So what are you up to these holidays?

July 11, 2019 at 1:00 pm | Posted in children's education, children's literacy, Favourite kids' books | Leave a comment
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It’s the summer holidays at last! YAY!!!! (Or the winter break if you’re down south of the Equator of course :)). School’s out, you’ve got time on your hands…so what are you up to?

Personally, I’m reading lots and lots of BOOKS! And not just because it’s my favourite way of passing the time! But also because BOOKS ARE BRILLIANT FOR YOUR BRAIN!

The latest scientific research shows that reading lots of books gives you:

  • a HUGE VOCABULARY
  • HUGE GENERAL KNOWLEDGE
  • GREAT WRITING STYLE
  • FANTASTIC FOCUS AND CONCENTRATION
  • BRILLIANT STRESS RELIEF
  • a SUPERB IMAGINATION
  • EXCEPTIONAL ORIGINALITY, CREATIVITY and IDEAS (so you can save the world!)
  • GREAT COMPASSION FOR OTHERS
  • not to mention THE BEST SCHOOL RESULTS (when you get back to school!)

If you don’t believe me, get Mum and Dad to take a look here at my talk to some Australian librarians last year – which sets out all the science they need to read!

So what are you waiting for! Put down that electronic tablet/gaming device/lap top (which only makes you good at playing games and manipulating a mouse) and pick up a fabulous BOOK!

And if you’ve read all your books, it’s time to go to your favourite library or bookshop to get some more! You can tell your Mum and Dad from me that it’s the best investment they’ll ever make for you!

HOORAY FOR BOOKS!

Well done Daisy!

June 22, 2019 at 1:35 pm | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, Japanese International School, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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On Wednesday afternoon, I had the great pleasure of presenting Daisy Palmer, winner of the Grade 4 to 6 Category of the Practically Perfect Pig Tale Competition, with her First Place prize of a Boxed Set of the Chinese Calendar Tales! Here we are at the assembly at Japanese International School in Hong Kong, with, from left to right, librarian Cath Wan, Principal Simon Walton, Daisy’s mum Claire, and head of Student Support, Glenda Baillie. Thank you Simon for inviting me – it was a real honour!

The results are out in The Practically Perfect Pig Tale Competition!

June 15, 2019 at 4:10 pm | Posted in Clever Competitions, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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At last! The results in my Practically Perfect Pig Tale Competition are out! Thank you all for your kindness and understanding over the last few weeks – it’s been a difficult time for me on the domestic front, which has caused some delay in getting all your stories read and marked on my special anonymous marking spreadsheet! But it’s also been a huge pleasure, and great fun, for me to read your stories! It was obvious that you all made a huge effort, and the overall standard was very high.

Thank you, each and every one of you, for your fantastic efforts and do make sure you enter my next Clever Competition!

There were a total of 44 entries from 12 fabulous schools in Beijing, Chicago, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Shanghai and Sydney. Special congratulations to First Place winners Saskia McDonald (Grade One to Three Category) and Daisy Palmer (Grade Four to Six Category)  who each receive a Boxed Set of the Chinese Calendar Tales! Congratulations also to the Second and Third Place winners who will receive a signed copy of one of the Chinese Calendar Tales of their choice!

To see the winning entries, just click here on my Clever Competitions page. And have fun reading the stories!

I’ll be posting details of my next Clever Competition when you all get back from holidays in September! Just scroll down to the link at the right hand side to subscribe to this blog, or to my newsletter to find out as soon as the details are posted!

Not long to go now…

June 5, 2019 at 5:03 pm | Posted in children's literacy, Monkey story, writing competitions | Leave a comment
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Ming Kee Monkey being SUPER patient in The Tale of Ming Kee Monkey. Illustration by Harry Harrison

Thank you for your patience, all you fabulous contestants in my Practically Perfect Pig Tale Competition! My lovely helper is home from hospital and resting up, and I’m back to judging of your fantastic stories! I’m having so much fun reading them – you’ve all done a wonderful job! So it won’t be long to go now before I announce the finalists! Keep visiting my site, and I’ll be making the big announcement soon!

