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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Desmond Dog the Hero visits Kennedy School!

January 18, 2018 at 5:37 am | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, Kennedy School, Story Readings | Leave a comment
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Desmond saving catDesmond Dog, the hero of Hong Kong, is so noble he even saves drowning cats! But yesterday there was not a cat in sight when he visited the 900 kids of Kennedy School in Pok Fu Lam! We had 3 fabulous reading sessions and the kids made expert pirates and dogs with their “ah-ha-me-hearties” , “woof“s and “ROAR”s! Everybody LOVED Harry Harrison’s funny and fabulous illustrations, and was fascinated to hear the history of that notorious pirate queen Ching Shih! Many thanks to all the lovely staff and especially Jeff Moore, Head of English, who was my wonderful host! Photos to come!

Desmond starts his Hong Kong tour early!

January 16, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, Story Readings, workshops, Writing competitions for kids, writing workshops for children | Leave a comment
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Front cover image without textDesmond Dog got off to an early start (a month before his official year begins!) yesterday when I visited one of my favourite Hong Kong schools, Kingston International School in Kowloon Tong! The Grade Ones met Desmond first, and as such, had naming rights for the two little creatures that Harry Harrison always adds in to his wonderful illustrations! See my next post to find out what they called them! The Lower Primary school all had fun pretending they were pirates, like the infamous baddie in the story, Ching Shih, with many a ferocious “Aha, me hearties!” but were reminded at the end of the story that Crime Doesn’t Pay! They also learned about Hong Kong’s early history! Then the Grade 4s to 6s all took part in my How to Write A Riveting Story workshop! I can’t wait to see their entries in my new Dashing Dog Story Competition! Warm thanks to Jade Englebracht who hosted me – I had a ball! More photos to come!

A wonderful morning at Diocesan Girls Junior School

December 14, 2017 at 7:21 pm | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, Story Readings, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Many thanks to my hosts, teacher Rachel Yu (above) and PTA parent Hynn Ming Lau, for inviting me to talk to the lovely young ladies of Grade One to Three at Diocesan Girls Junior School in Hong Kong yesterday. First I read the girls my beautiful new story Storm Whale, which was followed by dozens of eager questions about whales, some of which I had to admit were so tricky that I could not answer them! Then I gave the girls my Top 12 Tips to Become Great Writers in the Digital Age – and I was so impressed by their focus and understanding of this very topical and important subject! I’m quite sure that they will be strictly limiting their time on digital screens and greatly increasing their time spent reading books from now on! I look forward to receiving lots of DGJS story entries in my next Clever Competition! Thank you to my old friend Matt Steele of Growhouse for organising the event and co-ordinating the fabulous book sales!

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!

A short but wonderful visit to Beijing!

September 8, 2017 at 5:59 pm | Posted in Beijing Schools, Story Readings, workshops | Leave a comment
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Many thanks to the lovely Kelly Miller (head of library) for hosting me to two fabulous days at Beijing World Youth Academy on Tuesday and Wednesday this week! I gave story readings for all the students, from Kindy to Year 5, and two parent sessions where BWYA’s very dedicated and caring parents heard my top tips for creating Bookworms and Readers in the digital Age! I had a lot of fun, and signed a LOT of books for the many kids and teachers who bought my Chinese Calendar Tales and Dirty Stories!

 

My Marvellous Day at MLC, Melbourne!

June 1, 2017 at 10:36 am | Posted in Australian schools, Being an Author, children's literacy, Melbourne schools, Story Readings | Leave a comment
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It was wonderful to visit my old friends at Methodist Ladies College Junior School yesterday, and to catch up with my dear friend, librarian Tracey Ricchini (below)! I had SUCH a great day introducing my latest Chinese Calendar Tale, The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster, to the girls from Grades 3 to 6 in three wonderful sessions chockful of history and fun, and then meeting up with my very favourite Book Bugs (above) at lunchtime for a lovely long chat about being an author, as well as a sneak preview of Storm Whale. Tracey is one of the most dedicated librarians I know, and we spent every spare moment talking about our most passionate shared interest – children’s literacy. The girls of MLC love their books, and below you can see a photo of Tilda Clohesy, a young author who has written and illustrated her own excellent children’s book! Thanks Tracey for a brilliant day and I look forward to seeing you all again next year!

 

A marvellous morning at St Mary’s College

May 26, 2017 at 6:35 pm | Posted in Australian schools, children's literacy, Hobart, St Mary's College, Story Readings | Leave a comment
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What a fun morning I had today at St Mary’s College here in Hobart, introducing my Chinese Calendar Tales! My lonely dragon Chester Choi and I met all the lovely girls and boys of Prep to Year 1, and vain but loveable Pin Yin Panda and I met all the kids in Years 2 and 3! It was a joy to work with such a lovely lot of kids and their dedicated teachers. Warm thanks to lovely Deputy Director of Junior School, Glynis Devereux, who was my host for the day, and to librarian Marylouise Jones, who invited me! I hope to see you all again soon!

 

Helloooo St Michael’s Collegiate girls!

May 25, 2017 at 4:38 pm | Posted in Australian schools, Hobart, Story Readings, workshops | Leave a comment
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Today I spent a fabulous morning at St Michael’s Collegiate Middle School and a fantastic afternoon at Collegiate Junior School in South Hobart! The Grade 5s and Grade 4s worked very hard – with a lot of fun thrown in – in two Introduction to Poetry Workshops, with some excellent work in rhyming words, solving limerick puzzles and writing a group haiku about their teachers :). The Grade 6 girls learned all about Publishing a Picture Book from Brilliant Idea to Final Product:- I do hope you find it helpful when you make your picture books later this year girls! And the gorgeous Grades 2 to 4 heard my Tale of Rickshaw Rooster and learned some fascinating Chinese history! And afterwards I signed lots and lots of books for my new fans! It was such fun to meet you all and I’m sure I’m going to get some terrific entries from you all in my upcoming Clever Competitions! Huge thanks to the lovely Jodie Heath for inviting me and being such a stellar host! More photos to come!

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