It’s time for a Dashing Dog Story Writing Competition!

January 14, 2018 at 5:17 pm | Posted in children's literacy, Chinese Calendar Tales, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Desmond holding child

Are you a primary school student anywhere in the world? Do you love DOGS? Do you love writing stories? Then it’s time to enter my latest international Clever Competition, The Dashing Dog Story Competition!

Introducing Desmond Dog, the latest loveable character in the Chinese Calendar Tales series! Like all Chinese Zodiac dogs, he’s brave, noble and kind, and he LOVES protecting his little village, keeping everybody safe from harm! And of course, his Year of the Chinese Zodiac is just around the corner!

So it’s about time that we had a story writing competition all about DOGS! This time I want you to write me a story about a typical Chinese Zodiac Dog, like Desmond. I want him to be brave, kind, honourable and above all, DASHING!! You also must have

  • a title for your story, the more interesting the better!
  • a Chinese setting – be that a village, a city, a river, a lake, a mountain or even a Chinese planet in the future! So you’ll have to do a bit of research, and make sure to include lots of details which make the setting typically Chinese!
  • a scary typhoon!
  • a flying fish with golden scales
  • a wise philosopher
  • an evil cat
  • the colour mikado – and if you don’t know what colour that is, you’ll have to look it up!

Go to my Clever Competitions page here for all the details, rules and information.

The deadline date is Friday 23rd March, so pick up that paper and pen and get ready…get set…WOOF!

A wonderful morning at Diocesan Girls Junior School

December 14, 2017 at 7:21 pm | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, Story Readings, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Many thanks to my hosts, teacher Rachel Yu (above) and PTA parent Hynn Ming Lau, for inviting me to talk to the lovely young ladies of Grade One to Three at Diocesan Girls Junior School in Hong Kong yesterday. First I read the girls my beautiful new story Storm Whale, which was followed by dozens of eager questions about whales, some of which I had to admit were so tricky that I could not answer them! Then I gave the girls my Top 12 Tips to Become Great Writers in the Digital Age – and I was so impressed by their focus and understanding of this very topical and important subject! I’m quite sure that they will be strictly limiting their time on digital screens and greatly increasing their time spent reading books from now on! I look forward to receiving lots of DGJS story entries in my next Clever Competition! Thank you to my old friend Matt Steele of Growhouse for organising the event and co-ordinating the fabulous book sales!

I’m having a whale of a time judging your haikus – please bear with me!

October 5, 2017 at 8:43 am | Posted in Poetry competitions for children | Leave a comment
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Hello all you fabulous poets out there who entered my Wonderful Whale Haiku Competition! There were entries from 15 schools from 9 different cities in 6 different countries around the world – Australia, Hong Kong, India, China, Singapore and the United States! So I’m judging as quickly as I can – but you’ll have to bear with me! And I’m having a WHALE of a time – your entries are fabulous!

Just 11 days left in my Wonderful Whale Haiku Competition!

September 19, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Posted in Clever Competitions, Storm Whale | Leave a comment
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P1020216Detail from Storm Whale by Sarah Brennan and Jane Tanner, Allen and Unwin, 2017

A big HELLOOO to the wonderful writers who’ve submitted their entries into my Wonderful Whale Haiku competition! We’ve had entries so far from students in 9 different schools in Adelaide, Brisbane, Chicago, Hong Kong, Kolkata, Shanghai and Singapore! But there’s still 11 days to go! If you love whales, and haikus, and haven’t entered my competition yet, make sure you go straight to my Clever Competitions page above for all the details! I can’t wait to read your entry!

A Fabulous International Holiday Writing Challenge: The Wonderful Whale Haiku Competition!

June 19, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Posted in Book launches, Buying my books, Clever Competitions, Storm Whale | Leave a comment
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Don’t you just love whales? These beautiful giants of the deep are so intelligent and wise, and they’ve lived at peace in their watery world for many thousands of years, in a way that we silly human beings simply cannot seem to manage up here on the earth! And many of you will know that my new book with Australian publishers Allen & Unwin, called Storm Whale, illustrated by the award-winning Australian artist Jane Tanner, has just been launched in Melbourne! So to celebrate these beautiful animals – and Jane’s and my beautiful new book – I thought it was high time that we celebrated these wonderful animals in a Wonderful Whale Haiku Competition!

