Welcome back – and a new Clever Competition!

September 3, 2019 at 3:23 pm | Posted in Clever Competitions, Uncategorized, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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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

A very warm welcome back to school!

Don’t you just love the four seasons? They are all so beautiful in their own way! Now if you’re anything like me, you’ll love Autumn best, when you can rug up in a warm coat and go walking with your dog in a nearby park on a crisp, clear day. Or you might prefer lazy, hot Summers when you can go to the beach and splash about in the sea. Or those stormy Winter days when you can sit beside a roaring fire feeling snug and safe inside as the wind buffets and the rain buckets down outside. Or those cool, damp Spring mornings, with their drifts of blossom and gorgeous scent of narcissi and jonquils filling the air.

And just about everyone I know also loves haikus! They’re very short poems, dating back to the 17th century in Japan, and with very strict rules. And they’re PERFECT for describing nature, weather, and the seasons! In fact, the four seasons were regular topics in the very earliest haikus!

So today I’ve posted a brand new Clever Competition, to hone your wits and test your writing skills and have a bit of fun, whilst pursuing world wide fame as a published writer on my blog!

And this time, I want a haiku, all about My Favourite Seasonand by that I mean YOUR favourite season!

See my Clever Competition page here to read all the rules and requirements. The deadline for this competition is FRIDAY 15th November, in just over 10 weeks’ time.

So get out those writing pads, pick your favourite season, and start writing your My Favourite Season Haiku NOW!

Thank you Berkelouw Books, Rose Bay!

August 20, 2019 at 4:53 pm | Posted in Berkelouw Books, Book signings, Buying my books, Children's Chinese Zodiac Books, Sydney Bookshops | Leave a comment
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This afternoon I dropped into one of my favourite Sydney bookshops, Berkelouw Books, where I signed copies of Storm Whale. You can buy your very own signed copy there, and you can also order all and any of my Chinese Calendar Tales from them, including our fabulous Boxed Set! A warm thank you to manager Bru Hammer (above) for all the support!

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A funny and fabulous day at Rose Bay Public School!

August 20, 2019 at 4:27 pm | Posted in Australian schools, Poetry Workshops for kids, Rose Bay Public School, Story Readings, Sydney schools, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Today I visited wonderful Rose Bay Public School, where I worked with all the classes from Kindy to Year 6!

The Kindies and Years 1 and 2 heard me read my story Storm Whale, and saw all of Jane Tanner’s beautiful illustrations up on the screen. We shared some fascinating facts about sperm whales, and how we can help them to survive.  Then I introduced them to my Chinese Calendar Tales and the characters of the Chinese Zodiac! They were very surprised to learn that Captain Cook was born in the Year of the Rat, and Winnie the Pooh was born in the Year of the Tiger!

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Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 heard me read my latest Chinese Calendar Tale, The Tale of Ping Pong Pig – and had a lot of fun filling in the missing words! Congratulations to the Bandicoot Team in Years 5 and 6 which narrowly defeated the Echidna Team in filling in the blanks! I hope that this afternoon has inspired you all to have a go at writing your own rhyming verse…I have a feeling that you will be rather good at it!

And, of course, I hope that you’re all going to enter my next Clever Competition for kids which will be announced on this blog on the 1st of September!

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Huge thanks to lovely librarian Sarah Skelton (above right) and her fabulous assistant Gill Davidson for hosting me today! I wonder if you can guess what year of the Chinese Zodiac we were each born in?

The Chinese Calendar Tales in a Quilt!

August 19, 2019 at 5:32 pm | Posted in Chinese Calendar Tales, Room to Read | Leave a comment
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This afternoon I was so excited to collect my very own Chinese Calendar Tales quilt!! My dear friend Jodi Mullen is not only the Students Helping Students Team Leader for my favourite children’s literacy charity Room to Read but is also a very talented quilt-maker! So I asked Jodi if she could make me a quilt featuring all the Chinese Calendar Tales beasties, and here it is! Isn’t it wonderful?

Jodi has very generously donated my payment for the quilt to the Room to Read World Change Challenge. If you’d like to find out more about this fantastic fund-raising challenge to educate girls just click on this link!

Thank you Jodi!!

Well done Jemma Julian!

