A Riveting Story Time at PLK CKY!

November 3, 2017 at 9:23 am | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, PLK CKY School, workshops | Leave a comment
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A big hello to two of my favourite Hong Kong librarians Tammy Ng and Joli Moore, at Po Leung Kuk Choi Kai Yau School in Piper’s Hill, Kowloon, pictured with me above. Joli (to my left) was my wonderful host yesterday for 3 fabulous workshop sessions with the gorgeous Grade 3s, who enthusiastically joined my How to Write a Riveting Story workshop! We had lots of fun thinking working with our five senses to describe different settings and imagining great characters, and the kids all enjoyed my famous adventure story (about the missing dog and the alien abductors) and mystery story (about the missing teachers at PLK CKY :)) as we talked about correct story structure! And I showed them all my latest Chinese Calendar Tale, The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster, and my beautiful new book Storm Whale I can’t wait to meet the Grade 4s with my Poetry Workshop in 3 weeks’ time! More photos to come!

Thank you Kowloon Junior School!

October 30, 2017 at 6:28 pm | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, Kowloon Junior School, Story Readings | Leave a comment
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Today I had the great pleasure of visiting my old friends at Kowloon Junior School! My lovely host was librarian Carrie Davison, above, who organised a fun-filled day of story readings! I saw four big year groups: the Grade Ones met my hungry dragon in The Tale of Chester Choi; the Grade Twos heard all about the Legend of Lord Buddha’s Race – and why pandas aren’t in the Chinese Zodiac, in The Tale of Pin Yin Panda; the Grade Threes heard my lyrical story Storm Whale and fell in love with Jane Tanner’s gorgeous illustrations of the grand old whale, and the Grade Fours got a fabulous history lesson all about the end of imperialism in China … as well as a fun story reading of The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster and a talk about the symbolism in the Chinese Zodiac! Phew! It was a busy day, but a fun one! More photos to come soon!

A Whale of a Time at Glenealy School!

October 26, 2017 at 9:11 pm | Posted in Glenealy School, Hong Kong Schools, Story Readings | Leave a comment
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Today I had a fabulous time at Glenealy School in Hong Kong, introducing the Grade 5s and 6s to my noisy Rickshaw Rooster (and some REALLY juicy Chinese history), and the Grade 1s to Grade 4s to my beautiful Storm Whale! The kids were so full of interesting comments and questions, and I think we can conclude that just about everybody loves whales…and roosters! Huge thanks to my wonderful host, the lovely Gisele Stones (holding Storm Whale, above) and to her fantastic library assistants Stephanie Mathyssek and Elaine Pullinger to our left and right! Afterwards I had the great pleasure of meeting Gavin Coates, the author of the fabulous Earthy series! Here we are above, to the right! More photos below!

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!

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!

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!

Announcing the winners of the March Minibus Madness Photo Competition!

May 13, 2017 at 11:58 am | Posted in Hong Kong Minibus, Hong Kong Schools, Photo competitions | Leave a comment
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A big THANK YOU to all the Hong Kong kids, mums and dads who sent in such funny and fabulous photos to our March Minibus Madness Photo Competition! Me and my team at Auspicious Times loved them ALL – and it was clear that you all had a lot of fun tracking down our minibuses on the Island and Kowloon-side and posing in front of them! But a winner there has to be, and in the end we simply couldn’t choose between two fabulous photos below!

Winning entrants Ema and Claire each win a COMPLETE SET of signed Chinese Calendar Tales, as well as a FREE set each for the primary school of their choice!

Here they are, with the stories behind them:

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EQUAL WINNER: Ema. We loved Ema’s cheeky face hiding behind The Tale of Run Run Rat, and the clever way she featured the entire set of Chinese Calendar Tales on the front of Island-side Minibus 22 in her photo! We’ll be letting you know more about Ema and her primary school of choice soon. Ema wrote: “I really enjoyed travelling across Hong Kong to find the bus and take this image at Pokfulam Gardens. Hope you’ll like it as well!”

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EQUAL WINNER: Claire. We loved Claire’s night-time photo of our Kowloon-side Minibus 74, just about to get a good wash! Claire’s mum Majela sent us the sweetest covering email – here’s just some of it below! We’ll let you know more about Claire and her chosen primary school shortly!

I am writing to enter the competition. In fact it should be my daughter Claire who is writing to you, but she is too sleepy now and we need to make sure we send the photo to you before the deadline which is the end of today! Claire and I don’t live or work/study close to any of the bus stops on the two minibus routes. We were always looking for the chance to go to a bus stop to take photos. Both of us were quite busy so I felt we almost gave up when the deadline was approaching. We should NOT! Today Claire and I invited a family to dinner and we got to choose the restaurant. I chose Elements mostly because it’s where the minibus 74’s terminal is. It was 10:25pm when we got to the bus terminal and Claire spotted Run Run Rat in no time. Claire was thankful for the bus driver who stopped cleaning the bus to let us take photos – the driver moved his buckets away several times to give us more space beside the bus; we said it’s ok, we actually wanted the buckets in the photo because it’s so real life. Claire was amazed how many people were working that late at night as her usual bedtime is 8:30pm!

Aren’t they wonderful photos! Congratulations again to Ema and Claire and everyone who entered our March Minibus Madness Competition! We hope you continue to enjoy our funny and fabulous Chinese Calendar Tales AND our two fantastic Hong Kong minibuses!

Last chance to win a free set of books for you AND your school in our March Madness Minibus Photo Competition!

March 31, 2017 at 2:13 pm | Posted in Hong Kong Minibus, Hong Kong Schools, Photo competitions | Leave a comment
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Chinese Calendart Tales Minibus

Yes, it’s the last day of March, and the deadline to sign up in our fabulous March Madness Minibus Photo Competition is midnight Hong Kong time today! So if you want to win a free set of my funny and fabulous Chinese Calendar Tales…PLUS a free set for your favourite primary school, go right away to http://www.chinesecalendartales.com to register right away in our competition!

A fabulous day at CAC Tuen Mun!

March 14, 2017 at 8:20 pm | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, Story Readings, Tuen Mun CAC | Leave a comment
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Warm thanks to Paul Conway and the English department team at CAC Tuen Mun for inviting me to a fun, fabulous day of story readings and a poetry workshop today! It was English Week, and it was wonderful to meet such a big bunch of enthusiastic local students, who listened so well to three of my Chinese Calendar Tales, and taught me some Chinese as well! I hope to see you all again some day!

Rickshaw Rooster’s Hong Kong Schools Tour has begun!

February 6, 2017 at 3:26 pm | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, Japanese International School, Kennedy School | Leave a comment
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Rickshaw Rooster is off and running in Hong Kong Schools! On Tuesday 17th January, he made a funny and fabulous visit to Kennedy School in Pok Fu Lam, where he met 900 primary school kids and their teachers!! Many thanks to Jeff Moore, Head of English, for being such a great host!

And today he raced into my nearest neighbours here in Tai Po at the wonderful Japanese International School, where we met all the Grade 3s to Grade 6s, with a fun story, much cockadoodling, and lots of luscious Chinese history thrown in! We had SO much fun! Thank you my dear friends Cath Wan and Cong Capati-Contreras, from the Library, for being my very warm and welcoming hosts!

Photos below from Japanese International School:

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