Who orbited the earth first?
Ham the Chimp John Glenn Yuri Gagarin Laika the Dog
Did you guess Laika? I did, and I was right. Laika was the first living creature to orbit the earth. She was launched on November 3, 1957, two years before I was born. Her achievement was also the beginning of the Space Race between the US and the USSR.
Spaceships back then weren’t well built. We have more than 60 years of experience so we build better spaceships now. We even have a space station where people can live for months at a time.
Poor Laika! She only lived a couple hours after launch. This is a model of Sputnik 2. It doesn’t look very comfortable. I hope Laika was treated well before becoming a dog-o-naut. Before that Laika was a stray living in the streets of Moscow. Russian scientists thought a stray dog would have an easier time living in the harsh conditions in space. If you visit Star City, Russia, you’ll find a statue and plaque that honors Laika and her contributions to space science. Her statue is next door to where she trained for her space adventure and where Russian cosmonauts still train today.
Now, can you guess who was 2nd to orbit the earth?
Ham or John or Yuri
An Interview with Pippa Chorley
Meet Pippa Chorley! Her interview is now On the Scene, on the blog button. Pippa answered 6 questions about her writing life. She started young, as a child.
I think the most interesting thing about Pippa is that she hails from Cheshire, England. Now she lives in Singapore with her husband, 3 young children, and her dog Jasper. He’s her writing buddy. Pippa finds her best ideas when she’s taking Jasper for a walk. Her debut book comes out April 5th. I wonder who found the sheep first, Jasper or Pippa.
This is Pippa’s debut book! I love the cover! Poor Sam, she can’t go to sleep. Her mum suggests counting sheep. Sam tries but gets stuck when Little Shep can’t jump over the fence. Join Sam and her flock in this frolicking rhyming farmyard adventure.
Fun Fact: I met Pippa when I met Susan Jacobs Lipshaw. We were all on Kid Lit 411. I’ve only been outside the US twice, and now I have a writing friend from Singapore. I love her ‘mum’ instead of my ‘mom.’ I’m fascinated with the small things that make us a little different and a lot special.
This is my favorite kind of question!
Which country has the world’s most eco-friendly beaches?
Australia France Spain New Zealand
The answer . . . Spain
FYI – this beach may or may not be in Spain.
Spain has 590 beaches that have been awarded Blue Flag certification by the Foundation for Environmental Education. That means their beaches are eco-friendly, safe, accessible, and have learning experiences. The next 2 beaches are in Spain.
This beach sits beside Malaga. Malaga is both a city and a province. It’s gorgeous!
This beach is in Andalusia. It’s a territory in southern Spain. It has 8 provinces, including Malaga. The provinces form the bottom of the Spanish coastline. It’s gorgeous too!
This is a map of Spain. It’s done in the colors of the Spanish flag. The country to the north is France. The country to the west is Portugal. The continent to the south is Africa.
The Mediterranean Sea and its beaches are to the east. The Atlantic Ocean and its beaches are to the west. Do you see the bottom red section of land? That’s Andalusia and its beaches.
An Interview with June Smalls
Meet June Smalls! Her interview is up on our website blog. She answered 6 questions about her life as a writer. If you want to write, her answers might help you start. June’s debut book comes out April 2nd. I’m so glad it’s not April 1st because her book is a fun way to learn something new.
The most important thing to know about June is that she’s always loved animals, and that she’s been making up stories about them for as long as she can remember. I think it’s perfect that her first book is about animals!
This is June’s debut book, and it HAS odd animals! Not an alligator or bear to be found, but you can meet an Aye-Aye or a Fossa. Not only are her animals odd, but they introduce their letters in their own unique, but odd way. If you want to find out what Aye-Ayes and Fossae are, you can preorder this book now or wait till it comes out April 2nd.
Fun Fact: I met June back in June of 2016, no pun intended. We both were taking a class with the Highlights Foundation in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. I think it’s great that we get to be debut authors the same year and with the same debut group. It’s a ‘small’ world after all. All puns intended!
Have you ever read a book that you love? You can’t stop reading it, even if it’s time for bed. You HAVE to read the next page, the next chapter. When you finish, you HAVE to read it again. It might make you laugh, or cry, or both. It might even turn you topsy-turvy! If you have, then you should review that book.
Why should you write a review? You loved the book. Isn’t that enough?
