Theme: Bullying and teaching a child how to respond to it

It was Monday morning again
And Sheila lay in her bed
When her mom had woken her up
“My tummy hurts”, she had said

Her mom looked at her worried
Sheila’s tummy seemed to hurt a lot
She had missed school too many times
Was there a bug she’d caught?

She then took her temperature
The thermometer said 98.6
She seemed fine her mom thought
She did not even look sick

She then sat by Sheila’s side
And said, “let’s both take off today
Me from work and you from school
It’ll be our special little holiday”

Sheila’s eyes sparkled bright
She smiled sweetly at her mom
Her heart felt light and happy
It was a treat to be home

Mom and Sheila had breakfast
Then off to the park they went
Sheila went straight for the dragon slide
It had three crazy, loopy bends

Later sitting in the grass they saw
Something happen at the slides
A boy in a jacket and a black cap
Was trying to pick a fight

The other boy was standing there
He looked kind of scared
Sheila looked away and then
Reached out for her Mom’s hand

A grownup had come up by then
To sort out the disturbance
Sheila’s mom looked at her child
Things seemed to make some sense

She asked Sheila how she felt
When she saw the big boy be mean
Sheila looked at her mom’s kind face
“I was scared, it could have been me”

She then told her about a girl
Who had just joined their school
She would pick on Sheila
At lunch every afternoon

“My darling, there are bullies sometimes
Just as there are nice people too
The next time this girl or anyone
Tries to be mean to you

You will tell them firmly,
I don’t like this, stop this now
Or Back off, leave me alone
Stand confident and tall

Look at the girl and focus
On the colour of her eyes
When you look bullies in the face
They always seem to shrink a size

You’ll see that she doesn’t look
Quite so fierce and so mean
Bullies are not all that brave
As they’d have you think and feel

If you dearest heart, feel like someone
Could hurt you physically
Then you must tell a teacher
And always, always talk to me

Just know that there is no one
In school or outside of it
That can ever hurt you
As long as your speak of it

Sometimes it can be hard, I know
To talk of things that make you scared
But these scary things just disappear
When with loved ones they are shared

You are never never alone with things
And people that make you sad
We will always talk of our days
The good times and the bad

And you my darling girl are good
And brave and steady and kind
Bullies and monsters have no chance
When there are people like you around

My dearest, know that I’m with you
Now and even when you’re older
Our team of two like a magical cloak
Will forever drape your brave shoulders.


Theme: Growing pains with the arrival of a new brother or sister

“I don’t want a little sister!
And I don’t want a brother too!”
Said Adam with his cheeks puffed out
He was angry at the news
He did not want to share his toys
Nor share his mother and father
With another child who would
Live in his home forever

And so he stomped and huffed and puffed
And said “Nooo! The idea stinks!”
His parents looked at each other
And quietly tapped their chins
What were they to do they thought
With their one and only child
Adam never behaved like this
So angry and so wild

“Darling son, it is but natural
To have a balanced family
With a brother or a sister
Who can grow up and be
Your best friend, your playmate
Someone you can love
And you will always be our Adam
Our precious, oldest one”

But Adam still felt moody
And went up to his room
He couldn’t find his happy smile
So he wore his maddest frown
He looked at himself in the mirror
His reflection stared right back
His pouty face looked so silly
Hahaha! Hoohoo! He had to laugh!

When little Amara came into the world
And his parents brought her home
Adam looked at her for a while
At her cheeks and her tiny nose
He touched one small chubby hand
And when she held his little finger
He laughed his happy laugh and he knew
That he already loved his baby sister.
Image: Isabella Potgieter


Theme: Dealing with parents’ divorce

Sarah woke up from her sleep at night 
She’d had another dream
Where she was falling through the clouds
Down, down into the trees

She was scared like she had once been
From monsters under her bed
But now she was a big girl
Why was she afraid like that again?

In her heart she knew the new
Monster that had come to life:
Her parents were always sad-angry
There was always a new fight

Sarah wanted to hide away
She wanted to close her eyes
She wished that when she woke again
Everything would be alright

But that didn’t happen and one day
Her dad he sat her down
He kissed her on her forehead
He had a worried frown

He said “sometimes moms and dads
Go through moody times
And because they’re Big-People moods
It turns them into frankensteins!

