The Great Year of the Rat Challenge 2020 is coming your way!

February 21, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Posted in Asia Society Hong Kong, Challenges and activities, Hong Kong, Hong Kong events | Leave a comment
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Are you a primary school student in Hong Kong or mainland China, stuck at home, waiting for schools to reopen in mid-March? Or maybe you live somewhere else, and are lucky enough to be able to go to school right now! Either way, if you love a fun challenge, with lots of great puzzles, pictures and tasks to complete, and with FABULOUS PRIZES, then you’re going to LOVE the GREAT YEAR OF THE RAT CHALLENGE 2020! My friends at Asia Society Hong Kong and I are launching the Challenge on next Monday, 24 January! So make sure you and Mum or Dad visit my blog again on Monday for all the details! Or you can visit my Facebook or Instagram pages! See you then!

Seven big reasons why I love Hong Kong!

February 5, 2020 at 11:21 am | Posted in Chinese New Year, Dragon dance, Hong Kong, Hong Kong events | Leave a comment
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For all the recent doom and gloom about viruses and protests, Hong Kong, my home for the last 21 years, is still one of my favourite places in the world! And here are just a few reasons why I ESPECIALLY love Hong Kong at Chinese New Year!

Blue, blue skies above spectacular architecture!

Chinese New Year really is the best time of year in Hong Kong weather-wise, with low humidity and lovely bright days with cool nights – yum! And its buildings are fantastic! Above are just a few that I snapped on a brisk walk from Wanchai into Central the other day!

Flowers, flowers everywhere!

Chinese New Year is the time for spectacular fruit and flower displays at home, in the office, and on every street corner! Above are just a few I spotted on my walk through the city centre!

Extraordinary trees, some literally hanging off the walls!

The city is home to some of the most glorious banyan trees, with their aerial roots and extraordinary root systems making them a unique part of this unique city!

Fabulous decorations in shopping malls!

And in shops…

 

And in the streets…

 

And all the excitement of Dragon Dances!

Here’s a short video I took in Saikung village, in the New Territories, where four different teams of dancers, drummers and their followers circulated around the village, spreading good fortune for the New Year! Here you can see a Black Lion entering a small shop, to receive the gift of a lettuce, which it “eats” to ensure the prosperity of the shop for the coming year!

Thank you Bookazine for a fabulous Hong Kong event!

January 21, 2020 at 2:42 pm | Posted in Book signings, Bookazine Princes Building, Chinese New Year, Hong Kong events, Room to Read | Leave a comment
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A big THANK YOU to Bookazine for hosting a fabulous event last Saturday to celebrate the upcoming Year of the Rat – and our wonderful city of Hong Kong – at the beautiful Centricity in Central! A huge bunch of kids, mums and dads came along to hear three fantastic Hong Kong story readings from three fabulous Hong Kong authors, and take part in some fun Chinese New Year activities! They even got to meet Geronimo Stilton!

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Of course we had to celebrate the 12th Birthday of The Tale of Run Run Rat, the very first of the Chinese Calendar Tales, which even outsold Harry Potter for 6 weeks in Hong Kong when it was released in 2008! Here I am, above, reading the story to the audience. We had a lot of fun following Run Run from his humble Chinese village all around China to the Olympics Marathon in Beijing!

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Then everyone trooped into the activity room to make my rather tricky Rat Mask – I was SO impressed with all the masks the kids made, with a little bit of help from their parents! I think the mums and dads especially had a lot of fun! I’ll be posting details shortly, so you can make the mask too!

After that, Karen Jane Ho and Jessamy Woolley gave two fabulously entertaining story readings – and trips around Hong Kong’s special places – with their beautiful books Emi Takes Hong Kong and Billy the Cavalier and Friends. And then everyone made some gorgeous Chinese New Year decorations…and played Hong Kong Bingo!

Thank you again to Arti and Shonee Mirchandani of Bookazine, their events manager Clemence Robine, and of course Mrs Mirchandani with her steadfast support! Here we are below:

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And thank you to all the lovely fans who came up to say hello and get their books signed afterwards!

And last but not least, thank you to my dear friend Jennie Orchard, of my favourite children’s literacy charity Room to Read, who came along to support us all. Here we are below with my beautiful Boxed Set of Chinese Calendar Tales.

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We all had a wonderful afternoon!

Happy New Year 2020 – and a fabulous event next Saturday to celebrate Chinese New Year!

January 12, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Posted in Book signings, Bookshop event, Chinese New Year, Chinese Zodiac, Hong Kong events | Leave a comment
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A very Happy New Year to you all for 2020! I hope that it’s filled with fun and laughter and wonderful events for all my lovely fans…including this very special Year of the Rat event by my favourite Hong Kong bookshop Bookazine on Saturday 18th January from 2-5pm at a very special venue at Centricity, 2nd Floor, Landmark Chater, Central!

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We’ll be celebrating my feisty and ambitious Run Run Rat of course :), with a fun story reading followed by a chance to make your own Rat Mask! Then we’ll be celebrating our beautiful city of Hong Kong with story readings by my fabulous fellow Hong Kong authors Jane Karen Ho and Jessamy Woolley, who will respectively host a CNY decoration-making session and a fun game of Hong Kong Wildlife Bingo!