It could be, but if you take the time to write a couple of sentences, you’d help the book. You’d help its author. You’d help someone on the other side of the world find this book too.
I’ve heard that writing a good review for a book is like chocolate for an author. Imagine, you, giving your favorite author, your favorite book a box of chocolate just by writing a review. It doesn’t cost you anything but time, and authors love it. What a great thing to do!
I hope I’ve convinced you to write a review. The next step is to write it, but you’re probably wondering HOW?
Start by writing it online. If you don’t feel comfortable, write it on paper or on your computer first. Then go into Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Cut and paste your review into their link. Actually, confession time, that’s what I do. I write them first for My Reads, my website book review. I do it in My Newsletter form. Then I cut and paste them to My Reads, and then into Amazon. It’s easy peasy because I’ve worked out my words in advance.
Still worried? Here are some tips . . .
2. Make sure you’re accurate about what you write. I know an author who got a bad review. It said there was a walrus or seal in her story. There wasn’t. Writing something that’s false isn’t fair to you or to the author. You might not read the story, and the author may not sell books because of bad information.
3. If you post a review on Amazon, be ready to grade the story. Fours are good. Fives are great. Those are the only books I review.
4. Next think about why you liked or loved this story. It’s an easy place to start. It’s also what I’m looking for if I read your review. What’s so great about this book?
5. Think about the characters. Was there something that made you want to read about them? When I choose a new book, I look at characters and how they’re developed to make my decision.
Think about the plot, how the story moves from the problem to the solution. What kept you reading? I want to know that too. Make sure you tell me what you liked/loved about the plot and the characters, and I might buy the book you reviewed.
6. Finally, what makes this book special? How is it unusual? What caught your attention? When you proofread your review, you want to make sure it’s there. If you’re good at writing reviews, you might even become one of Amazon’s top reviewers.
BTW, I’m not a top reviewer, but in the last couple months, I’ve had 2 people reach out to me to review their books. I guess they liked how I write reviews.
Beach’s Best Tip – I just discovered this a month or two ago. When I edit ANYTHING, I click on narrator in Microsoft Word. It makes it so easy to hear my mistakes and improve them.
For me that’s the best part about writing, always pushing to write my very best. Good luck! Happy Reviewing!
I love to learn, and I love doing quiz questions. I just got the idea for us to do trivia together. I saved my favorite questions from two sites, travel trivia and quiz club.
Here’s your first question. Good luck!
PS- I never look up the answer. I try to guess.
What was the happiest country in 2018? I got it right! I hope you do too!
Your choices . . . Finland Norway Denmark Sweden
How did Finland win? The United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network picked them. Wow! That’s a mouthful!
The UN Network looked at 6 factors – 1. Money earned from goods and services (GDP) 2. Life expectancy 3. Social support for citizens 4. Generosity 5. Freedom 6. Lack of corruption. They ranked 156 countries. Unfortunately the US came in 17th.
Here’s a map of Scandinavia. It’s made up of 4 countries: Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Scandinavia must be a happy place . . . Norway and Denmark are past winners.
Finland is home to 5.5 million people. Take a look at the pictures below. It’s a beautiful place!
Here’s the travel trivia link. It’s a great way to visit new places on the internet.
Day or night, Helsinki is a beautiful city. It’s Finland’s capital.
These are the Northern Lights. They make me want to visit Finland. It’s a beautiful place. And happy too!
We’re live now!
Come visit our brand new web site:
We’re also on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/OntheScenein19
And on Instagram too: https://www.instagram.com/onthescenein19
What's On the Scene? A creative group of debut picture book and middle grade authors publishing in 2019, and I’m one of them. I’m so happy to be in this great group of writers!
How did we meet? In a writer’s site! Someone in our group was wondering what to do because the 3 other debut groups were closed. Suzanne Jacobs Lipshaw saw the post, and came up with a solution…make our own group. We started with 5 and closed out at 20. This is so exciting!
Come take a tour of the site with me. Do you see HOME? Click on WHO WE ARE to see our pictures and biographies.
Click BOOKS to see the covers and synopses. We have everything from picture books to middle grade novels. The best part about being in this group…I get to read them all. I can’t wait!
Cole Roberts is working on the cover and illustrations for my chapter book for grades 3-5. It’s amazing to see him turn my words into pictures. NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM will debut in May, just in time for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.
