A Fabulous Friday at St Stephen’s Preparatory School in Stanley!

November 21, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Posted in workshops | Leave a comment
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Last Friday I had a fabulous time at the famous St Stephen’s Preparatory School in Stanley, where I was hosted very warmly by Yolanda Chong (above left) and Claire Braithwaite, and also had the pleasure of meeting the principal Dr Agnes Wai (above right) and deputy principal Mr S. T. Wong. I gave all the students from Year 1 right up to Year 6 my talk about why Reading is a Brain’s Best Friend. We explored how the human brain changed as reading and writing developed over millenia, until it became the sophisticated brain it is today. I told them all about the latest science, which indicates that as children (and adults!) stop reading lots of books in their leisure time in favour of digital games and social media, their brains simply cannot develop in the same way, resulting in a tragic loss of imagination, sophisticated vocabulary, empathy, general knowledge, and the ability to focus and concentrate. These five essential qualities develop naturally over time in the brains of people who read books constantly for leisure and pleasure, but cannot thrive when people spend lengthy periods on digital screens. And to my great pleasure, just about everyone agreed by the end but we must switch OFF our digital screens as much as possible, and read LOTS and LOTS of print books instead! Here are some more great photos, with a big thank you to the St Stephen’s Prep photographer!

A Riveting Story Time at PLK CKY!

November 3, 2017 at 9:23 am | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, PLK CKY School, workshops | Leave a comment
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A big hello to two of my favourite Hong Kong librarians Tammy Ng and Joli Moore, at Po Leung Kuk Choi Kai Yau School in Piper’s Hill, Kowloon, pictured with me above. Joli (to my left) was my wonderful host yesterday for 3 fabulous workshop sessions with the gorgeous Grade 3s, who enthusiastically joined my How to Write a Riveting Story workshop! We had lots of fun thinking working with our five senses to describe different settings and imagining great characters, and the kids all enjoyed my famous adventure story (about the missing dog and the alien abductors) and mystery story (about the missing teachers at PLK CKY :)) as we talked about correct story structure! And I showed them all my latest Chinese Calendar Tale, The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster, and my beautiful new book Storm Whale I can’t wait to meet the Grade 4s with my Poetry Workshop in 3 weeks’ time! More photos to come!

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!

 

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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A Serious Session at PolyU, Hong Kong

May 22, 2017 at 6:00 pm | Posted in children's literacy, workshops | Leave a comment
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On Friday 19th May I was very honoured to be one of the invited speakers at the PolyU Writing Round Table 2017, focussing this time on Writing for Readers. I had the great pleasure to meet some fabulous PolyU students and staff, in my session about How to Create Bookworms in the Digital Age. It’s SUCH an important topic, and I was very grateful to my host, Shari Lughmani, for giving me the opportunity to share my research and views!  My top tip for parents? Strictly limit your child’s time on digital screens, read aloud to them every night, and read lots of books yourself in front of your children!

A brilliant day at AISHK!

May 18, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Posted in AISHK, children's literacy, Hong Kong Schools, workshops | Leave a comment
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With Nicole Atkins, primary library AISHK

A big thank you to the lovely Nicole Atkins, primary teacher librarian at Australian International School Hong Kong, for hosting me for a fabulous day of story readings and workshops on Tuesday! The Preps up to the Grade 2s met latest Chinese Calendar Tales character in two noisy story readings where they cockadoodle-dooed and cheered on the national team of their choice in The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster, and learned a little bit of Chinese history about Shanghai and the international concessions in China in the early 20th Century along the way! Then I met with the fantastic students of Grade 3 to 6 in two sessions of my very serious workshop, Books are a Brain’s Best Friend, where they learned all about the importance of reading print books to the development of the brain – both historically and right now, in this increasingly digital age. The kids were so impressive, coming up with some fascinating questions and observations, and I’m quite sure we all – me included – came away from these two intense sessions firmly resolved to limit our time on digital devices to a minimum, and to read more books in our leisure time in order to maximise our chances of a fulfilling, creative and happy life. Please do keep up the great book reading, my friends at AISHK, and make sure you enter my next Clever Competition!

Ming Kee Monkey visits Think International School!

November 28, 2016 at 6:29 pm | Posted in Chinese Calendar Tales, Clever Competitions, Hong Kong Schools, Monkey story, workshops | Leave a comment
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A big thank you to PYP Co-ordinator John Urquhart and librarian CK Tam at Think International School for hosting me today at their beautiful new Cheung Sha Wan campus, in three fun sessions! First all the Grade 4 to Grade 6 kids heard my Tale of Ming Kee Monkey – with LOTS of fabulous Q & A afterwards – then we had two workshop sessions, where everyone learned How to Write a Riveting Story! It was busy, and a lot of fun. I look forward to your entries in my next Clever Competition!

Thank you NACIS for a fabulous day!

November 9, 2016 at 12:21 pm | Posted in Chinese Calendar Tales, Shanghai schools, Story Readings, workshops | Leave a comment
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Big thanks to librarian Julie Zhu (pictured with me above top right), Head of Primary Charlotte Moore, and all the other wonderful staff and students of Nord Anglia Chinese International School in Shanghai, for a great day yesterday! I hugely enjoyed meeting you all, and introducing you to my Chinese Calendar Tales and my Dirty Stories! We had story readings of The Tale of Pin Yin Panda and The Tale of Ming Kee Monkey, then two fabulous workshops with Grade 5 and Grade 6, discovering How to Write a Riveting Story. And then I met lots of lovely students to sign their books – with over 400 books sold!! A very warm thank you to the staff who helped to make the visit such a success. I look forward to meeting you all again next year!

A Fabulous Day at SUIS Hongqiao!

October 31, 2016 at 6:00 pm | Posted in Children's Chinese Zodiac Books, Chinese Calendar Tales, Monkey story, Shanghai schools, workshops, Writing competitions for kids | 2 Comments
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My Shanghai schools tour kicked off to a wonderful start today at Shanghai United International School in Hongqiao with the fabulous Grade 4 students! After a fun story reading, where I introduced the kids to The Tale of Ming Kee Monkey and the fascinating 7th century Chinese history behind it (not to mention The Legend of the Monkey King written 9 centuries later!), we had two writing workshops about story planning, full of handy hints about How to Write a Riveting Story!  I was very happy to hear that loads of SUIS kids intend to enter my Horribly Hilarious Halloween Story Competition – I can hardly wait to read their stories! Huge thanks to the lovely Shelly Nasseri, Head of English, for being such a warm and welcoming host.

They did it! My 16 Summer Writing Class students 15-19 August finished in style!

August 20, 2016 at 1:19 pm | Posted in Summer writing class, workshops, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Congratulations to the imaginative, focused and very hard-working students in my Summer Writing Classes from 15 to 19 August. Above is my fabulous morning class (also known as the Quiet Class :)) and below is my feisty afternoon class (also known as the Noisy Class 🙂 – and we all know who were the noisy ones!). But I’m happy to say that both classes knuckled down to produce fantastic stories full of great characters and detailed settings, as well as a lot of exciting action! You should all be very proud of your achievements. I look forward to receiving lots of entries from you in my Clever Writing Competitions in the coming years!

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