Let's do the link first so if I lose the post, it's only a few words.
Poetry4kids - my new website is finally up and running. There are still some items missing (because I haven't written them yet or compiled the information from my files, but I'm really glad I finally completed it. I had asked a student in the course next door (IT) if she would like to create the site for her class assignment. She did a good job, but in the end I decided to change the main page and make it tighter and cleaner. I did use her banners and links though, and taught myself hotspots and a few other things. Even wrestled with Fireworks a little (a fight I usually lose).
The site is designed primarily to encourage teachers to use poetry more in the classroom, especially in getting kids to have fun with it and write more, but also to promote children's poets as great visiting writers. Poets are usually good performers and have lots of writing experience with poems. So check out the site, if you like. There are also some poems there from my new verse novel "Sixth Grade Style Queen (Not!)" which is being published in May 2007 by Penguin.
On the reading front, I've just finished "The Namesake" by Jhumpa Lahiri and loved it. This is one of the titles I got off Miss Snark's blog as a good read. I've also still got "The Kite Runner" there and will try it again.
One of my students (now ex- as she has finished the course) has her first novel coming out next week, launched at the Writers' Festival. It's "India Vik" by Liz Gallois. The publisher is Transit Lounge, and I discovered last year that TL is owned by an old community writing/librarian friend of mine, Barry Scott. He is specialising in travel books, either fiction or non-fiction. His first title out last year was the book on Mexico by Cate Kennedy. This kind of niche publishing is excellent, and makes good sense in a book market cluttered with ten thousand versions of the Da Vinci Code.
As for teaching, well, the honeymoon is over and the first lot of assignments are in, ready for marking. Guess what I'll be doing this weekend. I'll also be painting skirting boards (don't know what these are called in other countries but they're the boards that go around the bottoms of your walls that cover up all the gaps!), and hopefully will be reading Draft 8 of my pirate novel. A cut and polish read. Before sending it out. It has had enough time to settle, and now I can hopefully look at it with fresher eyes. This book has been through so many major changes, but it still feels a little too familiar. I hope I can be critical enough.
And the short chapter book was workshopped by my group this week and needs another rewrite. Of course.