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 saving cat

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!

The deadline’s on Sunday!

October 26, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Posted in children's literacy, Clever Competitions, Poetry competitions for children | Leave a comment
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Desmond saving cat

Woof! You have just two days to go to send in your poem in my Perfect Pet Poem Competition! So if you haven’t sent it yours yet, take a look at all the information and rules here, and GET WRITING!!!

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 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!

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!

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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the_hutchins_school_video_2018

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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BHS with

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!

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