Acclaimed Australian children's author Morris Gleitzman had no hesitation in telling a literary festival that his favourite word was bum, and something he chose to use in his books rather than an adult word like posterior. Words like bum which were a 'little bit bold, a little bit rude and a little bit distasteful' helped win over young audiences, Gleitzman said. Gleitzman and fellow Australian author Mem Fox entertained a 200-strong audience with their impromptu stories and banter as guests of the Educators Literary Festival held last Saturday, the first public event at the Australian International School's (AIS) new campus in Kowloon Tong. Dianne McKenzie, a part-time teacher and librarian at AIS, co-ordinated their visit. 'The day was to raise money so we could have authors visit the school,' she said. The event gave educators and parents a chance to gather and listen to the authors, ask questions and take the experience back to their various schools and children. Both authors have since spent time at the school this week talking to the children about writing, reading, their books, how they came to be authors and encouraging them to read more often. Although AIS has been in existence since February 1995, the school has only been operational at the new campus since September. The festival provided an opportunity to showcase the its facilities including the auditorium and the library, with tours conducted after the seminars. Gleitzman, who has written a range of popular children's books, including Misery Guts, Worry Warts and Bumface, will also visit other international schools over the coming week. One of his most popular books, Two Weeks with the Queen, tackled issues such as homosexuality and dying. Ms Fox, the author of Australia's best-selling children's picture book Possum Magic, said reading responsibility lay with parents. 'It is definitely stunting children's brains if you don't read to them in the first year of life and daily before they start school at five,' she said. Parents had the most important role in teaching children to like reading because they had them for their first five years of life, which were more important than the years that followed. 'It is so vital that parents read to them, especially in the first year of life. 'It's almost damaging to children's brains if they don't.'