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.

97B6CCB4-8F90-400C-A6CE-04261544DDD6

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/

Dog behaviour for kids

It seems our entire class sprouted new puppies over the summer holidays. Some are well behaved, others somewhat less so. When we got our dog several years ago, we spent a lot of time setting boundaries and he’s a super chilled, very happy, child-friendly boy. We struggled with recall, well he is a terrier, but got there in the end with only one instance of an early morning sprint down the street in a semi-clad state after an escapee pup who had promised he only wanted out for a pee – luckily no photos exist!  Our rules include things like:-

  • we always go out of a room/ house before him (to establish that we are in charge, not him)
  • he isn’t fed from table (we can actually put a plate of sausages on the floor and he won’t touch them)
  • he isn’t allowed to jump up on visitors (not everyone likes dogs)

In the excitement of an adorable cute puppy joining the family, I totally understand that isn’t easy for children to understand why they can’t do some of these things, although by the time the pup is fully grown it becomes obvious.

Written by experts, Home Alone Harry is the perfect book to help young children understand both the HOW and WHY of dog training. I absolutely love it! If you have young children and are welcoming a dog into your house, you need this book.

And even better, it’s the first in a series of four. I can’t wait.

Home Alone Harry Cover

 

Blurb

Harry is a mischievous young dog, adored by his family, Dad and Mum, Maisie (8) and Max (5). When the family leave him on his own he creates chaos. Dad demands, “That bad dog must go!” Alone and sad in bed that evening, Max asks, “Can anyone help?” How will the Thunkies respond to his call?

Purchase Link – https://shop.thunkies.com/

 

About the authors and illustrator

 

Jerry Rhodes AUTHOR bio

Jerry Rhodes’ life-long research and teaching is the inspiration behind ‘Home Alone Harry’, this first book in a series for children featuring the cartoon characters, Thunkies®. After completing his degree and teacher training at Oxford University, Jerry’s career as a school-master was cut short by polio. He changed course to a management career in industry, discovered his talents for creativity, and formed his world-wide consultancy to collaborate with international organisations. A special project with Philips led to the discovery of ‘Thinking-Intentions’, to which he has now given the playful name, Thunkies®. Jerry writes his books from his weather-beaten old farmhouse in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds.

Rachael Messiter AUTHOR bio

Rachael Messiter, a Dog Listener, uses the approach known as Amichien® Bonding pioneered by Jan Fennell. Rachael has her own practice, Talking Paws, based in Staffordshire. Previously she lived with wolves for close on two years in Colorado, USA, to learn how packs work. She has identified a group of issues that dog owners experience that are due to the well-meaning but flawed behaviours of owners, rather than ‘nuisance’ dogs. How to properly avoid and resolve such troublesome issues will be the theme of each book in the series Thunkies® love Dogs.

Nicky Hill ILLUSTRATOR bio

Nicky Hill is an illustrator and storyteller from Winterbourne near Bristol. Her artwork is featured throughout the Thunkies® Love Dogs books, bringing a bright, vibrant style that captures the imagination. A great lover of animals both wild and domestic, Nicky also illustrates and writes her own series of books about ‘The Wotton Pack’; a group of inquisitive pooches who spend their days and nights having many adventures. She currently lives with her own pack of three dogs in Wotton-under-Edge, a small town in Gloucestershire, where she also co-runs the shop called ‘The Collective’.

 Social Media Links

Website – https://thunkies.com/

Shop – https://shop.thunkies.com/

Facebook – @thunkies

Instagram – @thunkies

Pinterest – thunkiesteam

Round up of the Creative Writing Skills book tour

I literally have no idea how to start, but I wanted to thank all the amazing book bloggers who took my Creative Writing Skills Workbook on tour! I’m thrilled with the response it’s received, not to mention the many requests for more books for different ages, pocket-sized books, and also a grown-up workbook.

