A funny and fabulous day at Rose Bay Public School!

August 20, 2019 at 4:27 pm | Posted in Australian schools, Poetry Workshops for kids, Rose Bay Public School, Story Readings, Sydney schools, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Today I visited wonderful Rose Bay Public School, where I worked with all the classes from Kindy to Year 6!

The Kindies and Years 1 and 2 heard me read my story Storm Whale, and saw all of Jane Tanner’s beautiful illustrations up on the screen. We shared some fascinating facts about sperm whales, and how we can help them to survive.  Then I introduced them to my Chinese Calendar Tales and the characters of the Chinese Zodiac! They were very surprised to learn that Captain Cook was born in the Year of the Rat, and Winnie the Pooh was born in the Year of the Tiger!

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Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 heard me read my latest Chinese Calendar Tale, The Tale of Ping Pong Pig – and had a lot of fun filling in the missing words! Congratulations to the Bandicoot Team in Years 5 and 6 which narrowly defeated the Echidna Team in filling in the blanks! I hope that this afternoon has inspired you all to have a go at writing your own rhyming verse…I have a feeling that you will be rather good at it!

And, of course, I hope that you’re all going to enter my next Clever Competition for kids which will be announced on this blog on the 1st of September!

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Huge thanks to lovely librarian Sarah Skelton (above right) and her fabulous assistant Gill Davidson for hosting me today! I wonder if you can guess what year of the Chinese Zodiac we were each born in?

Four fabulous days with the Bookworm International Literary Festival in Beijing and Hangzhou!

April 8, 2019 at 8:00 am | Posted in Beijing Schools, Books about Chinese Zodiac, Bookworm Cafe Beijing, China photos, Dulwich College Beijing, International School of Beijing, Storm Whale, Story Readings, writing workshops for children | Leave a comment
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With Antoinette Portis and Sandra Greenwell at the Bookworm International Literary Festival

Huge thanks to Peter Goff, David Cantalupo, Karen Tong and the team at The Bookworm Bookshop in Beijing for inviting me to take part in The Bookworm International Literary Festival 2019! Sadly I wasn’t able to appear at my scheduled event at the Bookworm featuring The Tale of Ping Pong Pig on the Sunday due to illness…but by Monday I was ready to fly up!

On Tuesday 26th March: I visited Dulwich College where I spent three fun sessions with Years 3 to 5, introducing the Year 3s to my hungry, lonely dragon Chester Choi; the Year 4s to Ping Pong Pig and the Yongle Emperor, and the Year 5s to Desmond Dog and the infamous pirate queen Ching Shih! Many thanks to the lovely Sandra Greenwell who was my host for the day, and to Lit Fest helper Inna Gafurova who looked after me and sold lots of my books after the sessions!

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With some of my fabulous Junior School audience!
With my lovely host head librarian Sandra Greenwell (left) and library assistants Imee Acosta and Lita Tupaz (right)
Bookworm Festival helper Inna Gafurova and Sandra at the aptly named school coffee shop (right) and with some fabulously inventive pigs made in art class (right)

On Tuesday evening: New York Times best-selling author/illustrator Antoinette Portis and I spoke at The Bookworm with journalist Wendy Tang about the enormously important subject of Raising Kids to Read in the Digital Era. We had a full audience of very interested parents who were keen to hear all the recent science on the subjects of the huge benefits of reading for the brain, and the correspondingly huge problems with kids being overexposed to digital screens (and it doesn’t take much…). If you want to read more about this, take a look at my other blog,

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Just because the subject was serious didn’t mean we couldn’t have fun! Here I am with Sandra Greenwell (from Dulwich College) and the lovely Antoinette Portis, my fellow panel member, with Sandra’s very naughty husband behind us!

On Wednesday 27th March: I visited my old friends at International School of Beijing, which I visited last year for a week in residence! This time I had 3 noisy sessions reading The Tale of Ping Pong Pig  to Grades 3, 4 and 5. Echoes of “Run Pig, Run!” and “Stay Pig, Stay!” could be heard echoing around the playground at lunch time as the kids re-enacted Ping Pong’s mad dash around the Forbidden City, pursued by the cunning Minister of Most Important Things!

It was wonderful to catch up with my librarian hosts, and friends, Bec Taylor and Paul Wong (right). And thank you Hunt Liu from the Bookworm for looking after me!

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We all had great fun, kids included!

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It was lovely to be in such great company with other author visitors including famous Australian author Morris Gleitzman and New York Times best-selling Antoinette Portis!

That night I flew down to the pretty city of Hangzhou, 175 km south west of Shanghai, to stay at the aptly named Blossom Water Museum Hotel, seen in the photos below. Aren’t the gardens and the pagoda lovely?

 

On Thursday 28th and Friday 29th March: I visited Wellington College International Hangzhou, a new school with a very beautiful campus! We had workshops galore, with the Grade 5s learning the science behind why Books are a Brain’s Best Friend; the Grade 6s finding out How to Write a Riveting Story and the Grade 7s and I getting stuck into rhyming verse, haikus, acrostics, limericks and free verse in An Introduction to Poetry! I look forward to receiving some fabulous stories from lots of WCIH students in my latest Clever Competition! A big thank you to head librarian Bethan Amena for all her hard work hosting me and for the magnificent book sales!

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Here I am with Bethan Amena (Head of Library, to my left), Piers Matthews (Director of Marketing and Admissions) and Lizzie Yang, librarian. Thanks for a lovely two days!
Workshops galore with the Grade 5s to 7s

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Many thanks to WCIH’s official photographer July Qi for these lovely photos!

