Got a messy sibling problem?

It’s my stop on this fabulous book tour today and I’m really excited! Why? My favourite poem to read when I do school visits is “Messy Room” by Shel Silverstein. I act it out and it’s always a huge hit. So this new picture book, How Messy, by Clare Helen Welsh and Olivier Tallec really appealed.

When I read it, what caught my attention was how the situation with the two characters, Dot and Duck, could be used to help siblings sharing a room with each other when one is very messy, and the other is not. This reminded me of sharing with my sister – I’m not going to tell you which one is me, but I bet you can guess!

It is a super simple story with very few words, so ideal for the youngest of pictures book readers – perhaps the older sibling could even read it to the younger sibling? I would have definitely read it to my sister (yes, I’m the older one, but I’m still not telling if I was the messier one!)

I have to comment on the lovely colours used in the illustrations – very traditional English beach holiday. And having rediscovered the staycation – I approve!

Blurb

Dot and Duck are best friends, but Dot hates mess and Duck hates tidy. Duck leaves the bed unmade, the cupboards open and breakfast everywhere. How messy!

In the morning, Duck makes Dot pancakes for breakfast, how kind! But Duck leaves a BIG mess! At the beach, Dot carefully lays out her towel and picnic… and Duck digs a big hole covering everything with sand! SO messy!

Characterful watercolour illustrations bring this story to life, and big font makes the story easy for young readers. How Messy! is a simple yet hilarious story with a touching ending and an important message about accepting differences and learning to compromise.

About the author and illustrator

Clare Helen Welsh is a children’s book author who lives in Devon with her husband and two children. In 2013 Clare won the The Margaret Carey Scholarship for Picture book Writers and in 2014 she received the silver medal at The Greenhouse Funny Prize for her debut picture book Aerodynamics of Biscuits. She teaches primary school and has over ten year’s experience in Early Years and Key Stage One education.

Olivier Tallec’s work has been called “sensitive”, “stunning”, “breathtaking”, and “beautiful”. Tallec was born in Brittany, France, in 1970. After graduating from the École Supérieure D’arts Graphiques in Paris, he worked in advertising as a graphic designer, after which he devoted himself to illustration. Since then he has illustrated more than sixty books

Looking for a new family cookbook

I’ve been looking forward to sharing this with you. And the middle of the school holidays seems the perfect time for a family cookbook. I’m really old school with my family cookbooks – i.e. Delia – and most of my books are more Ottolenghi-esque with 18 million ingredients and big flavours, so my nosy instinct kicked in to see what another family eat on a daily basis.

So any book that starts with pictures of Scotland and a section on casseroles is off to a good start in my opinion. Then the recipes dot around all over the place – we go straight from stews to noodles. I guess your taste buds will either love the variety or get very confused. It’s like one of those “pot luck” dinner parties that were all the rage in the 1970s – “do you want a bit of beef stroganoff to go with that greek salad?” Anyway, considering it is a hotch-potch of recipes, there isn’t a single one that I wouldn’t happily serve, and my family happily devour.

Blurb

Cook it Eat it Live it is written by Jo Kenny, food writer and owner of GirlEatsWorld.co.uk.
In this first publication, Jo offers readers a vibrant and varied collection of recipes inspired by both travel and family ties to the UK, Japan, Guyana, the Caribbean.

This delicious collection of every day recipes satisfies appetites for light bites, indulgent dinners, fresh sides and delicious desserts.You’ll find a spectrum of dishes from rich, earthy flavours to fresh aromatics giving you meals to enjoy year round. All recipes are firm favourites in Jo’s own household and cooked regularly. This is family style, every day inspiration to ensure no more boring dinners.

Recipes are punctuated with stories of travel, food inspirations and a personal philosophy of enjoying food unapologetically. Cook it Eat it Live it is about finding happiness in the little things and injecting some joy into every day life through wholesome, exciting meals.

About the author

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Jo is a food writer from Bedford, living with her husband Alex, newborn son and Kimchi the cat. Her website GirlEatsWorld.co.uk was founded in 2012. Starting out as a personal space to capture cooking and food adventures, it has evolved into a public hub for recipes, cooking guides and food inspiration. Jo is passionate about fresh ingredients eaten joyfully, intuitively and adventurously. 

Four fab lockdown family photo ideas

If you know me, you’ll know I’m very chatty on Twitter, but actually I’m loving Instagram at the moment because the images are so cheerful and uplifting. My attempts don’t always work out Insta-worthy, so I was chatting to photographer Nina Mucalov and have invited her to share her tips … I’m going to start with idea 3.

Looking for a fun 15 minute activity with your kids this long weekend?  

Try an at-home lockdown photoshoot 📸  No need to tidy anything, just pick a spot next to a big window, grab a laundry basket to clear any mess, then call your kids over.  

HERE ARE 4 IDEAS I’VE USED WITH MY OWN KIDS DURING LOCKDOWN


1. Reading
Are books a big part of your life? Grab some favourite titles and capture your kids reading on their own or ask your partner to take one of you reading with them.  

2. A favourite game
Are your kids into lego, chase, or hide-and-seek? My little one never tires of hiding under the covers (and she especially loves it when I hide with her!)   


3. Upside Down
This is a sure way to capture genuine smiles and laughter. Get them to go upside down on the sofa or on the bed or ask your partner to hold them upside down.  It always results in giggles.   


