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!

A fabulous 2 day visit to QSI Zhuhai!

September 29, 2017 at 5:48 pm | Posted in Being an Author, School visits, Zhuhai schools | Leave a comment
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Thank you to the lovely Heather Domenico (above left) for hosting me on Wednesday and Thursday at QSI Zhuhai! It was a very busy time, with story readings from the Chinese Calendar Tales and Dirty Stories for everyone from 2 years old to 13 years old, and writing workshops for everyone from 7 years old to graduation! Plus a talk to the parents and staff about How to Create Writers in the Digital Age – and book-signings in between! Not to mention some great chats with British poet and publisher Neil Stevens, a teacher at the school (above right).  Then a fun evening  with Principal Cliff Geis-Poage and his lovely wife and teacher Becca who treated me to a delicious dinner before I caught the ferry home to Hong Kong! Everyone was so warm and welcoming – the terrific staff, Theresa in administration, not to mention the mums and dads and the gorgeous kids and teens. It was my first visit to Zhuhai in mainland China, and my first visit to QSI – I hope to see you all again soon!

Why I wrote Storm Whale and other questions…

September 12, 2017 at 4:53 pm | Posted in Being an Author, Press interviews | Leave a comment
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Storm Whale cover

Thank you to The Letterpress Project in the UK for publishing two terrific interviews with Jane Tanner and I about our beautiful new book Storm Whale, the UK edition of which was published by Old Barn Books in August! You can read them here and here !

Storm Whale’s Wonderful Melbourne Launch!

June 4, 2017 at 6:05 am | Posted in Being an Author, Book launches, Melbourne events, Storm Whale | Leave a comment
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Our beautiful Storm Whale splashed off to a wonderful start at the launch party at the famous Readings Kids bookshop in Lygon Street in Melbourne on Thursday night 1st June! Here are just some of the photos! Top – an original illustration from the book, by award-winning artist Jane Tanner. Isn’t it just gorgeous?

Readings Kids beautiful store front in Lygon Street.

Before the launch with my dear friend Judy Mackerras who flew in all the way from London via Sydney!

Three very important women – to me, and to Storm Whale! Top left, my wonderful agent and friend Julie Watts, top right, Jane Tanner, the renowned artist who brought Storm Whale to life in her exquisite pictures, and top centre, the lovely Erica Wagner, head of children’s books at Allen & Unwin, our fantastic publisher.

With two dear old friends, Jill (top left) with whom I went to school in Hobart many, many years ago and Stacey who lives in Melbourne; and my new friend Jane Tanner!

With Jane, Julie and my friend Tom Danby of INT Books (left), and the three gorgeous girls who were Jane’s models for the drawings of me and my sisters in the book!

Book signing after the speeches…

The shop window before and after the launch! We sold out completely!!

A big warm thank you to Readings Kids for hosting this wonderful event, and to my friends at Allen & Unwin for putting on such a fabulous party!

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!

 

Thanks Fullers for a funny and fabulous event!

May 27, 2017 at 4:01 pm | Posted in Being an Author, Books about Chinese Zodiac, Bookshop event, Chinese festivals, Hobart | Leave a comment
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A big thank you to all the friendly efficient staff at Fullers Bookshop in Hobart for hosting a wonderful event this afternoon for me and Rickshaw Rooster! We had a lovely crowd of babies, kids, pre-teens, mums, dads and grandparents, who cockadoodle-dooed beautifully during my story reading, learned lots of Chinese history, and did brilliantly in the post-reading Quiz (for which they won some tasty fortune cookies!) Special thanks to my host for the day, Anne – photographed with me above; to Cat, the fabulous shop manager, and to Peter Igram-Jones who so patiently and efficiently handled all the lovely book sales in the three schools I visited this week (even though we sold out of four of my titles!). I’ll see you again soon!

An evening with ASLA Tasmania at Bridgewater!

May 24, 2017 at 8:09 pm | Posted in Being an Author, Hobart, Talks to teachers | Leave a comment
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Huge thanks to my lovely host Gail King (far right), Ailsa Hill (centre) and Jo-Ann Wolf (left) for inviting me to Jordan River Learning Federation Senior School at Bridgewater, to give a talk about How to Create Bookworms in the Digital Age. We talked all about the fundamental importance of constant book reading to create an imaginative, creative, knowledgable and empathetic thinker, and the dangers of children being exposed at young ages to digital screens, as well as the problems with digital screens being used in schools as a substitute for a well-funded library with expert librarians in charge. A lovely big crowd of primary and high school teachers attended, and afterwards we had a book-signing and some delicious drinks and nibbles! It was a great evening; thanks so much to all the ASLA teachers who came along, and I hope to meet you all again one day!

A fun day with the boys of Hutchins School in Sandy Bay!

May 24, 2017 at 8:00 pm | Posted in Australian schools, Being an Author, School visits | Leave a comment
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My Tassie tour kicked off with a fabulous morning at The Hutchins School in Sandy Bay, Hobart, today, where I caught up with my old friend Kate Reid, Head of Libraries at Hutchins, who used to be the primary librarian at AISHK in Hong Kong! Kate invited me in for two fab sessions, first with the Years 3 and 4 plus some intrepid Year 6 boys, who found out all about Chinese history from the mid-1700s right up to the founding of the People’s Rebublic of China in 1949, when I read them The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster!  Then the Year 1s and 2s met my hungry child-eating dragon in The Tale of Chester Choi and learned some very useful facts about the dragon in Chinese mythology! Thanks Kate, teachers and boys for a memorable morning! And here is one of my new fans, George, who buried himself into my Tale of a Dark Horse! It was great to meet you George!

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Hello Tasmania!!

May 24, 2017 at 7:39 pm | Posted in Being an Author, School visits | Leave a comment
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I’m back in my beautiful birth state of Tasmania, that  lovely island beneath Victoria, Australia, for a fabulous week of school visits, lectures and one fantastic event for The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster this Saturday at Hobart’s fabulous Fullers Bookshop! Then next week it’s off to Melbourne to visit my old friends at MLC before the VERY exciting launch of my new book with Allen & Unwin, Storm Whale; then finally a visit up to Brisbane to visit Churchie boys school and catch up with my family before flying back to Hong Kong! Phew! It’s a full schedule, but it’s going to be great fun!

A funny and fabulous day at Kingston International School!

May 22, 2017 at 6:09 pm | Posted in Being an Author, Books about Chinese Zodiac, Hong Kong Schools, Kingston International School Hong Kong, Story Readings | Leave a comment
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IMG_3746I’ve just had the BEST day at one of my favourite Hong Kong schools, Kingston International School, today! I met ALL the kids in primary school, as well as their lovely teachers, in some fun, very educational story readings from my Chinese Calendar Tales! The littlest kids in P1 met my hungry dragon with a lonely heart, Chester Choi, and learned all about dragons in Chinese mythology. The P2s met my vain but loveable panda, Pin Yin Panda, and found out how all the animals got into the Chinese Zodiac. And the P3s, P4s, P5s and P6s met my proud, cocky but promise-keeping rooster in this years Tale of Rickshaw Rooster, and learned some fascinating facts about the end of the Chinese Empire and the rise of the ordinary man in China! Huge thanks to my lovely hosts, Jennifer Shaw from Upper Primary above left, and Melissa Preisig from Lower Primary, above right! More fabulous photos to come!

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