Desmond Dog leaps into Beacon Hill School last Wednesday!

March 26, 2018 at 1:14 pm | Posted in Beacon Hill School, Hong Kong Schools | Leave a comment
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Last Wednesday, Desmond Dog and I visited the fabulous kids of Beacon Hill School in Kowloon Tong! We had four funny (and highly educational :)!) reading sessions of The Tale of Desmond Dog with all the kids from Grades 1, 2, 3 and 6! They learned all about Hong Kong’s origins as a small fishing village, the infamous pirate queen Ching Shih, and the characteristics of people born in the Year of the Dog! A warm thank you to the lovely Emily Jeves, Teacher Librarian (above left) for hosting me, and to her assistant Shirley Lowe, Librarian, between us. Emily and Shirley are both Dragons, and I’m a Rat, if you’re wondering about the toys we’re holding!

Just 5 days left in my Dashing Dog Story Writing Competition!

March 26, 2018 at 11:29 am | Posted in Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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WOOF! Desmond would like to warn you that there are just 5 days to go in my latest writing competition for Primary School aged kids anywhere around the world! So if you want to take part, quickly click here for all the details! I can’t wait to read your story!

A great afternoon at Good Hope School in Hong Kong!

March 26, 2018 at 10:29 am | Posted in Good Hope School, Hong Kong Schools | Leave a comment
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Many thanks to my lovely host Shallin Ng for inviting me last Monday to speak to the girls of the prestigious Good Hope School in Wong Tai Sin about How to Become Great Writers in the Digital Age! We covered everything from freeing up time by reducing extra-curricular activities, to reducing time on social media and digital games, to reading copiously, to keeping diaries! Here I am above with Deputy Principal Ms Helen Yu who presented me with a beautiful gift. I hope to see you all again soon!

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Two brilliant young poets from Suzhou!

March 24, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Posted in poetry, Suzhou schools, Suzhou Science and Technology Town Foreign Language School | 2 Comments
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Meet Rose Yang Siyu (11) and her brother Jerry (14), students who attend the Suzhou Science and Technology Town Foreign Language School in Suzhou which I visited during my Beijing trip. The school is very keen to promote creativity among its students, including poetry-writing! I think you’ll agree that these sonnets below are wonderful!

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My Brilliant Week in China!

March 23, 2018 at 5:13 pm | Posted in Beijing, Beijing Schools, Bookworm Cafe Beijing, Changzhou, Changzhou schools, China photos, Montessori School of Beijing, Suzhou, Suzhou schools, Suzhou Science and Technology Town Foreign Language School, Tsinghua International School Beijing, Wycombe Abbey International School Changzhou, YCIS Beijing | Leave a comment
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Hello everyone – I’m back in Hong Kong, and now I can update you about my fantastic week in China last week!

Day One: Wycombe Abbey International School in Changzhou

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On Monday I met the fabulous kids and teachers at Wycombe Abbey International School in Changzhou! Here above I’m standing with the lovely librarians – Betty Ton, my host for the day (who kindly let me stay in her flat!), and her library colleagues Lesley Kelly and Marianne Booth.

We had a fun day of 4 story readings where the kids met my Chinese Calendar Tales characters from The Tale of Desmond Dog, The Tale of a Dark Horse, and The Tale of Chester Choi. Then just a few days ago I received a lovely list of questions from the school magazine – the questions were so interesting, I’ve added them and my answers to to my FAQ list on the tab above! Do take a look! And here are some more photos!

 

That evening I flew to the ancient city of Suzhou, where I met up with my Bookworm Festival Minder Elaine and her friend Zoe, who took me out for a dinner of black carp soup at a local restaurant. It was delicate and absolutely delicious!

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=Afterwards, we took a walk along the canal which runs around the old city, seeing some wonderful landmarks below:

 

 

Day Two: Suzhou Science and Technology Town Foreign Language School

After staying in the very elegant Pan Pacific Hotel in Suzhou overnight,

Elaine and I were driven an hour into the countryside to a local private high school in Suzhou’s Science and Technology Town, the Suzhou Science and Technology Town Foreign Language School.