Not to mention special appearances by the most famous rat in the world, Geronimo Stilton! Wow!

So make sure you book your ticket NOW at this link so you don’t miss out! I can’t wait to see you there!

The international Kids’ Lit Quiz rules!!

December 11, 2019 at 7:50 am | Posted in children's literacy, Hong Kong events, Hong Kong Schools, International literacy competitions | Leave a comment
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Yesterday I had the huge pleasure of co-judging the Hong Kong Kids’ Lit Quiz 2019-2020! Twenty teams from around Hong Kong battled it out at Harrow International School HK in the exciting heats in the morning, and in the afternoon the five top scoring teams took part in the Finals! The questions were really tricky and I was so impressed by the extensive knowledge of the teams! Congratulations to the five finalist teams from German Swiss International School, King George V School, HK Homeschools (two teams) and Harrow International School Hong Kong!

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And huge congratulations to King George V School Team #1 which won the Hong Kong title with a stunning performance! Here they are above, from left to right: Ruo Zhao, Rosie Sun, Thomas Chan and Audrey Lee. They will be representing Hong Kong in the 2020 World Finals in New Zealand on 13th July 2020 against teams from Australia, Canada, Indonesia, New Zealand, South Africa, Thailand, the UK and USA!

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And here is the HK Kids Lit Team, flanked by Wayne Mills (the fabulous Creator and Quiz Master of Kids Lit Quiz) to the right and Yupa Mills, business manager of KLQ to the left. From second left to second right: Mary Jones (Head of Library at Harrow International School HK), Sabine Simpson (former world finalist and HK Team runner); Anne Simpson (National Co-ordinator Hong Kong), Liz Mills-Campbell (from Scholastic) and Kelsey Chau (Assistant Librarian, Harrow International School HK).

Memo to teachers and librarians: The KLQ is a great way of encouraging kids to read as widely and well as possible! And unlike other school literacy quizzes, there’s no book list to read!

Memo to kids: The KLQ is SUCH FUN!! And if you love reading, a fabulous way of testing your knowledge of all your favourite authors, books and characters!

If you want to get your school involved next year, just ask your librarian or Head of English to take a look here!

Meet some me and some Famous Big Girls this Sunday at Bookazine Princes Building!

October 16, 2019 at 6:48 am | Posted in Bookshop event, girls' education, Hong Kong events, Room to Read | Leave a comment
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International Day of the Girl at Bookazine

For everyone who loves GIRLS WHO MAKE A DIFFERENCE – and that means all of us, everywhere, young and old, girl or boy, mum or dad, family or friend – this Sunday is a very special day!

Yes, it’s the International Day of the Girl and fabulous Hong Kong bookstore Bookazine is celebrating with a fantastic FREE event from 10am to 12noon at their Princes Building Store!

And there will be some very famous ladies represented there! No less than Amelia Earhart, Agatha Christie, Marie Curie and Frida Kahlo, each of whom have made huge contributions to the worlds of aviation, writing, science and the arts respectively!

And yes, you’ll see me all dressed up as Agatha Christie, one of my favourite mystery authors of all time, as I tell you a little about her life and work! (You’ll also see three other real life inspirational Hong Kong women colleagues, all leaders in their fields!)

I can’t wait to see you there! But remember to email the link here to RSVP to reserve your place!

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And if you want to support girls’ education and literacy to give them the very best start in life, just click on this link to find out more about international charity Room to Read, for whom I am a very proud Writer Ambassador!

Hear me read The Tale of Ping Pong Pig at the Asia Society this Saturday afternoon!

February 19, 2019 at 10:50 am | Posted in Hong Kong events, Story Readings | Leave a comment
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Cover image - Tale of Ping Pong Pig

On Saturday afternoon I’ll be reading Ping Pong Pig’s hilarious Tale at the Asia Society in Admiralty at a fun family event, and afterwards you can buy your own copy, and compete in a fun quiz for a cute baby panda toy! Find all the details here! You’ll even get a FREE Year of the Pig bookmark! See you there!

Oh what a lovely Launch!!

January 31, 2019 at 9:53 am | Posted in Book launches, Bookazine Exchange Square, Books about Chinese Zodiac, Bookshop event, Boxed Set, Chinese Calendar Tales, Chinese New Year, Fabulous fans!, Hong Kong events, RoomtoRead, Writer Ambassador | Leave a comment
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reading my story! bookazine launch jan 2019

Phew is it busy at the moment!!! I’m so busy with lots of lovely school visits and book orders that I’m very late with my blog-posts! So, my lovely followers, you are going to receive quite a number today!

my little pig paavo with our beautiful new boxed sets!

First and foremost, I want to tell you about last Saturday, and the wonderful launch of The Tale of Ping Pong Pig and our beautiful new Boxed Set of Chinese Calendar Tales at Bookazine Exchange Square! We had a fabulous crowd of fans there, old and new, including many old friends who had come to our launches at the very beginning of the series!

