A fabulous time at the AISHK Fair!

November 14, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Posted in AISHK, Australian schools, Christmas Fairs | Leave a comment
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On Saturday I felt right at home with the Aussie kids, parents and teachers at the fantastic Australian International School Fair at Kowloon Tong! I sold lots of  books, met lots of fans, young and old, and all in all had a great time!

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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A Book Week visit at MLC in Melbourne!

August 28, 2018 at 7:43 pm | Posted in Australian schools, Melbourne schools, Methodist Ladies College, Story Readings, workshops | Leave a comment
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The subject of this year’s Book Week in Australia was Find Your Treasure, and what better book to introduce to the fabulous girls of Melbourne Ladies College on 16th and 17th August than my latest Chinese Calendar Tale, The Tale of Desmond Dog, a story of pirates, treasure and an infamous Pirate Queen!  On the 16th, all the girls from Grade 4 to Grade 6 joined the crew for a story reading, followed by a hearty lunch with the Book Bugs (top photo) who heard some Top Secrets about my next (and final) Chinese Calendar Tale for next year’s Year of the Pig! In the afternoon I was delighted to meet wonderful Grade 3 student Hannah Thompson, the winner of the Grade 1 to 3 Category in my Dashing Dog Story Competition earlier this year (middle photo above), followed by a delightful Grade 1 student who is already writing lots of stories in her spare time (bottom left). The future of great writing from MLC alumni is clearly bright!

Then on the 17th, the Grade 6s took part in my brand new workshop entitled Geography is History: How topography shaped China’s remarkable history! We talked about China’s grasslands in the North (from which invaders came on horseback); its mountains and deserts in the West and North West (which formed a natural barrier both inwards and outwards); its fertile deltas in the East (which formed the first united China under Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi) and the seas beyond (from which trade came and went, and ultimately the incursion of foreign powers, and invasion of the Japanese navy, which together precipitated the End of Empire). I hope the girls found the subject as fascinating as I did!!

Huge thanks to my friend, and fabulous Junior School Head of Library, Tracey Ricchini, who you can just see at the back of the Book Bugs in the top photo! She made a fantastic Ching Shi, the evil (and real life) pirate queen from The Tale of Desmond Dog! More photos to come!

Meet Harry, a HUGE book reader!

June 3, 2018 at 4:02 pm | Posted in Australian schools, children's literacy, Hobart, The Hutchins School | Leave a comment
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Harry and I at Hutchins

Meet Harry from The Hutchins School, who I met in the Junior Library during my Tassie visit a fortnight ago! Harry has such a huge smile on his face because he LOVES READING BOOKS! And he told me that his bedroom at home is so full of books, there’s hardly any room for his bed! Now THAT’S what I call a great reader! I bet Harry is a fantastic writer and thinker too, because that’s what you become when you read lots of books for leisure and fun! Well done Harry!

ps Harry was born in the Year of the Tiger and I was born in the Year of the Rat – hence the books we are holding!

Monday: A fabulous morning at Fahan School!

May 30, 2018 at 11:01 am | Posted in Australian schools, Fahan School, Story Readings | Leave a comment
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And finally, on Monday, I spent the morning with my friends at Fahan School! We had two story readings of Storm Whale for Upper Primary, and some great time for Q and A about whales, how I write, and why reading books is so important to a successful future! Here I am above right with my wonderful host, Junior School Teacher Librarian Megan Denman, and at right with some of the gorgeous Grade 5 to 6 girls! Thank you so much for having me again!

Saturday: Keynote Speech at the ASLA Mini-Conference, Hobart 2018

May 30, 2018 at 10:31 am | Posted in ASLA, Australian schools, children's literacy, Conferences, Hobart | Leave a comment
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On Saturday I was very honoured to give the Keynote Speech at the ASLA Mini-Conference in Hobart. The theme for the day was School Libraries – Be Passionate! Now anyone who knows me knows that the thing I’m most passionate about in my LIFE (after my family of course!) is CHILDREN’S LITERACY. So this was a theme right after my own heart, and I addressed over 60 Tasmanian librarians with a Powerpoint presentation that gave them the latest science on the importance of reading books for the brain – and for the world! And I proved using scientific studies that book-reading – and I mean reading LOTS AND LOTS OF BOOKS – for leisure and for pleasure – can quite literally save this troubled world! And the only way to ensure this – as well as high academic performance in schools – is to have a well-funded library full of real books, run by a teacher librarian with support staff, in every single school! I’ll be writing more about this on my other blog soon, so I’ll keep you posted!

