My Brilliant Week in China!

March 23, 2018 at 5:13 pm | Posted in Beijing, Beijing Schools, Bookworm Cafe Beijing, Changzhou, Changzhou schools, China photos, Montessori School of Beijing, Suzhou, Suzhou schools, Suzhou Science and Technology Town Foreign Language School, Tsinghua International School Beijing, Wycombe Abbey International School Changzhou, YCIS Beijing | Leave a comment
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Hello everyone – I’m back in Hong Kong, and now I can update you about my fantastic week in China last week!

Day One: Wycombe Abbey International School in Changzhou

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On Monday I met the fabulous kids and teachers at Wycombe Abbey International School in Changzhou! Here above I’m standing with the lovely librarians – Betty Ton, my host for the day (who kindly let me stay in her flat!), and her library colleagues Lesley Kelly and Marianne Booth.

We had a fun day of 4 story readings where the kids met my Chinese Calendar Tales characters from The Tale of Desmond Dog, The Tale of a Dark Horse, and The Tale of Chester Choi. Then just a few days ago I received a lovely list of questions from the school magazine – the questions were so interesting, I’ve added them and my answers to to my FAQ list on the tab above! Do take a look! And here are some more photos!

 

That evening I flew to the ancient city of Suzhou, where I met up with my Bookworm Festival Minder Elaine and her friend Zoe, who took me out for a dinner of black carp soup at a local restaurant. It was delicate and absolutely delicious!

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=Afterwards, we took a walk along the canal which runs around the old city, seeing some wonderful landmarks below:

 

 

Day Two: Suzhou Science and Technology Town Foreign Language School

After staying in the very elegant Pan Pacific Hotel in Suzhou overnight,

Elaine and I were driven an hour into the countryside to a local private high school in Suzhou’s Science and Technology Town, the Suzhou Science and Technology Town Foreign Language School.

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I met some remarkable, forward-thinking teachers and the students of Grades 5 and 7, who impressed me hugely with their creativity. I gave two hour long sessions about How to Become Writers in the Digital Age, to a great response from the students and staff. Below top left, you will see me with Vice Principal Wang Haiyan to my left, the lovely Zhang Chen, Director of the Principal’s Office to her left, and my helper Elaine to my right!

In particular I met a delightful young lady at lunch, Rose Yang, just 11 years old, who later sent me a very accomplished and lovely sonnet she had written – I’ll write about it in my next post!

That night I flew to Beijing, where the Bookworm Festival kindly accommodated me and the other Festival writers in the very modern, stylish and minimalist hotel The Opposite House. Here are some pictures – though I’m not sure how much I appreciated the terracotta soldiers in the foyer…!

 

 

Day Three: Montessori School of Beijing

On Wednesday I visited my old friends at Montessori School of Beijing, where I gave two story reading sessions to the younger students, and two Riveting Story workshops to the older students. It was great to see the school again, to meet its new Principal Laura King (to my left) and its marketing director Wairimu Wanjau (Nimo) to my right! I also made a wonderful new friend Yun (below far right) who was my Bookworm Minder for the day – thanks Yun! More photos to come!

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Day Four: Yew Chung International School Beijing

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On Thursday I visited YCIS Beijing, where the Year 1 and Year 2 kids heard my latest Chinese Calendar Tale, The Tale of Desmond Dog, while the Year 4s took part in my How to Write a Riveting Story workshop and the Year 5s learned How to Publish Your Own Picture Book! We had a lot of fun! Many thanks to my hosts Anna Esposito and Landy Hwang, and to my wonderful Bookworm Minder, Gary Fang.

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Day Five: Tsinghua International School Beijing

IMG_0369The final school in my busy tour was the wonderful THISB, set in the middle of the Olympics Tennis Center! With workshops and story readings for everyone from Grade 1 to Grade 5, we had so much fun together in this energetic, enthusiastic school. Many thanks for inviting me to the lovely Principal Mandy Zhang and my host for the day, librarian Christine Wedge. Here we are below in a fun selfie!

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And here I am in my sessions with the kids!

 

 

And meeting some of my new fans!

 

 

 

Friday evening and Saturday at The Bookworm

Finally, I spent a wonderful evening and day at The Bookworm International Literary Festival listening to three fabulous Australian authors, Booker Prize Winning Richard Flanagan from my home State of Tasmania, and prize-winning Sydney poet and author Fiona Wright and multi-award winning author Alexis Wright. It was a rare privilege to hear them talk about their writing, their inspiration and their craft.

 

Huge thanks to Peter Goff, owner of The Bookworm Cafe and Festival Director, for inviting me to participate in the Schools Program for the Festival this year, to Zoe for her fantastic organisation of the tour, and to my fabulous minders. And for the splendid accommodation, and always warm welcome at the unique and beautiful Bookworm Cafe!

Farewell Beijing!

And finally, a fond farewell to misty late-winter Beijing, a magnificent city with a magnificent history! I can’t wait to return!

 

 

A fabulous 2 day visit to QSI Zhuhai!