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I met some remarkable, forward-thinking teachers and the students of Grades 5 and 7, who impressed me hugely with their creativity. I gave two hour long sessions about How to Become Writers in the Digital Age, to a great response from the students and staff. Below top left, you will see me with Vice Principal Wang Haiyan to my left, the lovely Zhang Chen, Director of the Principal’s Office to her left, and my helper Elaine to my right!

In particular I met a delightful young lady at lunch, Rose Yang, just 11 years old, who later sent me a very accomplished and lovely sonnet she had written – I’ll write about it in my next post!

That night I flew to Beijing, where the Bookworm Festival kindly accommodated me and the other Festival writers in the very modern, stylish and minimalist hotel The Opposite House. Here are some pictures – though I’m not sure how much I appreciated the terracotta soldiers in the foyer…!

 

 

Day Three: Montessori School of Beijing

On Wednesday I visited my old friends at Montessori School of Beijing, where I gave two story reading sessions to the younger students, and two Riveting Story workshops to the older students. It was great to see the school again, to meet its new Principal Laura King (to my left) and its marketing director Wairimu Wanjau (Nimo) to my right! I also made a wonderful new friend Yun (below far right) who was my Bookworm Minder for the day – thanks Yun! More photos to come!

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Day Four: Yew Chung International School Beijing

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On Thursday I visited YCIS Beijing, where the Year 1 and Year 2 kids heard my latest Chinese Calendar Tale, The Tale of Desmond Dog, while the Year 4s took part in my How to Write a Riveting Story workshop and the Year 5s learned How to Publish Your Own Picture Book! We had a lot of fun! Many thanks to my hosts Anna Esposito and Landy Hwang, and to my wonderful Bookworm Minder, Gary Fang.

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Day Five: Tsinghua International School Beijing

IMG_0369The final school in my busy tour was the wonderful THISB, set in the middle of the Olympics Tennis Center! With workshops and story readings for everyone from Grade 1 to Grade 5, we had so much fun together in this energetic, enthusiastic school. Many thanks for inviting me to the lovely Principal Mandy Zhang and my host for the day, librarian Christine Wedge. Here we are below in a fun selfie!

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And here I am in my sessions with the kids!

 

 

And meeting some of my new fans!

 

 

 

Friday evening and Saturday at The Bookworm

Finally, I spent a wonderful evening and day at The Bookworm International Literary Festival listening to three fabulous Australian authors, Booker Prize Winning Richard Flanagan from my home State of Tasmania, and prize-winning Sydney poet and author Fiona Wright and multi-award winning author Alexis Wright. It was a rare privilege to hear them talk about their writing, their inspiration and their craft.

 

Huge thanks to Peter Goff, owner of The Bookworm Cafe and Festival Director, for inviting me to participate in the Schools Program for the Festival this year, to Zoe for her fantastic organisation of the tour, and to my fabulous minders. And for the splendid accommodation, and always warm welcome at the unique and beautiful Bookworm Cafe!

Farewell Beijing!

And finally, a fond farewell to misty late-winter Beijing, a magnificent city with a magnificent history! I can’t wait to return!

 

 

Desmond and I take part in the Bookworm Literary Festival this week!

March 12, 2018 at 8:29 pm | Posted in Beijing Schools, Bookworm Cafe Beijing, Changzhou schools, Literary Festivals, Suzhou schools, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Desmond Dog and I are visiting 3 different cities in mainland China for 5 fun days this week as part of the Bookworm Literary Festival! Today we’ve been in Changzhou, tonight and tomorrow we’re in Suzhou, then from Wednesday to Friday we’ll be in Beijing! Keep following this blog to see all the photos and fun!

 

 

Temujin the Tiger visits Book Week in Panama!

