Just 11 days left to enter the Favourite Season Haiku Competition!

November 4, 2019 at 8:14 am | Posted in Clever Competitions, Poetry competitions for children, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Good morning everyone! I hope that you’re enjoying the new buds and shoots of Spring (if you live in the Southern Hemisphere!) and the sight of autumnal leaves changing colour (if you live in the Northern Hemisphere!).

Yes, the weather is changing and the days are ticking down in the My Favourite Season Haiku Competition! So if you don’t have your entry in yet, click here right away for all the rules and conditions – and get your entry in SOON!

Remember, the deadline is Midnight EST Friday 15th November!

I can’t wait to read your entry!

A fabulous day at The Peak School!

October 14, 2019 at 9:47 am | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, Poetry Workshops for kids, Story Readings, The Peak School, Writing competitions for kids, writing workshops for children | Leave a comment
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It’s been a HUGELY busy fortnight, and first of all I have to let you all know about my fabulous day at The Peak School back on Thursday 3rd October! We had a fun day of story readings and workshops for everyone from Year 3 to Year 6! We started with my How to Write a Riveting Story workshop for the Year 6s; next came an Introduction to Poetry for the Year 4s; the Year 5s then learned all the science explaining why Books are a Brain’s Best Friend, and finally the Year 3s had a funny story reading of The Tale of Ping Pong Pig where they learned all about the mighty Yongle Emperor, and cheered as Ping Pong Pig evaded the cunning Minister of Most Important Things! Thank you to lovely librarian Rebecca Rigden Green for being such a wonderful host! And I can’t wait to receive all your entries in my Clever Competition!

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!

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?

A quick visit to Excelsior Public School!

August 19, 2019 at 4:18 pm | Posted in Australian schools, Awards, children's literacy, Clever Competitions, Excelsior Public School, Sydney, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Excelsior Public School prize presentation

This morning I had the huge pleasure of presenting books to some talented writers at Excelsior Public School in Sydney! You can see me above with Caitlyn, who placed Second in the Grade 4 to 6 section of The Practically Perfect Pig Tale Story Competition, as well as Gary and Isabel who also entered the competition! You can read Caitlyn’s wonderful story if you scroll down the page here!

Well done Daisy!

June 22, 2019 at 1:35 pm | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, Japanese International School, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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On Wednesday afternoon, I had the great pleasure of presenting Daisy Palmer, winner of the Grade 4 to 6 Category of the Practically Perfect Pig Tale Competition, with her First Place prize of a Boxed Set of the Chinese Calendar Tales! Here we are at the assembly at Japanese International School in Hong Kong, with, from left to right, librarian Cath Wan, Principal Simon Walton, Daisy’s mum Claire, and head of Student Support, Glenda Baillie. Thank you Simon for inviting me – it was a real honour!

The results are out in The Practically Perfect Pig Tale Competition!

June 15, 2019 at 4:10 pm | Posted in Clever Competitions, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Illustration by Harry Harrison

At last! The results in my Practically Perfect Pig Tale Competition are out! Thank you all for your kindness and understanding over the last few weeks – it’s been a difficult time for me on the domestic front, which has caused some delay in getting all your stories read and marked on my special anonymous marking spreadsheet! But it’s also been a huge pleasure, and great fun, for me to read your stories! It was obvious that you all made a huge effort, and the overall standard was very high.

Thank you, each and every one of you, for your fantastic efforts and do make sure you enter my next Clever Competition!

There were a total of 44 entries from 12 fabulous schools in Beijing, Chicago, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Shanghai and Sydney. Special congratulations to First Place winners Saskia McDonald (Grade One to Three Category) and Daisy Palmer (Grade Four to Six Category)  who each receive a Boxed Set of the Chinese Calendar Tales! Congratulations also to the Second and Third Place winners who will receive a signed copy of one of the Chinese Calendar Tales of their choice!

To see the winning entries, just click here on my Clever Competitions page. And have fun reading the stories!

I’ll be posting details of my next Clever Competition when you all get back from holidays in September! Just scroll down to the link at the right hand side to subscribe to this blog, or to my newsletter to find out as soon as the details are posted!

A Writing Workshop at St Clare’s Primary School!

May 9, 2019 at 10:31 am | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, St Clare's Primary School, Writing competitions for kids, writing workshops for children | Leave a comment
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Here are the fabulous girls of Grades 4 to 6 at St Clare’s Primary School in Sai Ying Pun in Hong Kong preparing to contribute their clever ideas in my How to Write a Riveting Story Workshop on Tuesday this week! They had some fantastic ideas for stories! They learned all about the vital elements in a story, and how to make a story plan that makes a perfect skeleton story. I also explained some of the current science about the extraordinary importance of reading for leisure and pleasure if you want to have a creative and successful life – and the very real problems for the brain if you spend your spare time on digital screens, especially social media and digital games. Thank you to lovely English Panel Head, Ms. Sandy (with me below right), and to School Principal Elsa Hui (below left), for inviting me. The girls were a delight and I look forward to working with them again! And, of course, to their entries in my Clever Competition!

Ping Pong Pig finds seven more days for entries in my Clever Competition!

May 3, 2019 at 9:32 am | Posted in Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Ping Pong Pig has been begging me to give everybody an extension in my latest Clever Competition. Finally, she’s dived into her feed bucket and found seven extra days hiding, right at the bottom!

So, courtesy of Ping Pong, the new deadline for my Practically Perfect Pig Tale Competition is extended to midnight EST on Friday 17th May!

That means that you now have 14 days to get your entries in – and with the fabulous first prize of a Boxed Set of the Chinese Calendar Tales, you’d better get going!

All the rules and special ingredients are here, so click on the link and start writing! I can’t wait to read your entries!

It’s Book Week at DBIS!

May 2, 2019 at 6:56 pm | Posted in Discovery Bay International School, Hong Kong Schools, Writing competitions for kids | 1 Comment
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This week is Book Week at Discovery Bay International School, and I was honoured to be part of their celebrations today! The whole of primary school from Year 1 to Year 6 met my latest and last Chinese Calendar Tales character, the feisty Ping Pong Pig, not to mention the mighty Yongle Emperor and his crafty Minister of Most Important Things, in three funny and fabulous story readings of The Tale of Ping Pong Pig. Then I spent a fun twenty minutes during the lunch hour with the DBIS Battle of the Books team, who had just come back from the Hong Kong Semi-Finals, where they placed a very impressive Second! Well done to the DBIS BOBS!

You can see me with Head of English, Mr Jonnie Haines’, Class 5JH, above, and below, with my lovely host, school librarian Melanie Foti.

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And below, you can meet wonderful DBIS author and illustrator, Luka Van der Noord, creator of The Adventures of Sticko! He’s already written and printed eight books! Keep up the good work, Luka! You’ll be selling in bookstores soon!

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Last but not least, a message to all you DBIS writers – I’ve decided to extend the deadline for my story competition for just one more week to give you all time to get your stories in! So the deadline will now be midnight on Friday 17th May 2019! Just click here to find out all the rules and special ingredients for your entry!

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