Archive for the ‘poetry’ Category


Today we introduce a new Friday feature — Alphabet Soup will be featuring a book creator every Friday who will answer one question. And then they will ask one question of the next Friday’s visitor. (It’s kind of like a book relay in slow motion.)

We’re thrilled to have Kathryn Apel visiting for our first ever Pass the Book Baton! Kathryn writes poetry, picture books, novels and verse novels. You might know some of her books from the photo below.


Kathryn starts our interview series, so we asked Joseph to give her an interview question. (Joseph is 12, and is one of our Top Reads team members. He has reviewed Kathryn’s verse novels for Alphabet Soup.)

Q. I really enjoyed Bully on the Bus and On Track, both verse novels. But you’ve written other books, too. Why did you decide to write those two books as verse novels?

A. Verse novels very often deal with issues that have a lot of heart. They have humour and laughter too, but I think the raw emotions are key. I really wanted to try writing a verse novel, and chose a topic that would interest sporty kids. My first attempt was a verse novel about training, with threads of sibling rivalry and self-doubt. But I didn’t get far before I panicked. In fact, I’d only written 139 words! (I think I was feeling that self-doubt!)

Bully on the busI put it away to think about (or forget about) and went back to polishing a manuscript about bullying. It was a chapter book I’d written for younger readers. But then I had feedback from a critique-buddy, and realised the chapter book I was writing was really the verse novel I wanted to write. I sat down straight away, and started working Bully on the Bus into a verse novel. At first, I thought I’d flick between verse and prose (poetry and paragraphs) … but once I started, the prose sounded clunky and heavy, whereas the verse was lighter and so much better. It all needed to be written in verse.

Bully on the Bus was accepted … and published … and I was still writing that verse novel about training; On Track. I thought it was going to tell Toby’s story. I didn’t realise that his older brother Shaun also had a story to tell. Being a verse novel made it easier to feel the emotions from both sides — and to switch between the two brothers.

On track (cover)My heart soars when I’m writing verse novels. Maybe because I’m writing about topics that are important? That can make a difference in someone’s life? Or maybe because they’re just so very beautiful to write … and read. Though I do often get teary when writing them … and reading them — even my own. It’s also fun to slip in short and snappy little jokes, and the verse novel format enables that.

Writing a novel — without the verse — scares me. It seems so enormous! But writing a verse novel, I can write short, complete pieces, individual poems that slowly, carefully, bit by bit, build to tell the story.

I remember when you reviewed Bully on the Bus, Joseph, you said you would like to read more verse novels and maybe write one, too. I’m wondering how you’ve got on with that. Don’t worry if you haven’t written much yet — ideas grow once you’ve made the start.

Steve goes to carnivalAnd now Kathryn can pass the book baton to our next visitor. (Actually two visitors at once — Joshua Button and Robyn Wells who are the author-illustrators behind Steve Goes to Carnival.)

My question for Joshua Button & Robyn Wells:   I read that you collaborate for hours over the kitchen table. Can you describe your process — and how you came to form this wonderful working partnership?

Visit Kathryn Apel’s website: https://katswhiskers.wordpress.com/ to find out more about her and her books. (You can also read Joseph’s reviews of her verse novels Bully on the Bus and On Track here on Alphabet Soup.)








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Every Friday Alphabet Soup will feature an interview with a children’s book creator — writers, illustrators and writer-illustrators. Our Friday guest will answer a question and then ask one question of the next writer or illustrator. (It’s a bit like running a book relay in slow motion.)

We’re calling it:


Be sure to check in on Fridays. Our first writer will be setting off with the baton tomorrow morning.  See you then!


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Snowing Everywhere

by Anishka, 6, QLD

The snow is white,
the air is quiet.
The snowflakes are dazzling,
the snowman is singing.
The snow covers paths, streams, parks and markets
like a blanket.
The sun comes up to take winter,
the snowman melted and became water.

Anishka has been published on Alphabet Soup previously — you can read her earlier work here and here.

If YOU would like to send us a story, drawing, poem, or book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy writing!

