Have you ever wanted to write your own novel?

 Have you heard about NaNoWriMo? It might sound a bit odd but it is actually the  nickname for National Novel Writing Month. You might say to yourself: “Huh? Why do professional novelists need a special month to write? Aren’t they supposed to write all the time? Afterall, it is their job!”  Well, NaNoWriMo isn’t for professional writers. It’s for writers like you and me who want to set themselves a challege. When you sign-up for NaNoWriMo, you set yourself a goal to write a novel with a certain number of words in ONE month. The adult site specifies that you have to write 50 000 (yes that is fifty thousand) words, but the young writers program is more flexible and lets you set your own word limit.

So who is NaNoWriMo for? NaNoWriMo is for anyone interested in writing and who enjoys a challenge. The community of NaNoWriMo writers is not about competition and “who can write the best book”. NaNoWriMo is designed to inspire and motivate. There is no grand prize; only the satisfaction of achieving your goal alongside other writers trying to do the same thing all over the world. NaNoWriMo is for you.

To get started go to the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program website. Have a browse around the website and if it looks like something you are keen to do, sign-up. There are some fantastic resources that you might like to use as you are writing including a useful “non-lame” workbook to guide you through the process.

Finally, don’t forget to let your English teacher know about your endeavour – I’m sure they’ll be keen to help you along the way.

If your keen, NaNoWriMo starts on the 1st of Novemeber, so make sure sign-up before then!

The Little Match-Seller by Radhika

The Little Match-Seller

A thick, white, fur coat

for a lady walking on

a thick, white, snowy coat

belonging to the street walked upon.


That lady walking by-

in the coat so thick and white-

pretended to be oblivious

to the poor girl in her sight.


Isn’t Christmas the time for joy?

Because at this sight, I shed a tear.

Isn’t it time for miracles?

At least not for this poor girl here.


I cry for this poor, innocent creature.

I weep for this precious soul,

who’s begging these disgusted people

to buy a single match, or a bundle whole.


Matches scatter the snow,

falling from her apron white

as both her hands shiver from

the heartless, cruel night.


Back against a wall

she sits, gazing through windows.

Seeing a blazing fire

while her tiny fingers froze.


Seeing children of her own age

tearing presents that reveal toys.

Seeing mums and dads, and in their arms

little girls and little boys.


Oh! How she wished to go home,

her home twelve miles away.

But forbidden she was, by her parents,

until she earned twopence today.


If she came home with the same matches

she left with in the morn,

she’d be beaten, scolded at, hated.

Just as was the day she was born.


Lay the apron down she did,

and rubbed her hands together.

Despite her hard efforts, she

cannot fade the raw weather.


She looked longingly at the matches,

longingly at her only possession.

But all they’d do is stare back dully,

every one with dull expression.


“One match shan’t do any harm”, said she,

the girl who trembled on the street.

With that remark, the match was struck!

And soon she felt the heat.


But no ordinary heat this was.

‘twas not coming from a single flame

before her stood a living stove

and from there the warmth came.


But before she could fully appreciate

the warmth of the dancing fire,

the stove disappeared along with the match

that came to its expire.


She hastily grabbed another match

and brushed it on the wall.

What she saw wasn’t a stove, but

it made her gasp in awe.


A dinner table (with roast chicken,

and candles which were lit)!

But the table faded away with the dying match

as she raised her hand to touch it.


Once more she lit another match

and standing before her

stood a proud Christmas tree, and

streamers-beautiful they were


But-by now you would’ve figured-

the tree did not last long.

Poor thing, she hoped it would’ve stayed

but we all know she was wrong.


The girl, she lighted another match,

to you it may seem déjà vu.

To her, each match held surprise, so

stop she wouldn’t until every match was through.


But, this time, no flame appeared.

Not a stove, not some food, nor a Christmas tree.

All was same, except for a

transparent angel that she could see.


This angel- Oh! So beautiful!

White strands of hair billow behind her white dress.

The little match seller looked down at her hands.

Standing before the angel, she looked such a mess!


The angel floating in the air-

her skin was pale and wrinkled,

her peaceful whiteness shame the falling snow

as her creamy eyes twinkled.


And as the little girl admired the angel,

a deadly wind flew by,

and the flame flickered threateningly,

“I’m going to die,” it seemed to cry.


The little girl gathered all her matches,

and fed them to the dying fire.

And though the wind was merciless,

the growing fire did the opposite to tire.


“Oh Gwand-mamma! How have you been?”

the little girl had to ask.

“I’m very well, love,” she replied

in a voice of melted syrup in a flask.


I’m very well, love… love…

The girl’s grandmamma was the only one

who called the girl “love”, and only

into Grandmamma’s arms she would run


She talked with her Grandmamma-

too occupied to notice

the angel’s colour die, like

a perishing white sacred lotus.