Thanks to Neil Armstrong, not only do I have a book coming out, but I also have a publishing company. When I decided to write about Neil last May, I couldn’t publish traditionally in time for his anniversary. That takes 2-3 years so I started looking at self-publishing houses. It’s expensive, but thanks to my friend, Donna, I realized I could do it cheaper, and better, by myself.
I didn’t realize how hard it could be. I’ve already hired and lost 3 illustrators, but it looks like #4 will be the charm. I’ve learned how to put together a contract for Cole and how to evaluate his art.
I bought a template for my story. I’ve had it for over a month. Today I got brave and transferred my words. I’m so glad there’s a you-tube video to help. So far so good! Tomorrow I’ll try to manage chapters template-style. The biggest piece yet to learn, how to input the illustrations when Cole’s done. Another adventure!
I’ve bought ISBN numbers. They track book purchases, and I started registering them. Almost finished! I also had to get an EIN number. EIN stands for employer identification number. It’s official! I have a business. If I make money on this book, I’ll get to pay taxes on the profit. Yay!
My latest adventure is learning how to market and sell a book. How? I’ll get publicity so that people hear about Neil’s story. I’ll tell them why it’s terrific and why they should buy their own copy. On the Scene is a fun way to get publicity for my book and for the books of my fellow authors.
Literary Festivals are another way. Donna suggested I do the one at Rose Glenn February 23rd. I was scared to death, but after some shopping today I feel better. I have a business card and a banner for my publishing house.
I’ve never done a festival so I’m glad I have friends to help me. And if I fail, Donna said I can learn from my mistakes. Here’s to my newest adventure, as publisher at Beach House books.
An Interview with Connie Bergstein Dow
Meet Connie Bergstein Dow through her interview on our website. She answered 6 questions about what it’s like to be an almost published writer. Her debut book comes out in March. The most important thing you should know about Connie is that she’s a dancer, that she’s always been a dancer, and that her debut book was inspired by dance.
This is Connie’s debut book, and it HAS energy! Her characters leap their way around the cover and through the pages. It’s a 4-fer for kids! They can learn their alphabet, be creative, get physically fit, and best of all, have fun. If you teach young children, this is the perfect book for you!
WELCOME. We Are Officially On-The-Scene
This was our first post, up yesterday. Today it’s below Connie’s, but it’s a great introduction to our group, and to the reason we all write . . . to have a child read your words. Here’s to being on the scene in 2019!
Last February I found a post about treats and what kind of people like them. It caught my eye. With Valentines Day coming up, I decided to share what I read, then tell what I think. Here’s the link. It’s no longer up, but I wanted to give it credit.
I read lollipop lovers are reserved. They take their time with lollipops, with other things too.
I think they’re just young. I loved lollipops when I was little. So did my second graders. Why? I think it’s because they love sweets that last a while.
Most adults don’t eat lollipops. Me neither. There are other sweets I’d rather eat.
I read dark chocolate lovers tend to be health nuts. They’re mature with a good head on their shoulders.
I think they’re just older. My second graders never brought in dark chocolate candy bars for a Halloween party, but my friends have it around. Me too! I started buying it when I needed to eat less sugar. Now I just like how it tastes.
I read that M&M’s are perfect for travelers, for people on the go. They’re ready to eat anytime, and they’re colorful like you.
I think they’re the perfect candy. I’ve loved them since I was a kid. I bought them to treat my 2nd graders, but teachers would also come in and leave with a few. I think kids love their color. They also love eating one, or a whole handful. Now that I’m grown-up, I still like M&M’s, but I don’t love them like I used to. Taste changes as you age. You discover new flavors, and that’s a great thing!
I read gumball lovers are full of energy and ambition. They spring out of bed no matter how little sleep they’ve had. They lack only patience.
I think gumball lovers are full of energy because they’re young. When I was a kid, I loved them. You crunched them open and chewed them up like bubble gum. Now when I see gumball machines, I see kids. Adults get their gum by the checkout stand at the grocery store. No crunch necessary.
I read Reese Cup lovers are bold. They know what they want and go after it. Sometimes they’re called intimidating, but they’re a friend for life.
