Friday: Hutchins School Visit!

May 30, 2018 at 9:33 am | Posted in Australian schools, Hobart, The Hutchins School, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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My Hobart visit kicked off with a fabulous morning with the boys at The Hutchins Junior School! It just happened to be National Simultaneous Story Time that very morning, so we started off with a fabulous story from the Headmaster, Dr Rob McEwen! He was a spectacular story-reader! Then the Grade 1 to 3 boys listened to me reading Storm Whale and simply didn’t stop asking questions and making some great observations about whales afterwards! Before my second session, the Grade 4 to 6 boys and I listened to the Deputy Principal Alan Jones (wearing a very interesting hat!) reading yet another story to the kids, after which I introduced them to the evil pirate queen Ching Shih and some fabulous Chinese history with The Tale of Desmond Dog! Many thanks to my dear friend, and head librarian, Kate Read, for inviting me again! More photos to come!

My interview with Noreen Mir, RTHK3!

February 9, 2018 at 8:02 pm | Posted in Book launches, Bookazine Princes Building, Children's Chinese Zodiac Books, Chinese New Year, Radio interviews | Leave a comment
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This afternoon I had a wonderful chat with Noreen Mir at RTHK Radio 3 on the 1 2 3 Show all about my new book The Tale of Desmond Dog, the amazing history of Hong Kong and notorious pirate queen Ching Shih behind it, and, of course, the official launch of Harry Harrison’s and my book at Bookazine, 3rd floor, Princes Building, tomorrow at 2pm! You can listen to it here !

And don’t forget to come along! There’ll be a fabulous story reading, a fun quiz with some great prizes, laissee with yummy coins, bookmarks, snacks and drinks for everyone! Be there, or the Red Flags will come and get you – aha me hearties!!!

Desmond Dog’s Beijing launch at the Bookworm Cafe was fabulous fun!

January 28, 2018 at 8:16 pm | Posted in Beijing, Book launches, Bookshop event, Bookworm Cafe Beijing | Leave a comment
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Desmond Dog and I had fabulous fun this afternoon at Beijing’s famous Bookworm Cafe! A lovely bunch of kids, mums and dads came to hear The Tale of Desmond Dog and all the scrumptious Chinese history behind the story! Then we had a fun quiz with questions for everyone from 2 years old to some really ancient ages :), with toy dog prizes, and finally a book signing! It was wonderful to meet such an enthusiastic crowd who love their Chinese history just as much as I do! Huge thanks to Peter Goff, and his lovely assistants Zoe and Nancy, for hosting me today – I look forward to working with the Bookworm Cafe again when I return to Beijing in March for the Literary Festival!

And thank you Zoe for these fabulous photos of the story reading…

and the book-signing…

and last but not least, some new friends!

thumb_IMG_5205_1024 (1).jpgPeter Goff, owner of the Bookworm Cafe! I wonder if you can guess which animal family in the Chinese Zodiac Peter belongs to, and which one I belong to?

EhxbpSima and Nicky Tebbutt and their lovely parents Tatjana and Dan from Ukraine and
Australia (together with “their” animals of the Chinese Zodiac)…

The marvellous creators of the Heckerty series (about that crazy green witch Zanzibar and her adventures), Allan Davidson and Jan Ziff! Here, my dragon Billy Boy is trying to eat Zanzibar, but gives up in the end and lets Zanzibar fly him away! I think they’re going to be firm friends too!

Another great day at Keystone Academy!

January 24, 2018 at 10:41 am | Posted in Beijing Schools, Keystone Academy, workshops | Leave a comment
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Some fabulous Grade 4s!

Thank you to the fabulous library team for another great day at Keystone Academy! I met more of the fantastic Grade 3s and 4s, as well as the Grade 5s, and we talked all about the historical figures in my Chinese Calendar Tales – it was wonderful to find that the Keystone kids know a LOT of Chinese history and I learned some really interesting new facts…like, for example, that the name of Genghis Khan (who is represented by Temujin in The Tale of Temujin) can mean not just “mighty leader” but also “leader of all from  the skies to the earth“. One of the primary librarians Lizzy Wong did some more research and found that “genghis” can also mean “powerful“, “gift of the gods” or “ocean“. I think it’s fair to conclude that whatever it’s meaning, “genghis” means something rather magnificent! Then to conclude we had a fun book signing! Thank you to all the fabulous parents, teachers and kids who bought my books!

With Grade 9 student Tori Gu

Here is Tori Gu, the Grade 9 student and library helper who helped pick me up at the airport. During my visit, Tori and I became firm friends. Tori is a remarkable young woman with ambition and great poise, who I’m sure is going to go far! Tori told me that her ambition is to study medicine at John Hopkins University in the United States – and I’m quite sure she’ll make it! She also introduced me to one of her friends, a young man from Afghanistan who has great ambitions for his country – especially for elevating the status of women. I think the future is in safe hands!

Finally, I would like to thank Primary Principal, Mary Jew, for her warm welcome and conversation at dinner, and for my very comfortable accommodation in the guest room in Keystone’s beautiful boarding house.

Hello Keystone Academy!

