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!

Yay! The results are out in my Really Riveting Rooster Story competition!

May 14, 2017 at 9:49 pm | Posted in children's literacy, Rooster story, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Cockadoodle doo! I’m just about roostered out!!

I’ve had enormous fun judging all the fantastic entries in my Really Riveting Rooster Tale writing competition, but I’ll be quite happy not to see another rooster for a while! Rickshaw Rooster had better watch out – I might just put him in a cooking pot!!

Once again, the competition was truly international, with entries coming from 6 major cities around the world: Calcutta, Chicago, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney!

Special congratulations to Daniel Song, of Grade 3, Shanghai United International School, Hongqiao Campus, Shanghai, who came first in the Grades 1 to 3 Category, and Arjya Kanjilal, of Grade 6, Delhi Public School, Newtown, Calcutta, India, who placed first in the Grades 4 to 6 Category! Daniel and Arjya each win a free signed copy of one of my books!

Go to my Clever Competitions page (see link above) right away to read their winning stories, and the fantastic entries of the other 9 finalists, as well as two fabulous Special Mentions and a special treat from high school writers Hillary Lo and Winter Lau from Shatin College in Hong Kong!  

Have patience, my writer friends…

May 14, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Posted in children's literacy, Rooster story, writing competitions | Leave a comment
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I’m almost there! I’ve been super busy judging the fabulous entries in my Really Riveting Rooster Tale Clever Competition over the last VERY busy fortnight and I’m just about finished! So hang in there – the results should be out in the next 24 hours – COCKADOODLE – DOOOOOOO!

Announcing the winners of the March Minibus Madness Photo Competition!

May 13, 2017 at 11:58 am | Posted in Hong Kong Minibus, Hong Kong Schools, Photo competitions | Leave a comment
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A big THANK YOU to all the Hong Kong kids, mums and dads who sent in such funny and fabulous photos to our March Minibus Madness Photo Competition! Me and my team at Auspicious Times loved them ALL – and it was clear that you all had a lot of fun tracking down our minibuses on the Island and Kowloon-side and posing in front of them! But a winner there has to be, and in the end we simply couldn’t choose between two fabulous photos below!

Winning entrants Ema and Claire each win a COMPLETE SET of signed Chinese Calendar Tales, as well as a FREE set each for the primary school of their choice!

Here they are, with the stories behind them:

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EQUAL WINNER: Ema. We loved Ema’s cheeky face hiding behind The Tale of Run Run Rat, and the clever way she featured the entire set of Chinese Calendar Tales on the front of Island-side Minibus 22 in her photo! We’ll be letting you know more about Ema and her primary school of choice soon. Ema wrote: “I really enjoyed travelling across Hong Kong to find the bus and take this image at Pokfulam Gardens. Hope you’ll like it as well!”

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EQUAL WINNER: Claire. We loved Claire’s night-time photo of our Kowloon-side Minibus 74, just about to get a good wash! Claire’s mum Majela sent us the sweetest covering email – here’s just some of it below! We’ll let you know more about Claire and her chosen primary school shortly!

I am writing to enter the competition. In fact it should be my daughter Claire who is writing to you, but she is too sleepy now and we need to make sure we send the photo to you before the deadline which is the end of today! Claire and I don’t live or work/study close to any of the bus stops on the two minibus routes. We were always looking for the chance to go to a bus stop to take photos. Both of us were quite busy so I felt we almost gave up when the deadline was approaching. We should NOT! Today Claire and I invited a family to dinner and we got to choose the restaurant. I chose Elements mostly because it’s where the minibus 74’s terminal is. It was 10:25pm when we got to the bus terminal and Claire spotted Run Run Rat in no time. Claire was thankful for the bus driver who stopped cleaning the bus to let us take photos – the driver moved his buckets away several times to give us more space beside the bus; we said it’s ok, we actually wanted the buckets in the photo because it’s so real life. Claire was amazed how many people were working that late at night as her usual bedtime is 8:30pm!

Aren’t they wonderful photos! Congratulations again to Ema and Claire and everyone who entered our March Minibus Madness Competition! We hope you continue to enjoy our funny and fabulous Chinese Calendar Tales AND our two fantastic Hong Kong minibuses!

A fab morning at GSIS!

