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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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!

 

 

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