At last! The results are out in The Rascally Rat Tale Competition!

May 9, 2020 at 12:53 pm | Posted in Arden Anglican School, Beecroft, Australian schools, Challenges and activities, Hong Kong Schools, Shanghai schools, Singapore schools, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Illustration by Harry Harrison from The Tale of Run Run Rat

Hooray! At last the results in The Rascally Rat Tale Competition have been posted on my Clever Competitions page! Now I know that a lot of you have been doing lots of school work online during the Covid epidemic, so we had fewer entrants than usual, although we still had entries from Hong Kong, Melbourne, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney! They were of a very high standard, so it was difficult choosing the best! I did so using my special spreadsheet, with all the entries anonymised, which you can read more about on the results page.

Congratulations to everyone who put in an entry, and to all the place-winners! Special congratulations to Therese Li of Arden Anglican School in Beecroft, Sydney for placing FIRST in the Year 1 to 3 Category, and to James Bruser Zarin of Shrewsbury International School, Hong Kong, who placed FIRST in the Year 4 to 6 Category. They both win a signed copy of the Chinese Calendar Tale of their choice, as well as a Boxed Set of the Chinese Calendar Tales for their school libraries! Well done! Congratulations also to the English teachers of Arden Anglican School in Beecroft, Sydney whose students write to an exceptionally high standard for their ages!

So go to my Clever Competitions page right away to read the winning stories and enjoy!

Almost there…and in the meantime enjoy this poem from a Grade 2 student!

May 5, 2020 at 8:17 am | Posted in Challenges and activities, Hong Kong Schools, Poetry competitions for children, Poetry Workshops for kids, Stamford American School Hong Kong | Leave a comment
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Precious and Bright Idea

Well, I’ve almost finished judging The Rascally Rat Tale Competition, and will be posting the results very soon! In the meantime, you can all enjoy this poem from Parker Shapiro, Grade 2, Stamford American School Hong Kong, who took part in my virtual Introduction to Poetry Workshop back in April, and wrote the best poem in the challenge I set his class to complete afterwards. The kids had to complete the poem in perfect rhyme and rhythm in the underlined sections- I think he did a great job, don’t you? And I know we’ll ALL agree with the spell he casts at the end of the poem!

The Magical School Brew

By Parker Shapiro, Grade 2, Stamford American School Hong Kong

Throw into the magic pot

Teachers, admin – all the lot!

Throw your pen into the brew

Throw in all your backpacks too!

Add a dash of markers, red

And teach me to draw instead!

Throw into the magic pot

Teachers, admin – all the lot!

Stir into the steaming soup

Mash it up with some green goop

Don’t forget to add some glue

And the goop gets smelly, ew

Throw into the magic pot

Teachers, admin – all the lot!

While you stir, recite this spell:

Magic,magic, ring a bell

Send the virus to the moon

Let us see our friends at noon 

Throw into the magic pot

Teachers, admin – all the lot!

A fun virtual visit to Stamford American International School, HK!

April 9, 2020 at 10:22 am | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, School visits, Stamford American School Hong Kong, Video, Virtual visits | Leave a comment
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Yesterday I had a fun virtual visit to the kids of Stamford American International school Hong Kong.We celebrated the Year of the Rat with my story The Tale of Run Run Rat, now celebrating its 12th birthday and 4th edition! After the reading, the kids had lots of questions about the story, and we also talked about what Chinese zodiac animal we were. I’m a Rat, and I had to admit that I’m a typical Rat, always on the go and very ratty when I’m bored! Many thanks to the two Lisas, Lisa Olinski and Lisa Choy, as well as the SAISHK tech team, for making it happen!

Visit to Shatin Junior by Zoom!

March 2, 2020 at 11:06 am | Posted in Chinese New Year, Hong Kong Schools, School visits, Shatin Junior School, Video, Year of the Rat, Zoom visits | Leave a comment
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I just visited the kids and teachers Shatin Junior School by Zoom, to do a fun live story reading of The Tale of Run Run Rat! We had over 120 kids logging in! Thanks so much to teachers Trudy McMillin and James Haworth for organising and hosting this fun online event! Below you can see a couple of fun video clips, and above, some photos. You can even see my little dog Mozart in one of them, enjoying the story!

