A fun visit to Carmel Leung Sing Tak School with StoryTellAR!

May 5, 2022 at 4:54 pm | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Yesterday I visited the fabulous Carmel Leung Sing Tak School in Hong Kong with StoryTellAR to read the kids my Tale of Temujin and tell them some of the juicy history and other details they can find if they download the StoryTellAR app! The students were so engaged, answering lots of my questions and asking some of their own! It was a lot of fun!

Just one month to go to get your stories in!

March 23, 2022 at 8:16 pm | Posted in Uncategorized, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Princess Precious from The Tale of Temujin is thinking up a great idea for her story!

If you love writing stories, and you’re in Primary School anywhere in the world, you still have ONE MONTH to get your entries into my latest Clever Competition! Just go to the link here for all the details! I can’t wait to get your entry!

Goodbye reluctant readers! Hello StoryTellAR!

February 19, 2022 at 7:02 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Reading The Tale of Temujin on StoryTellAR

Do you know any kids who prefer to play with technological toys than to read great books?

I’m guessing the answer is a resounding YES! And this has troubled me for years, as many of you already know. The benefits of constant book reading for leisure and pleasure are vital to our kids’ development into successful, happy, articulate and literate adults, but in recent decades kids have been deserting books and book reading in favour of technology.

But now there is a way to get these kids to fall in love with books AND to use their beloved technology at the same time!

I’ve partnered with the prize-winning Hong Kong tech wizards at StoryTellAR to produce enhanced audio books which your kids can listen to – and click on – to their hearts content at the same time as reading my books! And the links are FABULOUS! It’s like having me – or indeed a teacher – sitting right beside them giving them all sorts of background and further information about the text.

They’ll learn:

  • the meaning of new words
  • the real history behind the text or illustrations
  • fascinating scientific information relating to the text or illustrations
  • where places in the story are located
  • what things look like in action
  • what things sound like
  • fun inside stories about the way the story was made

Using age-appropriate links to websites, YouTube, voice recordings, images and text, all carefully chosen by me, your child will not only learn HUGE amounts but also have a lot of fun along the way! And all because they’re sitting down reading a book – over and over and over again.

They’re going to fall in love with books again, and learn an awful lot at the same time. Hooray!

Take a look at this link to watch StoryTellAR in action as I read this year’s Chinese Calendar Tale, The Tale of Temujin! And then download the StoryTellAR QR code to try it yourself!

StoryTellAR QR code

Introducing…my first Comic Book – with REDRESS, Hong Kong’s amazing environmental charity!

February 16, 2022 at 9:00 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Cover page, Yoyo and the World’s Coolest T-Shirt

I am hugely proud to announce the release of this funny, educational new comic book, which I was invited to write by REDRESS, a fantastic Hong Kong-based environmental charity!

Yoyo and the World’s Coolest T-shirt aims to teach Hong Kong children aged 8 – 10 years about how they can share, repair and repurpose their old clothes to help save the planet. The comic is bilingual in English and Traditional Chinese and is illustrated by acclaimed Australian cartoonist Kathryn Mann.

The project was funded by the HK Government’s Environment and Conservation Fund and Environmental Campaign Committee, so REDRESS is able to donate FREE hardcover copies of this educational comic to primary schools, kindergartens and other student organisations and charitable organisations across Hong Kong!

If you know a school or organisation that might be interested, please ask them to contact REDRESS here.

Huge thanks to the fabulous team at REDRESS – Corane Chu, Charly Cheung, Lauren Boucher and Gwendoline Venn – it’s been a blast working with you! And to Kathryn Mann for her FANTASTIC illustrations! And of course thanks to the ECF and ECC for funding this extremely worthwhile project.

Make sure to register for the upcoming English language launch event – see my next post :)!

You’re never too young to be published (or too old…)

April 26, 2021 at 10:09 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Here’s a post I published back on 29 September 2010 which I’m re-posting specially for Harrison at Canadian International School who wanted to know more about the world’s youngest published author! Here we go:

How old do you have to be to be published? This is a question that I often hear from kids. Many of you would love to have your stories published, but you’d rather not wait for another twenty years!

So I’ve done a bit of research and – guess what? The youngest person to ever have a book published was …

FOUR YEARS OLD!!

Dorothy Straight, 4 years old

Her name was Dorothy Straight. She was born in Washington DC (the capital of the United States of America) in 1958, and when she was just four and in pre-kindergarten, she wrote and illustrated a picture book called ” How the World Began” for her grandma. Her mum and dad thought it was good enough to be published…and it was! They sent it to Pantheon Books (a part of huge US publishers Random House)  who published it two years later in 1964.

And boys haven’t done too badly either!

The youngest published boy was Dennis Vollmer, born in Oklahoma in the United States in 1980, who wrote and illustrated a wonderful story about a stranded whale called “Joshua Disobeys” when he was just six years old, which was published by Landmark Editions in 1988.