Creative Writing Front Cover

Anyway, the formatting is lousy but here are all the links – happy browsing 🙂

Thanks again,

Lexi

Blog Name Blog Tour Content
Laura’s Interests https://dogsmomvisits.blogspot.com/2019/10/creative-writing-skills-by-lexi-rees.html
Mai’s Musings https://maitaylor567291325.wordpress.com/2019/10/07/creative-writing-skills-lexi-rees/
Broad Thoughts From A Home https://broad-thoughts-from-a-home.blogspot.com/2019/10/book-review-creative-writing-skills-by.html?fbclid=IwAR0GPVM-1wVdK64ybYHBrZ9aNioxOTbqsY-c1X1TZZU7JkCgArEkehvCJmk
Babydolls and razorblades https://babydollsandrazorblades.wordpress.com/2019/10/07/book-reviewcreative-writing-skills-over-70-fun-activities-for-children-by-lexi-rees/
Historical Fiction with Spirit https://jennifercwilsonwriter.wordpress.com/2019/10/07/book-review-lexi-rees-creative-writing-skills/
Radzy Writes http://www.vainradical.co.uk/blogs/creative-writing-skills-review/
B for bookreview https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com/2019/10/07/creative-writing-skills-lexi-rees-promopost-blogblitz-rararesources-lexi_rees/
Love the Smell of a Book https://lovethesmellofabook.com/2019/10/07/review-today-we-are-really-excited-to-be-joining-the-blog-blitz-for-creative-writing-skills-by-lexi-rees-creativewritingskills-backablogger-blogblitz-rararesources-lexi_rees/?fbclid=IwAR0tlEilKcClMsdL5cpyKtzMXRvB3mqeGNdVM69NW9AB0jmTuPjm1puhIPc
Southern Girl Bookaholic https://www.southerngirlbookaholic.com/2019/10/creative-writing-skills-by-lexi-rees.html
World Geekly News https://worldgeeklynews.com/books/creative-writing-skills-by-lexi-rees-review/?fbclid=IwAR3_6qsFenN892F7vRuxOr-XGd_CiddwavzNe3ub_iS1BKqyTApm2-ZIh6c
Through Novel Time & Distance https://scarlettreadzandrunz.com/blog-tours/2019/10/6/creative-writing-skills-over-70-fun-activities
Bookworm for Kids https://bookwormforkids.blogspot.com/2019/10/creative-writing-skills-over-70-fun.html
Jazzy Book Reviews https://bookreviewsbyjasmine.blogspot.com/2019/10/creative-writing-skills-by-lexi-rees.html
donnasbookblog https://donnasbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/10/07/blogblitz-bookreview-for-creative-writing-skills-by-lexi-rees-rararesources-creativewritingskills/
Reviews by Prisha https://prishayadav.blogspot.com/2019/10/creative-writing-skills-by-lexi-rees.html?fbclid=IwAR2NLdLKfwA7vyoedFXyLTfckfrihIlWvRkj17cxM9_WApm_wWuh_hIrQkU
Nesie’s Place https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com/2019/10/07/1dayblogblitz-creative-writing-skills/
Rachel Bustin https://rachelbustin.com/books/creative-writing-skills-over-70-fun-activities-for-children/
The Book Moo https://thebookmoo.wordpress.com/2019/10/08/blog-tour-creative-writing-skills-by-lexi-rees/
My baby and my books https://mybabymybooksandi.wordpress.com/2019/10/08/book-review-of-creative-writing-skills-by-lexi-rees/
Splashes Into Books https://splashesintobooks.wordpress.com/2019/10/07/creative-writing-skills/
Twirling Book Princess https://twirlingbookprincess.com/2019/10/blog-tour-book-blitz-creative-writing-skills-by-lexi-rees/
Cat and Mouse Reading http://catandmousereading.blogspot.com/2019/10/creative-writing-skills-by-lexi-rees.html?m=1#more
Linda’s Book Bag https://lindasbookbag.com/2019/10/07/creative-writing-skills-over-70-fun-activities-for-children-by-lexi-rees/
Herding Cats https://likeherdingcatsblog.wordpress.com/2019/10/07/creative-writing-skills-by-lexi-rees-blog-blitz/
Ellesea Loves Reading https://norwayellesea.blogspot.com/2019/10/new-release-spotlight-creative-writing.html
Dash Fan Book Reviews https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/2019/10/blog-tour-creative-writing-skills.html
Jane Hunt Writer https://jolliffe01.com/2019/10/07/creative-writing-skills-lexi-rees-4review-lexi_rees-rararesources-lexirees-outsetpublishing-creativewritingskills-childrensbooks-kidlit-nonfiction-workbook-writing-7-blogblitz/
The Photographer’s Way https://www.thephotographersway.org/creative-writing-skills-review/
Novel Kicks http://www.novelkicks.co.uk/book-review-creative-writing-skills-over-70-fun-activities-for-children-by-lexi-rees/

Maximum dinosaur dose!

Like so many others, my family definitely went through the stage where spending every weekend visiting Dippy at the Natural History Museum in London was essential.  (Top tip – the side door has a far shorter queue than the front door). By the way, if you’re keen to meet Dippy he (is it a he?) is on tour – here’s his schedule where to meet Dippy – he’s currently in Newcastle and next stop is Cardiff.

So I was curious about this dinosaur book, plus I was keen to hear the weekly podcast iknowdino for some serious dinosaur facts.

Taking the podcast first, there are an astonishing 253 episodes in the series which I hoped would keep even the most dino-obsessed youngster happy for a while, but whilst interesting, the podcast is serious stuff so really not young-child friendly, and this is (mostly) a kids blog!

Anyway, on to the book 50 Dinosaur Tales: And 108 More Discoveries From the Golden Age of Dinos

50dinosaurtales_cover

The first thing I didn’t know is that we’ve recently discovered new types of dinosaurs, so the 50 in his book are NOT the standard triceratops etc. Great!

