The Results are out in my Tale of a Rogue Rabbit writing competition!

May 10, 2023 at 7:08 pm | Posted in Clever Competitions | Leave a comment
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HOORAY! The results in my Tale of a Rogue Rabbit writing competition are out!!

Thank you all so much for your fabulous entries into my latest Clever Competition, The Tale of a Rogue Rabbit! I’ve had so much fun reading them, and chuckling at the antics of your cheeky bunnies and sometimes even naughtier Amur hedgehogs whilst sparing a thought for all your sad princesses! Not to mention singing along with those watermelons!!

There were two notable “firsts” in this competition!

  • The first story written completely in rhyming verse!
  • The first word I had to look up in the dictionary because I’d never heard of it before!

And there was a lot of humour, which is always fun to come across, especially when judging!

You can read all the wonderful winning entries on my Clever Competition page right away! Just click on this link!

Have patience, my friends!

May 7, 2023 at 3:03 pm | Posted in Clever Competitions | Leave a comment
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The Rabbit in the Moon, from The Tale of Rhonda Rabbit, illustration by Harry Harrison

It’s been a week since the deadline of Tale of a Rogue Rabbit story competition and I know, I know, you’re impatient to see the results! I’m having such fun reading your entries, and the results are cooking!! I promise it won’t be long now! Hang in there!!

Just 5 days to go!

April 26, 2023 at 4:27 pm | Posted in Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Hop to it my friends! Just 5 days to go to get your entry into my Tale of a Rogue Rabbit writing competition! You can find all the information you need here!

I’m so excited to read your story!

Just 2 weeks left to submit your Tale of a Rogue Rabbit!

April 15, 2023 at 4:53 pm | Posted in Clever Competitions, Writing competitions for kids | 1 Comment
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If you haven’t yet submitted your entry for my Tale of a Rogue Rabbit Writing Competition you’d better get hopping! You can find out all the information you need here. I can’t wait to read your entry!

And in the meantime, one of our fabulous entrants is so impatient to find out the winners that she wrote a special poem about it! I thought it was so clever, I had to let you all see it! Thank you Ira Nair for this poem, which made me laugh out loud!

Tick tock

    Waiting and waiting.

    I look out the window,

    I peer through the door.

    I stare at my phone,

    My patience is no more.

    I play with my sister,

    I play with my friends.

    I play with my family,

    Until the deadline ends.

    Waiting and waiting.

    My stomach excited,

    My heart beating fast.

    My head going wild,

    For the results- at last.

    My eyes getting tired,

    My mind feeling bored.

    I’m getting impatient,

    I can’t wait no more.

    Waiting and waiting.

    While I might be tired,

    While this isn’t fun.

    While my patience is low,

    I shall wait till the deadline is done.

    Patience is crucial,

    I shall have to wait.

    Patience is crucial,

    Even when some are late.

    Waiting and waiting.

    I check my emails once,

    And check them once more.

    Looking out the window,

    Peering out the door.

    No need to be impatient,

    Keep steady- just wait.

    Watch the clock tick,

    Until the ending date.

    Waiting and waiting.

By Ira Nair

Four fabulous new friends in Taiwan!

February 28, 2023 at 9:08 pm | Posted in Taiwan Schools | Leave a comment
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I was so excited to visit Taiwan on my first post-Covid Schools Tour this month! After a great week visiting schools in Hong Kong, I flew to Taipei’s Taoyuan Airport, where I was met by the lovely Charles and Di Farrell, Library Media Specialist and Library Assistant at Morrison Academy Taiwan, Tai Pei Campus, who very kindly drove me to my hotel!

Monday 13 February: Morrison Academy Taiwan, Tai Pei Campus

We commenced the visit with a fun reading for the Grade 2 and 3s of – you guessed it – The Tale of Rhonda Rabbit, book du jour, or should I say année, for the new Year of the Rabbit! The kids were fascinated to learn about the mighty Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi, who united China over 2,000 years ago, but at a rather horrible cost to the people who stood in his way!

Next, I met the Kindergarten and Year 1 students, reading them my story Storm Whale. I have never been asked so many questions about whales afterwards, including some VERY tricky ones about, for example, “How high is the water spout of sperm whale?” for which I had NO CLUE of the answer! Thank you Charles for rescuing me with a wonderful book about whales from the library!

