Beware!! Just 11 days left in my Perfect Pet Poem Competition for Primary School kids!

October 17, 2018 at 3:14 pm | Posted in Clever Competitions, Poetry competitions for children, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Ching Shih, the real-life pirate queen in my story The Tale of Desmond Dog, would like to warn you that you have just 11 days left to enter your Perfect Pet Poem in my latest Clever Competition! The deadline is 28 October – and you can enter from anywhere in the world!  But beware! If you miss the deadline, Ching Shih might just chop your ears off!! Read all the details of the competition here!

Storm Whale is short-listed for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards!

October 17, 2018 at 3:00 pm | Posted in Book Awards, Book reviews, Buying my books, Prime Minister's Literary Awards 2018, Shortlist Book Awards, Storm Whale | Leave a comment
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I’m sooooo excited! Storm Whale, my beautiful children’s book illustrated by Jane Tanner and published by Allen and Unwin, has just been short-listed with five other books for the Children’s Literature category of the Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Awards 2018! I’m so grateful to Jane for her stunning paintings, and the work of Allen and Unwin’s children’s team, led by Erica Wagner, and to my agent Julie Watts, who all made the book possible! We find out who wins in each category some time in November! Cross your fingers for me! If you want to read the lovely comments made by the panel, just click here! If you’d like to see one of the pages in our lovely book, here it is below:

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And if you’d like to buy a copy,  you can purchase here with Book Depository!

A wonderful visit to UISG in Guangzhou!

October 13, 2018 at 5:04 pm | Posted in Guangzhou schools, Utahloy International School of Guangzhou, workshops | Leave a comment
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This week I made the train journey up to Guangzhou to visit the beautiful Utaloy International School of Guangzhou! (Utaloy is the rough pronunciation of Great Virtue in Chinese, I was told). There I was hosted by the lovely Head Librarian Chrissy Erwin (above), and we started the day with a latte on the balcony overlooking a river beside a forest, in the prettiest setting I have EVER seen for a school, in China or anywhere! It also had wonderful open air playing space for the kids, including a fabulous Dr Seuss tree for the little ones, and a pirate ship for the older kids! Thanks Chrissy, and Kelly Phillips, her librarian colleague, for hosting me for a very special day of story readings from the Chinese Calendar Tales with all the primary school students, as well as the Grade 7 and Grade 8 students who learned How to Publish a Picture Book from Brilliant Idea to Final Product.

 

Above left, you can see me with Kelly Phillips, Chrissy Erwin, and the new principal of the school to her right. On the right, you can see me with the fabulous library assistants team and “our” Chinese Zodiac animals! Below left, I am interviewed by the staff of the high school newspaper, while below  right, you can see the wonderful Dr Seuss tree playground for the younger students.

 

 

More photos to come!

The Twins from Planet Zorg visit PLK CKY Grade 3!

October 9, 2018 at 2:32 pm | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, PLK CKY School, Science fiction, writing workshops for children | Leave a comment
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It was Douglet the Cyberdog to the rescue of two feisty human twins, from the clutches of evil android scientist Andreas on the purple Planet Zorg, in three fun workshop sessions at the fabulous PLK CKY school in Piper’s Hill, when I worked with the Grade 3s on how to plan an exciting Sci Fi story! We all had loads of fun seeing how my Story Planner could be used to make a fabulous skeleton for a story, with special reference to settings, characters and especially plot! Thanks to lovely librarian Joli Moore for inviting me!

Today is World Animal Day!

October 4, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Posted in Poetry competitions for children | Leave a comment
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Today is World Animal Day, and what better way to celebrate than to:

  1. make a donation to International Animal Rescue for all those animals out there who need help from human beings, and
  2. enter my current Clever Competition to celebrate your favourite pet in a fun poem! You can find all the details on my Clever Competition page. Anyone of primary school age, anywhere in the world, can enter! But be quick – you only have 24 days left!

I can’t wait to read your entry!

A memorable visit to QSI Zhuhai!

September 29, 2018 at 11:00 am | Posted in QSI Zhuhai, Story Readings, workshops, Zhuhai schools | Leave a comment
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Thank you so much to fabulous primary school teacher Heather Domenico, for hosting me for two very busy days at QSI in Zhuhai on Wednesday and Thursday this last week! We had sessions for absolutely everyone from ages 2 to 18, as well as an after-school talk to the mums and dads!

The littlest ones met my crew of stuffed toys in a funny re-enactment of Lord Buddha’s Race – and proved they were extremely good at counting up to 12!

The 5 to 6 year olds proved they were old hands at the Chinese Zodiac when I read them The Tale of Pin Yin Panda while the 7 to 8 year olds became fearsome pirates as they heard The Tale of Desmond Dog!

The 9 to 11 year olds learned all about How to Publish A Picture Book from Brilliant Idea to Final Product and even got a sneek peak at my final Chinese Calendar Tale for the Year of the Pig, which is currently in production!

