New York! New York!

October 14, 2019 at 2:36 pm | Posted in New York, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Hello again! I’ve just spent a wonderful week in New York with the Chinese Calendar Tales and it’s been fantastic fun! So I thought I’d write a post all about it to tell you what I’ve been up to!

With the Chinese Calendar Tales series now completed, and our beautiful Boxed Set selling brilliantly in Hong Kong, I thought it was about time that I showed the books off to some important people in New York!

Monday 7 October: The China Institute

Here I am below outside the fabulous China Institute in Washington Street. I met up with Shenzhan Liao, Head of the School of Chinese Studies, as well as Public Programming Manager Aaron Nicholson and the President, James Heimowitz. And I returned there just before the end of my trip to leave them with most of my Boxed Set! It was fantastic to meet everyone and to see their beautiful new facilities! You can read more about the Institute here.

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Tuesday 8 October: The Asia Society, New York

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On Tuesday I spent the afternoon at the Asia Society in Park Avenue with the lovely Lauren Smith, Buyer, Books and Media.

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After our meeting, I was very lucky to see their remarkable exhibition of modern Chinese calligraphy by Wang Donling. You can read more about the Asia Society here.

 

Wednesday 9 October

On chilly, rainy Wednesday, I caught the subway to Long Island City, where I met Xiaoning Wang, CEO of ChinaSprout, a leading supplier of Chinese Cultural Educational Products. I’m very excited to report that ChinaSprout will be supplying the Chinese Calendar Tales to buyers in the United States and Canada! You can find out more about the company here.

Thursday 10 October

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Then on Thursday, I spent a fantastic afternoon with Seph Duong, Director of Programs and Guest Experience at MOCA, the Museum of Chinese in America in Centre Street near China Town in Downtown New York! I also met his colleagues Jeff Van Damme and Jeffrey Reynolds. All of them are gifted performance artists as well as dedicated staff at MOCA and it was a privilege to meet them! You can see me with Seph (right) and Jeffrey (left) below with “our” Zodiac animals! You can find out more about MOCA here!

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It was such a fabulous opportunity to meet everybody, and I’m so happy that they loved the books! I’ll see you all again at Chinese New Year in January 2020!

I cannot close this post without thanking my friend and inspirational guide Alice Mong, Executive Director of the Asia Society here in Hong Kong, for all the wonderful introductions, help, and suggestions which made my visit such a success. Thank you so much Alice! You can find out more about the Asia Society Hong Kong and its fantastic work here.

Welcome back – and a new Clever Competition!

September 3, 2019 at 3:23 pm | Posted in Clever Competitions, Uncategorized, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Photo credits: Summer – https://all-free-download.com/free-photos/download/sunflower-image-06-hd-pictures_167025.html; Winter – https://www.123rf.com/photo_11049126_beautiful-nature-winter-scenery-frosty-trees-in-forest.html; Spring – https://www.pexels.com/photo/selective-focus-photography-of-pink-flowers-1045615/; Autumn – https://wallpapercave.com/w/8r8chAr

A very warm welcome back to school!

Don’t you just love the four seasons? They are all so beautiful in their own way! Now if you’re anything like me, you’ll love Autumn best, when you can rug up in a warm coat and go walking with your dog in a nearby park on a crisp, clear day. Or you might prefer lazy, hot Summers when you can go to the beach and splash about in the sea. Or those stormy Winter days when you can sit beside a roaring fire feeling snug and safe inside as the wind buffets and the rain buckets down outside. Or those cool, damp Spring mornings, with their drifts of blossom and gorgeous scent of narcissi and jonquils filling the air.

And just about everyone I know also loves haikus! They’re very short poems, dating back to the 17th century in Japan, and with very strict rules. And they’re PERFECT for describing nature, weather, and the seasons! In fact, the four seasons were regular topics in the very earliest haikus!

So today I’ve posted a brand new Clever Competition, to hone your wits and test your writing skills and have a bit of fun, whilst pursuing world wide fame as a published writer on my blog!

And this time, I want a haiku, all about My Favourite Seasonand by that I mean YOUR favourite season!

See my Clever Competition page here to read all the rules and requirements. The deadline for this competition is FRIDAY 15th November, in just over 10 weeks’ time.

So get out those writing pads, pick your favourite season, and start writing your My Favourite Season Haiku NOW!

Please be patient my friends…

May 29, 2019 at 9:27 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hello, all you clever kids who entered my Practically Perfect Pig Story writing competition! I have a small favour to ask of you. My lovely helper here in Hong Kong has been in hospital lately and unfortunately she has had a few complications. I’m her employer and she is like one of the family, so I’m very busy currently visiting her at the hospital twice a day and consulting with the doctors and nurses. So I haven’t been able to judge the competition yet!! I’m working on it bit by bit, but I may be a little delayed bringing you the results! Don’t worry – I’ll be sure to post them before school breaks up for the summer. And in the meantime, thank you again for your patience!

Thank you Fullers Bookshop!