When she noticed, she clung onto

the angel’s outline of an arm.

“NO! Gwand-mamma! Have mercy on my heart!

Don’t go and take with you your charm!”


The angel caressed her face and said,

“Go home, dearest, go home, my child.

I’ll be in your hear, as I always have,”

and she gravely smiled.


“Oh! Gwand-mamma!

How I wish I could!

But faw-bidden I am, by mama and papa

until I sell these goods.”


She pointed towards the burning match

and shed a dreaded tear.

“Dada hits me; Mama slaps me.”

The girl shivered at the thought. In fear.


You don’t find angels crying;

not an angel, let alone.

But it cried and scooped up the girl

and away they’d flown…


…just as the last match vanished…


A thick, white, fur coat

for a lady walking on

a thick, white, snowy coat

belonging to the street walked upon.


Matches scatter the snow,

matches from the girl’s apron white

as her corpse lay there, still,

from the heartless, cruel night.


Somewhere no pain exists-

her soul was at that place.

Safe in Grand mamma’s arms, she was happy-

I could tell from her smiling face.


Is Christmas the time for joy?

Because at this sight, I shed a tear.

Is it time for miracles?

A tear of joy, for this little one here.

By Radhika


Flying Fish by Stephanie

Flying Fish


Plunging into the ocean,

Seeing the fish pass by,

I glance more around myself seeing the nice marine,

Hearing melodious sounds as they brush past my fears.



There are much of life; some black and some green,

I see them as I see few fish jump to the sky,

Reaching for the moon,

Never to die,

For they’re flying.


Their scales shimmer in the sky,

As they spread their wings as if to fly,

Higher and higher ’till they do reach the moon,

But then they come back down,

Out of the sky,

And into the blue like me too



The King and his Scones by Dhania

The King and his Scones

by Dhania 


Distant sounds of lapping waves,

Yet inside the castle, there be slaves,

Working for money to feed their frail bodies,

Absolutely no time for performing their hobbies,

All in this castle which stood over water,

Which a king, fat and lazy ruled,

Along with his daughter.


The king, fat and proud, sits on his gold throne,

As women from his kingdom start feeding him scones.

He laughs, crumbs flying, which make the women scowl,

“Ah, such a rude king!” one says,

 And each one of them scowls.


So the women slave on,

And the slaves do their work,

While the lazy king sits,

Not a move, not a jerk.

He stares lazily at the view before him,

Clouds in his mind, ah, what was he thinking?

He imagined a world, about him and his land,

But was it just him,

Or was something sinking?


He opened his eyes,

That lazy, fat king,

And heard the slaves cry

And the maidens scream.

His daughter ran across the yard,

Shrieking in grief,

Yet the king did not know what was happening.


He did his best to stand,

To flee from his home,

Yet something was wrong,

He could not rise from his throne!


He shouted for help,

And pleaded in shame

Yet nothing had stirred,

And nobody came.

So the king sat in his throne,

Lonely, and in pain,

As the water rose fast,

And ended his reign.


But the king closed his eyes, and imagined again,

A world about him, and all of his land.

And maybe in his next life, he would obtain the chance once more,

But he would stay away from the ocean,

And leave it and its shore.


And that is the story of the lazy king and his throne,

And how he could not stand up,

Because of all of those scones.

Yet he had forgotten one last thing,

As he was quite obnoxious,

The king should not eat too many scones,

Or things might get noxious.


Rocky Mountains by Stephanie

Submission for SPACE by Stephanie in Hanoi, Vietnam:


Rocky Mountains

Written on the 29th of April 2009 and edited on the 1st of May


Towering and great with height,

The rocks trying to scare me,

I try to gather courage to climb,

Scaling up the cliff,

Trying not to look below,

At last reaching the top.


Now gazing below,

Of what I’ve achieved,

Of where I did go.


Climbing back down,

Feeling so tired,

I stare at the mountain,

Knowing it was never trying to scare me,

Never trying to kill me,

But just sitting their so it was all I could see,

So it was there towering over me.


Continue reading

Responding to what you read

As you read The Diary of Anne Frank (playscript by Goodrich and Hackett), respond to the play on your blog. It doesn’t matter what you respond to, specifically, or which parts, as long as you are responding. A few “starters” that might help:

  • I liked reading… because…
  • I disliked reading… because…
  • I noticed …
  • I wonder …
  • I wish …
  • This reminds me of …
  • My favourite word/image/phrase is … because …
  • I don’t understand …
  • Now I understand …
  • I think this is about … because …
  • Some questions I have are …
  • This makes me feel … because …
  • I was impressed by … because …
  • I think this means … because …
  • Something really bothering me is …
  • I predict … because …

If you’re really stuck, use this document to guide you through Act 1:  enga08-good-and-evil-act-1-activities. (You don’t have to answer all the questions!)

