The deadline’s on Sunday!

October 26, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Posted in children's literacy, Clever Competitions, Poetry competitions for children | Leave a comment
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Woof! You have just two days to go to send in your poem in my Perfect Pet Poem Competition! So if you haven’t sent it yours yet, take a look at all the information and rules here, and GET WRITING!!!

Long live libraries!

October 26, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Posted in children's literacy, libraries, school libraries, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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If you’re anything like me, you just LOVE libraries. In fact, in my opinion, in any school, the library is both its heart and its soul, and should be treasured accordingly. And placed accordingly too! Not in a far distant wing of the building, or in the basement, or up under the roof – but RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of the school’s ground floor, where kids can see it, and use it, every single day.

So take a look here, in this wonderful piece from The Atlantic on Wednesday, at photos of some of the most extraordinary libraries in the world, in countries where, clearly, the real book is still cherished and promoted to its citizens! And ponder if your country and your school cherishes books the same way. And if not, do something about it, FAST!

After all, as the great American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author and thinker Carl Sagan once said: “I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture, and our concern for the future, can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.”

Hello Brisbane!!

October 24, 2018 at 6:27 pm | Posted in Australian schools, Awards, Brisbane schools, Poetry Workshops for kids | Leave a comment
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new-farm-park-with-brisbane-skyline-in-the-background_photosbyfarrPhoto credit https://blog.queensland.com/2017/10/26/jacarandas-south-east-queensland/

I’ve been in Brisbane this week for a wonderful 5 days to attend the awards ceremony for the Queensland Literary Awards, to visit some of my favourite Brisbane schools, and to visit my family! It’s jacaranda time in Brisbane, when the beautiful blue blooms on the jacaranda trees mean that students should be studying hard for their end-of-year exams!

On Tuesday morning, I visited my old friends at Churchie (Anglican Church Grammar School) in East Brisbane, where the fabulous Grade 3 boys identified haikus, unscrambled limericks and did some rapid rhyming exercises in my Introduction to Poetry Workshop! Many thanks to lovely primary teacher librarian Alison Findlay for expertly hosting me! We had a lot of fun!

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On Tuesday evening, my lovely daughter Bea, my brother and sister-in-law accompanied me to the Awards Ceremony for the Queensland Literary Awards 2018! You’ll remember that Storm Whale, my beautiful book with artist Jane Tanner and published last year by Allen & Unwin, was one of the 5 children’s books short-listed for the Griffith University Children’s Book Award. Here it is, displayed at left on the screen above! The Elephant by Peter Carnavas won the award in our section. It was such an exciting event, and I got to meet some of my amazing fellow authors and judges afterwards! Below you’ll see Storm Whale sitting very happily on the sales table with other fabulous short-listed titles!

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Today I dropped into two great Brisbane schools to say hello and to introduce them to my Chinese Calendar Tales. Below you’ll see me with some cuties at St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School, sitting astride their famous dragon mascot with a copy of The Tale of Chester Choi! See you all next year girls! Many thanks to their lovely primary principal Angela Drysdale and librarian Donna Jackson for the warm welcome!

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Finally, I met the fab team at my new Australian distributors, Novella Distribution in Capalaba! Below, the lovely Rochelle Manners is standing with their wombat mascot, and a very special small wombat which appears to have learned how to climb trees! Thanks girls for a great meeting, and for my new baby wombat, which I’ve christened The Barefoot ‘Bat!

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Beware!! Just 11 days left in my Perfect Pet Poem Competition for Primary School kids!

October 17, 2018 at 3:14 pm | Posted in Clever Competitions, Poetry competitions for children, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Short pic of Ching Shih

Ching Shih, the real-life pirate queen in my story The Tale of Desmond Dog, would like to warn you that you have just 11 days left to enter your Perfect Pet Poem in my latest Clever Competition! The deadline is 28 October – and you can enter from anywhere in the world!  But beware! If you miss the deadline, Ching Shih might just chop your ears off!! Read all the details of the competition here!

Storm Whale is short-listed for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards!

October 17, 2018 at 3:00 pm | Posted in Book Awards, Book reviews, Buying my books, Prime Minister's Literary Awards 2018, Shortlist Book Awards, Storm Whale | Leave a comment
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I’m sooooo excited! Storm Whale, my beautiful children’s book illustrated by Jane Tanner and published by Allen and Unwin, has just been short-listed with five other books for the Children’s Literature category of the Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Awards 2018! I’m so grateful to Jane for her stunning paintings, and the work of Allen and Unwin’s children’s team, led by Erica Wagner, and to my agent Julie Watts, who all made the book possible! We find out who wins in each category some time in November! Cross your fingers for me! If you want to read the lovely comments made by the panel, just click here! If you’d like to see one of the pages in our lovely book, here it is below:

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And if you’d like to buy a copy,  you can purchase here with Book Depository!

A wonderful visit to UISG in Guangzhou!

October 13, 2018 at 5:04 pm | Posted in Guangzhou schools, Utahloy International School of Guangzhou, workshops | Leave a comment
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This week I made the train journey up to Guangzhou to visit the beautiful Utahloy International School of Guangzhou! (Utaloy is the rough pronunciation of Great Virtue in Chinese, I was told). There I was hosted by the lovely Head Librarian Chrissy Erwin (above), and we started the day with a latte on the balcony overlooking a river beside a forest, in the prettiest setting I have EVER seen for a school, in China or anywhere! It also had wonderful open air playing space for the kids, including a fabulous Dr Seuss tree for the little ones, and a pirate ship for the older kids! Here it is, crammed with P3 and P4 pirates and me!

Year 3 and 4 students on the "Pirate Ship" with author, Sarah Brennan

Thanks Chrissy, and Kelly Phillips, her librarian colleague, for hosting me for a very special day of story readings from the Chinese Calendar Tales with all the primary school students, as well as the Grade 7 and Grade 8 students who learned How to Publish a Picture Book from Brilliant Idea to Final Product.

Above left, you can see me with Kelly Phillips, Chrissy Erwin, and the lovely new Primary Principal Michelle Jones to her right. On the right, you can see me with the fabulous library assistants team Betty Zheng, Haiqing Sun and Judy Li and “our” Chinese Zodiac animals! Below left, I am interviewed by the staff of the high school newspaper The Howl, while below  right, you can see the wonderful Dr Seuss tree playground for the younger students.

 

And finally, just a couple of fun photos with the P3s – we had great fun with a Tale of Desmond Dog story reading and swearing the solemn oath to look at my website!

 

The Twins from Planet Zorg visit PLK CKY Grade 3!

October 9, 2018 at 2:32 pm | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, PLK CKY School, Science fiction, writing workshops for children | Leave a comment
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It was Douglet the Cyberdog to the rescue of two feisty human twins, from the clutches of evil android scientist Andreas on the purple Planet Zorg, in three fun workshop sessions at the fabulous PLK CKY school in Piper’s Hill, when I worked with the Grade 3s on how to plan an exciting Sci Fi story! We all had loads of fun seeing how my Story Planner could be used to make a fabulous skeleton for a story, with special reference to settings, characters and especially plot! Thanks to lovely librarian Joli Moore for inviting me!

Today is World Animal Day!

October 4, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Posted in Poetry competitions for children | Leave a comment
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Today is World Animal Day, and what better way to celebrate than to:

  1. make a donation to International Animal Rescue for all those animals out there who need help from human beings, and
  2. enter my current Clever Competition to celebrate your favourite pet in a fun poem! You can find all the details on my Clever Competition page. Anyone of primary school age, anywhere in the world, can enter! But be quick – you only have 24 days left!

I can’t wait to read your entry!

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