English picture book event at Kanazawa Meibundo Beans Bookstore

There was an English picture-bookreading event and seminars for teachers held at the Meibundo Beans bookstore in Kanazawa on 10th December, 2016.

I gave a book-reading of mpi Phonics English picture books and a seminar for teachers on Active Learning with Picture Books.

Thank you to everyone who came!







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JALT National, 2016

Mari Nakamura and I made a joint presentation "Nurturing Presentation Skills with Picture Books" at JALT (Japan Association of Language Teachers) National, Nagoya, on 26th November. In our presentation, sponsored by mpi Phonics and Nellie's Books, we used our two new books "Can We Be Friends?" and "A Trip to Grandma's House" to show how young learners can build presentations based on picture books.

In the first section on "Can We Be Friends?", teachers enjoyed using puppets to make conversations about what they can or can't do. in the second part of our session, we had two teams making objects out of shapes to solve various problems which was based on the "Trip to Grandma's House" story. And in-between we sang the "Can We Be Friends?" song with movement and gestures.



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23rd November, 2016 (public holiday)

Parent and child bookreading, singing and play 12:00-12:45

Bookreading, playing and movement in English for elementary school children 13:00-14:00

Venue: Kuriyama Park Sports Center, Koganei-shi, Tokyo

Contact: 042-382-1001  


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A Trip to Grandma's House (new picture book)


How can the shapes help the family of bears visit Grandma?

Children can enjoy seeing the bears' adventure and the objects made by the shapes in this new picture book that I co-authored with Mari Nakamura (illustrated by Chiiko Watanabe and published by mpi).



The book can be used by parents or teachers for children to learn the names for shapes and enjoy making their own pictures from shapes.


The book includes a CD with narration, rhythm reading and song and can be ordered on these links:

Amazon Japan 


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Can We Be Friends? New picture book release

I wrote the newly released picture book for young learners "Can We Be Friends?" (published by mpi and illustrated by Fumie Maejima) together with Mari Nakamura.


It is the story of a friendship between a cat and turtle. Can they be friends even though the things they can do are quite different? 


Children will enjoy trying out the actions illustrated in the book and following the friendship between the cat and turtle as it develops. It can help young learners of English to understand how to use the "I can.." and  "I can't..." structures and can be used as a basis for many classroom activities if used for teaching.


The book includes a CD with narration of the story, rhythm reading and a song.


Available from Amazon Japan or mpi





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mpi Kids English Tour 2016

The English education company, mpi (previously known as Matsuka Phonics) holds the mpi Kids English Tour each year in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka.
The seminars given during these events introduce many ideas for teaching English and this year Mari Nakamura and I will be holding seminars about introducing Active Learning when teaching children.
Active Learning for young learners of English includes the skills of thinking independently and using language to express ourselves and give presentations. We will demonstrate how these skills can be developed even in young children learning English as a foreign language by using the examples of activities based on 2 picture books.
Information in Japanese about the mpi Kids English Tour is written in this article:
The tour schedule is as follows:
Tokyo: 30th October, 13:00 - 16:30 AP Nishi Shinjuku, 4th floor, Room HI
Osaka: 6th November, 13:00 - 16:30 CIVI Kenkyu Center, Shin Osaka Higashi, Room E705 
Nagoya: 16th October, 13:00 - 16:30 IMY Hall, Convention Room
Fukuoka: 23rd October, 13:00 - 16:30 AQUA Hataka, 3F, Convention Room A
東 京 10月30日(日)13:00〜16:30 AP西新宿 4F ルームHI
大 阪 11月6日(日)13:00〜16:30 CIVI研修センター新大阪東 E705
名古屋 10月16日(日)13:00〜16:30 IMYホール 会議室
福 岡 10月23日(日)13:00〜16:30 AQUA博多 3F A会議室
More details and reservations can be made through mpi's website (at present in Japanese only):
There is a 1000 yen discount for the full afternoon of seminars if you reserve by 30th September, 2016.
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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.


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