I begin my Week in Residence at ISB!

January 29, 2018 at 8:17 pm | Posted in Beijing Schools, International School of Beijing, Week in Residence | Leave a comment
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Today was the first day of a whole week of fabulous fun at the wonderful International School of Beijing, with the kids of Pre-Kinder 3 right up to the big kids of Grade 2! Today my Chinese dragon Chester Choi and I met some delicious four year olds in PreK4, then two Grade 1 classes learned all about the Chinese Zodiac when they met Pin Yin Panda, and the Kinders acted out my new story The Tale of Desmond Dog, with lots of “Woofs!” from the dogs, “Aha me hearties!” from the wicked pirates and “EEEKs!” from the scared villagers of Hong Kong! It was SO much fun! Then some gorgeous 3 year olds in PreK3 met all my stuffed toys! Here are my toys, sitting in a Chinese Zodiac row (except the Big Cat and the Panda, who didn’t make it into the Zodiac, and Desmond being Top Dog on my dragon, because it’s HIS year in 2018!

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Huge thanks to my lovely host Bec Taylor, librarian for Lower Primary, here with my friend Paul Wong, who is librarian for Upper Primary!

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Come to the Hong Kong launch of Desmond Dog!

January 29, 2018 at 7:40 pm | Posted in Book launches, Bookazine Princes Building, Books about Chinese Zodiac, Bookshop event, Story Readings | Leave a comment
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If you’re in Hong Kong on Saturday 10th February, then come and join Harry Harrison and me at the Hong Kong launch of our latest Chinese Calendar Tale, The Tale of Desmond Dog! It’s a true Hong Kong story, set in the fishing village of what we now call Aberdeen, with a noble dog, a wicked pirate queen and lots of pirates and treasure! It’s for kids from 4 to 12 years old – and for anyone who loves dogs, Hong Kong, and Chinese history!!! I look forward to seeing you all there! And remember to RSVP to Bookazine at the number/email address on the invitation above!

Desmond Dog’s Beijing launch at the Bookworm Cafe was fabulous fun!

January 28, 2018 at 8:16 pm | Posted in Beijing, Book launches, Bookshop event, Bookworm Cafe Beijing | Leave a comment
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Desmond Dog and I had fabulous fun this afternoon at Beijing’s famous Bookworm Cafe! A lovely bunch of kids, mums and dads came to hear The Tale of Desmond Dog and all the scrumptious Chinese history behind the story! Then we had a fun quiz with questions for everyone from 2 years old to some really ancient ages :), with toy dog prizes, and finally a book signing! It was wonderful to meet such an enthusiastic crowd who love their Chinese history just as much as I do! Huge thanks to Peter Goff, and his lovely assistants Zoe and Nancy, for hosting me today – I look forward to working with the Bookworm Cafe again when I return to Beijing in March for the Literary Festival!

And thank you Zoe for these fabulous photos of the story reading…

and the book-signing…

and last but not least, some new friends!

thumb_IMG_5205_1024 (1).jpgPeter Goff, owner of the Bookworm Cafe! I wonder if you can guess which animal family in the Chinese Zodiac Peter belongs to, and which one I belong to?

EhxbpSima and Nicky Tebbutt and their lovely parents Tatjana and Dan from Ukraine and
Australia (together with “their” animals of the Chinese Zodiac)…

The marvellous creators of the Heckerty series (about that crazy green witch Zanzibar and her adventures), Allan Davidson and Jan Ziff! Here, my dragon Billy Boy is trying to eat Zanzibar, but gives up in the end and lets Zanzibar fly him away! I think they’re going to be firm friends too!

Hey Beijing kids! What are you doing this Sunday?

January 25, 2018 at 8:42 pm | Posted in Book launches, Bookworm Cafe Beijing, Buying my books, Children's Chinese Zodiac Books | Leave a comment
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The Year of the Dog is around the corner, and I’ll be at the famous Bookworm Cafe at Building 4, Nan Sanlitun Road, Chaoyang District at 1.30pm on THIS SUNDAY for the Beijing launch of my latest Chinese Calendar Tale, The Tale of Desmond Dog! It’s all about a noble dog, wicked pirates, and a little fishing village called Hong Kong! Come along to  hear me read my story! Here’s your official invitation! I can’t wait to see you there!Poster - Sarah Brennan - Bookworm

Small is Beautiful at BIBS in Beijing!

January 25, 2018 at 7:43 pm | Posted in Beanstalk International Bilingual School, Beijing Schools, Being an Author, Clever Competitions | Leave a comment
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What a happy day I had at Beanstalk International Bilingual School Shunyi Campus today! Although it was FREEZING outside, the welcome inside was warm and very friendly from everybody, from the gorgeous kids to their lovely parents to the dedicated staff! The Grade 1s met my hungry, lonely dragon in The Tale of Chester Choi; the Grade 2s screamed like spoiled princesses and roared like tigers very convincingly as I read them The Tale of Temujin; the Grade 3s and 4s learned about the world’s most successful pirate Ching Shih and about Hong Kong too when they heard The Tale of Desmond Dog, and the Grade 5s asked some fabulous questions after I told them all about my journey to becoming an author, why I wrote The Chinese Calendar Tales and that very important question – what is my writing process? I was delighted to find out that, like me, they were all firm fans of making story plans before they wrote their first draft of a story! So I’m really looking forward to some great entries from the BIBS Grade 5s in my current Dashing Dog Story Writing Competition (details on the Clever Competition page here).