Wow! That’s a lot to get from peanut butter and chocolate. I’ve loved Reese’s Cups since I was a kid, and they’re still one of my favorites. Sometimes I’m bold. Sometimes I’m shy, but I think it boils down to Reese’s taste great, and they’re fun to eat. My take-away – they’re a life-long friend!
I read Starburst people are vibrant, yet easy going. People turn to you for advice, and you were a cool kid back in the day.
Frankly, I’ve never liked Starbursts. I thought they were boring, with their sweet fruit taste. Maybe that makes you easy going, but vibrant? Those are opposites. Maybe a Starburst lover can explain this to me because I just don’t get it.
I read licorice lovers are old school. They love black-and-white movies, hard-cover books, and following rules. They have a work ethic and discipline.
I should be a licorice lover. I’m into work and discipline, but not licorice. I don’t even know what it tastes like, but my kids do. They’re new school and modern technology. They love Twizzlers. Go figure! Maybe licorice is just a great mix of old and new.
I read Raisinettes bring out buttoned-up people who keep their personal and work life separate. They’re quiet till they’re ready to open up and have fun.
Raisinettes are chocolate-covered raisins. They’re traditional, and they’ve been around forever. I like them, but it’s not love. They’re sweet because they’re part fruit, part chocolate. Maybe that’s why when I eat one, I might eat ten.
I read people who eat Sour Gummies are impulsive, outgoing, and fearless. They live on the edge. They’re the life of the party.
Really? Just because you eat Sour Gummies! But I think you just might be fearless. You are eating something sour. And gummies, they stick to your teeth. YUCK! I’m not a fan of sour or gummy, and I’m definitely not impulsive, outgoing, or fearless. Maybe there is something to this candy stuff after all.
Are you an athlete or into sports? If you are, you might be a Snicker lover. I read Snicker people are also dog lovers.
I like Snickers, but I don’t love them. I’m not an athlete, but I like to watch sports. I love dogs, big time! Maybe I like Snickers more than I think. I’ll have to try one the next time I’m at the grocery store.
I read caramel lovers love learning. They’re the smart ones in your circle of friends. They like to learn from you. They’re shy in big groups, but outgoing with close friends.
Oh my gosh! I’m a caramel lover. I do trivia questions online. I don’t mind missing a question or two because I learn something new. Back in college I used to play down my grades. I didn’t want to seem too smart. I’m shy in a new or big group, but I love to laugh with friends. I think I’d better buy some caramels next time I’m at the store.
Lots of things have left the shop, but there are still some treasures to be found. Here’s a few pieces of furniture and accessories that she’s discounting at 75% off. Her last day will be next Sunday the 27th.
Rochelle still has magnets and cards in stock, and they’re both big sellers. I love her magnets! They’re on my refrigerator, and I’ve given them as gifts. The magnets are $1.50 each or 8 for $10. I have a trip to Rovals on my calendar for Wednesday. They open at 11 am and close at 6 pm.
The card pack is from her pet portrait line, but smaller. They’re cute outside and blank inside. Her deal this week… 6 packs of cards for $10. I definitely need these too!
This is one of Rochelle’s full-size pet portraits. She has a set of pets and farm animals that you can order from her web site. She has cards, like those above, or larger ones that you can frame.
If you have a special pet you want in paint, you can order a portrait from the web site too. Here’s her link: https://www.rovalspip.com
This is one last look at Rovals…I’ll miss shopping here, but I’ll miss my friend, Rochelle, even more.
But, there’s a bright side…there always is. Rochelle’s a Facebook friend so we can stay in touch, but it won’t be the same. Eventually there’ll be a Rovals in Illinois, and I hope I can shop there online. Fingers crossed!
If you want to shop Rovals, it’s open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 - 6. The last day will be Sunday from 12 – 5. Rochelle and Rovals is still open, but I miss them already.
I did a post about Working Dogs on December 16th, 2018. I got the idea from a book, Riley the Retriever Wants a Job. In the story Riley’s looking for the perfect job for a Golden Retriever like her.
Here’s the link for that post: http://www.rindabeach.com/blog/working-dog
It ended with a picture and information about therapy dogs. That ending gave me another idea—to write a post, this time about Riley and Jill.
This is Jill Mangel Weisfeld and her dog Riley. They work as a team to visit schools, libraries, and retirement homes. Riley wears a uniform, her bandana. When Jill pulls it out, Riley gets excited. She jumps in the car, ready to go to work.
