There’s a sprinkling of stardust over the fantastical collection of children’s books that are winging their way to shelves everywhere this month. Abi Elphinstone, one of today’s top children’s writers, delivers the first of a thrilling new adventure series, there’s an armchair tour behind the scenes of everyone’s favourite Marvel Studio films, and enjoy magical mayhem in an updated take on the classic tale of Cinderella.Age 8 plus:Rumblestar (The Unmapped Chronicles) Abi Elphinstone Described by one critic as ‘a worthy successor to CS Lewis,’ Scottish author Abi Elphinstone has made a mind-blowing, magical home for herself in the realms of fantastical children’s fiction.Elphinstone, author of thrilling middle-grade novels like The Dreamsnatcher, The Shadow Keeper, The Night Spinner and Sky Song – all sweeping, soaring tales set in exquisitely imagined parallel universes – is one of the most exciting writers currently … [Read more...] about Faraway kingdoms, moviemaking magic and a fairy tale farce
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A heartbreaking set of published poems reveal the strain on children of having a parent behind bars. The collection titled ‘Seen & Heard’, comprises 100 poems and a series of drawings, created by children and parents from across the UK and beyond whose lives have been impacted by imprisonment. Contributing “poets” include a 13-year-old boy with both parents in jail, a 5-year-old girl who “misses her mum”, and “children” who have since grown up but remain profoundly affected by losing a parent to a cell. “There is minimal data about children affected by parental imprisonment and these vulnerable young people are paid too little attention. Their voices are so often muted, missing or silenced,” the book’s editor Lucy Baldwin told The Standard. “I realised it was time to hear the raw voices of the children and parents whose lives are being torn apart.” Ms Baldwin, Senior Lecturer in … [Read more...] about Heartbreaking poems reveal pain of children with parents in prison
A proposal to ban many public employees from wearing religious symbols is creating a fiery debate in the Canadian province of Quebec, where people are fighting to freely practice their religion — or to be free of it. The measure introduced late last month would prohibit civil servants, teachers, nurses, bus drivers, lawyers and other people who interact with the public from wearing religious symbols while at work. It would apply to Sikh turbans, Christian jewelry and Jewish kippahs, but the focus of the controversy has been over hijabs worn by many Muslim women in Quebec. "The proposed legislation will affect Muslims more than other groups as they are the fastest growing religious group," said Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto. Muslims represent about 3% of Quebec's 8.3 million people. Thousands of demonstrators attended a recent march in Montreal to protest the measure, with some holding signs saying, "No one tells women what they can … [Read more...] about Proposal to ban hijab, religious clothing, ignites debate in Canada’s Quebec
A lego post box, a framed picture of a Jersey cow and a pound of salt are among the weird and wonderful gifts bestowed on the Queen last year, according to an official list published today.It details the presents given to the Royal Family in 2018 by, among others, the King and Queen of The Netherlands, US President Donald Trump and the High Commissioner for Malta. Among the gifts bestowed on Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall while on official visits overseas were packets of dates, an apron, a framed swimming cap and a painted pebble.Meanwhile the future Baby Sussex can look forward to over 100 teddy bears - with cuddly koalas and kangaroos a popular gift from their tour Down Under last year. The Queen, pictured being presented with a Chinese silk scarf depicting two whales after she looked at the Chinese show garden at the 2018 Chelsea Flower Show in London last year The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were gifted a toy kangaroo with a baby and an … [Read more...] about The quirky gifts received by the Royal Family in 2018
"I think people are more anxious than ever before, but I think we are over-diagnosing it as well probably. For a long time, even up to 10 years ago, people would come in with depression, addiction, lots of other issues. Now, anxiety is ubiquitous. Every single person who comes in has anxiety, and also whatever else," she says. Certainly the stats would seem to bear this out: Anxiety disorder is the most common mental illness in Ireland, the UK and America. Roughly 18.1pc of Americans have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. There has been a 1,200pc increase in diagnoses of anxiety since 1980. That is not happy reading. The problem - one of them, anyway - is that anxiety is infectious. "The thing about anxiety is, if I'm anxious about something, it's my primal urge to make you anxious," says Stella. "Because either I'm a fool for being anxious, or you're a fool for not being anxious. Either way, I need to get you on board." This, she says, is responsible for the kind of pre-Leaving … [Read more...] about The ‘anxious well’: What can we do to confront our anxiety and begin to reduce it?