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!

My fun interview with RTHK Radio 3!

March 22, 2017 at 10:38 am | Posted in Press, Radio interviews | Leave a comment
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Here I am at the studios of RTHK Radio 3, after my fun interview with the wonderful Noreen Mir of the 123 Program on 13th March. And if you want to hear my interview, where I talk about all the fabulous history behind my latest Chinese Calendar Tale, The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster, my writing process, my school visits, my Chinese fairy godfather :), our new minibus advertisements, some exciting news about a new book, as well as my top tips for creating great readers and writers in the digital age, here is the link!

http://programme.rthk.hk/channel/radio/programme.php?name=radio3/1_2_3_show&d=2017-03-13&p=5979&e=423536&m=episode

Shanghai International Literary Festival – in the Paris of the East!

March 21, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Posted in Being an Author, Literary Festivals, Shanghai International Literary Festival | Leave a comment
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Kids often ask me what the best things are about being an author – and one of the MANY fabulous things about being an author is being invited to Literary Festivals in different countries around the world! And the Shanghai International Literary Festival is one of the best there is!

HUGE thanks to Michelle Garnaut, of M on the Bund and the M Literary Festivals, for inviting me again to the SILF this year to present my latest Chinese Calendar Tale to the kids and parents of Shanghai! And what a wonderful weekend I had! We authors all stayed at the beautiful new Wanda Reign on the Bund Hotel, a superb homage to Art Deco and 1920s Shanghai, which of course is also paid homage to in my  new book The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster!! So Rickshaw Rooster and I felt quite at home! Above is a picture I took of the Bund in the evening – and you can see the green dome of the old Cathay Hotel (now called The Peace Hotel) where Miss Eugenie Stroganoff was flirting with the band in my story!

And here is, from left to right, The Bund again – you can see the Telegraph Building where Colonel Billy Flynn was posting a letter home in my story, with its big mast, at the back of the row of buildings on The Bund. In the middle is the Pudong skyline, on the other side of the Huangpu River – space-age and modern and extraordinary!! And a gorgeous light show on one of the Shanghai skyscrapers on the right! Shanghai is most definitely a city of ever-blazing lights, and is best seen at night!

And here are just some of the other authors I met: Patrick Lapeyre, a famous French writer and winner of the 2010 Prix Femina; in the middle, from left to right, Michelle Garnaut introducing Lee Tamahori (screen director of the renowned Once Were Warriors and, more recently James Bond film Die Another Day), Anne O’Brien, director of the New Zealand Writers Festival, and the wonderful Witi Ihimaera, author of famous The Whale Rider, talking about their latest collaboration Mahana; and on the right, Zhang Lijia, a famous Chinese author, talking about her latest book! I’m so fortunate to have met them and had lovely long chats with this last weekend!

IMG_3010  On Saturday evening, I walked down the Bund to the old Cathay Hotel, now called the Peace Hotel, to take a look! This hotel was THE place to be seen in 1920s Shanghai, at the time The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster was set, and it still has the most beautiful Art Deco carving and floors and ceilings and lights, as well as photos of the old days! Here’s one I discovered – and you can see a whole row of 1920s motor cars in the foreground! It reminded me of The Shanghai Race in my new book!

A warm return to NAIS Pudong!

March 21, 2017 at 4:21 pm | Posted in China photos, NAIS Pudong, Shanghai schools | Leave a comment
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My Shanghai adventure started with a full-on, fun day at Nord Anglia International School, Pudong, where I was expertly hosted by the lovely Kym McCullough, librarian and fellow-Aussie! Here we are in the beautiful lobby of this outstanding school! The Year 2s met my feisty Pin Yin Panda and revised the order of all the animals in the Chinese Zodiac; the Year 3s heard my fabulous new Chinese Calendar Tale, The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster, and learned some fascinating modern Chinese history, while the Year 4s and Year 5s both did my fun Poetry Workshop! We all had a ball!

A fabulous day at CAC Tuen Mun!

March 14, 2017 at 8:20 pm | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, Story Readings, Tuen Mun CAC | Leave a comment
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Warm thanks to Paul Conway and the English department team at CAC Tuen Mun for inviting me to a fun, fabulous day of story readings and a poetry workshop today! It was English Week, and it was wonderful to meet such a big bunch of enthusiastic local students, who listened so well to three of my Chinese Calendar Tales, and taught me some Chinese as well! I hope to see you all again some day!

Ming Kee Monkey creates mischief at WISS!

November 7, 2016 at 9:05 pm | Posted in Children's Chinese Zodiac Books, children's literacy, Chinese Calendar Tales, School visits, Shanghai schools | Leave a comment
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Today Ming Kee Monkey and I – and all the other Chinese Calendar Tales beasties – had a fabulous day at Western International School Shanghai! We had three fun story readings, where everyone from the Grade Ones to the Grade Fives heard The Tale of Ming Kee Monkey and all the scrumptious history behind it! Here I am above with my lovely hosts, Head of Libraries Fiona Collins on the right, and Primary Librarian Isolde Rosevear on the left, who looked after me beautifully all day! I can’t wait to read all the WISS entries in my Horribly Hilarious Halloween story competition!

A Fabulous Day at SUIS Hongqiao!

October 31, 2016 at 6:00 pm | Posted in Children's Chinese Zodiac Books, Chinese Calendar Tales, Monkey story, Shanghai schools, workshops, Writing competitions for kids | 2 Comments
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My Shanghai schools tour kicked off to a wonderful start today at Shanghai United International School in Hongqiao with the fabulous Grade 4 students! After a fun story reading, where I introduced the kids to The Tale of Ming Kee Monkey and the fascinating 7th century Chinese history behind it (not to mention The Legend of the Monkey King written 9 centuries later!), we had two writing workshops about story planning, full of handy hints about How to Write a Riveting Story!  I was very happy to hear that loads of SUIS kids intend to enter my Horribly Hilarious Halloween Story Competition – I can hardly wait to read their stories! Huge thanks to the lovely Shelly Nasseri, Head of English, for being such a warm and welcoming host.

My Chinese Zodiac beasties and I visit Rose Bay Public School in Sydney!

August 24, 2015 at 2:36 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Helloooo to all my friends at Rose Bay Public School! I had such a fun day today visiting the school, with story readings galore for the whole school! The Kindies met my hungry dragon Chester Choi and found out why some dragons have four toes and others have five, the Grade 1s and 2s met Pin Yin Panda and learned all about the Legend of Lord Buddha’s Race and panda diplomacy, the Grade 3s and 4s met Rodney Ram and learned how rice came to China, and the Grade 5s and 6s heard the mysterious Tale of Sybil Snake, and found out about China’s only female Emperor, Wu Zetian! We had a lot of fun! Many thanks to lovely librarian Sarah Skelton (above), who was my wonderful host for the day. And a reminder to all you budding writers out there to enter my Clever Competition – see all the rules on the Clever Competitions tab above!

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