Hellooo again Brisbane!

March 3, 2019 at 6:54 pm | Posted in Australian schools, Brisbane schools, Hobart, School visits, St Margaret's Anglican School Brisbane, The Hutchins School | Leave a comment
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Ping Pong Pig and I have just arrived in Brisbane and it’s HOT!! And a nice change from the cold weather of Hong Kong it is, I must say! My jolly little pig and I are really excited to be visiting the fabulous St Margaret’s Anglican School for the next two days! Then on Thursday we fly down to Tasmania for another fun visit to my friends at The Hutchins School and a (slightly belated) Chinese New Year celebration at Fullers Bookshop on Saturday! Keep visiting my blog for all the photos and fun!

Another great visit to Stamford American International School…with an SCMP journalist!

January 23, 2019 at 8:32 pm | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, media articles, School visits, Stamford American School Hong Kong, Story Readings, writing workshops for children | Leave a comment
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Ping Pong Pig and I continued our funny and fabulous Hong Kong School tour on Tuesday afternoon with a visit to my friends at Stamford American International School in Ho Man Tin, where I am proud to be a Global Mentor. And this time I was accompanied by Fionnuala McHugh, a journalist for the South China Morning Post, who is writing a feature article for the Sunday Post for Chinese New Year!

After photos in the Activity Room, our terrific host Lisa Olinski introduced me to some lovely parents and younger kids who heard me reading my “youngest” book, The Tale of Chester Choi, and enthusiastically joined in with contributions as to how you chop off a dragon’s head, especially if it’s threatening your Dad! Then a lovely roomful of older kids and their parents heard my Tale of Ping Pong Pig, together with a whole lot of fascinating history about the third Ming Dynasty Emperor Zhu Di and his best friend the explorer Admiral Zheng He and his seven epic  journeys in huge Treasure Boats as far as Africa!

Lastly, I gave my popular How to Write a Riveting Story workshop to the hardy mums and children who stayed on after the story reading! It was a busy, fun day, and wonderful to see this lovely school again! More photos to come!

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!

A fun day at Green Oasis School in Shenzhen!

May 21, 2018 at 8:32 am | Posted in Green Oasis School, School visits, Shenzhen Schools, Story Readings, workshops | Leave a comment
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On Wednesday last week I took a train ride across the Chinese border to Shenzhen, where the lovely Rachael Taylor (photo above left) hosted me for a fabulous day at Green Oasis School! The Year 1s and 2s met my dashing Desmond Dog in a fun story reading with some fantastic pirate faces and growls from the kids and teachers too! Years 3 and 4 heard all about The Making of a Story Book as I took them on a step by step journey through the writing and publishing of The Tale of Desmond Dog. Then Years 5 and 7 learned all about How to Become a Great Writer – with a bit of a challenge to the Grade 7s to get OFF their digital screens and INTO reading lots and lots of books in their leisure time! And lastly the Year 6s learned all the tricks and tools in my popular workshop How to Write a Riveting Story. And after that I met some gorgeous fans when I signed books for a whole lot of kids, mums and dads! Thanks Rachael – and all the students and staff – for another busy and memorable day at Green Oasis!

Brrr!!!! I’m in Beijing for a fun fortnight!

January 21, 2018 at 7:19 pm | Posted in Beijing Schools, School visits, Story Readings | Leave a comment
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And just like Oswald in The Tale of Oswald Ox, in this fabulous illustration by Harry Harrison above, my mind is on the weather! I’m told it will be -4C tomorrow at NOON! But I must admit that it’s great to have an excuse to pull out my thick winter coat for once!

Tonight I’m staying at Keystone Academy, a beautiful school just near Beijing Capital International Airport, where for the next two days I’ll be meeting the primary school kids and teachers in some fantastic sessions all about the inspiration for my Chinese Calendar Tales, and how the books are planned and written. I’m hugely looking forward to it! Keep visiting my blog for all the news as I visit more fabulous Beijing schools, and the wonderful Wycombe Abbey International School in Changzhou later this week!

In the meantime, this will be me tonight – huddled up under an VERY thick duvet!

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A fabulous 2 day visit to QSI Zhuhai!

September 29, 2017 at 5:48 pm | Posted in Being an Author, School visits, Zhuhai schools | Leave a comment
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Thank you to the lovely Heather Domenico (above left) for hosting me on Wednesday and Thursday at QSI Zhuhai! It was a very busy time, with story readings from the Chinese Calendar Tales and Dirty Stories for everyone from 2 years old to 13 years old, and writing workshops for everyone from 7 years old to graduation! Plus a talk to the parents and staff about How to Create Writers in the Digital Age – and book-signings in between! Not to mention some great chats with British poet and publisher Neil Stevens, a teacher at the school (above right).  Then a fun evening  with Principal Cliff Geis-Poage and his lovely wife and teacher Becca who treated me to a delicious dinner before I caught the ferry home to Hong Kong! Everyone was so warm and welcoming – the terrific staff, Theresa in administration, not to mention the mums and dads and the gorgeous kids and teens. It was my first visit to Zhuhai in mainland China, and my first visit to QSI – I hope to see you all again soon!

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!

It’s good to be back in Hong Kong!

June 13, 2017 at 2:13 pm | Posted in AISHK, Kingston International School Hong Kong, School visits | 2 Comments
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Well, I’m back in Hong Kong after 3 fabulous weeks in Hobart, Melbourne and Brisbane, and it’s sooooo good to be home! The very first thing to be done was to pack up the fabulous book orders from the students of Australian International School and Kingston International School where I visited the kids just before I left! Here I am signing books yesterday in my office – we packed over 300 books in total! Thanks kids – and your books will be delivered to your schools this week!

A fun day with the boys of Hutchins School in Sandy Bay!

May 24, 2017 at 8:00 pm | Posted in Australian schools, Being an Author, School visits | Leave a comment
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My Tassie tour kicked off with a fabulous morning at The Hutchins School in Sandy Bay, Hobart, today, where I caught up with my old friend Kate Reid, Head of Libraries at Hutchins, who used to be the primary librarian at AISHK in Hong Kong! Kate invited me in for two fab sessions, first with the Years 3 and 4 plus some intrepid Year 6 boys, who found out all about Chinese history from the mid-1700s right up to the founding of the People’s Rebublic of China in 1949, when I read them The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster!  Then the Year 1s and 2s met my hungry child-eating dragon in The Tale of Chester Choi and learned some very useful facts about the dragon in Chinese mythology! Thanks Kate, teachers and boys for a memorable morning! And here is one of my new fans, George, who buried himself into my Tale of a Dark Horse! It was great to meet you George!

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Hello Tasmania!!

May 24, 2017 at 7:39 pm | Posted in Being an Author, School visits | Leave a comment
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I’m back in my beautiful birth state of Tasmania, that  lovely island beneath Victoria, Australia, for a fabulous week of school visits, lectures and one fantastic event for The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster this Saturday at Hobart’s fabulous Fullers Bookshop! Then next week it’s off to Melbourne to visit my old friends at MLC before the VERY exciting launch of my new book with Allen & Unwin, Storm Whale; then finally a visit up to Brisbane to visit Churchie boys school and catch up with my family before flying back to Hong Kong! Phew! It’s a full schedule, but it’s going to be great fun!

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