September 29, 2017 at 5:48 pm | Posted in Being an Author, School visits, Zhuhai schools | Leave a comment
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Thank you to the lovely Heather Domenico (above left) for hosting me on Wednesday and Thursday at QSI Zhuhai! It was a very busy time, with story readings from the Chinese Calendar Tales and Dirty Stories for everyone from 2 years old to 13 years old, and writing workshops for everyone from 7 years old to graduation! Plus a talk to the parents and staff about How to Create Writers in the Digital Age – and book-signings in between! Not to mention some great chats with British poet and publisher Neil Stevens, a teacher at the school (above right).  Then a fun evening  with Principal Cliff Geis-Poage and his lovely wife and teacher Becca who treated me to a delicious dinner before I caught the ferry home to Hong Kong! Everyone was so warm and welcoming – the terrific staff, Theresa in administration, not to mention the mums and dads and the gorgeous kids and teens. It was my first visit to Zhuhai in mainland China, and my first visit to QSI – I hope to see you all again soon!

Two fabulous days at the Discovery College Cultural Festival!

December 2, 2016 at 3:14 pm | Posted in Being an Author, Children's Chinese Zodiac Books, Chinese Calendar Tales, Chinese Zodiac, Monkey story, School visits, Story Readings, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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A big THANK YOU to all my fabulous friends at Discovery College for inviting me for two wonderful days this week as part of their fantastic annual Cultural Festival! We had six funny and educational story readings from my Chinese Calendar Tales series, with the Grade Ones meeting Chester Choi, the Grade Twos laughing along with Pin Yin Panda, the Grade Threes having a frolic with Rodney Ram, the Grade Fours falling in love with my noble Dark Horse, and the Grade Fives and Sixes saying a fond farewell to Ming Kee Monkey in my last Ming Kee Monkey story readings for the Year of the Monkey! Huge thanks to my dear friend and talented teacher librarian host Leanne Sercombe for looking after me so well! See you all next year!

Four funny and fabulous sessions at BISS Puxi!

November 1, 2016 at 8:12 pm | Posted in Books about Chinese Zodiac, Chinese Calendar Tales, Shanghai schools, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Warm thanks to my friend Liz Wood at BISS Puxi who hosted me today in four fun Chinese Calendar Tales sessions with the Grade Ones, Grade Twos, Grade Fours and Grade Fives! The Grade Ones met my hungry Chinese dragon in The Tale of Chester Choi; the Grade Twos learned all about the Legend of Lord Buddha’s Race and why pandas aren’t in the Chinese Zodiac when I read them The Tale of Pin Yin Panda; and the Grade Fours and Fives took an exciting trip along the Silk Road with The Tale of A Dark Horse! We all had a lot of fun, and learned some fantastic Chinese history and folklore along the way! See you all again soon!

Hello Singapore – and thank you CIS Lakeside!

May 25, 2016 at 7:27 am | Posted in Chinese Calendar Tales, Chinese Zodiac, School visits, Singapore schools, workshops | Leave a comment
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It’s fabulous to be back in Singapore! Yesterday I had a wonderful day with the Grade 4s, 5s and 6s at beautiful big Canadian International School Lakeside, where I introduced the kids to my Chinese Calendar Tales, and especially to my mischievous Ming Kee Monkey and my dashing Dark Horse! We finished the day with the Grade 4s learning all about How to Write a Riveting Story! I look forward to all your entries in my next Clever Competition! Huge thanks to the lovely Lisa Miller, Head of Senior Library, for being such a kind and welcoming host!

A great day at Goodwood Primary School!

March 3, 2016 at 5:52 pm | Posted in Being an Author, Chinese Calendar Tales, Chinese New Year, Chinese Zodiac, Hobart, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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What a fantastic time I had with the fabulous kids of Goodwood Primary School today! The Year 1 to Year 3s met my feisty, vain Pin Yin Panda, then the Year 4 to Year 6s learned all about the origins of the Silk Road, the Emperor Han Wudi, and my beautiful, proud Dark Horse! It was great to meet you all, and to introduce you to my books about the Chinese Zodiac animals! I look forward to getting entries from lots of Goodwood kids in my Clever Competition! A big thank you to my beautiful cousin and literacy teacher Susie Eades, who invited me in to the school today! Here we are above with a backdrop of my beloved Mount Wellington, and you can see my soft toy Monkey Monkey hiding inside the yellow box, about to start sky-diving!

A Fabulous Morning at Fahan!

March 2, 2016 at 6:42 pm | Posted in Chinese Calendar Tales, Chinese New Year, Chinese Zodiac, Hobart, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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This morning I had the great pleasure of meeting the wonderful girls of Fahan and their terrific teachers! We had two fun story reading sessions, where the Year 2s and Year 5s met my vain Pin Yin Panda and learned all about the Legend of Lord Buddha’s Race and how the animals got into the Chinese Zodiac, and the Kinders and Years 1, 3, 4 and 6 all met my dashing Dark Horse, and learned about how the Silk Road began! It was a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to receiving lots of entries from the Fahan girls in my Clever Competition! Many thanks to the lovely Megan Denman (above) for hosting me.

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