Warm thanks to wonderful librarian Heather Wright (with me above) who expertly hosted me today, and thank you to the mums and dads and kids who bought over 100 books! I hope to see you all again soon!

Another great day at Keystone Academy!

January 24, 2018 at 10:41 am | Posted in Beijing Schools, Keystone Academy, workshops | Leave a comment
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Some fabulous Grade 4s!

Thank you to the fabulous library team for another great day at Keystone Academy! I met more of the fantastic Grade 3s and 4s, as well as the Grade 5s, and we talked all about the historical figures in my Chinese Calendar Tales – it was wonderful to find that the Keystone kids know a LOT of Chinese history and I learned some really interesting new facts…like, for example, that the name of Genghis Khan (who is represented by Temujin in The Tale of Temujin) can mean not just “mighty leader” but also “leader of all from  the skies to the earth“. One of the primary librarians Lizzy Wong did some more research and found that “genghis” can also mean “powerful“, “gift of the gods” or “ocean“. I think it’s fair to conclude that whatever it’s meaning, “genghis” means something rather magnificent! Then to conclude we had a fun book signing! Thank you to all the fabulous parents, teachers and kids who bought my books!

With Grade 9 student Tori Gu

Here is Tori Gu, the Grade 9 student and library helper who helped pick me up at the airport. During my visit, Tori and I became firm friends. Tori is a remarkable young woman with ambition and great poise, who I’m sure is going to go far! Tori told me that her ambition is to study medicine at John Hopkins University in the United States – and I’m quite sure she’ll make it! She also introduced me to one of her friends, a young man from Afghanistan who has great ambitions for his country – especially for elevating the status of women. I think the future is in safe hands!

Finally, I would like to thank Primary Principal, Mary Jew, for her warm welcome and conversation at dinner, and for my very comfortable accommodation in the guest room in Keystone’s beautiful boarding house.

Hello Keystone Academy!

January 22, 2018 at 7:08 pm | Posted in Beijing Schools, Keystone Academy, Uncategorized, workshops | Leave a comment
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Keystone Academy

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I’ve just spent the first of two fun days at Keystone Academy! From its huge campus to its Hogwarts-esque buildings, its stylish boarding house to its stunning primary library, it’s a very impressive school indeed! This morning I met the Year 4s, telling them all about how I weave Chinese history, folklore and culture into my Chinese Calendar Tales, then spent a session after lunch with the Year 3s, walking them through the making of my latest book The Tale of Desmond Dog! Then it was off to the middle school lecture hall, where students from primary and upper school and some lovely mums and dads came to hear me reading Desmond Dog’s story! Here’s some of my audience above! To my right is my lovely host, primary librarian Jennifer Fuentes, together with Lizzie Wong to her right. To my left is Year 9 student Tori Gu, who was kind enough to collect me at the airport with Carlie Spruill (to her left) and who is a fantastic ambassador for the school! And to the left of Carlie is Elaine Yin. A big thank you to Jennifer, Carlie, Lizzie, Elaine and Tori for making me feel so welcome – not to mention all the wonderful teachers, students and parents! I look forward to seeing you all again tomorrow!

Brrr!!!! I’m in Beijing for a fun fortnight!

January 21, 2018 at 7:19 pm | Posted in Beijing Schools, School visits, Story Readings | Leave a comment
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And just like Oswald in The Tale of Oswald Ox, in this fabulous illustration by Harry Harrison above, my mind is on the weather! I’m told it will be -4C tomorrow at NOON! But I must admit that it’s great to have an excuse to pull out my thick winter coat for once!

Tonight I’m staying at Keystone Academy, a beautiful school just near Beijing Capital International Airport, where for the next two days I’ll be meeting the primary school kids and teachers in some fantastic sessions all about the inspiration for my Chinese Calendar Tales, and how the books are planned and written. I’m hugely looking forward to it! Keep visiting my blog for all the news as I visit more fabulous Beijing schools, and the wonderful Wycombe Abbey International School in Changzhou later this week!

In the meantime, this will be me tonight – huddled up under an VERY thick duvet!

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Thank you Stamford American School of Hong Kong!

January 18, 2018 at 5:40 pm | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, Stamford American School Hong Kong, workshops | Leave a comment
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Today I spent a fantastic day at the brand new Stamford American School of Hong Kong in Ho Man Tin! It’s a wonderful place and I really enjoyed meeting all the terrific kids and teachers! The Kindies and Grade 1s learned some fun environmental lessons with a story reading of A Dirty Story, and at the end of the session promised me hand on heart NOT to become Grots! The Grade 2s met my latest Chinese Calendar Tales character in The Tale of Desmond Dog and the Grade 3s enthusastically answered all my questions in my How to Write A Riveting Story workshop! Many thanks to the lovely Lisa Olinski (with me above) who was the perfect host! I look forward to seeing you all again tomorrow!

Desmond Dog the Hero visits Kennedy School!

January 18, 2018 at 5:37 am | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, Kennedy School, Story Readings | Leave a comment
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Desmond saving catDesmond Dog, the hero of Hong Kong, is so noble he even saves drowning cats! But yesterday there was not a cat in sight when he visited the 900 kids of Kennedy School in Pok Fu Lam! We had 3 fabulous reading sessions and the kids made expert pirates and dogs with their “ah-ha-me-hearties” , “woof“s and “ROAR”s! Everybody LOVED Harry Harrison’s funny and fabulous illustrations, and was fascinated to hear the history of that notorious pirate queen Ching Shih! Many thanks to all the lovely staff and especially Jeff Moore, Head of English, who was my wonderful host! Photos to come!

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