Two wonderful days at St Margaret’s Anglican School in Brisbane!

March 6, 2019 at 11:52 am | Posted in Brisbane schools, St Margaret's Anglican School Brisbane, Story Readings, Writing competitions for kids, writing workshops for children | Leave a comment
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What a lovely two days I’ve just had with the gorgeous girls (and some boys) and teachers of St Margaret’s Primary and Pre-Prep this week! I met everyone from the cute little Pre-Preps to the savvy Grade 6s, and we had everything from story-readings of my Chinese Calendar Tales (The Tale of Chester Choi, The Tale of Pin Yin Panda and The Tale of Ping Pong Pig) with all their juicy Chinese history and folklore thrown in, to workshops and talks about How to Write a Riveting Story, How to Become a Great Writer in the Digital Age, Books are a Brain’s Best Friend, and History is Geography! I even spoke at a big assembly of the Grade 4s to 6s about How I Became an Author and Publisher – including all the life-skills I learned along the way! Then at school pickup time I met some lovely parents when they purchased my books!

Thank you, everybody, for making me feel so welcome and for engaging so intently in all the sessions! It was a treat to work with you all! And do make sure that you click on my Clever Competitions link here for details of my latest writing competition for primary school kids – I hope to see lots of fabulous entries from the St Margaret’s girls!

Finally, warmest thanks to some very special staff members who looked after me so kindly throughout: Primary Principal Angela Drysdale (above and below centre), Head of Planning and Organisation – Primary Ms Mary Surtees  (above and below left); librarian Mrs Donna Jackson (to my second left above) and Administration Assistant Miss Elizabeth Hook (to my far left above). I had so much fun spending time with you all!

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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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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!

The Kennedy School kids meet Ping Pong Pig!

February 17, 2019 at 10:13 am | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, Kennedy School, Story Readings | Leave a comment
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On Wednesday I took my tasty little Ping Pong Pig to meet all my old friends at Kennedy School in Pok Fu Lam! 900 kiddies from Year 1 to Year 6 made that difficult choice between crispy pork and cute pink pigs as they exhorted Ping Pong to Run Pig Run! or Stay Pig Stay! while the crafty Minister of Most Important Things tried to track her down, in four delicious story reading sessions! A big Thank You to English Co-ordinator Jeff Moore for inviting me in, and assistant librarian Susan Mifsud (below to my right, with Michelle Spratt teacher librarian to my left) for being such a welcoming host! And to all you Kennedy kids – I look forward to receiving your entries in my new Clever Competition!

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A great day at CAIS!

February 17, 2019 at 8:57 am | Posted in Christian Alliance International School, Hong Kong Schools, Story Readings | Leave a comment
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On Tuesday I visited the fabulous new Butterfly Valley campus of Christian Alliance International School! The Prep and Grade 1 kiddies met my hungry, lonely dragon in The Tale of Chester Choi, and everybody else up to Grade 6 just LOVED PORK when we shared The Tale of Ping Pong Pig! Warm thanks to teacher librarian Phebe Liu (to my left, above) for inviting me, and assistant librarian Eunice and tech wizard Brunel for looking after me so well! More photos to come!

Ping Pong Pig visits Japanese International School in Tai Po!

February 11, 2019 at 3:39 pm | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, Japanese International School, Story Readings, writing workshops for children | Leave a comment
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Today my plump little Ping Pong Pig and I dashed into Japanese International School in Tai Po, just up the road from my house! We met the gorgeous Grade 1s, 2s, 3s and 4s in two funny story readings, then the Grade 5s and 6s had two workshop sessions where we explored How to Write a Riveting Story! It was so great to see you all again! Many thanks to my lovely hosts below, Principal Simon Walton (who also fixed my car at lunchtime when the battery ran out!), and Cath Wan, librarian and PYP co-ordinator, to my right, as well as to the terrific staff including support teacher Angie Bilbow on the far right in the picture! I had a lot of fun!

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A fantastic Thursday at Shrewsbury College Hong Kong!

January 25, 2019 at 4:15 pm | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, Parent workshops, Shrewsbury International School Hong Kong, Story Readings | 1 Comment
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Yesterday I drove down to Tseung Kwan O to visit the beautiful campus at Shrewsbury International School Hong Kong! My lovely hosts Beth McNeilly, School Librarian, and Jane Wong, Library Assistant, gave me a fantastic welcome! I introduced all the kids from Grade 2 to Grace 6 to my pretty Ping Pong Pig, and then spoke to some dedicated parents all about How to Create Bookworms in the Digital Age. It was a wonderful day! Thanks Beth for the photos below!

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!

A fabulous Thursday at ICHK in Hong Lok Yuen!

January 18, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Posted in Chinese New Year, Hong Kong Schools, ICHK HLY, Story Readings | Leave a comment
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Yesterday I introduced Ping Pong Pig to the gorgeous kids of International College Hong Kong in Hong Lok Yuen! They learned all about the founding of the Ming Dynasty by the extraordinary Hongwu Emperor; his wily fourth son, Zhu Di, who became the third Ming emperor when he stole the throne from his nephew; and the remarkable achievements of his reign including the building of the Forbidden City in Beijing and the treasure ships of Admiral Zheng He, whose seven voyages over the Indian ocean included three to Africa! Here I am above with six keen Grade 6 students, including library leaders, and below with lovely teacher librarian Charlie Beard who hosted me for the day, as well as all my zodiac toys! Thank you ICHK for making me feel so welcome again!

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