At the other end of the scale, the oldest person who was ever published for the first time was Argentina Brunetti, an actress who was born in 1907 in Buenos Aires in Argentina (surprise, surprise!) and who had her first novel published at the grand old age of 98 just before she died in 2005!

Which all goes to prove that you’re never too young to be published, and you’re never too old either!

So get writing all of you – no excuses!!

A fabulous visit to Canadian International School with the Hong Kong Young Readers’ Festival!

April 26, 2021 at 10:04 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Wow! The Hong Kong Young Readers’ Festival is in full flow, and I’m very honoured to be invited again this year to visit schools around Hong Kong!

This morning I visited 125 students in Year 5 at Canadian International School Hong Kong by Zoom, with my Top 12 Tips on How to Become a Great Writer! We talked about some famous kids’ authors and what made them into great writers. We discussed top tips like freeing up time, rearranging the bedroom, keeping diaries and writers’ notebooks, reducing the time spent on social media and video games and – above all – radically increasing the time spent reading lots – and lots – and lots – of BOOKS! After my presentation we had a lot of fantastic questions from the students, who are all keen readers and writers themselves! Photos to come!

Thanks so much to teacher librarian Colleen Williams for hosting and to all the teachers and students who helped make such a fun session!

Oswald Ox and Maggie and Methuselah visit Renaissance College!

March 10, 2021 at 6:29 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Wow that was fun! I had the most fantastic all day Zoom Visit with the Grade 4s to Grade 6s of Renaissance College HK on Monday! After welcoming the new Chinese Year of the Ox with a short story reading from The Tale of Oswald Ox, I showed the students a fascinating PowerPoint presentation about the fabulous TRUE history and mystery at the heart of my new chapter book for pre-teens, The Marvellous Adventures of Maggie and Methuselah (A Hong Kong Mystery). The kids went crazy with all their questions and comments about the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong in World War II, the hundreds of tunnels still existing under Hong Kong island and the New Territories, and the amazing true mystery of The Missing Chater Collection! A big THANK YOU to lovely teacher librarian Shirley Chan (pictured beside me below) for hosting me, and to the fabulous staff for helping to supervise the sessions!

A big MOOO from Oswald Ox for Kowloon Junior School!

March 8, 2021 at 9:51 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The fabulous staff of Kowloon Junior School “dabbing”!

A big THANK YOU to teacher librarian Macy Lau, for hosting me and dear old Oswald Ox last Wednesday at Kowloon Junior School! We visited the fabulous Year 1 to Year 3s by Zoom, with a fun story reading of The Tale of Oswald Ox and some great Q&A afterwards from the kids – and I learned how to DAB!!! Here are the teachers above, teaching me how! Thank you kids for being such a GREAT audience!

Introducing…my very first chapter book for pre-teens!

March 3, 2021 at 8:28 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Cover: The Marvellous Adventures of Maggie and Methuselah (A Hong Kong mystery)

It’s almost here – The Marvellous Adventures of Maggie and Methuselah, my very first chapter book for pre-teens to begin a brand new series! It’s all about the adventures of Maggie, a ten year old girl, her best friend Edmund Ma, and her very mischievous African Grey parrot Methuselah (who breaks into funny rhymes at the most inconvenient moments :))! Together, they solve real life mysteries in cities around the world – and for this, my very first chapter book, the real mystery they solve is set in my beloved Hong Kong! I’ll tell you all about it in posts to come! At the moment it’s still being illustrated by the amazing Charly Cheung, a Hong Kong based, international award winning artist. You can see more of her work here. And it’s being published by the wonderful Pete Spurrier at Blacksmith Books, one of Hong Kong’s leading publishers, later this month. I’m SO excited!

The fabulous students of Year 5 at Harrow International School HK were the very first students in the world to hear about it, and to hear me read Chapter 1 from the book! Thank you for being such a fantastic audience, and for asking such brilliant questions afterwards! I hear from Mrs Campbell that she has challenged you to write your very own Chapter 2 – I can’t wait to hear what you’ve written!

And if any of my followers want to pre-order a copy of my new book, just click on this link!

A very special day at Harrow International School Hong Kong!

March 3, 2021 at 7:58 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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A big Hellooooo to all you fabulous students and staff at Harrow International School Hong Kong! Thank you so much for having me yesterday for my first Hong Kong school visit to celebrate this brand new Year of the Ox! It was wonderful to spend time with you reading The Tale of Oswald Ox to the Year 1s to Year 4s, and The Tale of Chester Choi to the gorgeous K1 and K2 kiddies! And then to visit with the Grade 5s…but that was so special it deserves another post all to itself!! A huge thank you to wonderful Director of Libraries Liz Campbell for inviting me and for being my fantastic host for the day! Kung Hei Fat Choi!

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