Poets of New York!

October 15, 2019 at 7:38 am | Posted in New York | Leave a comment
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I love poetry, don’t you? And New York is FULL of poetry and poets! Here is a wonderful poet I met outside the New York Central Library, Garrett Buhl Robinson, who read me one of his beautiful poems. You can hear it too if you click on the link! And you can find out more about him here!

Garrett was so much fun, and he wanted to hear all about my poems too! He very kindly invited me to a poetry reading that evening, where I met some other famous New York poets, including the fabulous Chocolate Waters and James B. Nicola! They invited me to an Open Mic, where people can perform their own poems, the very next day!

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And I did! Here I am outside the venue, with the fabulous name of Otto’s Shrunken Head!

A famous Hippo…and a Rat in New York!

October 15, 2019 at 4:38 am | Posted in New York | Leave a comment
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Meet the most beautiful Hippo in New York, on the Flatiron South Plaza in Downtown New York! Isn’t she simply gorgeous!

But as they say, no matter where you are in any big city, there’s a Rat nearby! Here’s a giant Rat I saw when I was sitting in a taxi. Whoaar!!

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Now Run Run Rat would like to point out that he might not be quite as big, but he’s much faster!

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Illustration by Harry Harrison

Squirrels of New York (and some sparrows…)

October 15, 2019 at 4:17 am | Posted in New York | Leave a comment
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I don’t know about you, but to me, there’s something very special about squirrels! And in Central Park there are hundreds of them (probably thousands), going about their business with great industry, just like any good New Yorker, with no regard for the noise we humans make! Here is a video I took, just for fun!

And just so they don’t feel left out, some rather cute little sparrows having a bird bath!

 

Dogs of New York!

October 15, 2019 at 3:56 am | Posted in New York | Leave a comment
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Now my visit to New York was very busy, but I couldn’t resist taking photographs and recording videos as I went to and from my meetings! So in my next few posts I’m going to show you some of the fantastic things I saw and heard on my trip, which will inspire you to visit The Big Apple just as soon as you can!

Dogs of New York

IMG_0150A gorgeous mosaic of a very dapper dog in the New York subway!

IMG_9749Have you ever seen so many dogs being walked in one go? Professional dog walkers walking dogs to Central Park!

IMG_0042Dogs in a shop window!

IMG_0358The ultimate in Dog Fashion!

IMG_0117Dog Ambulance!

Dog Day Care, grooming, walking, whatever you want when money is no object! Near Wall Street of course!

If I ever come back as a dog, I think I’d like to be a Dog in New York! And Desmond Dog does too! Woof!Front cover image without text

Illustration by Harry Harrison

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.

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!

Thank you Berkelouw Books, Rose Bay!

August 20, 2019 at 4:53 pm | Posted in Berkelouw Books, Book signings, Buying my books, Children's Chinese Zodiac Books, Sydney Bookshops | Leave a comment
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This afternoon I dropped into one of my favourite Sydney bookshops, Berkelouw Books, where I signed copies of Storm Whale. You can buy your very own signed copy there, and you can also order all and any of my Chinese Calendar Tales from them, including our fabulous Boxed Set! A warm thank you to manager Bru Hammer (above) for all the support!

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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?

The Chinese Calendar Tales in a Quilt!

August 19, 2019 at 5:32 pm | Posted in Chinese Calendar Tales, Room to Read | Leave a comment
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This afternoon I was so excited to collect my very own Chinese Calendar Tales quilt!! My dear friend Jodi Mullen is not only the Students Helping Students Team Leader for my favourite children’s literacy charity Room to Read but is also a very talented quilt-maker! So I asked Jodi if she could make me a quilt featuring all the Chinese Calendar Tales beasties, and here it is! Isn’t it wonderful?

Jodi has very generously donated my payment for the quilt to the Room to Read World Change Challenge. If you’d like to find out more about this fantastic fund-raising challenge to educate girls just click on this link!

Thank you Jodi!!

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