If they stay together they’ll chomp-chomp
Off each other’s heads
So they both start living in separate homes
So that they can keep being friends

And that is why Mom and I
With our fights and with our moods
Will live apart but in our hearts
Our love will never change for you

Look at it as a new adventure
New things to do with each one
With Dad you can go fishing
With Mom to the space museum

We will always keep you close
Just not in the same way
Some days you will be with Mom
Some days with me you’ll stay

Change sometimes is a good thing
So cheer up my darling child
No more fights and no more frowns
Just happy hearts and happy smiles

And know that even if a thousand miles
Separate you from me sometimes
We’ll never let you be sad or scared
We’re your Forever-Team, your Mom and I.


Theme: Dealing with the death of a parent

Once upon a time there were two best friends
A little boy and an elephant
Finn and Ele spent their days
Playing in the shade of the greenwood trees
And among the bright forget-me-nots by the lake

Finn’s mama had planted the ‘nots
When Finn was just a baby in his cot
They grew into bunches of beautiful flowers
Like puffs of blue clouds on the ground
Ele and Finn would run through them for hours

Finn and Ele shared everything
Taking turns swinging from the vines
That dropped like ropes from the great big trees
They shared their gummy bears and their ice cream
And raced each other through their carrots and peas

They got up to all sorts of exciting games
Among the trees and the forget me nots
The foxes, squirrels and chameleons
Watched them from afar with shining eyes
As the friends played together under the sun

One day little Finn did not come to play
The woods were quiet as a sleeping mouse
Ele the elephant tried to play on his own
He chased his tail and tried to stand on his trunk
But try as he might, it just was no fun

One, two, three, four, five days passed
Then six, seven, eight and nine days too
But Little Finn was nowhere to be seen
Ele walked alone through the quiet woods
He even saw his friend in his elephant dreams

Then on the morning of the tenth day
He saw little Finn from far away
In a cloud of swaying forget me nots
He was sitting at the very edge of the lake
Ele went bounding as fast as he could

“Hello Finn, where have you been?”
Finn didn’t reply, he just looked away
Ele had never seen Finn look so sad
He did not say more, but sat close to his friend
With his trunk he gently touched his hand

After a while little Finn spoke
He said his mama had gone away
“Where did she go?” Ele asked looking at him
“To heaven. It’s a place far away
There are no cars and no special planes
Or super speedy bullet trains
That can take you on that trip
You have to get a special invitation
Mostly when you’re very grown up
But sometimes also when you’re not so big”

“No one really knows how it works
But everyone gets to go sometime
And meet all those who have gone before
Some have grown wings there, they can fly
Some can turn somersaults ten feet high
Grandmas and grandpas and even pets
And sometimes even mums and dads
Ele nodded, he understood
And so he held his best friends’s hand
As they both sat among the forget-me-nots

And then little Finn remembered again
His mama’s familiar, sweet smell
Every time that she hugged him close
He cried a little as he sat with his friend
And then for a while he cried a lot …
But by and by he felt a little better
He blinked and looked across at Ele
Finn’s eyes were red as strawberries
But he had a little smile now too
He had begun to feel better in Ele’s company

Half of Finn’s tears had turned to mist
Up into the sky they had flown
For his mama a dewy little kiss
The rest of his tears had gone into the roots
Of the smiling, bobbing forget-me-nots
Next spring they’d grow again
Reminding Finn and Ele too
Of Finn’s beautiful mama, full of love
Finn closed his eyes, he could now feel again
The forever-happy warmth of his mama’s hug.


There was once a little sub 
He was called Eleos*-Blue
His daddy had swum in world war One
His mummy in world war two

He had grown up being taught
That his role was to fight
To carry sailors in deep waters
Where there was zero light

His little body had been trained
To dive in extra deep
Sharks and squids and anglerfish
Would never make that trip

But in his tinny tiny heart
The little sub didn’t like
The grownup chore that they called war
He was a happy little tyke

When the admirals saw that he
Would beam with the purest joy
Everytime he was visited
By a little girl or boy

They took him to the water park
And put him in the pool
And there he still swims happily
There never was a sub so cool!
* Eleos: In ancient Athens, Eleos was the personification of mercy and compassion – the counterpart of the Roman goddess Clementia.


There was once an apple 
The Gala variety
She would preen and pose all day
For all the world to see

The other apples told her
To be fruity and be kind
To watch the world quietly
But Gala paid no mind

One day while the apples
Sat in the produce aisle
A naughty little child came by
With a naughty little smile

They looked at him quietly
Maybe he’d go away
But Gala preened, oh she beamed
She loved being on display!

The little boy saw the apples
And almost passed them by
But then as she did a little jig
Cheeky Gala caught his eye

He pounced on the dancing fruit
She would be his lunch
Your imagination should tell you that
The next sound was a - “Crunch”!