May 10, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Posted in Poetry Workshops for kids, School visits | Leave a comment
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Thank you to my dear friend Megan Lindsay for inviting me for a fabulous morning of talks with the Year 5s and Year 6s in the international stream at GSIS! I really enjoyed telling the kids all about how I wrote The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster and the fascinating history behind it, and then to challenge them to replace many of the sophisticated words I used in the verse with words of their own choice! They came up with some excellent ideas – I’m quite sure that many of them are rather good poets themselves! I can’t wait to see their entries in my next Clever Competition! Here I am with Megan below!

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The deadlines have passed…and the judging begins!

May 1, 2017 at 5:30 pm | Posted in children's literacy, Hong Kong Minibus, Photo competitions, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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The deadlines in my Really Riveting Rooster Tale story writing competition AND our March Minibus Madness Photo Competition have passed – and now comes the really difficult part!! A big THANK YOU to all the fab writers from all around the world…and the brilliant Hong Kong photographers…who entered! It’s going to be tough but fun, choosing the winners! So hang in there – I’ll be posting the results soon!

Hurry, hurry! Just 13 days left in my Really Riveting Rooster Tale competition!

April 17, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Posted in children's literacy, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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If you haven’t yet entered your story for my Really Riveting Rooster Tale Competition yet, you’d better get your racing shoes on!! There are just 13 days left before the deadline at midnight on 30 April! This one’s such a fun one – click on my Clever Competitions button above for all the details! I look forward to reading your entry – cockadoodle-dooooo!

A fabulous photo shoot!

April 15, 2017 at 6:17 pm | Posted in Being an Author, Photoshoots, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Huge thanks to Hong Kong photographer Ellen Claire Taylor for a fun photoshoot on Wednesday this week at my home in Tai Po, in beautiful Tai Po Kau Park, and at the Pok Fu Lam Gardens terminus of Green Minibus 22 on Hong Kong Island! Here I am above left at home with my beautiful new book Storm Whale, launching in Melbourne on 1st June; at my favourite local park in Tai Po Kau (above right) and catching up with the Chinese Calendar Tales characters on Green Minibus 22 at the Pok Fu Lam Gardens terminus in the rain! Pandora, my toy panda, loved it!

Storm Whale visits the Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2017!

April 8, 2017 at 5:33 pm | Posted in Book Fairs, Book launches, Storm Whale | 2 Comments
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I’m SO excited to introduce you to my beautiful new book Storm Whale, published by Allen and Unwin in Melbourne, and gloriously illustrated by the remarkable, wonderful, prize-winning Australian artist Jane Tanner! It’s very different to my beloved Chinese Calendar Tales, but I think you’re going to love it too! It’s the story of 3 little girls who find a whale stranded on a beach, and try to save it, and what happens afterwards. I was inspired to write it by memories of my childhood holidays at the beach in Tasmania, where the summers were often wet and windy, and sometimes we be heartbroken to  find beached whales on the shore.

Here is a picture of our new book, held by Australia’s Children’s Laureate, Leigh Hobbs, my lovely new friend http://www.leighhobbs.com/. He tracked it down to a special exhibit of Australian books at the famous annual Bologna Children’s Book Fair, which took place this week, and very kindly sent me this photo!

Storm Whale is officially being launched at Readings Bookshop, in Lygon Street, Melbourne on the 1st June! I’ll be there, and Jane Tanner, and my lovely agent Julie Watts, and of course Erica Wagner, Head of Children’s Books at Allen & Unwin and her wonderful team. So if you are going to be in Melbourne too, it would be fantastic to see you there! I’ll be posting the official invitation soon with all the details!

The race is ON! Just 3 weeks to go to get your entries into my Really Riveting Rooster Tale Story Competition!

April 8, 2017 at 4:16 pm | Posted in children's literacy, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Sir Rooster Englishman & green car(L)(Sir Humphrey Hyphen-Smythe in The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster, illustrated by Harry Harrison)

The clock is ticking, it’s Easter holidays and the weather’s variable. It’s just that sort of time when the best fun of all comes from – you guessed it! – your very own imagination! So what a perfect time to get out those pens and write me a Really Riveting Rooster Tale! There are just 3 weeks to go till the deadline on 30 April, and I can’t wait to read all your entries! So go to my Clever Competitions page here: https://sarahbrennanblog.com/competitions-and-challenges for all the information you need – and, like Sir Humphrey Hyphen-Smythe from The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster, REV UP THOSE ENGINES…AND GET WRITING!

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