Two fabulous days at The Kellett School!

April 26, 2016 at 4:23 pm | Posted in Children's Chinese Zodiac Books, Hong Kong Schools, School visits | Leave a comment
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Many thanks to Lisa Share, head of libraries at The Kellett School, for inviting me and my Chinese Zodiac animals to two fabulous days with the Kellett kids! On Monday I visited the Pok Fu Lam campus with my mischievous Ming Kee Monkey, where the lovely Natalie Fitton hosted me to a fun day of story readings in the library with Years 3 to 5!

Today I had another lovely day at the Kowloon Bay campus, hosted by my dear friend Beth McNeilly (below left with some fabulous Kellett Monkeys) in the library. We had fun story readings for Years 2 to 4, who all met my Ming Kee Monkey and heard the fabulous true life story of the famous Buddhist explorer Xuanzang and his Journey to the West, immortalised in the Legend of the Monkey King! And it was even more special for me to bring along my oldest friend Prue Kesby (below right) – we were in Grade One together, a long time ago!

The results are out in my Mischievous Monkey Story Competition!

April 19, 2016 at 3:25 pm | Posted in Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Helloooo again all you wonderful writers out there! Thank you for your patience: it’s been a tough job judging my latest Clever Competition, but great fun too! All the stories were so entertaining and varied, and I really appreciated the way that you all took my list of ingredients and mixed them up in so many different and original ways!

Now the best writers are always looking for ways to write even better, and so this time I’ve decided to share with you a little more about what I’m looking for when I judge my competitions, and what common problems seem to be occurring in many of the entries I have read. Even the winners (announced below) will get a little bit of positive criticism, which I hope inspires them to polish their fabulous writing even more! So go to my Clever Competitions Page (see tab above) right away, to read all the winning stories and some helpful information for next time!

Special congratulations to Emily Davis of Arden Anglican School, Sydney (Grade 1 to 3 Category) and Abigail Bilsland of Canadian International School, Tanjong Katong Campus, Singapore (Grade 4 to 6 Category), who won First Place in their sections and will each receive a free signed copy of one of my books! And a special mention to the little ones of Busy Bees Class at Raintrees International Kindergarten in Singapore, whose group entry has also been posted as a special treat!

The Judging Begins!

April 12, 2016 at 9:41 am | Posted in children's literacy, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Well done to all those clever writers who got their entries in to my Mischievous Monkey Story Writing Competition by the extended deadline date on Sunday! I’m starting the judging right now, and will post the results as soon as I can! Hang in there!

Little Star Magazine’s writing competition awards in Shanghai!

April 12, 2016 at 9:35 am | Posted in Being an Author, children's literacy, workshops, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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No sooner that I was back from Bologna, than I was on a plane to Shanghai, to attend the Awards Ceremony on Saturday in the Little Star Writing Competition for over 500 kids in Beijing and Shanghai schools! As the final judge, I was there to officiate at the Awards Ceremony hosted by Yew Chung International School’s Gubei campus, and to talk to the exceptional writers who won First Place in each of the four age categories. We even fitted in time for a story reading of my latest Chinese Calendar Tale for the kids, mums and dads, and a Writing Workshop for everybody at the end! Many thanks to Little Star Magazine, YCIS and the fabulous kids and parents who gave me such a warm welcome. And huge congratulations to all the talented finalists!

Monkey Mayhem in Bologna!

April 12, 2016 at 9:15 am | Posted in Being an Author, Book Fairs, Children's Chinese Zodiac Books | Leave a comment
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Hellooo again everybody! If you’re wondering why I’ve been a bit silent the last week, it’s because I’ve been very, very busy! And that Ming Kee Monkey of mine has been even busier! Here I am, above, at the famous Bologna Children’s Book Fair, 2016 in beautiful Bologna in Italy! Now I was there to work and to introduce my books about the Chinese Zodiac to a lot of lovely publishers…but Ming Kee Monkey decided that it was time to play! You can see what she got up to below!

Bologna is bustling with street music, performance and art! Ming Kee loved meeting the  buskers in the Old Town – here she is with a human statue, a musician playing a very modern DidgeriNew and a street artist, with his brilliant creation, Charlie Chaplin on rollerskates!

Here we are in the stunning medieval town square, called the Piazza Maggiore! Ming Kee just had to pose with the famous statue of Neptune, and tried very hard to steal the city keys! You can also see the photographs of the citizens of Bologna who joined the Resistance during the Second World War.


There was a fun competition going on in the main square for a local charity! Groups of entrants were all given identical cardboard boxes, which they had to cut up and make into towers! Above, you can see the beginning of the competition…and below, some of the results! Aren’t they clever? Needless to say, I had to hold on tight to my Monkey, who was very keen to topple those towers!

Now the main church in the square is the famous Basilica di San Petronio. I tucked Ming Kee Monkey into my bag when I visited…I couldn’t risk my Monkey causing havoc in a church! Isn’t it beautiful?

Now after all that peace and contemplation, it was time for a little exercise! Ming Kee Monkey and I climbed all 498 steps up the leaning Asinelli Tower, for a commanding view of the city and surrounding countryside! We even met an adorable little Bolognese girl, who gave my mischievous Monkey a good cuddle!

Needless to say, our climb built up a bit of an appetite! And where better to eat delicious pasta and desserts than in Bologna!

Farewell, beautiful Bologna, city of culture, history and delight. Ming Kee and I hope to visit you again soon!

Ming Kee Monkey’s Serenade!

April 4, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Posted in Being an Author, Video | Leave a comment
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With the lovely Liam of Leicester SquareLucky Ming Kee Monkey had her first every serenade on Friday with the World Wide Welshman, Liam Stuart Rickard, in Leicester Square! Hasn’t he got a beautiful voice? You can see Ming Kee was sooooo happy she fell over on his guitar!

Ming Kee Monkey tours London!

April 4, 2016 at 6:34 am | Posted in Being an Author | Leave a comment
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This week Ming Kee Monkey flew all the way to London for a fun four day visit, and not surprisingly, she got up to a lot of mischief! Here she is crossing the footbridge from Waterloo Station to The Embankment, with the Thames River and St Paul’s Cathedral in the background!

Here above is the great writer Rudyard Kipling’s house near The Embankment – Ming Kee is trying very hard to behave herself! And on the right, she poses in front of the Eleanor Cross at Charing Cross Station!

And on to Trafalgar Square, where Ming Kee and I met Yoda, floating above the ground! Ming Kee is trying to steal some of Yoda’s wisdom by sitting on his staff! She also met the Trafalgar Lions, and saw the famous National Gallery, as well as Nelson’s Column!

Then it was time for a serenade with the lovely Liam of Leicester Square, and a poem with William Shakespeare, a.k.a The Bard…but oh no!! That mischievous Ming Kee has put a pigeon on his head! Shame on you, you rascally monkey!

And finally, a foray into Leicester Square to see the Angel, though sadly Ming Kee didn’t become any more angelic, having fun instead with that reprobate Spider Man, Harry Potter and a Very Tall Person!

Farewell to wonderful London, one of my favourite cities on the planet! May peace and calm return now that Ming Kee Monkey has left for Bologna!

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