Deadline extension: The Great Year of the Rat Challenge 2020!

February 25, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Posted in Asia Society Hong Kong, Challenges and activities, Hong Kong Schools, The Great Year of the Rat Challenge 2020 | Leave a comment
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Picture credit: Harry Harrison from The Tale of Rodney Ram

Now I know that there are teachers, kids and parents in Hong Kong who are pulling their hair out right now with today’s announcement from the Government that the school closures have been extended to the 20th April…but there are always silver linings to every cloud.

And one BIG silver lining is that we’re extending the deadline date for the Great Year of the Rat Challenge 2020 till midnight on Saturday 28 March!

That gives you 3 more weeks to finish your challenges! You might even have time to do them ALL now, so you are eligible for the MYSTERY SUPER PRIZE!

So if you haven’t yet registered YOUR name in the Challenge, you’ve got even more reason to do so! Just click on the link HERE and get cracking!

A fabulous visit to the Grade 3s at Canadian International School!

January 22, 2020 at 1:52 pm | Posted in Canadian International School Hong Kong, Chinese festivals, Chinese New Year, Hong Kong Schools | Leave a comment
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A big HELLO to the fabulous Grade 3s at Canadian International School, who I visited on Monday! They’re currently learning about how culture is reflected through story-telling, so a funny story reading of The Tale of Pin Yin Panda, which retells the ancient Chinese legend of Lord Buddha’s Race and how the 12 animals got into the Chinese Zodiac, was just the ticket! After the story reading we had a terrific Q and A session where we discussed the real reason why pandas aren’t in the Chinese Zodiac, as well as why all the other animals are! Many thanks to teacher-librarian Colleen Williams (below) for hosting me!

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Well done Shiv!

December 14, 2019 at 4:05 pm | Posted in children's literacy, Clever Competitions, Glenealy School, Hong Kong Schools, Poetry competitions for children | Leave a comment
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Say hello to Shiv Mohan, who regularly enters my Clever Competitions, and won Third Place in the Grade 4 to 6 section of the My Favourite Season Haiku Competition (He also came third in his section in the Clever Competition before that!). Here he is accepting his prize from the Principal, Mr Briggs, at Glenealy School. Well done Shiv!

I’ll be posting details of the next Clever Competition early in the New Year – so make sure you enter! You’ve got to be in it to win it!

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!

A fabulous day at The Peak School!

October 14, 2019 at 9:47 am | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, Poetry Workshops for kids, Story Readings, The Peak School, Writing competitions for kids, writing workshops for children | Leave a comment
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It’s been a HUGELY busy fortnight, and first of all I have to let you all know about my fabulous day at The Peak School back on Thursday 3rd October! We had a fun day of story readings and workshops for everyone from Year 3 to Year 6! We started with my How to Write a Riveting Story workshop for the Year 6s; next came an Introduction to Poetry for the Year 4s; the Year 5s then learned all the science explaining why Books are a Brain’s Best Friend, and finally the Year 3s had a funny story reading of The Tale of Ping Pong Pig where they learned all about the mighty Yongle Emperor, and cheered as Ping Pong Pig evaded the cunning Minister of Most Important Things! Thank you to lovely librarian Rebecca Rigden Green for being such a wonderful host! And I can’t wait to receive all your entries in my Clever Competition!

Well done Daisy!

June 22, 2019 at 1:35 pm | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, Japanese International School, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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On Wednesday afternoon, I had the great pleasure of presenting Daisy Palmer, winner of the Grade 4 to 6 Category of the Practically Perfect Pig Tale Competition, with her First Place prize of a Boxed Set of the Chinese Calendar Tales! Here we are at the assembly at Japanese International School in Hong Kong, with, from left to right, librarian Cath Wan, Principal Simon Walton, Daisy’s mum Claire, and head of Student Support, Glenda Baillie. Thank you Simon for inviting me – it was a real honour!

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