It’s Leap Day!

February 29, 2020 at 10:29 am | Posted in Chinese Calendar Tales, Chinese customs, Chinese Zodiac, Leap Year | Leave a comment
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Illustration credit: Harry Harrison, The Tale of Run Run Rat

And how fitting that Leap Year 2020 is the Year of the Rat! Or that’s what Run Run Rat thinks, anyway! Because that’s how Run Run won the Olympics Marathon in The Tale of Run Run Rat, by leaping over the shoulder of the lead runner, who was built like a buffalo! (And of course quite coincidentally 🙂, the Rat won Lord Buddha’s Race, to place first in the Chinese Zodiac…by leaping over the Ox’s shoulder!).

So to celebrate this special day, 29th February, I thought it would be fun to find out some fascinating Leap Year facts! Here we go:

  • Leap Years contain one extra day, of 24 hours, because the Earth takes 365 days PLUS 6 hours to orbit the Sun! (This is known as a Tropical Year). So by adding (4 x 6) hours to the calendar every four years, our Gregorian calendar keeps pace with astronomy!
  • So they occur every 4 years – or, to put it another way, every year that is an integer (ie can be divided by to leave a whole number) of 4. Thus this year, 2020, can be divided by 4 to equal the whole number 505!
  • BUT you have to leave out the “century” years eg 1800, 1900, 2100, EXCEPT those that can be divided exactly by 400 (eg 1600, 2000) because a Tropical Year is just slightly shorter than 365.25 days (365.242190 days long, to be exact)! Phew that’s tricky!
  • If you are born on a Leap Day, you are called a leaper or a leapling! Technically, this means you can only have a true birthday every 4 years, which is rather sad when you’re young, but on the other hand, when you are 84 years in physical age, you can justly claim to be just 21 years old! Now I can think of a few adults who would be happy with that!
  • But never fear, the law says that if you are a leapling, your annual birthday is deemed to be either February 28 or March 1, depending on where you live. So you can still get birthday presents and a cake each year!
  • The comic super-hero Superman is a leapling! DC Comics, publishers of the Superman series, thought of this clever device to explain why Superman apparently never ages!
  • On Leap Day in Ireland, called Bachelor’s Day, women have traditionally proposed marriage to men, rather than the other way round. And if the man refused, he had to give the woman a new silk dress (or, by the middle of last century) a fur coat! Now that’s a handy way to get a new wardrobe!
  • In the Chinese and Jewish Calendar, which are lunar calendars, Leap Year adds on an extra month to the calendar! In the Chinese version, the extra month has the same name as the previous lunar month. In the Jewish version, it’s called Adar, and is extra-lucky!

So if you are a leapling, I wish you an incredibly happy Birthday, worth four times as much as a normal birthday!

But remember, always look before you leap!

Ram pagespread #2

Illustration credit: Harry Harrison, The Tale of Rodney Ram

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!

A fun event at Hong Kong Maritime Museum!

September 4, 2016 at 9:30 pm | Posted in Bookshop event, Chinese Calendar Tales, Chinese Zodiac, Story Readings | Leave a comment
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This afternoon I had the huge pleasure of meeting some kids, mums and dads and students from Yew Chung College at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum! There were  two story readings (The Tale of Chester Choi and The Tale of Rodney Ram), with book signings after and a chance to meet the audience! Many thanks to Annette Lo and Kitty But from the Museum for hosting a great afternoon!

The Deadly Deadlines are chasing YOU!

March 8, 2016 at 4:11 pm | Posted in Book Awards, Books about Chinese Zodiac, Writing competitions for kids | Leave a comment
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YIKES! The deadlines are coming, thick and fast! There are just:

3 MORE DAYS to vote for The Tale of Rodney Ram in the Younger Readers category in the Golden Dragon Book Awards 2016! So if you are a school student, teacher or parent living in Hong Kong, and you haven’t cast your vote yet, here is your final reminder! Please go to
http://www.hkgoldendragonawards.org/voting.html right away to cast your vote! If you’re not sure if your school is affiliated with the Awards, speak to your teacher or librarian at school right away and ask them to contact the organisers urgently!

16 MORE DAYS to enter my Mischievous Monkey Story Competition! If you are a primary school student anywhere in the world, you are eligible to enter, and entry is FREE of charge! Please go to http://www.sarahbrennanblog.com on the Clever Competitions Page for all the details!

So you’d better get a move on, or those deadlines are going to eat you up for dinner!

And finally, if you want to see what Rodney Ram, Ming Kee Monkey and I have been up to for the last 6 months in schools in Australia, Singapore, Guangzhou and Hong Kong, including some great new Youtube videos, press, photos and school testimonials, go to my website at http://sarah-brennan.com for my latest mega-update!

Just 6 more days to vote for Rodney Ram!