I was also delighted to meet wonderful Tassie author Christina Booth, author and illustrator of many beautiful Australian children’s books, who treated us all to a fantastic talk about her method in creating picture books! It was fascinating to get insight into such an amazing creative mind!

Huge thanks to the lovely Ailsa Hill and Kate Reid for inviting me, and to the ASLA Committee who hosted the day! More photos to come!

Friday: Hutchins School Visit!

May 30, 2018 at 9:33 am | Posted in Australian schools, Hobart, The Hutchins School, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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My Hobart visit kicked off with a fabulous morning with the boys at The Hutchins Junior School! It just happened to be National Simultaneous Story Time that very morning, so we started off with a fabulous story from the Headmaster, Dr Rob McEwen! He was a spectacular story-reader! Then the Grade 1 to 3 boys listened to me reading Storm Whale and simply didn’t stop asking questions and making some great observations about whales afterwards! Before my second session, the Grade 4 to 6 boys and I listened to the Deputy Principal Alan Jones (wearing a very interesting hat!) reading yet another story to the kids, after which I introduced them to the evil pirate queen Ching Shih and some fabulous Chinese history with The Tale of Desmond Dog! Many thanks to my dear friend, and head librarian, Kate Read, for inviting me again! More photos to come!

Another wonderful Tassie trip!

May 30, 2018 at 8:29 am | Posted in Australian schools, Bookshop event, Radio interviews, Talks to teachers | Leave a comment
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Hello everyone! I was back in my beautiful childhood home Tasmania last week, to give the keynote speech for the ASLA (Australian School Librarians Association) Mini-Conference 2018, two wonderful school visits, a radio interview and a fabulous bookshop event! See my next posts for all the news and fun!

Helloooo Brisbane…and my last school visit of the tour- with the boys of Churchie!

June 5, 2017 at 3:44 pm | Posted in Australian schools, Brisbane schools, Clever Competitions, Poetry Workshops for kids | Leave a comment
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Thank you Churchie (Anglican Church Grammar School) in Brisbane for a fabulous day today! I met all the Fantastic Grade Fours in four fun sessions of my Introduction to Poetry Workshop and we had a good old mental workout unscrambling limericks, identifying haikus, writing acrostics about some long-suffering teachers (who were very good sports!) and rhyming words! AND talking about the vital importance of reading books to the development of a great vocabulary, an even greater imagination, not to mention a great life! I hope to see loads of Churchie entries in my next Clever Competition! And last but not least, my warmest thanks to my lovely host for the day, librarian Rose Hoger (see above)!

My Marvellous Day at MLC, Melbourne!

June 1, 2017 at 10:36 am | Posted in Australian schools, Being an Author, children's literacy, Melbourne schools, Story Readings | Leave a comment
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It was wonderful to visit my old friends at Methodist Ladies College Junior School yesterday, and to catch up with my dear friend, librarian Tracey Ricchini (below)! I had SUCH a great day introducing my latest Chinese Calendar Tale, The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster, to the girls from Grades 3 to 6 in three wonderful sessions chockful of history and fun, and then meeting up with my very favourite Book Bugs (above) at lunchtime for a lovely long chat about being an author, as well as a sneak preview of Storm Whale. Tracey is one of the most dedicated librarians I know, and we spent every spare moment talking about our most passionate shared interest – children’s literacy. The girls of MLC love their books, and below you can see a photo of Tilda Clohesy, a young author who has written and illustrated her own excellent children’s book! Thanks Tracey for a brilliant day and I look forward to seeing you all again next year!

 

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