Picture book session for future nursery school teachers

On 7th July 2016, I held a special session for students at Jissen Women's University in Hachioji, Tokyo.

Most of these students plan to be nursery school or kindergarten teachers in the future, so they were interested in getting some information about how to use picture books in English to teach children and stimulate creativity and imagination in the classroom.

Apart from reading two of my stories to the students, I gave them some actual experience of games, craft activities, songs and dances related to picture books. They actively joined in all of the activities and were particularly good at the Lily and the Moon dance!

Their regular teacher, Chiyuki Yanase, had already introduced the art of storytelling to the students and after my session the next project that the students will undertake is to plan and make their own stories and present them to local elementary school children.

I thoroughly enjoyed giving the session and the feeling the enthusiasm of the students. 

I'm sure that their stories will be great!!




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Author Talk at KAIS EMS International School

A few weeks ago I gave an author talk and picture-book reading session at KAIS International EMS school in Tokyo on their Career's day.



I read three of my stories to the children: Milkshake Shake, Peter the Lonely Pineapple and Lily and the Moon.

I also talked about the processes involved in writing and illustrating a picture book and brought some of my original artwork for the children to see.




I was very impressed with the questions that the children had prepared for me, such as how long does it take to write a story, how do I get my ideas and if I have a favorite book.


The children enjoyed the songs and dances connected to Milkshake Shake and Lily and the Moon and at the end they all made their own "Moon Story" and presented it to the class. It was great fun listening to their stories.




And what a lovely surprise it was to get this hand-written thank you card from the children a few days ago!



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Picture book event at Gabe Free School

I held a picture book event at Gabe Free School on 24th April.
I read Milkshake Shake, Lily and the Moon and Blue Mouse, Yellow Mouse.
The children had fun making moons and drawing and presenting what they want to see on the moon.

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Four Seasons on the Farm

My latest book, Four Seasons on the Farm, hot off the press!
I tried to capture the joy of the four seasons in the countryside seen through the eyes of children. Chiharu Ban made some beautiful illustrations for the story. This book is in Stage 5 of the Worldwide Kids materials produced by Benesse and includes a CD and animated DVD of the story.


| New releases 新しく出ました | 19:20 | comments(0) | trackbacks(0) | pookmark |

Narration concert at the Zeneiren Speech Contest finals

I really enjoyed the Ninth All Japan High School English Speech Contest held on 31st January, 2016.
​As the finalists had beaten over 2000 participants in the nationwide preliminary contests, the level of the language and content was extremely high. The topics that the students tackled in their speeches ranged from voting, investment and participation in local community activites, to preserving languages and questions of ethnic and sexual identity.
During the break while the judges were making their final decision, I gave a narration concert with pictures on a big screen accompanied my music. Zeneiren have asked me to give such a concert for the past seven years as it appears to be a good way to calm the tense atmosphere before the results are announced!
This year I narrated one of my stories, "Blue Mouse, Yellow Mouse", and a story written by high school students as an assignment during the high school classes that I taught during 2015. I chose one of the stories that I liked best, written and illustrated by Sana Shibayama and Satoko Oikawa, two students at Kodaira Minami High School. The title is "Henry's Stars" and it is a story of a fish that wishes for the stars.
The photos show Sana Shibayama and some of the beautiful pictures from "Henry's Stars".
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コスモピア英語の絵本クラブ クリスマスイベント東京2015

Cosmopier held a Christmas event on 13th December, 2015
at the Yumeiro cafe in Shin Okubo, Tokyo.
There were three sessions altogether and Erika and I read Milkshake Shake and If You Take  Mouse to the Movies with accompanying dances, quizzes and a craft activity. 
Milkshake Shake If You Take a Mouse to the Movies
The children who particip​ated were really active and I think they had a good time!
Everyone enjoyed making a pasta decoration (tree decoration or necklace!) at the end.

| イベント (Past events) | 20:14 | comments(0) | trackbacks(0) | pookmark |

mpi Kids' English Tour 2015

mpi (Matsuka Phonics) holds teacher training events each year in major locations throughout Japan.
The presentations during these events introduce many ideas for teaching English to children and how
to use mpi educational materials.
This year the mpi Kids' English Tour 2015 was held in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka during
October and early November; Mari Nakamura gave presentations in Osaka and Fukuoka and I gave
presentations in Nagoya and Fukuoka.
Our presentations were about helping children develop the skills needed in the 21st century (i.e. the 4Cs: communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity) based on the example of some lesson contents
and plans using the picture book, Milkshake Shake. As Milkshake Shake has a strong rhythm and rhyme
in the text we also showed how you can use shakers and clapping activities to help nurture a feel for the
natural rhythm and intonation in the English language.
I also enjoyed Izumi Miyashita's presentations on using readers to develop children's literacy
and she gave us many ideas how to help children develop an active interest in reading and
how to improve pronunciation.


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Picture book events in Kanazawa, November 2015

I enjoyed meeting such a great group of children, parents and teachers in Kanazawa
over the weekend of 28th and 29th November. The theme was stories, rhythm and songs. 
It's always fun to make shakers for everyone to shake to the beat or syllables, chants or songs.
The children and parents at Mari Nakamura's school, English Square, enjoyed making simple
shakers at my workshop by decorating a pet bottle and filling it with a little rice. 
First I read Milkshake Shake, then we all shook our shakers to the rhythm of the story and the song.
Then I read Blue Mouse, Yellow Mouse and children made their own original chants connected to the story.
I was really impressed with how eagerly the children joined in with the activities and songs.
They showed their originality in decorating the shakers, colouring their own pictures and making
their own chants within a short space of time.
The next day I gave book-readings of Five Little Ducks and Milkshake Shake at Meibundo Beans
book store and Mari Nakamura gave a presentation to teachers on how to use picture books to teach
the skills needed in the 21st century. 
I would like to thank Mari Nakamura, the parents and students at English Square,
staff and friends of mpi Phonics who organized, attended and helped us at the Meibundo
bookstore event, those in charge of the event at Meibundo bookstore, Miyoshi and everyone
who attended the event at the bookstore.
I hope to be back in Kanazawa again before too long!
| イベント (Past events) | 00:26 | comments(0) | trackbacks(0) | pookmark |

Release of new book - Milkshake Shake!

Yesterday, Milkshake Shake was released by mpi (English education and publishing company.)
Milkshake Shake is a fun story with rhythm and rhyme suitable as a first English picture book for small children.
Mrs. Cow enjoys making milkshake with her 3 children (calves!) and also enjoys a dance...

I co-wrote the story with Mari Nakamura who I also teamed up with to write Lily and the Moon.
The book is illustrated by Yoshiaki Ikebe.
It's also available on Amazon.

| New releases 新しく出ました | 22:18 | comments(0) | trackbacks(0) | pookmark |

Storybubble events

Since Chiyuki and I set up Storybubble in May this year we have held 3 storytelling events for parents and children.
Regina invited us to give an event at her school in Edogawa "Learn with Regina" on 30th August and Gemma invited us to hold an event for her students and parents on 5th September in Higashi Kanagawa.
Both events were great fun and I would like to thank both Regina and Gemma for organizing the venues and promoting the events to their students, as well us for helping us on the actual day!
If you would like to invite us to hold an event at your school, cafe or other venue, please contact me.
I'll post some photos here taken at Regina's and Gemma's events to give you an idea of what a Storybubble event looks like...



| イベント (Past events) | 16:21 | comments(0) | trackbacks(0) | pookmark |

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