Favourite Poems do Battle

HeartAn update on our earlier posting on What’s your favourite Poem? – A Press release from Craig Potton on Scoop says that given the popularity of the competition, voting has been extended to July 31, 2007.

Currently ‘Rain’, by Hone Tuwhare, and Rudyard Kipling’s ‘If’ are battling it out for the top spot. There are a diverse selection challenging for third place – votes are very close between ‘Funeral Blues’ [Stop all the clocks…] (WH Auden), ‘High Country Weather’ (James K Baxter), Daffodils [I wandered lonely as a cloud…] (Wordsworth), and ‘Magpies’ (Denis Glover).

We’re thrilled with the results so far,” says Associate Publisher, Phillippa Duffy. “Through the voting, the public have a hand in the book’s creation and feel a sense of ownership toward it. Particularly wonderful is the number of New Zealand poems that are making it through, which goes to show New Zealanders’ pride in our own poetry tradition and, quite possibly, that they’re getting a good airing at school. We’re also getting votes for children’s poems with ‘Jabberwocky’, ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’ and a mixture of works by AA Milne voted for by both the young, and the young-at-heart!”

Promoted through Sunday Star Times, bookstores, schools, and local libraries the results so far suggests Our Favourite Poems will contain accessible works that reflect the country’s poetic palate, rather than the tastes often contained in high-brow, literary anthologies. “Our Favourite Poems gives the opportunity for booksellers to interact with their customers, libraries to engage their members, and for schools to get students thinking about poetry as an enjoyable form of writing and reading. The book will provide a never-before seen insight into the country’s poetic pulse.”

It will be interesting to see which poems make it to the finish line  – and if any of our picks get through. I am not a fan of Wordsworth’s Daffodils … but am impressed with the good showing so far by NZ poems.

The Imagination Of Kiwi Kids – Whitcoulls Kids’ Top 50 List Announced

Press release from Whitcoulls on Scoop

ReadingWhile there is no surprise that young wizard Harry Potter has flown straight into the No 1 spot on Whitcoulls 2007 Kids’ List – a position jointly occupied by all six books so far – it may surprise some people to know that J K Rowling is not the most popular author overall.

The Whitcoulls Kids’ List is voted on every two years by children throughout New Zealand, and this year attracted around 45,000 votes. It is a snapshot of children’s 50 most loved books, and changes from list to list, although many titles remain on the list from year to year.

This year Jacqueline Wilson is the most popular author (as she was in 2005) with nine titles; Roald Dahl is a close second (as in 2005), with eight titles, three of which are in the top 10.

Some titles which have been regulars on the list over the years have finally dropped off: J R R Tolkein’s The Hobbit, Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights, Bryce Courtenay’s Power of One.

“Newbies” include Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven series joining Famous Five in the list, and the Rainbow Magic Series and Geronimo Stilton Series have arrived in the list. Also new to the list this year is Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo.

Sadly, the decline of New Zealand titles in the List has continued – only three this time (Lynley Dodd’s Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy, Dawn McMillan and Ross Kinnaird’s Why Do Dogs Sniff Bottoms, and Betty and Alan Gilderdale’s The Little Yellow Digger), compared to five last time, and well down on the number of New Zealand books in the early Kids’ Lists.

Check out the web site of the Top 50 list for more information and some fun colouring and games for the kids.