March 5, 2016 at 4:54 pm | Posted in Book Awards, Chinese Calendar Tales, Chinese Zodiac, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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YIKES! There are just 6 more days to vote for my handsome, romantic, shy ram and The Tale of Rodney Ram in The Golden Dragon Book Awards 2016 Younger Readers Section! So if you’re a Hong Kong school student, teacher or parent, make sure you cast your vote at http://www.hkgoldendragonawards.org/voting.html right away!

Just 13 more days to vote in the Golden Dragon Book Awards 2016!

February 28, 2016 at 1:54 pm | Posted in Book Awards, Chinese Calendar Tales, Chinese Zodiac, Hong Kong Schools, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Cute Ram

B-A-A-A-H! Rodney Ram and I would like to remind you that there are just 13 more days to cast YOUR vote for The Tale of Rodney Ram in the Golden Dragon Book Awards 2016! So if you love my shy, romantic, handsome sheep, or you love my books, or you just love lamb chops, and you are a Hong Kong school student or teacher or the parent of a Hong Kong school student, please go to http://www.hkgoldendragonawards.org/voting.html right away to cast your vote!

Questions about voting in the Golden Dragon Book Awards 2016!

February 16, 2016 at 5:06 pm | Posted in Book Awards, Chinese Calendar Tales, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Precious and Bright Idea

Well, my Inbox has gone crazy with questions since I wrote to you all yesterday about the Golden Dragon Book Awards! Here is a quick list:

Question: Who can vote?

Answer: You can vote if you live in Hong Kong and are

  • a student at an Affiliated School
  • a School Co-Ordinator at an Affiliated School
  • or an Interested Adult at an Affiliated School

Question: What IS an Affiliated School?

Answer: An Affiliated School is one that is registered in the competition. If your school is  not already on the list on the voting page, ask your teacher to write to the GDBA by filling in an easy form at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1KUs942nbmFxh7YgoQt9mJYWLScpMRQ0H9QyuLVAiR3g/formResponse

Question: What is an Interested Adult?

Answer: An Interested Adult is a member of staff or a parent of a child who goes to an Affiliated School (ie a school already on the list on the voting page!)

So if you want to cast your vote, talk to your school teacher today and ask them to make sure that YOUR school is on the Affiliated Schools list!

(And remember, if you like eating lamb chops, PLEASE vote for The Tale of Rodney Ram in the Younger Readers Category!!)

 

You can vote for Rodney Ram starting TODAY in the Golden Dragon Book Awards 2016!

February 15, 2016 at 8:49 pm | Posted in Book Awards, Chinese Calendar Tales, Chinese Zodiac, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Rodney writing an ode

If you are a school student or a teacher or an interested adult in Hong Kong, you can start voting TODAY for your favourite books in the Golden Dragon Book Awards 2016! The Tale of Rodney Ram is short-listed for the Younger Readers category! Here are just NINE great reasons why you should vote for The Tale of Rodney Ram!

  1. You love Rodney Ram
  2. You love handsome sheep
  3. You love romantic sheep
  4. You love shy sheep
  5. You love artistic sheep
  6. You love eating sheep
  7. You love Sarah Brennan and Harry Harrison’s books 🙂
  8. You want to support local books written by Hong Kong residents!
  9. You can’t think of any good reason why not!
So – please go right away to http://www.hkgoldendragonawards.org/voting.html
to cast YOUR vote!
And remember what the farmer said about his beloved Rodney Ram …
“Mark my words, he’ll bring us fame
And all the world will know our Rodney’s name!”

Two Funny and Fabulous Days at American International School Guangzhou!

September 24, 2015 at 8:20 am | Posted in AISGZ, Guangzhou schools | 3 Comments
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Well, it had to happen! Rodney Ram finally visited AISGZ, famously known as the School of the Ram, in Guangzhou, The City of Rams!! I had two great days there this week, packed with so much fun! It all started with the welcome assembly, when Elementary School Principal Gary MacPhie made a surprise visit playing The Skye Boat Song on his bagpipes – in reference to the years I spent playing the bagpipes when I was young! The whole school then heard my Tale of Rodney Ram, and we talked all about the famous Legend of the Five Rams of Guangzhou, and how rice came to China. Then we had story readings for the younger kids on the Tuesday, and How to Write a Riveting Story Workshops for the older kids on the Wednesday, with lots of fun book-signing and even a lunch with the gorgeous Grade 5 Library Monitors on Wednesday! Phew! It was busy, and I wouldn’t have missed a minute! Special thanks to my host the lovely Julie Dotterer, ES Librarian, and her lovely staff who looked after me so well!

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Thank you ISA Guangzhou!

September 24, 2015 at 8:05 am | Posted in Guangzhou schools, School visits | Leave a comment
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A big THANK YOU to the staff and students of ISA Guangzhou, a fabulous new international school in Guangzhou, who hosted me on Monday! We had a fabulous day of story readings, with the younger kids meeting Chester Choi, Pin Yin Panda and Rodney Ram, then the older kids took part in my Introduction to Poetry Workshop! Special thanks to principal Elaine Wheeler (in green), teacher Gaby (in black) and admin assistant Linda who helped make my visit so memorable!

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