A fun day at the Il Mercato Christmas Fair in Pok Fu Lam!

December 3, 2018 at 4:04 pm | Posted in Books about Chinese Zodiac, Buying my books, Christmas Fairs | Leave a comment
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On Saturday my lovely office manager Shilpa and I had a fun day out with our table of Chinese Calendar Tales at the Il Mercato Christmas Fair in Sandy Bay, Pok Fu Lam! The market was magnificent! And at our table, we met lots of lovely fans from Kennedy School and Peak School and their mums and dads! Below you can see some of them: the two on the left are at West Island School now, but still remembered my books from their primary school days – it was great to say hello! And the young man on the right was riveted reading my new book for next year, The Tale of Ping Pong Pig!

 

The Results are out in my Perfect Pet Poem Competition!

November 18, 2018 at 4:36 pm | Posted in children's literacy, Clever Competitions, poetry, Poetry competitions for children | Leave a comment
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Desmond Dog rescues a cat in The Tale of Desmond Dog! Illustration by Harry Harrison

Thank you all so much for your wonderful entries into my latest Clever Competition! And what a lovely time I’ve had reading about your Perfect Pets! There were 48 fabulous entries this time, from 15 different schools in 7 cities on 4 different continents! There were entries from Melbourne in Australia; from Shanghai and Zhuhai in mainland China; from Hong Kong; from Chicago and San Diego in the United States of America, and, for the first time, from Colombo in Sri Lanka! There were real pets, like cats, hamsters, pigs and a red panda! There were fantastical pets, like dragons, seahorns and snickerdoodles! Most were cute and cuddly, some were downright scary! But most of all, there were DOGS – to which, as a dog lover myself, I can only say of course!

Special congratulations to Hannah Thompson, of Grade 3, Methodist Ladies College, Melbourne, Australia, who won the Grade 1 to 3 Category in the competition, and Madeline Painter of Grade 6, South Middle School, Illinois, Chicago, USA, who won the Grade 4 to 6 Category. They each win a signed copy of one of my books sent to their school for presenation in assembly. Well done girls!

Go to my Clever Competitions Page right away to read all the fantastic place-winning entries!

Which little pig is coming to market?

November 14, 2018 at 4:27 pm | Posted in Bookazine Festival Walk, Bookazine Princes Building, Buying my books, Christmas Fairs | Leave a comment
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the Minister leading the pig with her bag_lo res

There’s a tasty little pig coming to a market near you any day now! Yes, it’s Ping Pong Pig, in her very own special story for next Chinese New Year, about her amazing adventures in the Forbidden City in Beijing! You can see her, with the cunning Minister of Most Important Things, in the picture above – the Tale has been illustrated by the wonderful Harry Harrison yet again and you’re going to just love the whole book! The Tale of Ping Pong Pig will be available online soon here, as well as in Bookazine shops in Hong Kong and at the Conrad Christmas Fair by next week! So make sure you add that tasty little porker to your Christmas list!

A fabulous time at the AISHK Fair!

November 14, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Posted in AISHK, Australian schools, Christmas Fairs | Leave a comment
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On Saturday I felt right at home with the Aussie kids, parents and teachers at the fantastic Australian International School Fair at Kowloon Tong! I sold lots of  books, met lots of fans, young and old, and all in all had a great time!

Hello Brisbane!!

October 24, 2018 at 6:27 pm | Posted in Australian schools, Awards, Brisbane schools, Poetry Workshops for kids | Leave a comment
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new-farm-park-with-brisbane-skyline-in-the-background_photosbyfarrPhoto credit https://blog.queensland.com/2017/10/26/jacarandas-south-east-queensland/

I’ve been in Brisbane this week for a wonderful 5 days to attend the awards ceremony for the Queensland Literary Awards, to visit some of my favourite Brisbane schools, and to visit my family! It’s jacaranda time in Brisbane, when the beautiful blue blooms on the jacaranda trees mean that students should be studying hard for their end-of-year exams!

On Tuesday morning, I visited my old friends at Churchie (Anglican Church Grammar School) in East Brisbane, where the fabulous Grade 3 boys identified haikus, unscrambled limericks and did some rapid rhyming exercises in my Introduction to Poetry Workshop! Many thanks to lovely primary teacher librarian Alison Findlay for expertly hosting me! We had a lot of fun!

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On Tuesday evening, my lovely daughter Bea, my brother and sister-in-law accompanied me to the Awards Ceremony for the Queensland Literary Awards 2018! You’ll remember that Storm Whale, my beautiful book with artist Jane Tanner and published last year by Allen & Unwin, was one of the 5 children’s books short-listed for the Griffith University Children’s Book Award. Here it is, displayed at left on the screen above! The Elephant by Peter Carnavas won the award in our section. It was such an exciting event, and I got to meet some of my amazing fellow authors and judges afterwards! Below you’ll see Storm Whale sitting very happily on the sales table with other fabulous short-listed titles!

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Today I dropped into two great Brisbane schools to say hello and to introduce them to my Chinese Calendar Tales. Below you’ll see me with some cuties at St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School, sitting astride their famous dragon mascot with a copy of The Tale of Chester Choi! See you all next year girls! Many thanks to their lovely primary principal Angela Drysdale and librarian Donna Jackson for the warm welcome!

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Finally, I met the fab team at my new Australian distributors, Novella Distribution in Capalaba! Below, the lovely Rochelle Manners is standing with their wombat mascot, and a very special small wombat which appears to have learned how to climb trees! Thanks girls for a great meeting, and for my new baby wombat, which I’ve christened The Barefoot ‘Bat!

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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 Utahloy 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! Here it is, crammed with P3 and P4 pirates and me!

Year 3 and 4 students on the "Pirate Ship" with author, Sarah Brennan

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 lovely new Primary Principal Michelle Jones to her right. On the right, you can see me with the fabulous library assistants team Betty Zheng, Haiqing Sun and Judy Li and “our” Chinese Zodiac animals! Below left, I am interviewed by the staff of the high school newspaper The Howl, while below  right, you can see the wonderful Dr Seuss tree playground for the younger students.

 

And finally, just a couple of fun photos with the P3s – we had great fun with a Tale of Desmond Dog story reading and swearing the solemn oath to look at my website!

 

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!

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