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by Matilda, 11, NSW

I used to love “boys” things.
I didn’t love pink skirts, dresses and rings.
And I’ve never looked in the mirror and seen the mess
Of a stereotypical girl, in a bow and a dress.
I was always the grey sheep in a sea of white.

The little girls that walk down the street
All seem to be dancing to the same beat.
They don’t like pants or the colour blue
And few of them paddle their own canoe.
Is that what they want? Or is that what they learn?

When the time comes for me to go out into the world
I’ll be expected to travel the route of a predictable girl.
Look right, have a family, get paid less, accept a glass ceiling,
And smile about all of that no matter how I’m feeling.
It’s hard to spread your wings when you’re inside a cage.

But little girls who wear pink or not,
Deserve a better future than what we’ve got.
We need a change, we need to dream.
We need a promising future, however tough it may seem.
For that we have to choose the harder road, the bumpy lane.

So that girl who loved “boys” things,
Not dresses or rings,
Wants to grow up and follow her heart
And that starts now.
Courage, focus, belief, purpose — it starts now.

This is Matilda’s first poem posted to Alphabet Soup. If YOU would like to send us a book review, story or poem —  check out our submission guidelines.

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By Klara, 10, NSW


Where the weather is humid, hot and dry,
And the birds there just love to fly.

Where the bushland sways,
And where all the creatures have their own ways.

And where the sun beats down endlessly on the red, bushy desert.

And the koalas in the gum trees are always alert,
For the brown, wild dog, the dingo, that’s him,
prowls around the gum tree while koalas don’t want to lose a limb.

The crocodile is snapping fish,
And serving them up for a bliss summer dish.

The kangaroo hops around the place,
Chasing the hum of busy flies, like a wild goose chase.

The wallabies always avoid the hot sun,
They lie down under a rock away from all fun.

The platypus is in the water feasting on worms and yabbies,
He eats as much as he does weigh, every single day.

And the emu is running across the charred plains,
Kicking up dust for the hope of everlasting rain.

The echidna is around snuffling and looking for ants,
Burying his nose in the overgrown plants.

Old man wombat is in his burrow taking a nap,
And all the creatures know he is a tired old chap.

The Tasmanian devil roars to the sky,
And then he sits and waits for a thundering reply.

Australia is beautiful, unique and wild,
And each animal here is the bushland’s native child.

The kookaburra tilts his head back and laughs “hoo ha ha, hoo ha ha”,
To let all the creatures know that Australia is their home.

This is Klara’s first poem posted to Alphabet Soup. If YOU would like to send us a book review, story or poem —  check out our submission guidelines.

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by Amy, Year 5, Santa Sabina College, NSW

Soaring through the sky
On a bright summer’s day
The eagle prepares to dive
Circling its prey

As quick as lightning
Eagle punishes an offender
The target is paralysed
And has no choice but to surrender
Entering eagle territory
This is how mouse is punished
Becoming Eagles’ dinner
Making sure he doesn’t famish

The victim would tell her friends
But poor mouse has immobilised
She bows her head in defeat
No energy for the fight to repeat

Yet she still feels as if there is life in her
Physicality is the truth to decipher
Eagle feels very satisfied
He has had enough for lunch
After disposing of the excess
He begins finding something for supper to munch



This is Amy’s first poem posted to Alphabet Soup. If YOU would like to send us a book review, story or poem —  check out our submission guidelines.

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by Shristuti Srirapu, 8, India
I stepped through the pink and purple magic
And found myself in the land of beauty
Where fairies splash in crystal water
And unicorns play above.
I stare at playing pixies
Among blooming flowers
And gleaming red apples
Along orchids of blazing color.
As I plunge into water
Where dolphins shriek for food
And mermaids dive deeper
Into rays of colourful fish.
I step out and the world is dark
And look through iron bars
Where dragons breath fire
And watch with piercing eyes.
As witches cackle mercilessly
Giants come storming in
Throwing whatever is in their way
Dragging giant clubs.
I touch the floor and murmur
And then it disappears
I fall from the magical world 
of differences.

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