Hans Christian Andersen, Alice in Wonderland…and me!

October 15, 2019 at 7:57 am | Posted in New York | Leave a comment
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Here I am in Central Park, New York, with one of my favourite children’s authors – the great Hans Christian Andersen, author of some of the most famous children’s stories of all time, like The Ugly Duckling, The Emperor’s New Clothes, Thumbelina and The Little Mermaid. I thought I’d read aloud The Tale of Ping Pong Pig, but I think the duck preferred Hans Christian Andersen’s story!

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And here is the wonderful statue of Alice in Wonderland with her friends the Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit, just nearby – isn’t it wonderful?

A fabulous day at The Peak School!

October 14, 2019 at 9:47 am | Posted in Hong Kong Schools, Poetry Workshops for kids, Story Readings, The Peak School, Writing competitions for kids, writing workshops for children | Leave a comment
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It’s been a HUGELY busy fortnight, and first of all I have to let you all know about my fabulous day at The Peak School back on Thursday 3rd October! We had a fun day of story readings and workshops for everyone from Year 3 to Year 6! We started with my How to Write a Riveting Story workshop for the Year 6s; next came an Introduction to Poetry for the Year 4s; the Year 5s then learned all the science explaining why Books are a Brain’s Best Friend, and finally the Year 3s had a funny story reading of The Tale of Ping Pong Pig where they learned all about the mighty Yongle Emperor, and cheered as Ping Pong Pig evaded the cunning Minister of Most Important Things! Thank you to lovely librarian Rebecca Rigden Green for being such a wonderful host! And I can’t wait to receive all your entries in my Clever Competition!

A funny and fabulous day at Rose Bay Public School!

August 20, 2019 at 4:27 pm | Posted in Australian schools, Poetry Workshops for kids, Rose Bay Public School, Story Readings, Sydney schools, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Today I visited wonderful Rose Bay Public School, where I worked with all the classes from Kindy to Year 6!

The Kindies and Years 1 and 2 heard me read my story Storm Whale, and saw all of Jane Tanner’s beautiful illustrations up on the screen. We shared some fascinating facts about sperm whales, and how we can help them to survive.  Then I introduced them to my Chinese Calendar Tales and the characters of the Chinese Zodiac! They were very surprised to learn that Captain Cook was born in the Year of the Rat, and Winnie the Pooh was born in the Year of the Tiger!

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Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 heard me read my latest Chinese Calendar Tale, The Tale of Ping Pong Pig – and had a lot of fun filling in the missing words! Congratulations to the Bandicoot Team in Years 5 and 6 which narrowly defeated the Echidna Team in filling in the blanks! I hope that this afternoon has inspired you all to have a go at writing your own rhyming verse…I have a feeling that you will be rather good at it!

And, of course, I hope that you’re all going to enter my next Clever Competition for kids which will be announced on this blog on the 1st of September!

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Huge thanks to lovely librarian Sarah Skelton (above right) and her fabulous assistant Gill Davidson for hosting me today! I wonder if you can guess what year of the Chinese Zodiac we were each born in?

A fabulous article in The Standard!

May 8, 2019 at 7:21 am | Posted in Book reviews, Hong Kong, media articles | Leave a comment
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Huge thanks to Simon Lau, Chief Sub-Editor (Education) at The Standard, for this fantastic book review about The Chinese Calendar Tales published on 30 April! To see the whole article, click on the link below:

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Ping Pong Pig finds seven more days for entries in my Clever Competition!

May 3, 2019 at 9:32 am | Posted in Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Ping Pong Pig has been begging me to give everybody an extension in my latest Clever Competition. Finally, she’s dived into her feed bucket and found seven extra days hiding, right at the bottom!

So, courtesy of Ping Pong, the new deadline for my Practically Perfect Pig Tale Competition is extended to midnight EST on Friday 17th May!

