It’s World Literacy Day!!

September 8, 2017 at 6:30 pm | Posted in children's literacy, Room to Read | Leave a comment
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International-Literacy-Day-640x428Hooray for Room To Read on World Literacy Day 2017! I’m so honoured to be a Writer Ambassador for an organisation which has been responsible for giving millions of children (especially girls) the gift of literacy! Take a look here here to see just some of the extraordinary Room to Read projects currently underway around the world! And if you want to support their wonderful work, you can donate or sign up here. here!

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Thank you Shatin Junior School mums and dads!

September 8, 2017 at 6:15 pm | Posted in children's literacy, Hong Kong Schools, School visits | Leave a comment
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Last night I had the great honour of speaking to over 150 parents of Shatin Junior School students about How to Create Writers in the Digital Age. I talked about the growing body of science showing the benefits of reading print books for the brain…as well as the problems of digital addiction amongst children, from infants to teenagers, and the shortcomings of screens for developing brains. I talked about the importance of imaginative play, and limiting time spent on extra-curricular activities so that children have plenty of free time. I also talked about redesigning the home with bookshelves, reading lamps and books galore, and regular outings to bookshops and libraries to browse the shelves. And a lot more! It was great to be amongst such motivated mums and dads! Many thanks to my wonderful host Karen Middleton!

The Wonderful Whale Haiku Competition is hotting up!

August 21, 2017 at 10:45 am | Posted in children's literacy, Clever Competitions, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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A big hello to the Grade 4 boys at Churchie in Brisbane for their fabulous Whale Haikus which I’ve just received today! I’ve loved reading them and all of you are now entered in my Wonderful Whale Haiku Competition –  well done!

And for all of you who haven’t entered yet, remember you have 40 days left to get your entries in. That might seem like a long way away but remember that time flies, and it’s often the early birds who catch the worms, to mix a few metaphors just for fun! I hope to read your entry soon!

Bring Me a Book thanks Ema Popovska, joint winner of our March Madness Minibus Photo Competition!

July 17, 2017 at 4:36 pm | Posted in children's literacy, Chinese Calendar Tales, Hong Kong Minibus | Leave a comment
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Readers will remember Ema Popovska’s fabulous winning photo (below) in our March Madness Minibus Photo Competition back in May! Well Ema decided to donate her school set of Chinese Calendar Tales to wonderful Hong Kong charity Bring Me A Book, and they were very happy to receive them! Here’s a photo of Angela Leung, one of their dedicated officers, with our books! We hope that all your community partners enjoy them!

And if you want to know more about Bring Me a Book, whose vision is to create a Hong Kong in which “every child is read to, strengthening family and community bonds, and creating a love of learning”, just click on the link here.

A fab interview with Jed Doherty of Reading With Your Kids in Boston, USA!

June 29, 2017 at 9:44 am | Posted in Children's Chinese Zodiac Books, children's literacy, Podcasts | Leave a comment
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I was so excited a few weeks ago to be contacted by one of the United States’ most famous family entertainers, Jed Doherty, from Boston, who asked me to talk all about the Chinese Calendar Tales for his huge Reading With Your Kids podcast audience in the States! We ended up talking for MUCH longer than expected, not just about my books, but also about our shared passion for children’s literacy – and our shared concern about the overuse of digital games and social media which is NOT GOOD AT ALL if you want to be a great reader, with great vocabulary, great writing skills, great general knowledge and a great brain!

We had such a good chat that Jed ended up dividing it into 2 podcasts! The first podcast, all about the Chinese Zodiac, my love of Chinese history and culture, and our funny and fabulous Chinese Calendar Tales, was released to iTunes and iHeart Radio on 22nd June!

You can listen to it here.

And if you want to find out more about Jed and his fantastic work in the States, you can read more here.

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!

 

A marvellous morning at St Mary’s College

May 26, 2017 at 6:35 pm | Posted in Australian schools, children's literacy, Hobart, St Mary's College, Story Readings | Leave a comment
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What a fun morning I had today at St Mary’s College here in Hobart, introducing my Chinese Calendar Tales! My lonely dragon Chester Choi and I met all the lovely girls and boys of Prep to Year 1, and vain but loveable Pin Yin Panda and I met all the kids in Years 2 and 3! It was a joy to work with such a lovely lot of kids and their dedicated teachers. Warm thanks to lovely Deputy Director of Junior School, Glynis Devereux, who was my host for the day, and to librarian Marylouise Jones, who invited me! I hope to see you all again soon!

 

A Serious Session at PolyU, Hong Kong

May 22, 2017 at 6:00 pm | Posted in children's literacy, workshops | Leave a comment
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On Friday 19th May I was very honoured to be one of the invited speakers at the PolyU Writing Round Table 2017, focussing this time on Writing for Readers. I had the great pleasure to meet some fabulous PolyU students and staff, in my session about How to Create Bookworms in the Digital Age. It’s SUCH an important topic, and I was very grateful to my host, Shari Lughmani, for giving me the opportunity to share my research and views!  My top tip for parents? Strictly limit your child’s time on digital screens, read aloud to them every night, and read lots of books yourself in front of your children!

A brilliant day at AISHK!

May 18, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Posted in AISHK, children's literacy, Hong Kong Schools, workshops | Leave a comment
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With Nicole Atkins, primary library AISHK

A big thank you to the lovely Nicole Atkins, primary teacher librarian at Australian International School Hong Kong, for hosting me for a fabulous day of story readings and workshops on Tuesday! The Preps up to the Grade 2s met latest Chinese Calendar Tales character in two noisy story readings where they cockadoodle-dooed and cheered on the national team of their choice in The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster, and learned a little bit of Chinese history about Shanghai and the international concessions in China in the early 20th Century along the way! Then I met with the fantastic students of Grade 3 to 6 in two sessions of my very serious workshop, Books are a Brain’s Best Friend, where they learned all about the importance of reading print books to the development of the brain – both historically and right now, in this increasingly digital age. The kids were so impressive, coming up with some fascinating questions and observations, and I’m quite sure we all – me included – came away from these two intense sessions firmly resolved to limit our time on digital devices to a minimum, and to read more books in our leisure time in order to maximise our chances of a fulfilling, creative and happy life. Please do keep up the great book reading, my friends at AISHK, and make sure you enter my next Clever Competition!

Yay! The results are out in my Really Riveting Rooster Story competition!

May 14, 2017 at 9:49 pm | Posted in children's literacy, Rooster story, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Cockadoodle doo! I’m just about roostered out!!

I’ve had enormous fun judging all the fantastic entries in my Really Riveting Rooster Tale writing competition, but I’ll be quite happy not to see another rooster for a while! Rickshaw Rooster had better watch out – I might just put him in a cooking pot!!

Once again, the competition was truly international, with entries coming from 6 major cities around the world: Calcutta, Chicago, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney!

Special congratulations to Daniel Song, of Grade 3, Shanghai United International School, Hongqiao Campus, Shanghai, who came first in the Grades 1 to 3 Category, and Arjya Kanjilal, of Grade 6, Delhi Public School, Newtown, Calcutta, India, who placed first in the Grades 4 to 6 Category! Daniel and Arjya each win a free signed copy of one of my books!

Go to my Clever Competitions page (see link above) right away to read their winning stories, and the fantastic entries of the other 9 finalists, as well as two fabulous Special Mentions and a special treat from high school writers Hillary Lo and Winter Lau from Shatin College in Hong Kong!  

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