First we had speeches from Shonee Mirchandani of Bookazine, who with her sister Arti has hosted ALL my book launches ever since A Dirty Story back in 2004; then from my dear friend Jennie Orchard, who spoke about RoomtoRead, the wonderful children’s literacy charity for whom I am a very proud Writer Ambassador. 20% of the proceeds of sale at the launch is being donated by me and Bookazine to the RoomtoRead library in India that Bookazine is generously funding! You can find out more about RoomtoRead’s fantastic work in India here.

harry harrison takes the stage! bookazine launch jan 2019

Then I was very pleased to talk about the series and all the wonderful people who have contributed so much to its success. First and foremost, that had to be Harry Harrison, our fabulous illustrator!

Then our designers e5 and printer KK Mok at Zhongtian Colour Printing HK Ltd, who sadly could not be with us.

me with arti and shonee mirchandani, bookazine launch jan 2019

Then Arti and Shonee of Bookazine of course!

Then my beautiful family – my daughters Bea and Annabel (who surprised me with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers so I cried :))

with my beautiful daughters...who gave me flowers! bookazine launch jan 2019

And my darling husband Philippe who has supported me in every way, through thick and thin, during the 13 years of writing and publishing the series. Here he is on the right with me, Jennie Orchard and Harry!

sarah, jennie, harry and philippe toast the books!

And last but never least, my fantastic fans, including kids, mums and dads, teachers and librarians, all over Hong Kong!

Next came my story reading of The Tale of Ping Pong Pigour very last Tale in the series, out just in time for The Year of the Pig! The kids in the audience were such fun to read to, and they and their mums and dads enthusiastically joined in whenever poor little Ping Pong ran into trouble from her nemesis, the Minister of Most Important Things! Then Harry’s annual quiz for everyone from 2 to 102, with prizes of tiny pandas for the right answers…

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And then a real treat! Harry showed everyone how he draws his characters…and then the kiddies joined in!

And finally, our traditional book signing, when it’s such a pleasure to meet our lovely fans!

My daughter Annabel got her annual finger signing from Harry and me of course!

annabel's annual finger signatures!

It was such a happy, exciting and colourful event, and I’d like to give my warmest thanks again to Clemence Robine, who organised the event for Bookazine and who generously allowed me to borrow some of the photos on Bookazine’s FaceBook page. You can see more here!

what an achievement!

Ping Pong Pig gets an early start to her Year!

January 17, 2019 at 6:07 pm | Posted in Book launches, Chinese New Year, Hong Kong events | Leave a comment
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Ping Pong Pig got an early start to her upcoming year this week! She’s visited three wonderful Hong Kong schools with me and all her fellow Chinese Calendar Tales beasties – and we all had SUCH fun! Keep visiting this page for all the photos and news – and don’t forget to register your name for Ping Pong’s funny and fabulous Book Launch at Bookazine Exchange Square on Saturday 26 January at 2pm by clicking on the link here!

Say hello to our beautiful new Boxed Set!

January 10, 2019 at 6:17 pm | Posted in Bookazine Exchange Square, Boxed Set, Buying my books, Hong Kong events, Literary Festivals, Online Sales, School visits | Leave a comment
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boxed set ccts jpeg 3.7mbWell, after 13 years of publishing, we have finally finished the Chinese Calendar Tales! And we’re celebrating with this beautiful Boxed Set!

And what a fabulous 13 years it has been, ever since the publication of The Tale of Chester Choi way back in 2007! Little did Harry Harrison or I know then that this tale of a hungry, lonely dragon living by the South China Sea would be the first in a big series devoted to all the animals of the Chinese Zodiac!

Nor that the Tales would take me around the world visiting schools and literary festivals from Hong Kong to Edinburgh, Sydney to Shanghai, London to Singapore, Byron Bay to Beijing, Cambridge in England to Hobart in Tasmania and more!

Nor that I would meet such amazing fellow authors at Literary Festivals around the world such as Thomas Keneally, author of Schindler’s List and dozens of award-winning Australian novels; Tony Ross, Korky Paul and Francesca Simon, English authors of The Little Princess, Winnie the Witch and Horrid Henry series respectively; Witi Ihimaera, New Zealand author of the legendary Whale Rider; a host of famous Australian children’s authors and illustrators including Jane Tanner, Suzanne Gervay, Morris Gleitzman, Graeme Base, Leigh Hobbs, Tristan Bancks and Glenda Millard.  And many other international authors, too many to list here!

Nor that I would meet Lord Christopher Patten in his office at the House of Lords and a day later, meet the Edinburgh Zoo pandas in their new home in Scotland! Nor that I would meet classrooms by Skype in Los Angeles and Western Australia; nor that I would meet young writers in countries as far away as India, South Africa, the United States and the United Kingdom in my writing competitions!

It’s been a fantastic ride – albeit a roller coaster sometimes – and it’s hard to believe that the series has now come to an end.

And the great news is that now all my followers and fans can purchase a beautiful Boxed Set of all the Chinese Calendar Tales at a very attractive price! Click the link here to find out more!

And remember to come along to the launch of our final Tale, The Tale of Ping Pong Pig as well as our beautiful boxed set at 2pm on 26th January at Bookazine Exchange Square! You can register for this free event at this link!

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