4. Age Profile
Take a photo of each child on their own and ask them to list their favourite things.  Then use an online program – Canva is great (and free!) to create an Age Profile.  You’ll love looking back on these as your children grow and their tastes change.  

If you like these (how could you not!) do check out her other pictures over here …

www.ninamucalov.com

Instagram: @ninamucalov

Votes for Women

I shared this interview with Jill Atkins, author of Votes for Women, an amazing narrative non-fiction for ages 9+, with my newsletter a while ago, but with so many of us homeschooling now, I though it would be helpful to share again.

Jill is in my local SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) group and, as a prolific author with more than 100 books published, I confess I’m a little in awe of her (make that a lot!). Anyway, she’s super lovely and I’m going to hand over the pen to her now …..

One of my latest books is called ‘Votes for Women’. It’s for young people aged anywhere between 9 and adult and it tells the story of Rose, and her cousin Freddie, both born in 1900, who are aged 12 when Rose’s story begins. The book is partly narrative, part diary, with letters, postcards and a telegram. 

When I was asked by an editor at Hodder to write this book I was really excited and delighted because women’s suffrage has always interested me and is dear to my heart. We have a lot to thank many people for, because their campaigning eventually gave women a vote. I strongly believe that all people should vote in elections because it took a long time and a tremendous effort to achieve the right to do so.

To write this book, I had to get the facts right because, although it is a work of fiction, it is based on things that really happened just over 100 years ago. So I needed to research carefully. I bought books, borrowed from the library and found information on the internet. I also needed to know about daily life at that time. For example, what were telephones like in those days? What would a twelve year old wear? What kind of education did girls have? Did they have equal opportunities to boys? 

I had heard of Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters who led the ‘Suffragette’ movement, but I needed to know more about them and the others who strove for the vote with them. They held marches and meetings, but also performed acts of vandalism like setting fire to pillar boxes and they went to prison for it. Rose’s sister is for this movement.

What I didn’t know was that other people (mainly women – ‘Suffragists’) had been working peacefully for the same cause for about 50 years. Rose’s Granny was a ‘Suffragist’.

Then I imagined I was twelve years old in 1912 and wrote her story, through her eyes: what she witnessed and experienced; how she felt; what conclusions she came to about the rights and wrongs of the different groups of people. I hope you’d love to read ‘Votes for Women’ and learn about how women got to vote.

This isn’t the first historical fiction I’ve written: The Great Fire of London is about a boy waking up as the first warning shouts are heard in the streets of London; Sophie’s Secret War is the diary of a girl experiencing the German occupation of northern France in the Second World War; Royal Nursemaid is about a girl who becomes the nursemaid to Queen Victoria’s children in the mid 1800s.

I’ve also written early reading books and books for young teens. One of the teen books is called ‘A Brightness out of the Blue’. This is a modern-day story, based on the story of Cinderella with a twist.

I began writing for children when I was a teacher and I thought there weren’t enough good books for children in my class you read, but I’ve always written and told stories. In fact, I used to make up stories for my two little brothers when they were in the bath!

I’ve always loved reading. I read a lot now – children’s, teens and adult books – and as a child I used to read by torchlight under the bedclothes after my parents had switched off my light! Reading can take you places. Enjoy!

Thanks Jill. Now, my newsletter readers will know that I always make authors visiting us share a picture of them as a child, the more cringeworthy the better – but this is a gorgeous pic – where is the pudding bowl haircut? The orange cords? I’m so disappointed haha!

Take care everyone and stay safe.

Babushka – cover reveal

My sister and I adored the set of brightly painted Russian dolls we had as kids and my sister carried the “baby” around with her everywhere. I did have to google what Babushka meant – apparently it’s Russian for old woman or grandmother. Anyway, when this cover reveal landed in my inbox I got all nostalgic. Our set is long gone, but I found this image which is exactly how I remember them.

Blurb

Babushka hadn’t been in her homeland since she was a child. She went to the church with a suitcase, and the whole way, Babushka thought about how she would feel in Ukraine after so many years. She sang, and then she prayed. Amen. But Babushka was thinking of her trip instead of the Lord’s grace. After a long time pondering what to expect—if she would feel a sense of belonging—Babushka arrived in her homeland. Babushka had a lot of fun, but she felt like something was missing. She was homesick. “Babushka is Homesick” is a story about memories, family, and the true meaning of the word “home.”

“Babushka is Homesick” is the second children’s book in the Babushka Series. Everyone has their own stories, history, and the desire to belong. The first book, “Tell me a story, Babushka,” is a best-selling new release in Children’s Multicultural Literature on Amazon USA (Aug 2019), in which kids and adults will enjoy fun adventures and identify their own stories.

This folktale is ideal for ages 4-11 and perfect for teachers.

Purchase Links:

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0848BP2SH

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0848BP2SH

About Carola Schmidt

Pediatric Oncology Pharmacist & award-winning author of children’s multicultural literature, such as Babushka Series, and children’s books about cancer, such as Chubby’s Tale: The true story of a teddy bear who beat cancer, and Bald is Beautiful: A letter for a fabulous girl. Springer Nature author with several scientific books published on pediatric oncology.

Twitter: @_CarolaSchmidt and @LovelyBabushka

Facebook: @MyLovelyBabushka