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

Hopping corn science experiment

I just had to share this cool science experiment from the fabulous Suzie at StemSpark. Is it just me, or is this like making your own lava lamp? Love, love, love it!

Anyway, here are Suzie’s easy peasy instructions …

You’ll Need a clear glass container popping corn water baking soda white vinegar food coloring (optional)

Instructions 1) Fill your glass container with water and add a couple drops of food coloring.

2) Add your baking soda and stir well until it is all dissolved.

3) Add a small handful of popping corn kernels.

4) Add the vinegar and watch the corn start to hop up and down!

Hopping Candy science experiment

The corn will hop up and down repeatedly in your container for over an hour.  It’s so much fun to watch (mesmerizing would be the best word to describe it). The experiment creates a great opportunity to talk about gases, liquids, and solids with your child.

Basically, the science behind the activity is that when the baking soda and vinegar combine, they react to form carbon dioxide (CO2) gas.  The gas forms bubbles in the water, which enclose the corn kernels.  The bubbles lift the kernels up to the surface, and when the kernels get to the surface, the bubbles pop, and the kernels sink again.

Story telling on Spirit FM

Most of you will know I ran an illustration competition for kids earlier this year – it’s a great way to engage readers and the community – and I’m passionate about getting kids writing, so I was really excited when I heard local author Lynne Healy had teamed up with radio station SpiritFM with a unique creative writing competition.

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Here’s Lynne to tell us what happened …

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to win an advertising package with Spirit FM, our local radio station. As I have created Birdham Bear to inspire children to find and express ‘their unique’ I thought a fun way to use it would be to run a creative writing competition for children in West Sussex. The brief was simple: children aged 11 and under were invited to write a short story, up to 500 words, on anything that inspired them.

Spirit were very impressed with the number of entries. Judging was a challenge as the stories were all so unique. In the end it was easy to choose Willow as the winner. She was one of the youngest entrants and her story was simple and fun with a delightful message of kindness that both. Birdham Bear and I loved. We also both agreed that we’d love to blow bubbles every time we speak!

The radio presenters recorded her story.
https://www.spiritfm.net/win/creative-writing-competition/