Beware!! Just 11 days left in my Perfect Pet Poem Competition for Primary School kids!

October 17, 2018 at 3:14 pm | Posted in Clever Competitions, Poetry competitions for children, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Short pic of Ching Shih

Ching Shih, the real-life pirate queen in my story The Tale of Desmond Dog, would like to warn you that you have just 11 days left to enter your Perfect Pet Poem in my latest Clever Competition! The deadline is 28 October – and you can enter from anywhere in the world!  But beware! If you miss the deadline, Ching Shih might just chop your ears off!! Read all the details of the competition here!

A wonderful visit to UISG in Guangzhou!

October 13, 2018 at 5:04 pm | Posted in Guangzhou schools, Utahloy International School of Guangzhou, workshops | Leave a comment
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This week I made the train journey up to Guangzhou to visit the beautiful Utaloy International School of Guangzhou! (Utaloy is the rough pronunciation of Great Virtue in Chinese, I was told). There I was hosted by the lovely Head Librarian Chrissy Erwin (above), and we started the day with a latte on the balcony overlooking a river beside a forest, in the prettiest setting I have EVER seen for a school, in China or anywhere! It also had wonderful open air playing space for the kids, including a fabulous Dr Seuss tree for the little ones, and a pirate ship for the older kids! Thanks Chrissy, and Kelly Phillips, her librarian colleague, for hosting me for a very special day of story readings from the Chinese Calendar Tales with all the primary school students, as well as the Grade 7 and Grade 8 students who learned How to Publish a Picture Book from Brilliant Idea to Final Product.

 

Above left, you can see me with Kelly Phillips, Chrissy Erwin, and the new principal of the school to her right. On the right, you can see me with the fabulous library assistants team and “our” Chinese Zodiac animals! Below left, I am interviewed by the staff of the high school newspaper, while below  right, you can see the wonderful Dr Seuss tree playground for the younger students.

 

 

More photos to come!

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!

There’s Monkey Business afoot at AISHK Book Week!

August 31, 2018 at 3:12 pm | Posted in AISHK, Book Week, Hong Kong Schools | Leave a comment
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Oh dear! That mischievous Ming Kee Monkey is on the loose at Book Week at Australian International School Hong Kong today! Thanks so much to Jean, who sent me this fabulous photo of her gorgeous daughter Maddie, all dressed up and ready to have fun as the main character in one of my and Harry Harrison’s Chinese Calendar Tales, The Tale of Ming Kee Monkey! Doesn’t she look fantastic?

A Book Week visit at MLC in Melbourne!

August 28, 2018 at 7:43 pm | Posted in Australian schools, Melbourne schools, Methodist Ladies College, Story Readings, workshops | Leave a comment
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The subject of this year’s Book Week in Australia was Find Your Treasure, and what better book to introduce to the fabulous girls of Melbourne Ladies College on 16th and 17th August than my latest Chinese Calendar Tale, The Tale of Desmond Dog, a story of pirates, treasure and an infamous Pirate Queen!  On the 16th, all the girls from Grade 4 to Grade 6 joined the crew for a story reading, followed by a hearty lunch with the Book Bugs (top photo) who heard some Top Secrets about my next (and final) Chinese Calendar Tale for next year’s Year of the Pig! In the afternoon I was delighted to meet wonderful Grade 3 student Hannah Thompson, the winner of the Grade 1 to 3 Category in my Dashing Dog Story Competition earlier this year (middle photo above), followed by a delightful Grade 1 student who is already writing lots of stories in her spare time (bottom left). The future of great writing from MLC alumni is clearly bright!

Then on the 17th, the Grade 6s took part in my brand new workshop entitled Geography is History: How topography shaped China’s remarkable history! We talked about China’s grasslands in the North (from which invaders came on horseback); its mountains and deserts in the West and North West (which formed a natural barrier both inwards and outwards); its fertile deltas in the East (which formed the first united China under Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi) and the seas beyond (from which trade came and went, and ultimately the incursion of foreign powers, and invasion of the Japanese navy, which together precipitated the End of Empire). I hope the girls found the subject as fascinating as I did!!

Huge thanks to my friend, and fabulous Junior School Head of Library, Tracey Ricchini, who you can just see at the back of the Book Bugs in the top photo! She made a fantastic Ching Shi, the evil (and real life) pirate queen from The Tale of Desmond Dog! 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!

Sunday: Event at Petrarch’s Bookshop, Launceston!

May 30, 2018 at 10:49 am | Posted in Being an Author, Bookshop event, Launceston | Leave a comment
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On Sunday I jumped in my car and drove for two and half hours up to Launceston, Tasmania’s northern “capital”. It was the most glorious drive, and brought back so many memories of childhood drives with my parents and siblings so many years ago! In Launceston, I spent a wonderful afternoon at the famous Petrarch’s Bookshop, doing readings of Storm Whale and signing books! Above is the lovely Murphy family, who bought a whole stack of my Chinese Calendar Tales and who fell in love with Storm Whale! Below you can see me (top left) with friendly and helpful staff Kristine Hudson and Holly Cooper to my right and left, and me with Ros Sydes, a Launceston writer to the right! Thank you Marcus and Karen, owners of Petrarch’s, for inviting me!

 

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!

Desmond Dog at Discovery Bay International School!

April 25, 2018 at 8:42 pm | Posted in Discovery Bay International School, Hong Kong Schools, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Sarah Brennan and the-not so-believable pirate 23Apr18

Desmond Dog and I dashed into Discovery Bay International School on Monday for a fabulous day of story readings of The Tale of Desmond Dog for the whole of primary school and a poetry workshop for some selected students –  just before I left for Sydney in the evening! Here I am Aha Me Hearties-ing with lovely librarian Melanie Foti who was my host for the day – she makes a great pirate, don’t you agree?! Below you can see me with the fabulous Year 5s and 6s, and beneath that, with Maddy and Grace, Year 6 Library Amabassadors who also make EXCELLENT pirates!

Sarah Brennan with y5 and y6 23Apr18

Sarah Brennan with Maddy and Grace Y6 Library Ambassadors 23Apr18

A fun morning at FSSA in Yau Tong!

April 18, 2018 at 2:14 pm | Posted in Fukien Secondary School Affiliated, Hong Kong Schools, Story Readings, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Many thanks to Head of English and Deputy Principal Nicolas Delbos (with me above right) and Sunny Ding (above left) for hosting me yesterday at Fukien Secondary School Affiliated Primary School for a morning of fun story readings with all the kids from Primary One to Primary Six! The P1 to P3 kids met my vain but loveable Pin Yin Panda as we explored the Legend of Lord Buddha’s Race and how all the animals got into the Chinese Zodiac in The Tale of Pin Yin Panda, while the P4 to P6s pretended to be fabulously fearsome pirates as I read them this year’s Chinese Calendar TaleThe Tale of Desmond Dog! We had a lot of fun!

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