HK International Young Readers Festival

The HKIYRF is a fantastic opportunity for us to bring authors directly into the classrooms. Over the past week no less than 3 authors came to talk to our pupils in the International Stream.

1. Oliver Phommavanh is a writer as well as a stand-up comedian and a primary school teacher. He visited our Y7 and 8 on Thursday 9th March. His talk was about incorporating humour in writing, growing up multicultural in Australia and his personal growth as a writer. You can access Oliver’s blog on his website at:

Oliver had our youngsters roaring with laughter at the numerous anecdotes he used in his books. He punctuated his talk with advice on writing humorous stories.

He’s AWESOME and so funny, Eugene Year 7

He’s hilarious, Gaelle Year 8

Now I want to read his books so badly!, Zoe Year 7

It was AMAZING! Maybe he could write a joke book next!, Gaia Year 7

2. Children’s author Blair Reeve was here over two days to talk to various groups of pupils.

Y8 pupils: “Today in English, an author called Blair Reeve came to visit us to talk about his book, ‘Greta Von Gerbil and her Really Large Lexicon’. Last year, he visited to talk about his other book ‘Hogart the Hedgehog Turns Nink’. That book was meant for younger kids so he decided to write a book that is aimed at older kids. At the beginning, he taught us a list of words and got us to guess what the words meant. He also read us two of his performance poems. It was unusual how one of the poems, Concentrate, was filled with words to confuse us and throw us off track, but the goal was actually to get us to concentrate. 

The book was very funny, it taught us a lot of new words and expanded our vocabulary rapidly. It was very confusing at times as there were many words that we didn’t understand, but it made sense as soon as we learnt them. The class was intrigued by the nonsensical words Greta and Seamus McHamster used. It was especially fun when we tried to decode what the words meant. The illustrations, by Chris Stapp, were really evocative and matched the text. We thought it was cool how he managed to make the story rhyme at the same time. To conclude it was a nice experience to read a picture book again because at our age, we don’t get to do that very often. Thank you to Mr. Reeve!”

3. Author Stephanie Kuehn discussed mental health representation in YA Fiction with the first group of students (Y11) and writing mysteries/thrillers with the second group of students (Y10).  You can check out her 5 books here:

Stephanie Kuehn was a really passionate author who taught us about writing mysteries and creating suspense in writing. She gave us tips about revealing the solution, arousing emotion in readers and using unreliable narrators, Audrey, Year 10

It was very inspiring. It really showed me the skills to use in the future if I ever write a story, Adrian, Year 10

She offered many fascinating and alternative viewpoints in regards to YA literature, Caoimhe, Year11