Three fabulous writing workshops at Discovery College!

September 30, 2014 at 10:38 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I had a fantastic day yesterday with the Grade 4s to Grade 6s of Discovery College! First I gave them a talk about story planning to include all the essential elements of a great story, with a fun example to demonstrate my point! The Grade 4s got my Evil Vacuum Cleaner Mystery; the Grade 5s heard my Dog Kidnapped by Aliens Adventure; and the LUCKY Grade 6s got my beautiful, touching Romance about two of their class mates :)! Then it was all systems go as I put the kids on a stopwatch to produce a Story Plan covering all the bases! Some kids even finished a fabulous First Draft in the time available! Well done all of you! Remember that Story Plans are your best friends when it comes to Writing a Riveting Story! And big thanks to Leanne Sercombe, Information Literacy Coordinator and PYP Teacher Librarian, for inviting me!

A Parents’ Workshop at Green Oasis School, Shenzhen!

September 26, 2014 at 9:50 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SAM_5558 SAM_5557

Thank you to Head of Primary Anne Marie Stock (left) for a lovely warm welcome at Green Oasis School in Shenzhen, where I spoke to a big crowd of concerned parents about the importance of reading books in the digital age, and how to turn their kids into enthusiastic Book Worms! Afterwards I had the chance to sign lots of books for the kids – here I am with Lydia above! And a warm hello to Oscar too – sadly our photo together didn’t turn out :(!

The first entry in my Clever Competition from the USA!

September 24, 2014 at 7:52 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A big hello to Lillian Lee at Greenlake Elementary School in Washington State, USA! Lillian is officially the first competitor to enter my Clever Competitions from the United States of America! She has written a really beautiful poem about her favourite tree – we’ll see how she goes when the competition closes!

And in the meantime – if you haven’t started writing your poem, you’d better start now! There are just 16 more days to get your entry in! Go to the Clever Competitions page above to see all the details!

A funny and fabulous time at Kingston International School!

September 23, 2014 at 4:35 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

KIS workshops 2014

The crazy kids of Grade 3 Kingston International School and I had a ball this morning, with some fascinating Chinese history about the Emperor Han Wudi and the Silk Road, a story reading of my Tale of a Dark Horse, a workshop about How to Write Riveting Stories, and even a make-up mystery adventure, where the teachers got gobbled up by a defective vaccuum cleaner! It was fun! Thank you PYP co-ordinator Melissa Preisig for inviting me in again!

Now that’s a hug!

September 12, 2014 at 8:02 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

jan kristy norman

My dear friend and fellow Aussie author Jan Latta was at Dubbo Zoo in New South Wales in Australia this week – and sent me this gorgeous photo of Norman, the koala, having a hug with her and the zoo attendant Kristy! Isn’t Norman just adorable? But you do have to watch out for those claws! Jan is a famous wildlife photographer and writes fantastic books about endangered animals – you can find out all about her work at

Can you imagine what it must be like NOT to be able to read?

September 11, 2014 at 2:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

kids-readingI know that all you wonderful kids who follow my blog are fantastic readers, and love your books to death! But stop for a minute and think – what would it be like NOT to be able to read? Not just books, but ANYTHING in writing? Why don’t you try and spend the next hour NOT reading any words at all – on your computer screen, your television screen, packets of food in the kitchen, road signs on the street, mail in the post, magazines, advertisements, not to mention your beloved books. And then imagine what that would be like for a lifetime.

That’s what life is like every day for over 60 million primary school aged kids around the world today! Take a look at this clip from Room To Read with Mum and Dad:

and think how incredibly lucky you are to be able to read! Never take that ability for granted!

And then, turn off your computer, pick up a good book and have a wonderful, thrilling, thought- provoking, funny, sad, magical and life-changing READ! That’s an order!

I’ve just been appointed a Room To Read Ambassador!

September 11, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2-line RTR logo

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, or coming to my workshops and story readings, you’ll know how passionate I am about kids reading books – and I mean REAL books! And you’ll probably also have gathered that, as a mother of two daughters, I’m also passionate about the rights of all girls to an education! So I was over the moon to accept the invitation of Room to Read to become one of their Author Ambassadors! You’ll be hearing a lot more in my blog from now on about this wonderful charity and their fantastic work in promoting and enabling reading and education for children in Africa and Asia.  Thank you Jennie, Jodi and Helen for inviting me. I am truly honoured to become part of your wonderful organisation!

If you’d like to find out more about Room To Read and how you can help, you can visit their website right away at – but don’t forget to share it with Mum and Dad!

Like Grandma, like Granddaughter…

September 4, 2014 at 11:45 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Sonia and Anya and me at the Shang Lit Fest-March 2014

It seems that writing talent runs in families, and after I published my post about Sonia below, I was very privileged to meet her lovely grandma Rumana Husain yesterday via email! I discovered that Rumana is a famous children’s author and illustrator in Pakistan, among many other talents. Like me, Rumana was a guest speaker at the Shanghai International Literary Festival in March earlier this year, and her you can see a photo of her with Sonia and Sonia’s little sister Anya at the Festival. I think that Sonia is a bit of a chip off her grandma’s block! If you want to see more about Rumana’s books, you can click on this link  with Mum and Dad!

Meet a remarkable young writer…and her wonderful mum!

September 2, 2014 at 4:39 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Every so often I have extra-special days, and today was one of them. I met a just-seven-years-old girl called Sonia, and her wonderful mum Roohi. Roohi sent me Sonia’s entry into my current Clever Competition, a really beautiful poem about her favourite tree. She also sent me four other poems Sonia had written, full of gorgeous vocabulary and lovely imagination. Roohi confided in me that Malala (see my post below) was also Sonia’s hero, and she sent me the photo you see above. 


Roohi also sent me this photo of Sonia and her sister’s bedroom! Sonia asked for these posters especially for her birthday. and she chose 10 inspiring women: Jane Goodall (perhaps the greatest living anthropologist), Frida Khalo (a great Mexican artist), Sally Ride (the first female astronaut) , Maya Angelou (the celebrated African-American author and poet), Eleanor Roosevelt (outspoken civil rights and women’s rights activist and politician), Rachel Carson (the great writer and environmentalist), Helen Keller (the great, blind, civil rights activist), Diana Nyad (American journalist, author and long-distance swimmer) and Rosa Parks (the African-American civil rights activist known as the Mother of Civil Rights in America) with wonderful Malala taking pride of place in the centre.

Needless to say, Sonia is a great reader who constantly has her head in a book! And her mum tells me that the reason she has encouraged her daughters to read lots and lots of books is because growing up she didn’t have the chance to read many different kinds of books. With a mum like Roohi, and a love of reading, and the inspiration of such a fantastic group of women on her bedroom wall, I predict that Sonia will grow up to become a rather special person herself!

So if you’re a kid, why not do the same as Sonia, and put posters of the people who inspire you to greatness on your bedroom wall? You could enter my Clever Competition as well 🙂 – all the details are on the Clever Competitions page above!

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