Some dogs aren’t certified, but Riley is. She started school at the Good Dog Foundation when she was 4. Some dogs start at age 1, but they have to be house broken. Who wants a guest who leaves a mess?
At school, Riley took 5 classes, with tests. She had to pass her finals to graduate. Every year Jill and Riley go back to school to be re-certified. Why? To make sure Riley’s still a good dog. I don’t think she’s good…I think she’s great!
Riley is a star. She got her picture in the paper with a new friend. I love the headline—A good listener. I bet Riley needed that skill to pass her tests. Here are a few she might have taken.
To be a good dog Riley had to listen and obey basic commands like sit, stay, come, and down. Looking at this picture Riley definitely sits and stays, but that’s easy when a kid will read you a story.
We can’t see what Riley does when she meets a new friend, but she passed all her tests, year after year. That means she doesn’t jump up, no matter how excited she is. She doesn’t bite, even if she’s scared or hurt.
Here’s another clipping of Riley. She loves books! Look at the little girl’s hand. It gives you a hint into another test Riley took. She has to let a stranger groom/brush her. She may even have to let that stranger hold her head and open her mouth, like they do at dog shows.
During the second half of the test Riley had to obey commands from that stranger. It looks easy peasy for her. She passes, year after year! She’s a great dog!
Riley also passed the polite leash test. She must walk through a crowd without jumping or nipping. She has to respond politely to distractions like honking horns or joggers appearing out of no where. Look at her politely listening to the girl reading. I bet if someone burst into the classroom she’d keep listening.
Here’s the link for these basic tests. There’s 1 more to go:
This is Riley out with Jill’s dad. She takes good care of him. If they meet another dog, Riley won’t fuss. She’ll walk politely past. If you want to stop and chat, tell Riley to sit. She’ll wait till you finish. This is the last and hardest test, to be polite around other people and their dogs. Riley can do it because she’s a great dog.
If you want to learn more about therapy dog tests, click on this link:
Riley took her tests with the Good Dog people. They’ve been training therapy teams since 1998. This year they’re celebrating their 20th anniversary. Good Dogs work in Education, Health Care, Research, and in Disasters. If you want to read more about them, here’s their link:
Jill and Riley love visiting schools, libraries, and nursing homes around Westchester, New York. Riley is so popular! She got top billing on this love note from Class 1B, but they remembered Jill. With kids, dogs rule!
This is Riley at work, NOT! She does not have computer or writing skills, even though she loves a good story. Riley and Jill have been visiting libraries for over 7 years. They listen to children and let them practice reading skills so they become independent readers.
Jill got this story idea from their work with schools and nursing homes. She wanted to write a fun story that would also teach kids about working dogs.
Jill played with plot ideas until she came up with Riley searching for just the right job. The best place to search? ‘Doogle’ of course! I love the play on words.
Jill got help from Riley, of course, and from her mother, Deborah Mangel, who was a children’s author. The only sad part to this story, Deborah died before the book was published, but I’m sure she’s proud of it. The 3 of them succeeded in their goal…writing a fun story that teaches kids about working dogs.
The picture below gave me a case of mistaken identity. I thought Riley was at the library celebrating her new book with the librarian…WRONG!
This was a bookstore where they autographed Riley’s story. I’m sure Jill did the signing, but I hope Riley gave everyone a ‘paw-tograph.’ That’s a paw print autograph.
This isn’t the librarian or the store clerk either. It’s one of Jill’s daughters hanging out with their celebrity dog. Lucky daughter!
If you’d like to hang out with Jill and Riley, click on their link: http://peek-a-bear.com/
This is Riley, finally at the library! I’m so glad she found her book, but I think she looks better in person.
The Scarsdale Children’s Librarian has had Jill and Riley visit them for years. Now they’ll never leave unless Riley the Retriever is checked out, but I bet Jill and Riley like nothing better than sending their book home with a child.
I’ve never seen a dog at my library, but if you think one would make a great addition to yours, show this article to your local librarian. Ask them to check out Jill’s website. Maybe you can add a dog to your local library.
And if that works, show this to your teacher. Maybe you can have a dog visit your classroom. I’m a retired teacher, but I think it’d be way more fun to read to a dog than to me.
But if that won’t work, click on this link, and you can visit Riley anytime!
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!