A fabulous family of fans send this photo!

February 14, 2018 at 8:13 am | Posted in children's literacy, Fantastic fans! | 2 Comments
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I was very honoured today to receive this lovely photo of one of my young fans, Osman Pasha, with last year’s book The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster! Osman’s mum Janana tells me that Pasha and his older brothers have grown up reading my Chinese Calendar Tales and they love them! She tells me that, being of Russian speaking background educated on Pushkin and Lermintov, she really appreciates the rhythm and rhyme in my poetry – thank you so much Janana for your lovely message and for allowing me to post this photo! I’m delighted to meet you and Pasha and please do send my warmest wishes to your boys!

It’s time for a Dashing Dog Story Writing Competition!

January 14, 2018 at 5:17 pm | Posted in children's literacy, Chinese Calendar Tales, Writing competitions for kids | 4 Comments
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Are you a primary school student anywhere in the world? Do you love DOGS? Do you love writing stories? Then it’s time to enter my latest international Clever Competition, The Dashing Dog Story Competition!

Introducing Desmond Dog, the latest loveable character in the Chinese Calendar Tales series! Like all Chinese Zodiac dogs, he’s brave, noble and kind, and he LOVES protecting his little village, keeping everybody safe from harm! And of course, his Year of the Chinese Zodiac is just around the corner!

So it’s about time that we had a story writing competition all about DOGS! This time I want you to write me a story about a typical Chinese Zodiac Dog, like Desmond. I want him to be brave, kind, honourable and above all, DASHING!! You also must have

  • a title for your story, the more interesting the better!
  • a Chinese setting – be that a village, a city, a river, a lake, a mountain or even a Chinese planet in the future! So you’ll have to do a bit of research, and make sure to include lots of details which make the setting typically Chinese!
  • a scary typhoon!
  • a flying fish with golden scales
  • a wise philosopher
  • an evil cat
  • the colour mikado – and if you don’t know what colour that is, you’ll have to look it up!

Go to my Clever Competitions page here for all the details, rules and information.

The deadline date is Friday 23rd March, so pick up that paper and pen and get ready…get set…WOOF!

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!

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!

 

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