That means that you now have 14 days to get your entries in – and with the fabulous first prize of a Boxed Set of the Chinese Calendar Tales, you’d better get going!

All the rules and special ingredients are here, so click on the link and start writing! I can’t wait to read your entries!

It’s Book Week at DBIS!

May 2, 2019 at 6:56 pm | Posted in Discovery Bay International School, Hong Kong Schools, Writing competitions for kids | 1 Comment
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This week is Book Week at Discovery Bay International School, and I was honoured to be part of their celebrations today! The whole of primary school from Year 1 to Year 6 met my latest and last Chinese Calendar Tales character, the feisty Ping Pong Pig, not to mention the mighty Yongle Emperor and his crafty Minister of Most Important Things, in three funny and fabulous story readings of The Tale of Ping Pong Pig. Then I spent a fun twenty minutes during the lunch hour with the DBIS Battle of the Books team, who had just come back from the Hong Kong Semi-Finals, where they placed a very impressive Second! Well done to the DBIS BOBS!

You can see me with Head of English, Mr Jonnie Haines’, Class 5JH, above, and below, with my lovely host, school librarian Melanie Foti.

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And below, you can meet wonderful DBIS author and illustrator, Luka Van der Noord, creator of The Adventures of Sticko! He’s already written and printed eight books! Keep up the good work, Luka! You’ll be selling in bookstores soon!

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Last but not least, a message to all you DBIS writers – I’ve decided to extend the deadline for my story competition for just one more week to give you all time to get your stories in! So the deadline will now be midnight on Friday 17th May 2019! Just click here to find out all the rules and special ingredients for your entry!

Just 24 days left to enter my Practically Perfect Pig Tale story competition!

April 17, 2019 at 8:55 am | Posted in children's literacy, Clever Competitions, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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Ping Pong Pig and I would like to remind you all that there are just 24 days left to enter your story in my Practically Perfect Pig Tale Competition! Now Easter’s coming this weekend, which gives you loads of lovely time to sit down and write your story! It’s got some fabulously fun ingredients this time – so grab that pen and get writing! All the rules and how to submit are here!

And if you still haven’t bought your copy of The Tale of Ping Pong Pig, just click on this link!

Four fabulous days with the Bookworm International Literary Festival in Beijing and Hangzhou!

April 8, 2019 at 8:00 am | Posted in Beijing Schools, Books about Chinese Zodiac, Bookworm Cafe Beijing, China photos, Dulwich College Beijing, International School of Beijing, Storm Whale, Story Readings, writing workshops for children | Leave a comment
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With Antoinette Portis and Sandra Greenwell at the Bookworm International Literary Festival

Huge thanks to Peter Goff, David Cantalupo, Karen Tong and the team at The Bookworm Bookshop in Beijing for inviting me to take part in The Bookworm International Literary Festival 2019! Sadly I wasn’t able to appear at my scheduled event at the Bookworm featuring The Tale of Ping Pong Pig on the Sunday due to illness…but by Monday I was ready to fly up!

On Tuesday 26th March: I visited Dulwich College where I spent three fun sessions with Years 3 to 5, introducing the Year 3s to my hungry, lonely dragon Chester Choi; the Year 4s to Ping Pong Pig and the Yongle Emperor, and the Year 5s to Desmond Dog and the infamous pirate queen Ching Shih! Many thanks to the lovely Sandra Greenwell who was my host for the day, and to Lit Fest helper Inna Gafurova who looked after me and sold lots of my books after the sessions!

