2019 – 2020 Competitions


Photo credits: Summer – https://all-free-download.com/free-photos/download/sunflower-image-06-hd-pictures_167025.html; Winter – https://www.123rf.com/photo_11049126_beautiful-nature-winter-scenery-frosty-trees-in-forest.html; Spring – https://www.pexels.com/photo/selective-focus-photography-of-pink-flowers-1045615/; Autumn – https://wallpapercave.com/w/8r8chAr

Hello my friends! I’ve just had a lovely time judging your haikus from all around the world! This time there were entries from Taiwan, Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong, and even an entry from California! I was very surprised to find out that the favourite season of most competition entrants was winter! And after that came autumn (or Fall), then spring, then last of all summer! I wonder why? Maybe the extremes of winter weather lend themselves to descriptive poems more than gentler seasons – or maybe we just love snow!

It was great to see that everybody who entered stuck to the rules of traditional haikus, with the pattern of 3 lines, 17 syllables in all, with a structure of 5,7,5. I also appreciated that, even though many of your haikus were untitled, the words you chose made it very clear to which season you were referring!

I was looking for lyrical language, and words that evoked strong images and feelings. Remember that haikus are all about painting pictures and capturing feelings. For this reason, adjectives and adverbs reign supreme over nouns in haikus. The best haikus are very lyrical or poetic, using words in an unusual or creative way. Take a look at the winning entries in each section, and you’ll see that the writers have use words very imaginatively and poetically, with language that is powerfully descriptive. Haikus are a huge pleasure to write, especially when you’re feeling something very strongly. So try to write one whenever you see or feel something that moves you, and chose beautiful descriptive words in your work. Then you’ll be well on your way to becoming a great poet!

I enjoyed reading all of your poems, but there were some real standouts. Here are the results. First place winners will receive a signed hard cover copy of my multi-award- listed lyrical storybook Storm Whale, while Second and Third place winners in each category will receive a signed copy of one of my Chinese Calendar Tales of their choice.


FIRST PLACE: Alisha Stokes, Year 2, Arden Anglican Junior School, Sydney, 7 years old

Regular readers of my blog will remember Alisha’s name from my last story competition, where she placed second. Alisha has shown a lovely poetic sensibility in this haiku about spring. I could just smell the flowers and almost touch the butterflies as I read this haiku! I also loved her use of evocative vocabulary such as “graceful”, “flutter” and “exquisite”. Well done, Alisha!


Flowers are blooming,

Graceful butterflies flutter,

Fresh, exquisite scent.


SECOND PLACE: Isabel Huang, Grade 2, Hsinchu International School, Taiwan, 7 years old

Competition newcomer Isabel Huang impressed me with the contrasts in her poem. I loved the way the silence, ice and freezing temperatures of winter were opposed in the final line by the warm, crackling fire. This is a classic technique in haiku, known as “cutting” and I was really pleased to see it in Isabel’s haiku!

White, silent winter,

Icy, freezing vacation,

Warm fire crackling.


THIRD PLACE: Alyssa Lin, Grade 2, Hsinchu International School, Taiwan, 7 years old

Another impressive effort, where Alyssa’s description brought autumn straight to my eyes and ears! I especially loved the “whistling breeze” and her rather unexpected last line. Excellent work Alyssa!

Hear the whistling breeze,

Dry crunching leaves fall off trees.

It makes me feel peace.


RUNNER UP: Christopher Huang, Grade 2, Hsinchu International School, Taiwan, 7 years old

Well done Christopher for this autumn haiku, with its whispering breeze. A lovely description!

The forest with wind,

Pretty orange and red leaves

With whispering breeze.


HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Max, Kate and Wilson are all new to my competitions, and I thought that their efforts were excellent for 7 year olds! I look forward to getting regular entries from them in my next competitions!