After a tasty lunch, I met the Grade 5s and 6s with my workshop How to Write a Riveting Story, then capped off the day with a fun session with the Grade 4s, An Introduction to Poetry, in which the kids narrowly escaped a fate worse than death (aka horrible school reports) as they used the first letters of Mr Farrell’s name to describe him in the Acrostic exercise!

My warm thanks to my hosts Charles and Di Farrell for their welcome and for hosting me in one of the most beautiful, artistic school libraries I have ever seen! Photos below!

Tuesday 14 February: Morrison Academy Khaosiung Campus

After my very first High Speed Rail trip from the top to the bottom of the island, I spent the next day with the lovely Christine Stowers and her support staff, visiting the kids of the Khaosiung Campus of Morrison Academy.

After an excellent opening session with Grades 6 to 8, explaining How to Publish a Picture Book from Brilliant Idea to Final Product, the Kindies to Grade 2 heard my story Storm Whale, then after a fabulous lunch, I met the Grades 3 to 5 students who heard…da da da…The Tale of Rhonda Rabbit! Finally, the fabulous teens in Grades 9 to 10 heard all about my path to becoming an author and publisher, followed by a serious talk about why reading print books is not just the most important tool for a writer, but also the way to ensure the very best life, in my presentation The Writing Life.

Thank you Christina for sending me the wonderful photos below!

Wednesday 15 February: Morrison Academy Taichung Campus

On Wednesday, at long last, I met Scott Pagel, the reason for my trip to Taiwan!! Scott and I have been in contact ever since he sent his students’ entries into my Clever Competition many years ago, and we’ve always thought it would be great for me to come and visit! We even planned a trip to all three campuses back in 2020…which sadly had to be cancelled due to…you guessed it…the dreaded Covid 19! So it was amazing to meet him in the flesh at last at the Morrison Academy Taichung Campus!

We kicked off with a story reading of Storm Whale for Kindergarten and Grade One, followed by my workshop on How to Write a Riveting Story for Grades 6, 7 and 8. I included a very serious talk on the huge benefits of reading print books for leisure and pleasure in order to write well – as well as to live your best life! And, of course, how vitally important it is for the brain to limit time spent on digital games and social media.

After lunch, Grades 3 to 5 had a fun Introduction to Poetry, where we had a lot of laughs as they completed a poem called “Let’s Destroy the School” in perfect rhyme and verse! Parents and teachers beware!!

The day ended with my popular talk about How to Create Bookworms in the Digital Age, for the MAC parents and teachers, where we discussed the latest scientific research on reading print book and the brain.

Thank you Scott for a fabulous day at Morrison Taichung…at last!! Photos to come!


Thursday 23 February: Zoom visit to Hsinchu International School

Sadly I was not able to visit Hsinchu International School in Taiwan during my trip, but I WAS able to visit them by Zoom a week later, which just happened to be their Book Week! We had two fun sessions!

The first, for the little ones from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 2, was a reading of The Tale of Pin Yin Panda, to meet my cheeky panda character Pin Yin, to find out how all the animals got into the Chinese Zodiac, and to discover why pandas aren’t in the Zodiac!

For the rest of the school, I spoke about How I Became an Author, then explained all the latest science about why Reading is Good for the Brain.

Huge thanks to Grade 4 teacher Eddie Costello, who invited me in, and librarian Isabel Slabbert who expertly hosted me for the visit! Eddie and I first met when he sent in his students entries into my Clever Competition some years ago. I can’t wait to see entries from Hsinchu International in my current Competition!

Four fabulous old friends in Hong Kong

February 25, 2023 at 11:40 pm | Posted in Hong Kong Schools | Leave a comment
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Tuesday 7th February: Glenealy School, Mid-Levels

My tour of Hong Kong schools kicked off with a morning at my old friend Glenealy School, with two fun sessions with Years 1 to 3, then Years 4 to 6, reading The Tale of Rhonda Rabbit and explaining all the scrumptious Chinese history behind the story, of Qin Shi Huangdi, the raiding Xiong Nu tribes to the north and why the Great Wall of China was built! My huge thanks to librarian Gisele Stones for inviting me, and for the fabulous pictures below!

Wednesday 8th February: Kellett School, Pok Fu Lam Campus

The next day, I visited Kellett School’s Pok Fu Lam Campus, where the Receptions to Year 2s heard my Tale of Rhonda Rabbit, the Year 3s to Year 6s learned How to Publish a Picture Book from Brilliant Idea to Final Product, and I spent a fantastic hour with a lovely group of Kellett parents discussing How to Create Bookworms in the Digital Age. We had fabulous Q&A throughout all three sessions. Prep librarian Emily Wong was a superb host – thank you for your warm welcome Emily!

