story, science, technology and creativity

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Children’s book week: We love you Geraldton!

ImageI had the *BEST* time in Geraldton this week…

I was up there as a guest of the Geraldton City Library, and I feel so lucky to have been part of the Children’s Book Week celebrations. Everyone was SO welcoming and friendly (and energetic! They regularly attract more than 40 kids to RhymeTime!!).

[And newsflash: If you want a great seaside holiday combined with a terrific writing festival, book a weekend at Geraldton Library’s action-packed Big Sky 2013: it’s going to be great!!]

My visit was super-busy but very smooth: Thanks to the team of librarians for driving me here, there and everywhere, to the teachers for reading my books to their classes, to the school librarians for their gorgeous welcome displays, and to all the entire classrooms of kids for their great questions and great ideas. I came away Very Impressed Indeed!

As part of the week I also spoke on a panel at Nagle Catholic College‘s annualImage Girls’ Afternoon Tea, where I shared the couch with a Nagle student, a Nagle mum and two fresh, funny Nagle English teachers.

The afternoon was DELICIOUS and I had lots of fun. There was lots of audience participation, with students sharing their favourite books, their booky questions and their booky experiences. What a great idea! Well done everyone who participated!

Heads at John Willcock collegeI was also lucky enough to be able to speak at the Randolph Stow Young Writers Awards, which received more than 600 entries this year! Well done everyone!

It was so exciting to see all the nervous young writers accept their prizes (YAY!), and then to see them afterwards, when the pressure was off and the nerves were gone. I really thought some of them might fly out the door, they were so happy (and rightly so!) Great work everyone who entered and keep up the good work! Keep entering competitions!!

I also have to mention the terrific job that John Willcock College did in hosting the award ceremony for this year’s Randolph Stow Young Writer’s Awards. Their staff and student council were extremely welcoming and professional, with students doing a brilliant job of reading some of the winning entries. Thanks to everyone who helps to sponsor the awards: it’s thanks to opportunities like this that young writers, speakers and actors get a chance to shine.

Author visit with Bukit View Primary School: Words Go Round!

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Whee! I’m back from the Singapore Writers Festival Words Go Round school program for 2013.

It was FABULOUS!!! So many great schools, great people, GREAT FUN! Thanks to everyone I met and worked with! I hope you had as much fun as I did 🙂 And I hope you’re still writing those stories…Keep those words coming!

Over the next few days I’ll post more, but to get you started…here’s a shot from our visit to Bukit View Primary School, which will be featured on tonight or tomorrow’s TV news in Singapore. Bukit View has an incredible theatre room complete with brilliant props, Hollywood-style change rooms and glamorous couches. Perfect for getting in the mood to write deliciously exciting stories.

And of course, props and couches are no good without creative, dedicated and enthusiastic students and teachers. THANKS to Miss Pamela Kiew for the opportunity to visit Bukit View Primary, and to Singapore’s National Arts Council for the amazing schools’ program they run.

Now…let’s get writing!
Author visit with Bukit View Primary School

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Umi-bozu, macha pound cake and shodo

What do umi-bozu, macha pound cake and shodo have in common?

They were all part of my busy last week, which was so packed with visits and adventure that today I have a head cold and am staying home to do chores instead of anything remotely exotic :-)

But here is my week in three parts:

1) A thankyou letter and umi-bozu art!

This week at Dongara District High School, I also recieved a thankyou letter and some art…COOL!

I was also lucky enough to get several thankyou speeches from students, and that’s always a thrill.

An umi-bozu threatens a passing ship.

(BTW, I think you’re very brave to speak in front of all your friends and classmates) (I find it’s much harder to speak in front of people I know than total strangers).

So thank you for your thank yous! I loved them!!

2) A chance to try shodo!

Over the weekend I did a ‘meet the author’ session for a fundraiser for the International Board on Books for Young People at the Hyogo Centre as part of an afternoon of fabulous presentations, one of which was made by the ‘Kobe Girls’, Miki and Maiko.

It was great! I was able to try:

'tomo' or friend, painted by yours truly 🙂

– shodo calligraphy (harder than it looks!),

– sumi-e ink painting (impossible!), AND

– the girls had cooked up a storm of modan-yaki (like okonomiyaki but with more ingredients), gopan (rice bread) and macha pound cake (green tea flavoured cake) for everyone to enjoy. YUM!

3) A recipe for macha pound cake!

Here is Miki and Maiko’s recipe for macha pound cake:

Macha pound cake

90g sugar
90g butter
1 egg
90g flour
10g macha powder (check out your local Japanese food store for this)
1g baking power
30g azuki beans

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Melt the butter, mix in the the sugar, then the egg, then the flour, macha and baking powder.

Add the azuki and bake for 30 minutes. YUM!

For more on the fundraiser…

Miki and Maiko show a slide of a book van in action (thanks to Graham Blackwell for the photo)

For more on IBBY’s fundraising efforts for Japan, check out the IBBY website.

Read more about the project (in Japanese) at:

To read an article by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper go to: Picture books bring smiles to young earthquake victims

To donate funds to the IBBY-Japan 2011 project go to: IBBY Children in Crisis Fund

Please mark your donations IBBY-Japan Appeal