March 16, 2019 at 9:58 am | Posted in Bookshop event, Events, Fuller's Bookshop, Hobart, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Many thanks to Tim Jarvis and Anne Fagan of Fullers Bookshop for hosting a story reading at their fabulous Collins Street store in Hobart on Saturday morning, 9th March! We had a small but quality audience of kids who expertly danced the Dance of the Seven Veils alongside Ping Pong Pig as she charmed the mighty Yongle Emperor in The Tale of Ping Pong Pig, and they left with some fun colouring-in sheets of characters from the book drawn by Harry Harrison! I look forward to seeing you all again soon!

Ping Pong Pig visits the Asia Society!

February 24, 2019 at 11:41 am | Posted in Asia Society, Chinese festivals, Chinese New Year, Events, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Ping Pong Pig and I visited the Asia Society yesterday for a lovely afternoon with some scrumptious kids, mums, dads and some fabulous grandmas! We had so much shouting to that plump little pig to “Run Pig Run!” or “Stay Pig Stay!” as the Minister of Most Important Things tried to track her down, and winning mini-pandas during my quiz! And the kids really learned their Ming Dynasty history too, with some impressively accurate answers to some of my tricky questions! Many thanks to the lovely Pauline Wong who hosted me for the event, and to CEO Alice Mong for asking me in!

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Fabulous fun writing poetry at PLK CKY today!

February 20, 2019 at 5:14 pm | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, PLK CKY School, Poetry Workshops for kids, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I had so much fun today with the Year 4s at my old friends at Po Leung Kuk Choi Kai Yau School at Piper’s Point today! I talked to the kids about writing my favourite rhyming verse, then after a few rhyming and rhythm exercises they got down to work to complete a funny poem called Let’s Destroy the School! in perfect rhythm and rhyme! At the end of each session, the first groups to finish got to read their masterpieces out to the class! Warm thanks to Joli Moore, to my left above, who was my wonderful host for the day! And kids – remember, writing poems is FUN!

My Poor Hand!!

February 11, 2019 at 4:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

my poor hand!

Oh dear…I’m sure you’ve heard of Writer’s Block?! Well, this Writer has Writer’s Hand! I’ve been using my signing hand so much lately to sign books, and make up beautiful boxed sets, that my hand has become so sore it has finally said “Enough!!“. So I have to wear this bandage and rest my hand, and in particular, I am very sad to say, I am not allowed to sign any books until it gets better! So if you’ve been kind enough to order books from me following my school visits recently, I won’t be able to sign those books before I return them to your school for handing out. I feel so sad about this – and if you’re one of the people whose books I haven’t been able to sign, and you see me somewhere at an event in Hong Kong in the coming weeks and months, make sure you bring your book up to me so I can sign it then! Thank you for being so understanding!

Kung Hei Fat Choy!! It’s officially the Year of the Pig!

February 5, 2019 at 10:59 am | Posted in Chinese festivals, Chinese New Year, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Illustration credit : Harry Harrison from The Tale of Ping Pong Pig

She’s singing! She’s dancing! And she’s gobbling…A LOT!!! Just what any happy little pig should do at Chinese New Year, especially when it’s HER year!! Ping Pong Pig and I would like to wish all our fans –¬† be they pig-lovers or pork-lovers – a very happy New Year of the Pig!

May your mornings be full of joy, your afternoons full of mirth, and your nights full of peace! And may your tummies be content, always!

Kung Hei Fat Choy!

I’m posting the Competition Results today!

November 18, 2018 at 10:18 am | Posted in Clever Competitions, Poetry competitions for children, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I’ve been busy as Run Run Rat going to the market in Harry Harrison’s wonderful illustration above! See The Tale of Run Run Rat

Huge thanks, and apologies, to my loyal writer fans who have been waiting so very patiently for the results of my Perfect Pet Poem Competition! I’ve been HUGELY busy the last two weeks, with my lovely daughter Annabel sitting her final IB exams (which requires a lot of mother love and attention!) and a very busy time at work getting ready for the release of my next Chinese Calendar Tale, The Tale of Ping Pong Pig, into the shops! So I’ve had not a moment to finalise the results! But today, the house is quiet, I’m putting the final touches to my judging – and you’ll hear from me later today! YAY! Thank you so much for your patience!

Long live libraries!

October 26, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Posted in children's literacy, libraries, school libraries, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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pexels-photo-256541Photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/row-of-books-in-shelf-256541/

If you’re anything like me, you just LOVE libraries. In fact, in my opinion, in any school, the library is both its heart and its soul, and should be treasured accordingly. And placed accordingly too! Not in a far distant wing of the building, or in the basement, or up under the roof – but RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of the school’s ground floor, where kids can see it, and use it, every single day.

So take a look here, in this wonderful piece from The Atlantic on Wednesday, at photos of some of the most extraordinary libraries in the world, in countries where, clearly, the real book is still cherished and promoted to its citizens! And ponder if your country and your school cherishes books the same way. And if not, do something about it, FAST!

After all, as the great American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author and thinker Carl Sagan once said: “I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture, and our concern for the future, can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.”

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