After school on Wednesday, I talked to a lovely group of parents about How to Create Bookworms in the Digital Age. Here are just a few of them, with their kids!

And finally, the 12 to 18 year olds and I spent almost the whole of Thursday together, in three different workshops: How to Become a Good Writer, An Introduction to Poetry and, finally, Nailing the Narrative Curve, where we had tremendous fun writing a story plan for the tragic story of three teenagers caught in a love triangle…in a paradise entered through a school locker portal!

And in between I met some fabulous kids, parents and teachers when I signed the books they bought from my wonderful distributor, Aaron Tearne at Obido Educational Services! If anyone missed out on buying a book, you can still do so, with some great discounts for multiple purchases here!

More photos to come!

Hooray! Storm Whale is short-listed for the Queensland Literary Awards 2018!

September 1, 2018 at 11:30 am | Posted in Awards, Book Awards, poetry, Queensland Literary Awards 2018 | Leave a comment
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I’m SO excited! Storm Whale has been short-listed, alongside four other wonderful Australian writers’ stories, for the Queensland Literary Awards in the Griffith University Children’s Book Award section! It’s such wonderful news for me, for illustrator Jane Tanner and our publisher Allen and Unwin! I can’t wait for the announcement of the winners in early October! Here’s what the judges had to say:

Judges’ Comments

During their seaside stay, three sisters work tirelessly to save a whale that has become stranded on the shore. Nostalgic and lyrical, Sarah Brennan’s sustained and perfectly nuanced verses ebb and flow seamlessly in this timeless narrative, while Jane Tanner’s combination of monochromatic and multi-coloured pencil and pastel illustrations reflect the text’s mood, pace and burgeoning sense of hope.

If you haven’t bought your copy of Storm Whale yet, you can buy it here!

There’s Monkey Business afoot at AISHK Book Week!

August 31, 2018 at 3:12 pm | Posted in AISHK, Book Week, Hong Kong Schools | Leave a comment
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Oh dear! That mischievous Ming Kee Monkey is on the loose at Book Week at Australian International School Hong Kong today! Thanks so much to Jean, who sent me this fabulous photo of her gorgeous daughter Maddie, all dressed up and ready to have fun as the main character in one of my and Harry Harrison’s Chinese Calendar Tales, The Tale of Ming Kee Monkey! Doesn’t she look fantastic?

A Book Week visit at MLC in Melbourne!

August 28, 2018 at 7:43 pm | Posted in Australian schools, Melbourne schools, Methodist Ladies College, Story Readings, workshops | Leave a comment
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The subject of this year’s Book Week in Australia was Find Your Treasure, and what better book to introduce to the fabulous girls of Melbourne Ladies College on 16th and 17th August than my latest Chinese Calendar Tale, The Tale of Desmond Dog, a story of pirates, treasure and an infamous Pirate Queen!  On the 16th, all the girls from Grade 4 to Grade 6 joined the crew for a story reading, followed by a hearty lunch with the Book Bugs (top photo) who heard some Top Secrets about my next (and final) Chinese Calendar Tale for next year’s Year of the Pig! In the afternoon I was delighted to meet wonderful Grade 3 student Hannah Thompson, the winner of the Grade 1 to 3 Category in my Dashing Dog Story Competition earlier this year (middle photo above), followed by a delightful Grade 1 student who is already writing lots of stories in her spare time (bottom left). The future of great writing from MLC alumni is clearly bright!

Then on the 17th, the Grade 6s took part in my brand new workshop entitled Geography is History: How topography shaped China’s remarkable history! We talked about China’s grasslands in the North (from which invaders came on horseback); its mountains and deserts in the West and North West (which formed a natural barrier both inwards and outwards); its fertile deltas in the East (which formed the first united China under Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi) and the seas beyond (from which trade came and went, and ultimately the incursion of foreign powers, and invasion of the Japanese navy, which together precipitated the End of Empire). I hope the girls found the subject as fascinating as I did!!

Huge thanks to my friend, and fabulous Junior School Head of Library, Tracey Ricchini, who you can just see at the back of the Book Bugs in the top photo! She made a fantastic Ching Shi, the evil (and real life) pirate queen from The Tale of Desmond Dog! More photos to come!

It’s time for a new Clever Competition!

August 19, 2018 at 6:15 pm | Posted in Book Week, Clever Competitions, Poetry competitions for children, Writing competitions for kids | 3 Comments
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Desmond saving catHello all my lovely followers out there! I’ve been away on summer holidays with my family, and have just had a fantastic time in Melbourne for Book Week, and now I’m back on deck here in Hong Kong! So it’s high time for another challenge for you budding writers!

This time you must write a poem about a Perfect Pet! It can be your pet, or a pet you’d love to have, or even somebody else’s pet! It can any sort of pet – from an ant to an elephant, so long as it’s a pet you’d love to have!

It can be any sort of poem too! Go to my Clever Competitions page here to find out how to enter and to check out all the rules!

The deadline is Sunday, 28th October, so get out your pen and paper, and start writing now! I can’t wait to read your entry!

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