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!

A fun day at Green Oasis School in Shenzhen!

May 21, 2018 at 8:32 am | Posted in Green Oasis School, School visits, Shenzhen Schools, Story Readings, workshops | Leave a comment
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On Wednesday last week I took a train ride across the Chinese border to Shenzhen, where the lovely Rachael Taylor (photo above left) hosted me for a fabulous day at Green Oasis School! The Year 1s and 2s met my dashing Desmond Dog in a fun story reading with some fantastic pirate faces and growls from the kids and teachers too! Years 3 and 4 heard all about The Making of a Story Book as I took them on a step by step journey through the writing and publishing of The Tale of Desmond Dog. Then Years 5 and 7 learned all about How to Become a Great Writer – with a bit of a challenge to the Grade 7s to get OFF their digital screens and INTO reading lots and lots of books in their leisure time! And lastly the Year 6s learned all the tricks and tools in my popular workshop How to Write a Riveting Story. And after that I met some gorgeous fans when I signed books for a whole lot of kids, mums and dads! Thanks Rachael – and all the students and staff – for another busy and memorable day at Green Oasis!

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!

Desmond Dog leaps into Beacon Hill School last Wednesday!

March 26, 2018 at 1:14 pm | Posted in Beacon Hill School, Hong Kong Schools | Leave a comment
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Last Wednesday, Desmond Dog and I visited the fabulous kids of Beacon Hill School in Kowloon Tong! We had four funny (and highly educational :)!) reading sessions of The Tale of Desmond Dog with all the kids from Grades 1, 2, 3 and 6! They learned all about Hong Kong’s origins as a small fishing village, the infamous pirate queen Ching Shih, and the characteristics of people born in the Year of the Dog! A warm thank you to the lovely Emily Jeves, Teacher Librarian (above left) for hosting me, and to her assistant Shirley Lowe, Librarian, between us. Emily and Shirley are both Dragons, and I’m a Rat, if you’re wondering about the toys we’re holding!

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!

 

 

Desmond and I take part in the Bookworm Literary Festival this week!

March 12, 2018 at 8:29 pm | Posted in Beijing Schools, Bookworm Cafe Beijing, Changzhou schools, Literary Festivals, Suzhou schools, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Desmond holding child

Desmond Dog and I are visiting 3 different cities in mainland China for 5 fun days this week as part of the Bookworm Literary Festival! Today we’ve been in Changzhou, tonight and tomorrow we’re in Suzhou, then from Wednesday to Friday we’ll be in Beijing! Keep following this blog to see all the photos and fun!

 

 

A day to remember at Renaissance College HK!

March 7, 2018 at 9:04 am | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, RCHK, Story Readings | Leave a comment
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What a fun day I had yesterday with my old friends at RCHK in Ma On Shan! I was hosted by the lovely Shirley Chan (above) in 3 fun venues to visit the students of Years 4 to 6 – including the breezy rooftop! The kids learned the fabulous true history of notorious (and rather magnificent!) pirate queen Ching Shih, the Tanka people of Hong Kong and how Hong Kong actually got it’s name, whilst hearing my Tale of Desmond Dog and pretending to be pirates with great expertise! Thanks Shirley for your expert hosting and company yesterday, and thanks to all the students and teachers for their warm welcome! I look forward to many entries from you all in my Dashing Dog Story Writing Competition!

The Hong Kong Young Reader’s Festival 2018 has begun – and it’s fantastic!

March 5, 2018 at 9:00 pm | Posted in Favourite kids' books, Hong Kong events, Literary Festivals | Leave a comment
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Hello again! I’m SOOOO excited! The Hong Kong Young Reader’s Festival 2018 has just begun and there’s so much for kids from 4 to 104 to do and see! There’s a fantastic schools program of course and also some great FREE events! (Not to mention a fabulous official poster by Harry Harrison, above!)

THIS WEEKEND there will be an amazing line-up of famous children’s authors, illustrators and performers appearing at eight FREE public events – you can read about them all at the HKYRF website! The events take place at Lee Gardens Two, outside 217-218, 28 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay from 1.45pm to 6pm!

And if you want to meet my dashing Desmond Dog, come along and hear me read his story in my session from 1.45 – 2.45pm! Here are the details! I look forward to seeing you all there!

Deadline for Dashing Dog Story competition extended to 31 March!

March 4, 2018 at 2:46 pm | Posted in Clever Competitions, writing competitions | Leave a comment
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Desmond holding child

WOOF! You now have an extra WEEK to get your Dashing Dog Story Competition entries in! So if you’re keen on being a published writer on my blog – which will make you a WORLD FAMOUS WRITER right away – you’ve now got an extra week up your sleeve to submit your entry and try for the first 6 places! The new deadline is SATURDAY 31 MARCH 2018 – you can find all the details and information about what and how to submit by clicking this link! I can’t wait to read your entry!

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