next say hello to Kate O’Neil

Kate’s poem High Achievers appears in COUNTDOWN

Close to where I live on the Illawarra Coast of NSW you can climb from Austinmer up the escarpment to the Sublime Point cafe at the top. Our three daughters did this climb (and others) a number of times when they were quite young.This poem reveals the sneaky techniques used by parents to “encourage” children to face challenges. It also celebrates the joy the children feel when they achieve a goal.
Having a poem accepted by the School Magazine is a double reward for a writer. It’s so exciting to see the illustration when the magazine is published.

I first submitted this poem to the inaugural Manchester Writing for Children prize in 2014 (as part of a portfolio of poems). I was short-listed, and my poems were published in ‘Let in the Stars’, the anthology of the competition. From there it was selected by Roger McGough for his anthology ‘Happy Poems’ (Macmillan 2018).

Any news?

In December 2018, my collection ‘Cool Poems’ was published by Triple D Books, Wagga, and illustrated by Christina Booth. This poem is included.

The book ‘Cool Poems’ can be ordered through my website or by messaging me through Facebook.

My website is and I enjoy  banter (and sometimes serious discussions) with other poetry people on Facebook and elsewhere.

Third up is Val Neubecker

Val’s poem The Hyena’s Lament appears in ORBIT

Check out The Hyena’s Lament on YouTube

I seldom write to theme. I consider what would be interesting and informative for children and would be something that would also amuse them. I like to write in rhyme as it can increase the humour and I hope that humour encourages children to read. A lot of my work centres around animals.  Because of their appearances, the animals can be given appropriate personalities which can be an excellent tool for education within the storyline. I wrote this piece fairly quickly some time ago along with another poem, ‘The Hippopotamus’s Warning’ (Countdown, May 2019) after seeing a picture of an African jungle in a magazine. Apart from the humour, I wanted children to learn something about the animals. The hippopotamus poem was also featured on YouTube.


Val lives in Perth, Western Australia. She wrote scripts and songs for a theatre restaurant for 18 years. She has had three children’s books published:

‘The School Photograph’

‘An Alphabet of Australian Animals’

‘What Little Dragons Do’. 

Poems, short stories and plays have been published in the NSW School Magazine and some work in the NZ School Journal. She has diversified into music and had a book of children’s Christmas songs, ‘Ho! Ho! Ho! & Other Christmas Songs’, published in 2016, for which she composed the music and wrote the lyrics.

Val is the Poetry Coordinator for Creative Connections, an organisation where poets write poems to artworks created by artists with disabilities.  See If you’re in WA, the exhibition is on now until 11th August in Fremantle.

Any news?

I have just now ventured into publishing a children’s novel as an e-book, entitled ‘The Rock’.  Targeted at the 9-12 age group, this is a sci-fi adventure story about an alien searching for a big rock in Australia’s Red Centre.  Something a little different from my usual shorter works. It’s available from Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and other stores. And yes, it also features animals!  The link is

And a big hello to Mark Scrivener

Mark’s poem, Tree Frog appears in COUNTDOWN

This short poem was written living in the country near Lismore. Every so often a  big green tree frog would get into the downpipe from the roof sloping down to the water tank. He would use it to make the sound of his call louder. The pipe makes his sound louder rather in the way that a guitar has a body to make the sound of the string louder by vibrating with it. In this way his croak can be very loud especially when you’re trying to get to sleep at night!

The rhythm is made of four trochees – that is a sort of downbeat with the stress on the first syllable followed by a less stressed one e.g. hopping. The last word in each line is just one stressed syllable however and is rhymed.

Mark’s BIO

I live in the country near Lismore on the Northern Rivers region in New South Wales, Australia. Born many decades ago in Sydney, I have had many poems published in magazines and newspapers over the years and a few verse plays performed. I have also had verse riddles (Riddled) and brainteasers published in papers on a regular basis for over a decade. In particular I have had many poems for younger readers published in the NSW School Magazine.

Where you can find Mark

A blog of my poetry can be found by searching for Mark Scrivener Poems and their Backgrounds.

Last post –  

Any link will only take you to one page. To find others click on the dates on the right side.

Free mp3 audio tracks of music and poems to hear or download –

A free plain text version of previous poems in the  School Magazine to download or read as an e book can be found in various places by searching for “The Midas Bird Mark Scrivener”.

Next up we have Stephen Whiteside

Stephen’s poem, The Slugs Inside Our Compost Bin appears in COUNTDOWN

This poem was written rather differently to how I generally write. I normally write a poem, and then think about a title. In this case, I looked inside our compost bin one day, saw all these sleek, healthy slugs, and thought “there must be a poem for children in that!”

So I began with the title, and tried to work out what the poem might be. I remember I was a fair way into it before I realised what it was going to be about, and how it would end, but once I did, it seemed like the natural way to go.

It probably took about twenty minutes to write and no, obviously, it was not written to a theme.

Stephen’s BIO

Stephen Whiteside has been writing rhyming verse for many years. Many of his poems have been published in magazines and anthologies, both in Australia and overseas, or won awards. In 2014, his collection of poetry for children, “‘The Billy That Died With Its Boots On’ and Other Australian Verse”, was published by Walker Books. In 2015, the book won a Golden Gumleaf for ‘Book of the Year’ at the Australian Bush Laureate Awards during the Tamworth Country Music Festival. Unfortunately the book is now out of print.

Any news?

His poem ’There’s Water’ was published in Issue 22 (July/August 2019) of ‘root & star’ magazine in the U.S.
Another of his poems has been shortlisted in the YorkMix Poems for Children competition (2019).
Two of his poems, ‘Dad Meets the Martians’ and ’The Sash’, were included in the anthology ’This is Home – Essential Australian Poems for Children’, published by NLA Publishing in 2019.

‘Dad Meets the Martians’ and ’The Sash’

On YouTube

Several of Stephen’s poems, including ‘The Slugs Inside Our Compost Bin’ have been recorded by NSW School Magazine for YouTube.
They can be found here:

Stephen has placed another of his poems, ’The Chinstrap Penguin’, on YouTube. It can be found here:
He has also placed a song, ‘Heartbeat’, on YouTube, here:

And last but by no means least say a big hello to Vanessa Proctor

Vanessa’s poem Hailstone appears in ORBIT

One Sunday afternoon I was at home with my children when there was a massive storm. Huge chunks of ice began to fall from the sky and, as clichéd as it sounds, they were golf ball-sized. The hailstones fell so hard that they smashed my garden pots and turned the garden white. Once the storm was over my children rushed outside to collect the hailstones and store them in the freezer. This got me thinking about the power of nature, so I wrote a poem about hail. Most of my poetry is written about things that I’ve seen or experienced. I like to create images in my poems and tend to write in free verse rather than rhyme. I am always thrilled to have a poem published in The School Magazine. The illustrations are wonderful and add so much to the text. I love the thought that children are reading my work.

Vanessa’s BIO

I’m President of the Australian Haiku Society and I really enjoy writing sharing haiku. I write poetry for children, haiku and free verse for adults. Sydney is my home. I live with my husband, two children and a house full of animals. My four cheeky chooks are determined to move into my house. My poems for children have been published in The School Magazine, The School Journal (New Zealand) and The Caterpillar (Ireland).

Any news?

I’ll be reading haiku and leading a ginko (haiku walk) at the Sydney Cherry Blossom Festival at Auburn Botanic Gardens on Thursday 22nd August at 10.30am. I’m currently working on a book of poetry for children.