January 22, 2018 at 7:08 pm | Posted in Beijing Schools, Keystone Academy, Uncategorized, workshops | Leave a comment
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Keystone Academy

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I’ve just spent the first of two fun days at Keystone Academy! From its huge campus to its Hogwarts-esque buildings, its stylish boarding house to its stunning primary library, it’s a very impressive school indeed! This morning I met the Year 4s, telling them all about how I weave Chinese history, folklore and culture into my Chinese Calendar Tales, then spent a session after lunch with the Year 3s, walking them through the making of my latest book The Tale of Desmond Dog! Then it was off to the middle school lecture hall, where students from primary and upper school and some lovely mums and dads came to hear me reading Desmond Dog’s story! Here’s some of my audience above! To my right is my lovely host, primary librarian Jennifer Fuentes, together with Lizzie Wong to her right. To my left is Year 9 student Tori Gu, who was kind enough to collect me at the airport with Carlie Spruill (to her left) and who is a fantastic ambassador for the school! And to the left of Carlie is Elaine Yin. A big thank you to Jennifer, Carlie, Lizzie, Elaine and Tori for making me feel so welcome – not to mention all the wonderful teachers, students and parents! I look forward to seeing you all again tomorrow!

Meet Burger and Long Long!

January 16, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Posted in Children's Chinese Zodiac Books, Kingston International School Hong Kong | Leave a comment
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Whenever I visit a school to give the VERY FIRST reading of my new Chinese Calendar Tale, I give the kids in the very first session what I call “naming rights” for the two little extra creatures that our fabulous illustrator, Harry Harrison, adds to all the pictures in the book!

Yesterday, at the very first ever reading of The Tale of Desmond Dog, that session happened to be for the kids of Grade One at Kingston International School in Kowloon Tong!

After hotly contested debate, they came up with the following:

Burger the Hermit Crab:               Long Long the Sea Louse:

The crab

The woodlouse thingie

 

I think those names are great!

So when you get your copy of the book here, make sure you check every page and see if you can find Burger and Long Long!

 

 

Desmond starts his Hong Kong tour early!

January 16, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, Story Readings, workshops, Writing competitions for kids, writing workshops for children | Leave a comment
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Front cover image without textDesmond Dog got off to an early start (a month before his official year begins!) yesterday when I visited one of my favourite Hong Kong schools, Kingston International School in Kowloon Tong! The Grade Ones met Desmond first, and as such, had naming rights for the two little creatures that Harry Harrison always adds in to his wonderful illustrations! See my next post to find out what they called them! The Lower Primary school all had fun pretending they were pirates, like the infamous baddie in the story, Ching Shih, with many a ferocious “Aha, me hearties!” but were reminded at the end of the story that Crime Doesn’t Pay! They also learned about Hong Kong’s early history! Then the Grade 4s to 6s all took part in my How to Write A Riveting Story workshop! I can’t wait to see their entries in my new Dashing Dog Story Competition! Warm thanks to Jade Englebracht who hosted me – I had a ball! More photos to come!

Thank you Kowloon Junior School!

October 30, 2017 at 6:28 pm | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, Kowloon Junior School, Story Readings | Leave a comment
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Today I had the great pleasure of visiting my old friends at Kowloon Junior School! My lovely host was librarian Carrie Davison, above, who organised a fun-filled day of story readings! I saw four big year groups: the Grade Ones met my hungry dragon in The Tale of Chester Choi; the Grade Twos heard all about the Legend of Lord Buddha’s Race – and why pandas aren’t in the Chinese Zodiac, in The Tale of Pin Yin Panda; the Grade Threes heard my lyrical story Storm Whale and fell in love with Jane Tanner’s gorgeous illustrations of the grand old whale, and the Grade Fours got a fabulous history lesson all about the end of imperialism in China … as well as a fun story reading of The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster and a talk about the symbolism in the Chinese Zodiac! Phew! It was a busy day, but a fun one! More photos to come soon!

A fun day with the boys of Hutchins School in Sandy Bay!

May 24, 2017 at 8:00 pm | Posted in Australian schools, Being an Author, School visits | Leave a comment
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My Tassie tour kicked off with a fabulous morning at The Hutchins School in Sandy Bay, Hobart, today, where I caught up with my old friend Kate Reid, Head of Libraries at Hutchins, who used to be the primary librarian at AISHK in Hong Kong! Kate invited me in for two fab sessions, first with the Years 3 and 4 plus some intrepid Year 6 boys, who found out all about Chinese history from the mid-1700s right up to the founding of the People’s Rebublic of China in 1949, when I read them The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster!  Then the Year 1s and 2s met my hungry child-eating dragon in The Tale of Chester Choi and learned some very useful facts about the dragon in Chinese mythology! Thanks Kate, teachers and boys for a memorable morning! And here is one of my new fans, George, who buried himself into my Tale of a Dark Horse! It was great to meet you George!

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The SILF photos are here at last!

March 25, 2017 at 9:43 am | Posted in Literary Festivals, Shanghai International Literary Festival | Leave a comment
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Many thanks to Naomi Eisenbeiss of M Literary Festivals for sending me these fab photos of my event last Sunday! As you can see, the Glamour Bar at M on the Bund is an Art Deco delight, and the perfect setting for a reading of The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster, with that famous race along The Bund in 1920s Shanghai!

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