There was once a toy block 
The kind that’s in a set
Of twenty blocks all sharp and square
Some blue and others red

Bendy Block stood starkly out
Because she was quite grey
She also had one dented edge
That made her lean sideways

While the other blocks climbed up
To build a tunnel or a house
Bendy would lean back and watch
As timid as a mouse

She’d straighten to ninety degrees
From the surface where she sat
But within a minute or two
She’d slowly lean right back

One day the building blocks all heard
A loud crash from within
The family photo had fallen down
With a mighty gust of wind

The glass was whole but the stand
Had broken into two
The lady tried to mend the break
With a tube of super glue

But that didn’t work so she looked
Around for inspiration
She spied the bendy little block
And used it for elevation

The photo with its smiling faces
Stands again up on the dresser
Bendy is the happy prop
As the frame now leans back on her.


There was once a snowman 
He had a heart of gold
He had stood in that one cold spot
For a hundred years or more

He had not seen sign or form
Of any man or beast
And so he had just waited on
Patient and solitary

It was over a century
Of his being in the expanse
That he saw the shadow of …
Could it be? Yes, a man!

He tried to wiggle his carrot nose
But it was frozen solid
Just like his eyes and his mouth
So he focused his energy inwards

He thought of jolly polar bears
And penguins in the sun
And then he thought of ice cream
Chocolate seemed like fun!

With all these happy musings
He started melting inside out
The little trickle from his eyes
Became a gushing spout

The man then saw the snowman
And came up close to him
He held a little cup up
And had a little drink

Then he took his scarf off and
Gently wrapped it around
The shrinking neck; it was a thank you said
For the kindness he had found.


There was once a lonely 6
Who lived with all the 9s
He was always bullied
For his minus three design

The 9s would throw mathematical
Enigmas out at him
“3 times 3 or 5 plus 4
Will never be your thing!”

6 would mope around all day
Adding and multiplying
Sometimes standing on his head
In hopes of becoming 9

But a solid 6 he stayed
Not budging to even 7
Despite using big numbers
Like 17 minus 11

Then one day a little girl
Came and sat at one of the desks
She was all of 6 years old
With 6 curls on her forehead

When the teacher asked her to
Choose her favourite number
She pointed to 6, and then counted it
Out on her little fingers

That special day the whole class drew
Pictures of the number 6
Amid bright flowers and super powers
On every page he skipped.


Shelby was a graceful snail 
Folks said he had blue blood
His shell had a lovely turquoise tinge
He buffed it with wax and gloves

From leafy shrubs to the ground
He’d slither and he’d glide
He’d peer at all who came his way
With a monocle on his left eye

He never spoke to anyone
Not the earthworms nor the flies
The lady snails and the misses slugs
Looked on with great big sighs

But master Shelby stayed aloof
His heart was not a prize
To give to pretty girls who would
Gaze at him with roving eyes

One day while he was gliding along
With his monocle and cravat
He saw the most exquisite toad
With an umbrella and bowler hat

He slowly moved his eye stalks
In gracious acknowledgment
He was a toad with taste, so he made haste
To say hello to the gentleman

It has now been five years since
That elegant friendship was made
Shelby Snail and Toad O’Toole
Are still the very best of mates.


There once lived a marmoset 
On the edge of the Amazon rain forest
He was especially friendly,
He loved all of the tourists

Mangoes and bananas
Would always lure him out
He would greedily pop these
Into his little mouth

His parents often told him
“Be thoughtful little son,
Don’t be such a greedy glut
With your sisters do share some”

But Marny and his tummy
They had other plans
And so he ate and ate until
He was three hundred grams

One day while sitting in a tree
Waiting for folks with treats
A harpy eagle spotted him
And plunged down, ready to feast!

As Marny scrambled to escape
His tummy got in the way
The raptor would have snatched him up
But his mummy saved the day

They say Marny is a changed primate
A sweet, generous furball
He meets and greets his visitors
And then shares his food with all.


There was once a blade of grass
Shining an emerald green
It swished it’s bright little head
In the gently flowing breeze

The other plants stood tall and proud
They seemed miles away
The little blade grew in its glade
In the warmth of sunny days

One day a big machine rolled in
With a mighty roar of a sound
It scooped up all the twigs and leaves
Scattered on the ground

Then it gathered everything
Dead branches, wilted flowers
And slowly groaned away crushing
Down the blade of grass

It lay upon its side a while
The breath knocked out of it
But then quite miraculously
It straightened up again

It wiped away the beads of sap
That the trampler had wrung out
It took three long steadying breaths
And then bobbed its head about

And so it is with life sometimes
She seems to come down hard
That’s our cue to stop and rest
Breathe in and move onwards