The book is a mixture of short stories and facts. Given this is an unusual combo, Sabrina Ricci kindly agreed I could share this excerpt: the story of Weewarrasaurus pobeni, a dinosaur whose bones were opalized.

I’m interested to know what you think? I think it would be a great resource for the school library, but where to display it? The non-fiction section? Here you go …

Weewarrasaurus pobeni

Look to the right. Nothing. Good. Look to the left. Still nothing. Good. Tilt head back to the right. What’s that crackling sound? Just a fellow Weewarrasaurus pobeni taking a step. Good.

Weewarrasaurus has been on guard for hours with her brother and sister, watching over her family’s territory. The three ornithopods stand in a semicircle, ready to sound the alarm at any moment, if necessary.

The rest of her family is busy foraging for food. Weewarrasaurus doesn’t mind. She has an important job: to keep her family safe. After her shift ends, she will be able to eat.

They are in a particularly lush area. Sweet, fresh vegetation is everywhere. Weewarrasaurus knows that she won’t have any problem finding a snack later.

Like the rest of her family, Weewarrasaurus is a small animal, and living in a group has a lot of advantages. Someone is always watching for threats, so it’s safe to concentrate on finding food. If there are any threats, Weewarrasaurus can band together and show their strength in numbers. At night, everyone cuddles for warmth.

Most of the time, guard duty is uneventful, but it is also exhausting. Weewarrasaurus is on constant alert, looking in all directions and listening for any unusual sounds. Even normal sounds require scrutiny. A small splash could be her brother taking a drink or a potential predator dipping its toes into her family’s usual watering hole.

To be an effective sentry, Weewarrasaurus must stand upright on two legs, her head held high. She likes to stand on her toes to get the best view. Weewarrasaurus never takes a break, not even when her legs feel tired. Her job is too important.

Weewarrasaurus hears a smacking sound. She turns her head and sees her brother chewing on a plant. He’s on all fours and has used his beak to crop off a few tender leaves. Weewarrasaurus moves to his side and smacks him with her tail—a warning that he should respect his duties.

He flinches and stares at her for a moment, still chewing. Then he swallows and stands up straight.

Weewarrasaurus moves back to her post and looks away from him to show her disapproval. She has a reputation in the family for being a reliable guard, and she doesn’t want her brother to ruin it.

Luckily, her duties are almost done for the day. The sun is low in the sky, and the foraging family members are looking full.

Weewarrasaurus looks over to her mother, the leader of their group, for a sign that they’re ready to go home. Her mother notices the sun and lets out a quick grunt. Everyone stops feeding and lifts their heads. As a unit, they start to move back to their home for the night.

Weewarrasaurus quickly bends down into a quadrupedal position and heads to the nearest plant. She picks off as many leaves as she can with her beak. Once her mouth is full, she runs to catch up with the rest of the group, chewing as she goes. Her brother and sister follow.

Weewarrasaurus is satisfied. Another job well done.

Facts

  • Weewarrasaurus pobeni was an ornithopod that lived in the Late Cretaceous in what is now New South Wales, Australia.
  • Weewarrasaurus fossils were preserved in green-blue opal.
  • Weewarrasaurus had teeth and a beak to eat vegetation.
  • The genus name Weewarrasaurus refers to Wee Warra, where the holotype was found.
  • The species name pobeni is in honor of Mike Poben, an opal dealer who first recognized the fossil when it was in a bag of rough opals he got from miners. He donated the fossil to the Australian Opal Center.

Find out more in the I Know Dinopodcast, episode 212, “Wuerhosaurus.”

Blurb

Gualicho takes a bite out of the ornithopod’s back as it runs away from her, causing it to stumble and fall. She jumps on top of the body and rips open its neck with her teeth. The ornithopod becomes still and limp.

Satisfied, Gualicho begins to feast. But, after only two bites, she senses something is wrong. She lifts her head and sees a Mapusaurus making its way toward her.”

About 50 Dinosaur Tales
Blending fiction with fact, 50 Dinosaur Tales imagines the way 50 newly described dinosaurs from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous lived in their natural habitats.

Also included is a list of fun facts for each dinosaur story, and facts about 108 additional dinosaurs.

If you want to hear more about new dinosaurs as soon as they are discovered, listen to the weekly podcast I Know Dino.

Purchase Links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07SSKV7XM

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07SSKV7XM

Author Bio

 

50 Dinosaur sabrinaricci_profile

Sabrina is a writer and podcaster. She loves nerdy things, like technical specs and dinosaurs, especially sauropods. When she’s not writing, she’s podcasting with her husband at I Know Dino(iknowdino.com), a weekly show about dinosaurs.

Social Media Links –

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/iknowdino/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iknowdino/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/iknowdino

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/iknowdino/

Website:  https://iknowdino.com/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/iknowdino