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!
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!