March 10, 2018 at 10:03 am | Posted in Book Week, Fabulous fans!, Panama schools, The International School of Panama | Leave a comment
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Wow! Just look at the photo I just received all the way from Panama! Here is a fabulously fierce young tiger, a.k.a. Renzo Gomez Schumacher, who went to Book Week at the International School of Panama dressed up as Temujin, the terrifying tiger who marauds through Mongolia and China eating human beings left, right and centre before meeting the equally terrifying Princess Precious in the Imperial Palace in The Tale of Temujin! I bet the kids at school kept a very respectful distance! A big thank you to Renzo and his Dad Luis for sending it in!

Wow! Storm Whale short-listed for the 2018 Teach Primary Book Awards UK!

March 7, 2018 at 9:32 am | Posted in Awards, Best sellers, Shortlist Book Awards, UK publications | Leave a comment
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I’m so excited!  The UK’s Teach Primary Book Awards UK has just published its shortlist and Storm Whale (published in the UK by Old Barn Books) is one of just 6 titles on the Key Stage One Shortlist! Here’s an extract from their newsletter:

The Teach Primary Book Awards are unique in recognising and rewarding books that children genuinely love to read, but that also support learning – for example, by opening up topics for discussion; encouraging language play; and making innovative use of illustration. All 21 shortlisted titles can be confidently recommended to pupils by teachers, and lend themselves brilliantly to classroom activities, too.

 The next stage of the competition involves a panel of judges assessing the selected books according to a set of criteria that includes ‘breadth of appeal’ and ‘learning opportunities’; the final results will be announced in Teach Reading & Writing magazine, Teach Primary magazine, and First News, in May.  Find out more at teachwire.net/bookawards

KEY STAGE 1

Museum Mystery Squad and the Case of the Hidden Hieroglyphics (Mike Nicholson, Young Kelpies)

Pigsticks and Harold in the Incredible Journey to… the Ends of the Earth! (Alex Milway, Walker)

The Incredible Dadventure (Dave Lowe, Piccadilly Press)

After the Fall (Dan Santat, Andersen Press)

The Big Red Rock (Jess Stockham, Child’s Play)

Storm Whale (Sarah Brennan/Jane Tanner, Old Barn Books)

A day to remember at Renaissance College HK!

March 7, 2018 at 9:04 am | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, RCHK, Story Readings | Leave a comment
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What a fun day I had yesterday with my old friends at RCHK in Ma On Shan! I was hosted by the lovely Shirley Chan (above) in 3 fun venues to visit the students of Years 4 to 6 – including the breezy rooftop! The kids learned the fabulous true history of notorious (and rather magnificent!) pirate queen Ching Shih, the Tanka people of Hong Kong and how Hong Kong actually got it’s name, whilst hearing my Tale of Desmond Dog and pretending to be pirates with great expertise! Thanks Shirley for your expert hosting and company yesterday, and thanks to all the students and teachers for their warm welcome! I look forward to many entries from you all in my Dashing Dog Story Writing Competition!

The Hong Kong Young Reader’s Festival 2018 has begun – and it’s fantastic!

March 5, 2018 at 9:00 pm | Posted in Favourite kids' books, Hong Kong events, Literary Festivals | Leave a comment
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Hello again! I’m SOOOO excited! The Hong Kong Young Reader’s Festival 2018 has just begun and there’s so much for kids from 4 to 104 to do and see! There’s a fantastic schools program of course and also some great FREE events! (Not to mention a fabulous official poster by Harry Harrison, above!)

THIS WEEKEND there will be an amazing line-up of famous children’s authors, illustrators and performers appearing at eight FREE public events – you can read about them all at the HKYRF website! The events take place at Lee Gardens Two, outside 217-218, 28 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay from 1.45pm to 6pm!

And if you want to meet my dashing Desmond Dog, come along and hear me read his story in my session from 1.45 – 2.45pm! Here are the details! I look forward to seeing you all there!

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