The competition is open to any kid of Primary School age, anywhere in the world.

You’ve got lots of time for this one: the deadline is Saturday 30th September 2017, so you can have a lovely time over your upcoming holidays thinking about whales and writing your poem!

Go to my Clever Competitions page above for all the rules and requirements!

Storm Whale cover

And if you love the illustration above, and want to purchase your own copy of our new book, just click on the link here: http://www.chinesecalendartales.com!

Helloooo St Michael’s Collegiate girls!

May 25, 2017 at 4:38 pm | Posted in Australian schools, Hobart, Story Readings, workshops | Leave a comment
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Today I spent a fabulous morning at St Michael’s Collegiate Middle School and a fantastic afternoon at Collegiate Junior School in South Hobart! The Grade 5s and Grade 4s worked very hard – with a lot of fun thrown in – in two Introduction to Poetry Workshops, with some excellent work in rhyming words, solving limerick puzzles and writing a group haiku about their teachers :). The Grade 6 girls learned all about Publishing a Picture Book from Brilliant Idea to Final Product:- I do hope you find it helpful when you make your picture books later this year girls! And the gorgeous Grades 2 to 4 heard my Tale of Rickshaw Rooster and learned some fascinating Chinese history! And afterwards I signed lots and lots of books for my new fans! It was such fun to meet you all and I’m sure I’m going to get some terrific entries from you all in my upcoming Clever Competitions! Huge thanks to the lovely Jodie Heath for inviting me and being such a stellar host! More photos to come!

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A brilliant day at AISHK!

May 18, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Posted in AISHK, children's literacy, Hong Kong Schools, workshops | Leave a comment
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With Nicole Atkins, primary library AISHK

A big thank you to the lovely Nicole Atkins, primary teacher librarian at Australian International School Hong Kong, for hosting me for a fabulous day of story readings and workshops on Tuesday! The Preps up to the Grade 2s met latest Chinese Calendar Tales character in two noisy story readings where they cockadoodle-dooed and cheered on the national team of their choice in The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster, and learned a little bit of Chinese history about Shanghai and the international concessions in China in the early 20th Century along the way! Then I met with the fantastic students of Grade 3 to 6 in two sessions of my very serious workshop, Books are a Brain’s Best Friend, where they learned all about the importance of reading print books to the development of the brain – both historically and right now, in this increasingly digital age. The kids were so impressive, coming up with some fascinating questions and observations, and I’m quite sure we all – me included – came away from these two intense sessions firmly resolved to limit our time on digital devices to a minimum, and to read more books in our leisure time in order to maximise our chances of a fulfilling, creative and happy life. Please do keep up the great book reading, my friends at AISHK, and make sure you enter my next Clever Competition!

Have patience, my writer friends…

May 14, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Posted in children's literacy, Rooster story, writing competitions | Leave a comment
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I’m almost there! I’ve been super busy judging the fabulous entries in my Really Riveting Rooster Tale Clever Competition over the last VERY busy fortnight and I’m just about finished! So hang in there – the results should be out in the next 24 hours – COCKADOODLE – DOOOOOOO!

A fab morning at GSIS!

May 10, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Posted in Poetry Workshops for kids, School visits | Leave a comment
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Thank you to my dear friend Megan Lindsay for inviting me for a fabulous morning of talks with the Year 5s and Year 6s in the international stream at GSIS! I really enjoyed telling the kids all about how I wrote The Tale of Rickshaw Rooster and the fascinating history behind it, and then to challenge them to replace many of the sophisticated words I used in the verse with words of their own choice! They came up with some excellent ideas – I’m quite sure that many of them are rather good poets themselves! I can’t wait to see their entries in my next Clever Competition! Here I am with Megan below!

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Hurry, hurry! Just 13 days left in my Really Riveting Rooster Tale competition!

April 17, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Posted in children's literacy, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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If you haven’t yet entered your story for my Really Riveting Rooster Tale Competition yet, you’d better get your racing shoes on!! There are just 13 days left before the deadline at midnight on 30 April! This one’s such a fun one – click on my Clever Competitions button above for all the details! I look forward to reading your entry – cockadoodle-dooooo!

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