Please aim to respond AT LEAST 4 times before you finish reading the text. (That’s twice per Act.) And you don’t have to like what you’re reading — just respond to it in some way. If you don’t like it, say so! And say why!

Don’t forget you can also respond to other students’ blogs in the comments!

Image by Franco Folini licensed under CC2.0


We’ve been boogie-ing…

by kkarden

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License

Yes, that’s right — Grade 7 has been boogie-ing to “Mountain Boogie” by Peter Van Toorn (from the collection titled Mountain Tea, but I found my copy in Carl Leggo‘s Teaching to Wonder). We have been experimenting with sound in poetry and learning about euphony and cacophony. On Friday we did a class reading of “Mountain Boogie” which we thought you might like to hear!



  • There is one small “blip” at the beginning of the first line which I edited to the best of my ability. Likewise, the last few words of the last line have also been cut off for reasons I cannot figure out. (This was my first Audacity recording; can you tell?)
  • Special thanks to Dr. Carl Leggo, whose ideas about poetry have largely shaped mine and my students’!

Mountain Boogie by Peter Van Toorn

Launch your poetry into Space!

Poetry Launch by you.


Students in grades 7 and 8 might be interested to hear about this opportunity: A place for your poetry to be published!

Space is a digital literary magazine devoted to publishing students’ original work. This next issue of space is specifically dedicated to poetry.






Participating is SUPER easy.  

  • Write some poetry! Post it somewhere digital and public — on your blog, on your MySpace page, or your Tumblr account.
  • If you have a Twitter account, send your poetry (via link or a tiny tweet!) to the official Space Twitter account at @space_issue4. Be sure to include your first name, grade, and city/country where you live.
  • If you DON’T have a Twitter account, post your poetry on your blog, and alert your teacher (in case s/he missed it in his/her reader), who will send the link and the details to the Space zine.Space Logo courtesy of LindseaK

DEADLINE: MAY 24, 2009

Issue 4 of Space will be out around the end of May 2009.
Check out what other students have written! Past issues of Space (including poetry, art, photography, music, and more) are here:
For more info, go to this issue’s Space or speak to your teacher. 
Poetry launch originally from this image by TopTechWriter.US (but modified by me using Picnik)
Space Logo courtesy of Lindsea under CC2.0


Your Favorite Musician

Well, Grade 7, if you are reading this, I hope it means that you have added the EngA07 tag or category feed to your Outlook RSS folder. 

Here is the task I would like you to work on between now and Friday:

Write a letter (electronic form) to your favorite musician. Explain what you like about a particular song, CD, or album. Be specific, and refer to particular feelings, lyrics, song titles, etc. Why does this music appeal to you?




Image: ‘Feel Music‘ by Xstream_i
Feel Music

Do you dare disturb the universe?

National Poetry Month poster 2009Not the name of the next horror film at Vincom, Do I dare disturb the universe is the headline for this years National Poetry Month (and of course the lines from T. S. Eliot’s poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” WOW! A whole month devoted to poetry. But what on earth could you do for whole month to celebrate poetry? Well the good folks from poets.org have a WHOLE MONTHS worth of suggestions to keep you going!

What better way to celebrate National Poetry Month than to write poetry. A few years ago, a few folks got together and set themselves a challenge to write 1 new poem everyday for the month of April. It didn’t take long for the fun to spread around the world and NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) was born. We are already a couple of days into April but it’s never too late to start! Add your poems to your blog or keep a notebook.  Remember, this kind of activity is about quantity not quality – just let the words fly!

If NaPoWriMo sounds a little bit too much for you, poets.org recommends 30 different activities to enjoy National Poetry Month. Here are some of the highlights:

  1. Put some poetry in an unexpected place – why not leave a poem somewhere unlikely to brighten someones day. Pin it to a noticeboard. Email it to a friend or leave it in a locker. 
  2. Get out the sidewalk chalk and commit a poem to pavement – just like the title says, find a poem you like and share it with the community. Don’t forget to check with the owner of the pavement first!
  3. Poem-a-day – if writing a poem a day for NaPoWriMo sounds a little tough, why not try reading a poem a day. Sign up and have a poem delivered to you inbox everyday! Nice.
  4. Celebrate poem in your pocket day – Thursday April 30 2009 is Poem in your pocket day and this means people from all over will be carrying their favourite poem of the month (or ever!) in their pocket and sharing it with their peers. 
  5. Start a commonplace book – as the proverb goes, “great wits have short memories”. Why not save your memory all the trouble by copying down and collecting some of your favourite poems.
There you go, five suggestions to get you started on poetic greatness. There are heaps more ideas here if you are yearning for more.

National Poetry Month is held every April, when publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools and poets celebrate poetry.


National Poetry Month Poster 2009