August 19, 2019 at 5:05 pm | Posted in Book Week, children's literacy, Fabulous fans! | Leave a comment
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Followers of my Clever Competitions over the years may remember Jemma Julian, a fantastic writer who regularly won places in my Clever Competitions! Jemma is now 14 years old, and I caught up with her and her lovely mum Diana Reynolds at Beecroft for lunch today! Gemma not only still writes stories, but also she is now the  published author of a beautiful book about Australian wildlife called Fiona for Fauna. Isn’t that amazing? Here she is above with her book, with Diana who drew the wonderful illustrations. Click on this link if you want to find out more!

Not only is Gemma a published writer, but also she has her own Youtube channel where you can see her singing songs she has written herself! She is such a talented person! And guess what? Gemma has always read lots and lots and lots of books! That’s how you become a highly creative and imaginative human being!

Maybe if you also keep reading lots and lots of books, and entering writing competitions like Gemma, you can become a published author and song-writer too!

Prize-giving at Arden Anglican School, Beecroft

August 19, 2019 at 4:35 pm | Posted in Arden Anglican School, Beecroft, Australian schools, Awards, Sydney schools | Leave a comment
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This morning I also visited Arden Anglican School in Beecroft where I met all the Grade 1s to Grade 3s in chapel, and presented a Boxed Set of the Chinese Calendar Tales to First Prize winner Saskia in the Practically Perfect Pig Tale Story Competition, Grade 1 to 3 Category! Isn’t she a clever girl! I also presented The Tale of Sybil Snake to Second Place winner Alisha (who sadly was home sick today, so her best friend received it on her behalf) and The Dark Horse Activity Book to young Muyao Zhang, who placed fourth! I look forward to receiving lots more entries from Arden Anglican School in my future competitions! You can see me below, with my pig Ping Pong and Saskia (left), and Muyao (right).

Booksigning at The Children’s Bookshop, Beecroft!

August 19, 2019 at 4:23 pm | Posted in Book signings, Book Week, The Children's Bookshop, Beecroft | Leave a comment
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Here I am below at the fabulous award-winning Children’s Bookshop in Beecroft, where I dropped in to sign copies of Storm Whale. Many thanks Callum and Ann for having me!

A quick visit to Excelsior Public School!

August 19, 2019 at 4:18 pm | Posted in Australian schools, Awards, children's literacy, Clever Competitions, Excelsior Public School, Sydney, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Excelsior Public School prize presentation

This morning I had the huge pleasure of presenting books to some talented writers at Excelsior Public School in Sydney! You can see me above with Caitlyn, who placed Second in the Grade 4 to 6 section of The Practically Perfect Pig Tale Story Competition, as well as Gary and Isabel who also entered the competition! You can read Caitlyn’s wonderful story if you scroll down the page here!

Hellooo Book Week in Sydney!

August 19, 2019 at 7:51 am | Posted in Australian schools, Book Week, Melbourne events, Sydney schools | Leave a comment
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Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/australia-sydney-opera-1281935/

Helloooo beautiful Sydney at the start of Australia’s Book Week! I’m busy visiting schools in Sydney and meeting my friends in Melbourne at the Asia Society – what fun! Keep visiting this page to keep up with all the photos, schools and news!

Storm Whale goes into soft cover!

July 29, 2019 at 2:26 pm | Posted in Awards, Book Awards, Buying my books, Kate Greenaway Medal, Online Sales, Prime Minister's Literary Awards 2018, Queensland Literary Awards 2018, Storm Whale | Leave a comment
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Hooray! You can now purchase Storm Whale, my story about 3 children who try to save a beached whale, in soft cover! Here is the link to publisher Allen and Unwin’s online sales site, and here is their information:

The highly acclaimed and beautifully illustrated book about three sisters who find a stranded whale on the beach.

Bleak was the day and the wind whipped down
When I and my sisters walked to town …

So begins the tale of three sisters who find a whale stranded on a windswept beach and try to save it.

‘A story of the sea and the possibilities of interactions between humans and other creatures … a story of human kindness and hope’ – Magpies

Shortlisted Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, Children’s Book of the Year, 2018
Shortlisted Queensland Literary Awards, Children’s Book Award, 2018
Nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal (UK), 2018

So if you don’t have your copy yet, now it’s a little bit cheaper – but still a very beautiful book for your bookshelf!

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