Thank you Think International School!

November 24, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, Poetry Workshops for kids, writing workshops for children | Leave a comment
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Yesterday I spent a happy day at Think International School in Cheung Sha Wan with the Year 4 to 6 students and their team of dedicated teachers. We started with a story reading of The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster, when the kids learned a LOT of history about the end of the Chinese Empire and the growth of nationalism and communism in China at the beginning of the 20th Century – and had fun cheering for their favourite team in the Shanghai Cup! We then followed with two Introduction to Poetry workshops for the Year 4s and Year 6s, and my How to Write a Riveting Story workshop for the Year 5s! It was a full-on day of learning and fun! Thanks to my hosts Melanie Bates, and librarian Christine Olsen and assistant CK Tam (both pictured above) for a fabulous day!

Three fun poetry workshops at PLK CKY!

November 24, 2017 at 12:01 pm | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, Poetry Workshops for kids | Leave a comment
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On Tuesday I visited the fabulous Year 4s at PLK CKY school in Piper’s Hill, Kowloon with my Introduction to Poetry Workshop! We had great fun exploring different styles of poetry, then breaking out into groups to complete that crazy poem Let’s Destroy the School! Warmest thanks to Joli Moore, librarian, who hosted me again! It’s always such a pleasure to see you all!

A Fabulous Friday at St Stephen’s Preparatory School in Stanley!

November 21, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Posted in workshops | Leave a comment
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Last Friday I had a fabulous time at the famous St Stephen’s Preparatory School in Stanley, where I was hosted very warmly by Yolanda Chong (above left) and Claire Braithwaite, and also had the pleasure of meeting the principal Dr Agnes Wai (above right) and deputy principal Mr S. T. Wong. I gave all the students from Year 1 right up to Year 6 my talk about why Reading is a Brain’s Best Friend. We explored how the human brain changed as reading and writing developed over millenia, until it became the sophisticated brain it is today. I told them all about the latest science, which indicates that as children (and adults!) stop reading lots of books in their leisure time in favour of digital games and social media, their brains simply cannot develop in the same way, resulting in a tragic loss of imagination, sophisticated vocabulary, empathy, general knowledge, and the ability to focus and concentrate. These five essential qualities develop naturally over time in the brains of people who read books constantly for leisure and pleasure, but cannot thrive when people spend lengthy periods on digital screens. And to my great pleasure, just about everyone agreed by the end but we must switch OFF our digital screens as much as possible, and read LOTS and LOTS of print books instead! Here are some more great photos, with a big thank you to the St Stephen’s Prep photographer!

Meeting the wonderful Jung Chang

November 10, 2017 at 12:41 pm | Posted in Being an Author, children's literacy, Literary Festivals, Room to Read | Leave a comment
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With Jung Chang 7 November 2017

On Wednesday I was lucky enough to meet the wonderful Jung Chang, author of Wild Swans and other extraordinary books about China, at the luncheon in her honour (and in honour of Erin Ganju of Room To Read) hosted jointly by the Hong Kong Literary Festival and Room to Read at the China Club in Hong Kong. Jung spoke with passion about her experiences as a child growing up in China, then later as a best-selling author in London, and the large crowd was simply mesmerised by her eloquence and dignity. And before Jung’s talk, Erin Ganju spoke of the essential work of Room to Read in developing countries in bringing literacy to literally millions of children, especially girls. Read more about their tireless work¬†here. A big thank you to my friend Jennie Orchard of Room To Read for inviting me!

Wow! Storm Whale is nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal 2018 in the UK!

November 7, 2017 at 9:01 am | Posted in Book Awards, Buying my books, Storm Whale | Leave a comment
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Illustration from Jane Tanner's Storm WhaleI’m so thrilled! Storm Whale has been nominated for the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal 2018 in the UK! Our beautiful book was released by Old Barn Books in the UK in August and since then has received many wonderful reviews there. Last night I was advised that Jane Tanner’s exquisite illustrations have been nominated for this major award! Here’s just a taste above! Now we have to wait till February 2018 to find out if the book will be long-listed, March for the Shortlist and June for the finalists! I’ll keep you informed! And if you want to buy your own copy, you can order it from your local bookshop now, or here (UK) and here (Australia).

A Riveting Story Time at PLK CKY!

November 3, 2017 at 9:23 am | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, PLK CKY School, workshops | Leave a comment
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A big hello to two of my favourite Hong Kong librarians Tammy Ng and Joli Moore, at Po Leung Kuk Choi Kai Yau School in Piper’s Hill, Kowloon, pictured with me above. Joli (to my left) was my wonderful host yesterday for 3 fabulous workshop sessions with the gorgeous Grade 3s, who enthusiastically joined my How to Write a Riveting Story workshop! We had lots of fun thinking working with our five senses to describe different settings and imagining great characters, and the kids all enjoyed my famous adventure story (about the missing dog and the alien abductors) and mystery story (about the missing teachers at PLK CKY :)) as we talked about correct story structure! And I showed them all my latest Chinese Calendar Tale, The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster,¬†and my beautiful new book Storm Whale I can’t wait to meet the Grade 4s with my Poetry Workshop in 3 weeks’ time! More photos to come!

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