My name is Sam Barbour but all my students call me Teacher Sam or Teacher Ham! I am originally from the UK and have lived in Hong Kong since 2007. I have worked as a PNET (Primary Native English Teacher) at a school in Kwai Fong since 2009. The Litter Bug is my debut book for children. A 16-chapter juvenile fiction adventure set in Hong Kong with themes of nature, environmental protection & magic!
Bud, the junk food guzzling schoolboy drops litter everywhere and anywhere and worst of all...he doesn't even care! One Saturday afternoon, he enters a strange sweetshop called Strangely Sweet and is transported on a terrifying yet magical journey across Hong Kong with a mysterious woman called Helen, her faithful friend, Skye and a host of motley creatures from the dark and dirty alley. If you love magic and adventure, then this book is for YOU!
The inspiration for The Litter Bug came from a mosaic of different experiences, people and places over many years but mainly from my family, friends and from teaching and talking to my wonderful students. I really wanted to write about people and places that my students could relate to in a personal way. With this in mind, a story set in a school in Kwai Fong seemed like a great place to start! For example, during my lunch breaks, I sometimes walk around Kwai Fong Estate and the surrounding areas. The people I meet, the places, sights and sounds of the bustling city all inform my writing and I try to imagine where Bud - the protagonist of my story would fit in, alongside the other characters.
Favourite thing to do or see in Hong Kong
My favourite thing is being at home with my family as well as being at school with my students and spending time with friends. During the weekends and holidays, I love visiting the many beautiful places that our amazing home of Hong Kong has to offer. I like drinking Chinese green tea (Dragon Well is my favourite!), trying new food, reading books, writing new and original resources for my students, songwriting and swimming.
Where do you find inspiration in Hong Kong for your music and composing?
Mainly from my family, my students and from people in general really. Hong Kong is a constant and ever-evolving inspiration for my songwriting. I started playing the guitar at the age of 11 and writing songs at 15 but since moving to Hong Kong in 2007, I started to learn how to write songs for students. Songs that they will like, that are fun and that they can learn something from through the process of singing. In turn, this has also informed my writing of other songs as well. It's all a process and part of the same thing, that idea of sharing and enjoying the moment in song, together.