Friday, March 11, 2016

Four schools in Hong Kong

After an exploratory first weekend in Hong Kong (my first time), I enjoyed visiting four schools over five days.

(Note: If you notice any shirt repeats, please be aware that my hotel had laundry service.)

Day 1: Bradbury School

Dozens of shrunken heads greeted me—sculptures by the students, cheekily placed on a wall next to the school entrance.

Before I began speaking, the students sang a song about the role of the author and the illustrator…and, to my pleasant surprise, the publisher, too! It's good when kids understand that writing is solitary but making a book is a team effort!

Scenes from Bradbury:

Even before I left the building, photos from my presentations turned up on a feed shown in the library:

I might not have made it to HK if not for former Bradbury librarian Debbie Alvarez, with whom I began corresponding in 2014. She was from Oregon and was planning to move back, so she kindly passed me to her colleague at another HK school, Rosheen Rodwell, who organized my sizable trip with skill and stamina.

I did not know that Debbie was suffering from cancer, which was an impetus for her to return to the States…nor did I know that on 12/21/15, a mere four days after she last emailed me, Debbie passed away. I learned this from a touching display at Bradbury:

Thank you, Debbie, and rest in peace.

Day 2: Kowloon Junior School

A colorful and spacious library, engaged students, and dedicated staff made this another standout school.

Student work done immediately after my talk:

Three favorite comments from kids:

  • "Your hair looks like Bill Finger's."
  • "Do you know my grandpa?" (when I said I'm from Connecticut, as is his grandpa)
  • "What can we do to help?" (in response to my challenge to help spread Bill's story)

Interlude: Two International Finance Centre

In the 2008 film The Dark Knight, Batman came to Hong Kong for some base jumping/thugnapping. To do so, he flew down from Two International Finance Centre (then the tallest building in HK) to One International Finance Centre. You can see both over my shoulders.

Day 3: Harrow International School

A breathtaking building where students both learn and live, with sweeping grounds.


Days 4-5: Peak School

So much Book Week bookiness going on here, it was hard to keep up with it all.

A contest to redesign book covers:

A contest to guess which teacher is reading which book:

A contest to photograph yourself "extreme reading":

This school is truly at the peak of motivating students to read using fun.

Special thanks yet again to Rosheen Rodwell at Peak, who tirelessly coordinated all the HK schools with me over the past year. I am grateful for your efforts.

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