A memorable visit to QSI Zhuhai!

September 29, 2018 at 11:00 am | Posted in QSI Zhuhai, Story Readings, workshops, Zhuhai schools | Leave a comment
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Thank you so much to fabulous primary school teacher Heather Domenico, for hosting me for two very busy days at QSI in Zhuhai on Wednesday and Thursday this last week! We had sessions for absolutely everyone from ages 2 to 18, as well as an after-school talk to the mums and dads!

The littlest ones met my crew of stuffed toys in a funny re-enactment of Lord Buddha’s Race – and proved they were extremely good at counting up to 12!

The 5 to 6 year olds proved they were old hands at the Chinese Zodiac when I read them The Tale of Pin Yin Panda while the 7 to 8 year olds became fearsome pirates as they heard The Tale of Desmond Dog!

The 9 to 11 year olds learned all about How to Publish A Picture Book from Brilliant Idea to Final Product and even got a sneek peak at my final Chinese Calendar Tale for the Year of the Pig, which is currently in production!

After school on Wednesday, I talked to a lovely group of parents about How to Create Bookworms in the Digital Age. Here are just a few of them, with their kids!

And finally, the 12 to 18 year olds and I spent almost the whole of Thursday together, in three different workshops: How to Become a Good Writer, An Introduction to Poetry and, finally, Nailing the Narrative Curve, where we had tremendous fun writing a story plan for the tragic story of three teenagers caught in a love triangle…in a paradise entered through a school locker portal!

And in between I met some fabulous kids, parents and teachers when I signed the books they bought from my wonderful distributor, Aaron Tearne at Obido Educational Services! If anyone missed out on buying a book, you can still do so, with some great discounts for multiple purchases here!

More photos to come!

Meet Harry, a HUGE book reader!

June 3, 2018 at 4:02 pm | Posted in Australian schools, children's literacy, Hobart, The Hutchins School | Leave a comment
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Harry and I at Hutchins

Meet Harry from The Hutchins School, who I met in the Junior Library during my Tassie visit a fortnight ago! Harry has such a huge smile on his face because he LOVES READING BOOKS! And he told me that his bedroom at home is so full of books, there’s hardly any room for his bed! Now THAT’S what I call a great reader! I bet Harry is a fantastic writer and thinker too, because that’s what you become when you read lots of books for leisure and fun! Well done Harry!

ps Harry was born in the Year of the Tiger and I was born in the Year of the Rat – hence the books we are holding!

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!

 

 

WOOF! Introducing The Tale of Desmond Dog!

January 14, 2018 at 4:58 pm | Posted in Book launches, Books about Chinese Zodiac, Buying my books, Children's Chinese Zodiac Books, Chinese New Year, Online Sales | Leave a comment
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Helloooo everybody and a very Happy New Year to you all! I hope that you had a wonderful festive season full of good fun with your families, and, of course, that you read a whole lot of fabulous books!

Speaking of which…here is the newest member of The Chinese Calendar Tales family, out just in time for the Year of the Dog! It’s full of fun verse, a terrifically exciting plot and Harry Harrison’s wonderful illustrations, as wacky and witty as ever!

It’s 1810, and infamous pirate queen Ching Shih and her Red Flags are terrorizing the South China Sea. Enter Desmond Dog, hero of the fishing village of Hong Kong! He’s noble, honest and kind, and loves to help others. But he’s also strong, daring and brave, with an excellent nose… in fact, he has the makings of an excellent pirate! Will Desmond be lured into a life of crime? And what will become of Ching Shih and her crew? Find out in this exciting tale of trickery, temptation…and treasure!

Don’t forget to buy your copy in your local bookshop OR you can order it online here right away!

And if you’d like to come along to the funny and fabulous Hong Kong launch of The Tale of Desmond Dog, make a note in your diary for Saturday 10th February at 2pm at Bookazine in Princes Building, Central. I’ll be posting your official invitation on this blog soon!

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 fab interview with Jed Doherty of Reading With Your Kids in Boston, USA!

June 29, 2017 at 9:44 am | Posted in Children's Chinese Zodiac Books, children's literacy, Podcasts | Leave a comment
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I was so excited a few weeks ago to be contacted by one of the United States’ most famous family entertainers, Jed Doherty, from Boston, who asked me to talk all about the Chinese Calendar Tales for his huge Reading With Your Kids podcast audience in the States! We ended up talking for MUCH longer than expected, not just about my books, but also about our shared passion for children’s literacy – and our shared concern about the overuse of digital games and social media which is NOT GOOD AT ALL if you want to be a great reader, with great vocabulary, great writing skills, great general knowledge and a great brain!

We had such a good chat that Jed ended up dividing it into 2 podcasts! The first podcast, all about the Chinese Zodiac, my love of Chinese history and culture, and our funny and fabulous Chinese Calendar Tales, was released to iTunes and iHeart Radio on 22nd June!

You can listen to it here.

And if you want to find out more about Jed and his fantastic work in the States, you can read more here.

Come and Cockadoodle Doo with Rickshaw Rooster and me today at The Repulse Bay!!

March 26, 2017 at 10:26 am | Posted in children's literacy, Chinese Calendar Tales, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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17553990_1520514737981037_6367927819699384240_nWe’re telling tales tall and terrific at the Bookazine Children’s Bookfest today at The Repulse Bay!! So if you feel in need of a magical story from 5 fabulous authors and the wonderful Talespinners – come and join us from 11am to 5pm! You can even buy signed copies of our books – yay!! See you there!

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