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With some of my fabulous Junior School audience!
With my lovely host head librarian Sandra Greenwell (left) and library assistants Imee Acosta and Lita Tupaz (right)
Bookworm Festival helper Inna Gafurova and Sandra at the aptly named school coffee shop (right) and with some fabulously inventive pigs made in art class (right)

On Tuesday evening: New York Times best-selling author/illustrator Antoinette Portis and I spoke at The Bookworm with journalist Wendy Tang about the enormously important subject of Raising Kids to Read in the Digital Era. We had a full audience of very interested parents who were keen to hear all the recent science on the subjects of the huge benefits of reading for the brain, and the correspondingly huge problems with kids being overexposed to digital screens (and it doesn’t take much…). If you want to read more about this, take a look at my other blog,

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Just because the subject was serious didn’t mean we couldn’t have fun! Here I am with Sandra Greenwell (from Dulwich College) and the lovely Antoinette Portis, my fellow panel member, with Sandra’s very naughty husband behind us!

On Wednesday 27th March: I visited my old friends at International School of Beijing, which I visited last year for a week in residence! This time I had 3 noisy sessions reading The Tale of Ping Pong Pig  to Grades 3, 4 and 5. Echoes of “Run Pig, Run!” and “Stay Pig, Stay!” could be heard echoing around the playground at lunch time as the kids re-enacted Ping Pong’s mad dash around the Forbidden City, pursued by the cunning Minister of Most Important Things!

It was wonderful to catch up with my librarian hosts, and friends, Bec Taylor and Paul Wong (right). And thank you Hunt Liu from the Bookworm for looking after me!

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We all had great fun, kids included!

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It was lovely to be in such great company with other author visitors including famous Australian author Morris Gleitzman and New York Times best-selling Antoinette Portis!

That night I flew down to the pretty city of Hangzhou, 175 km south west of Shanghai, to stay at the aptly named Blossom Water Museum Hotel, seen in the photos below. Aren’t the gardens and the pagoda lovely?

 

On Thursday 28th and Friday 29th March: I visited Wellington College International Hangzhou, a new school with a very beautiful campus! We had workshops galore, with the Grade 5s learning the science behind why Books are a Brain’s Best Friend; the Grade 6s finding out How to Write a Riveting Story and the Grade 7s and I getting stuck into rhyming verse, haikus, acrostics, limericks and free verse in An Introduction to Poetry! I look forward to receiving some fabulous stories from lots of WCIH students in my latest Clever Competition! A big thank you to head librarian Bethan Amena for all her hard work hosting me and for the magnificent book sales!

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Here I am with Bethan Amena (Head of Library, to my left), Piers Matthews (Director of Marketing and Admissions) and Lizzie Yang, librarian. Thanks for a lovely two days!
Workshops galore with the Grade 5s to 7s

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Many thanks to WCIH’s official photographer July Qi for these lovely photos!

Thank you Fullers Bookshop!

March 16, 2019 at 9:58 am | Posted in Bookshop event, Events, Fuller's Bookshop, Hobart, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Many thanks to Tim Jarvis and Anne Fagan of Fullers Bookshop for hosting a story reading at their fabulous Collins Street store in Hobart on Saturday morning, 9th March! We had a small but quality audience of kids who expertly danced the Dance of the Seven Veils alongside Ping Pong Pig as she charmed the mighty Yongle Emperor in The Tale of Ping Pong Pig, and they left with some fun colouring-in sheets of characters from the book drawn by Harry Harrison! I look forward to seeing you all again soon!

Ping Pong Pig bounces into Hutchins School in Hobart!

March 16, 2019 at 9:41 am | Posted in Hobart, Hobart Schools, Tasmania, The Hutchins School | Leave a comment
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Wow! Look at that sky! It was what my Dad used to call a “blue and gold day” on Friday 8th March when Ping Pong Pig and I visited Hutchins Junior School at Sandy Bay in Hobart, Tasmania to visit our many friends there with my latest Chinese Calendar Tale in one packed session!  Just about every kid and teacher in school was there, from the Pre-Kindies to the Grade 6s, and they all fell in love with my feisty little pig as she evaded the Minister of Most Important Things in her romp around the Forbidden City in Beijing! Huge thanks to my dear friend, Head of Library Kate Reid, for inviting me in! And I’m looking forward to some great Hutchins entries in my Clever Competition!

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