Thursday 9th February: Kellett School, Kowloon Bay Campus

The next day, I repeated the same fun program at Kellett School’s Kowloon Bay Campus. We had fabulous Q&A throughout, and I can confidently say that I have never fielded so many questions about ISBNs in my How to Publish a Picture Book session before! What an outstanding lot of enquiring young minds! Thank you so much Teacher Librarian Jamie-Lee Wedderburn for being such a wonderful host!

Friday 10th February: Stamford American School Hong Kong

The week ended with a lovely afternoon with my old friends at Stamford American School Hong Kong in Ho Man Tin, with an all-ages-welcome story telling session of The Tale of Rhonda Rabbit, and a great session on How to Publish a Picture Book with a lot of students AND their parents! That was great fun, and we had a very interesting Q&A afterwards! Director of Marketing and Admissions Lisa Olinski was a fantastic host – thank you as ever, Lisa, for your warm and enthusiastic welcome.

At last, a report on my Hong Kong/Taiwan Schools tour!

February 25, 2023 at 10:59 pm | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, Taiwan Schools | Leave a comment

I’m back home in France after two fantastic weeks in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and after battling off the inevitable post-tour cold virus, I’m very excited to report on my trip!

But first, a eulogy for my old home Hong Kong! It was so wonderful to see it again, after 2 and half years absence, not to mention the inability to travel due to that old enemy of ours, Covid 19! Hong Kong was my home for 22 years, and the place where my two girls grew up, and I’ve missed it dearly. It was such fun to be back in the bustle of the Island and the New Territories, and while it was clear that many expats have left in recent years, the spirit of Hong Kong, with its energy, inventiveness and drive, still lives on. So here I blow it a kiss, send it a hug, and promise that I’ll be back again soon! Read the following posts to find out what I did over the last fortnight and see some fun photos!

Alas! I’ve finished my school visits in Taiwan!

February 16, 2023 at 9:48 am | Posted in Taiwan Schools | Leave a comment
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I’ve had another WONDERFUL WEEK this week, visiting Taiwan for my very first time! I’ve criss-crossed the country, visiting all 3 campuses of the outstanding Morrison Academy, over 3 busy days. And today, I have the very special opportunity to visit the National Palace Museum here in Taipei – a wish that’s been sitting on my Bucket List for YEARS! I cannot wait to see some of the imperial treasures of China, from the ancient dynasties which feature in my Chinese Calendar Tales! I’ll make sure to post some pictures soon!

And as soon as I get back home to France, I’ll be posting a full report, with photos, of my fabulous two weeks back here in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Watch this space!

Oh what a week that was! And a fun event up ahead!!

February 12, 2023 at 7:31 pm | Posted in Events, Hong Kong events | Leave a comment
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Well, I’m officially EXHAUSTED but so HAPPY! I’ve had the most wonderful week visiting schools in Hong Kong, and am absolutely overwhelmed with the warm welcome back, and the amazing book orders! In fact, there were so many book orders to pack that I haven’t had a moment to post about my visits…and now I’m in Taiwan to visit three more schools!

I’ll be posting as soon as possible with some great photos of each visit. But in the meantime, here’s a fun event you can come along to, just before I fly back to France! I’ll be reading from The Tale of Rhonda Rabbit, then my friend Suzanne Younan, who writes the fabulous Green Dragon series, will be launching her latest book, and then we’ll BOTH be teaching you how to make some pop-up animal puppets … which can be rabbits or dragons or monkeys or a bit of them all! How very confusing!

And Harry Harrison will be there too to say hello! He might even have a fabulous colouring-in sheet for you to take home!

I look forward to seeing you there!

Hellooooo Hong Kong!!

February 6, 2023 at 10:18 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I’m back – sadly just for a week to visit 4 fabulous schools before heading off to Taiwan for a week, but don’t worry, I’ll be back again :)! It’s SO wonderful to be here again – Hong Kong was my home for 22 years, and was where my daughters spent their entire childhood! Walking the old familiar streets and passing so many familiar places is so bittersweet. I LOVE HONG KONG!!

Tomorrow I start my school visits. I can’t wait! See you all soon!

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