Max Lee, Grade 2, Hsinchu International School, Taiwan, 7 years old

Wearing sunglasses

Sweating on a vacation

Sitting on the beach

Kate Lee, Grade 2, Hsinchu International School, Taiwan, 7 years old

Birds chirp all morning

Many tiny, red blossoms

Lots of babies hatch

Wilson Cheng, Grade 2, Hsinchu International School, Taiwan, 7 years old

Wind whisper and dry

Leaves become orange and red

Forest gets pretty



This category drew some fantastic entries! Here are the winning entries, in order of merit:

FIRST PLACE: Eleanor Meyer, Grade 6, San Diego French American School, California, 11 years old

Readers will remember Eleanor from her 2nd placing in my Perfect Pet Poem Competition. In this competition, Eleanor’s entry was a real standout, with its lyrical riddle, with gorgeous similes in the first two lines, and the solution in the final line! A very original and beautiful poem, which thoroughly deserves first place. Congratulations Eleanor!

Ruby and black skirts,

Delicate maidens dancing,

A sea of poppies.


SECOND PLACE: Hannah Thompson, Grade 4, MLC, 10 years old

Hannah has been a regular entrant in my competition over the last few years, and her work keeps getting better and better. This haiku about Australia’s iconic wattle blossom in winter was a real winner, and was only narrowly beaten to first place! I especially loved the description of the frost-covered blossom as an “iced jewel”. Beautiful work Hannah!


Blooming gold wattle,

Covered in frost, caught my eye,

Nature’s iced jewel.


THIRD PLACE: Shiv Mohan, Year 4, Glenealy School, Hong Kong, 8 years old

Shiv is another writer whose constant practice entering my competitions is really paying off with his rapid development as a writer. I loved the last line of his haiku especially, as it leaves the reader with the puzzling question – is it the snowflakes shivering, or the unknown kid awaiting the presents by the tree? This haiku really invokes the excitement of Christmas with its careful choice of words and images. Excellent work again Shiv!

Winter Heaven

Presents by the tree!

Snowflakes sparkle like diamonds…

Shivering with glee!



Tong Alice Sum Yuet, Grade 6, Christian Alliance International School, Hong Kong, 11 years old

Well done to Alice, whose haiku neatly contrasts the chill outside with the warmth inside. I look forward to seeing more of her work in future competitions!


Crisp, fresh air outside

Toasty with cocoa inside

The perfect winter


Vandita Chugani, Year 4, Kowloon Junior School, Hong Kong, 8 years old Lovely work here from Vandita, whose flying leaves and dancing trees are a lyrical presage to Halloween.

Yellow leaves flying

Flowers and strong trees dancing

Time for Halloween!



Well done to all the writers below, whose haikus are listed in order of merit. I look forward to seeing more of your work!

 Yolanda, Grade 4, Hsinchu International School, Taiwan, 9 years old


Summer is over

Fall is here with orange leaves

Reddish leaves fall down


Blythe Osborne, Year 4, MLC, Melbourne, 9 years old


Snow falling lightly

Up in the mountains skiing

Nearly Christmas time


Yoyo, Grade 4, Hsinchu International School, Taiwan, 9 years old


Winter vacation

I go to Japan to play

Play snow in Japan!


Janae, Grade 4, Hsinchu International School, Taiwan, 9 years old

Summer Is Over

Summer is over

Fall comes, red yellow leaves fall.

Then winter comes next


Lucas, Grade 4, Hsinchu International School, Taiwan, 9 years old


Summer is awesome

You can do a lot of stuff.

Do you like summer?


Briana, Grade 4, Hsinchu International School, Taiwan, 9 years old


Winter happiness

Snowman, snowflakes, Christmas, too

Snow, snow, snow, snow, snow!


Jessie, Grade 4, Hsinchu International School, Taiwan, 9 years old


Sunshine shine brightly

Spring, summer, winter, autumn

Snow snow everywhere.

A big THANK YOU to everyone who entered this competition! And if you want to take part in the next one, just click the subscribe button on my blog so that you will automatically receive all the news about my competitions the minute they’re posted!  But don’t forget to ask Mum or Dad first!

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