A fabulous first day of the Commercial Press Story Telling Conference 2014

October 27, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Storytelling Conference 2014

A big thank you to Christa Tam (top third left) and her terrific team for organizing the Story Telling Conference 2014. It was an outstanding first day on Saturday, with speakers and teachers exchanging ideas about how to motivate kids to read and write through the ancient art of story-telling, and with a fantastic key note speaker, the famous US story-teller Fran Stallings (above to my left) to inspire and entertain everyone! There will be a second opportunity for those teachers who missed it to enroll in workshops next Saturday, so just contact Commercial Press as per the poster below to register right away!

Calling all teachers who care about kids reading … a brilliant PD conference on Saturday 21st October and 1st November!

October 23, 2014 at 9:36 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

20140828_Storytelling con_A2 poster_1

I know how very much all the teachers and librarians I meet care about encouraging children to read lots and lots of books. Reading books is probably the most important activity a kid can do to secure a happy and successful future, and teachers are constantly telling me how worried they are about the steady decline amongst children in reading for leisure and pleasure.

So if you haven’t yet enrolled in Commercial Press’s fantastic Story Telling Conference (professional development program) this Saturday and next, featuring US Story Teller Fran Stallings and a host of other concerned speakers (including me :)!) you’ll be happy to know that there are still places available! Here is the program: 20140827_Storytelling con_A5 book

I look forward to seeing you all there!

Some Really Riveting Workshops at CKY School!

October 22, 2014 at 5:49 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

PLKCKY workshop #3SAM_5834

A big thank you to wonderful primary teacher librarian Tammy Ng, who hosted me today at the exceptional PLK CKY School in Piper’s Hill, Hong Kong. The Grade 3 kids learned all about the vital importance of story planning in my How to Write A Really Riveting Story Workshop, with the help of my famous adventure story about the dog who was kidnapped by aliens, and my scary mystery story about the missing teachers of CKY School! Then in the afternoon the primary teachers and I explored How to Create Bookworms in the Digital Age. It was great to share ideas on this urgent topic, with teachers who really care about kids’ literacy. You can see Miss Tammy above, standing in front of a magic reading castle in just one of the many rooms in the school which are devoted to books. It was fantastic to spend time among such kindred souls!

Featuring our Gr 4 to 6 Clever Competition winner, Jemma Julian!

October 21, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jemma Julian 21.10.14 small

spider web best 1smallChina by Jemma Julian

Introducing Jemma Julian, who won first place in the Ode to My Favourite Tree Competition last week! Jemma is being home-schooled in Sydney, and is already a very creative writer and painter, as you can see from the photos here! Jemma is a huge reader, and loves writing and illustrating stories. She wrote the story Nectar Buzz and the Jacaranda Tree as soon as she found out that she had won my competition because she was so excited, and wants to be an author herself one day. If you click on the pages of her story below you can read it – and just look at the fabulous words she uses! I think she’s going to make it, don’t you?

buzz 1 buzz 2

Now here’s a tree to dream under…

October 17, 2014 at 8:31 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lexy's weeping birch Lexy's weeping birch #2

Today I received the loveliest photos from Lexy Gillies’ mum, after I wrote to let her know that Lexy had come Third in the Grade 4 to 6 Category of my Ode to My Favourite Tree Competition. Lexy wrote a beautiful poem about her Weeping Birch tree – and here it is! You can just see Lexy hiding in its branches (on the left) and the poem which Lexy wrote on the right! What a perfect place to hang a poem!

The results are out in the Ode to My Favourite Tree Competition!

October 16, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments


Thank you so much for all your fantastic entries in my Ode to My Favourite Tree Competition! I’ve had a fabulous time reading them all! You all seem to love trees just as much as I do, and it was such a treat to read about your favourites! There were  fruit trees like apple, mango, cherry and lemon; old classics like ash, oak, pine, willow and weeping birch; Asian trees like palms, banyans and Bonsai trees; and some old Aussie favourites, like  Jacarandahs, gum trees and the ancient Wollombi Pine. There was even a family tree! And the poems themselves were just as diverse, with everything from acrostics, rhyming couplets, diamond poems, free verse and even a limerick! This time the entries came from a whopping 20 schools in 6 different cities on 4 different continents! Go to my Clever Competitions page above right away to read the winning entries!

Hang in there!

October 14, 2014 at 12:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hello all you fabulous writers who entered my Ode to my Favourite Tree Poetry Competition – I’m still judging, and will let you know who the winners are as soon as I can this week! So please be patient!

Malala is joint winner of the Nobel Peace Prize 2014!

October 11, 2014 at 10:04 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Fantastic news!! 17 year old Malala Yousafzai has just been awarded joint winner of the famous Nobel Peace Prize! And she’s the youngest ever recipient of the Prize! If you scroll down my blog you will remember that Malala is my favourite hero, for her courageous fight for the rights of girls to be educated in her home country Pakistan. After being shot and nearly killed by the Taliban she was flown to Birmingham in the UK for treatment, and has stayed there ever since, as it is too dangerous for her to return to her beloved Swat Valley. But she is continuing the fight for ALL children, EVERYWHERE to have a proper education. She was in the middle of a chemistry class at school when she was told about her prize! Click here to hear this extraordinary girl talk about it, and why not ask Mum and Dad to listen too! http://www.malala.org/

Last day today!!

October 10, 2014 at 7:57 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

If you want to enter the Ode to My Favourite Tree poetry competition you’d better send your poem in today! All the rules and details are on my Clever Competitions page above. Quick sticks!!

Hellooo Think International School!

October 9, 2014 at 8:21 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Think International Grade 4s

A big hello to all the terrific kids of Think International School, where I spent a very happy day today! We had story readings, with Pin Yin Panda meeting the Grade 1s, Temujin the Tiger roaring at the Grade 2s and my noble Dark Horse galloping in to see the Grade 3s and 5s. And then the clever Grade 4s and Grade 7s created a very exciting story plan involving aliens invading Clearwater Bay Beach on a hot summer day 100 years from now, in my Nailing the Narrative Curve Workshop! We had a lot of fun! Thanks so much to Melanie Bates for inviting me and to librarian Leanne Richardson (below) for looking after me so well! And kids – remember to read lots and lots of books – it’s health food for the brain!



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