Please be patient my friends…

May 29, 2019 at 9:27 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hello, all you clever kids who entered my Practically Perfect Pig Story writing competition! I have a small favour to ask of you. My lovely helper here in Hong Kong has been in hospital lately and unfortunately she has had a few complications. I’m her employer and she is like one of the family, so I’m very busy currently visiting her at the hospital twice a day and consulting with the doctors and nurses. So I haven’t been able to judge the competition yet!! I’m working on it bit by bit, but I may be a little delayed bringing you the results! Don’t worry – I’ll be sure to post them before school breaks up for the summer. And in the meantime, thank you again for your patience!

Time’s Up! And the judging begins…

May 18, 2019 at 1:01 pm | Posted in Beijing Schools, Chicago schools, Clever Competitions, Hong Kong Schools, Melbourne schools, Shanghai schools, Sydney schools | Leave a comment
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Time’s up in my Practically Perfect Pig Tale Competition, and it’s time to start judging your fabulous entries! I’ve had over 50 magnificent entries from schools in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Melbourne, Sydney and Chicago – so it might take me a little bit of time!

So please be patient, all you clever writers out there, and Ping Pong Pig and I will be singing out the results as soon as we can!

A Writing Workshop at St Clare’s Primary School!

May 9, 2019 at 10:31 am | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, St Clare's Primary School, Writing competitions for kids, writing workshops for children | Leave a comment
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Here are the fabulous girls of Grades 4 to 6 at St Clare’s Primary School in Sai Ying Pun in Hong Kong preparing to contribute their clever ideas in my How to Write a Riveting Story Workshop on Tuesday this week! They had some fantastic ideas for stories! They learned all about the vital elements in a story, and how to make a story plan that makes a perfect skeleton story. I also explained some of the current science about the extraordinary importance of reading for leisure and pleasure if you want to have a creative and successful life – and the very real problems for the brain if you spend your spare time on digital screens, especially social media and digital games. Thank you to lovely English Panel Head, Ms. Sandy (with me below right), and to School Principal Elsa Hui (below left), for inviting me. The girls were a delight and I look forward to working with them again! And, of course, to their entries in my Clever Competition!

A fabulous article in The Standard!

May 8, 2019 at 7:21 am | Posted in Book reviews, Hong Kong, media articles | Leave a comment
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Huge thanks to Simon Lau, Chief Sub-Editor (Education) at The Standard, for this fantastic book review about The Chinese Calendar Tales published on 30 April! To see the whole article, click on the link below:

Sarah Brennan article

Ping Pong Pig finds seven more days for entries in my Clever Competition!

May 3, 2019 at 9:32 am | Posted in Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Ping Pong Pig has been begging me to give everybody an extension in my latest Clever Competition. Finally, she’s dived into her feed bucket and found seven extra days hiding, right at the bottom!

So, courtesy of Ping Pong, the new deadline for my Practically Perfect Pig Tale Competition is extended to midnight EST on Friday 17th May!

That means that you now have 14 days to get your entries in – and with the fabulous first prize of a Boxed Set of the Chinese Calendar Tales, you’d better get going!

All the rules and special ingredients are here, so click on the link and start writing! I can’t wait to read your entries!

It’s Book Week at DBIS!

May 2, 2019 at 6:56 pm | Posted in Discovery Bay International School, Hong Kong Schools, Writing competitions for kids | 1 Comment
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This week is Book Week at Discovery Bay International School, and I was honoured to be part of their celebrations today! The whole of primary school from Year 1 to Year 6 met my latest and last Chinese Calendar Tales character, the feisty Ping Pong Pig, not to mention the mighty Yongle Emperor and his crafty Minister of Most Important Things, in three funny and fabulous story readings of The Tale of Ping Pong Pig. Then I spent a fun twenty minutes during the lunch hour with the DBIS Battle of the Books team, who had just come back from the Hong Kong Semi-Finals, where they placed a very impressive Second! Well done to the DBIS BOBS!

You can see me with Head of English, Mr Jonnie Haines’, Class 5JH, above, and below, with my lovely host, school librarian Melanie Foti.

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And below, you can meet wonderful DBIS author and illustrator, Luka Van der Noord, creator of The Adventures of Sticko! He’s already written and printed eight books! Keep up the good work, Luka! You’ll be selling in bookstores soon!

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Last but not least, a message to all you DBIS writers – I’ve decided to extend the deadline for my story competition for just one more week to give you all time to get your stories in! So the deadline will now be midnight on Friday 17th May 2019! Just click here to find out all the rules and special ingredients for your entry!

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