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Women in Science who changed the World

When we think of great scientists, the first names that come to our mind are Albert Einstein or Isaac Newton. But what about the amazing women scientists who changed the world with their discoveries? This ‘International Day of Women & Girls in Science’ let’s tell you about some of these women, who changed how we see the world of science.

Rosalind Franklin (25 July, 1920 – 16 April, 1958)

Rosalind had an important role in the discovery of the double helix structure of the DNA. Her work and findings of DNA were crucial to the discovery of its structure. She also helped in providing insights into the structure of viruses, which helped to lay the foundation for the study of virology

Marie Curie (7 November, 1867 – 4 July, 1934)

She won the Nobel prize twice for her contribution to physics and chemistry. The first woman to win it and the only one to win it twice! We all know her as the woman who discovered radium along with her husband. But very few know that she discovered Polonium, a rare and highly radioactive metal. Truly a remarkable feat we’d say!

Kamala Sohonie (18 June, 1911 – 28 June, 1998)

Kamala was an Indian biochemist who was the first woman to receive a PhD in science. Her research mainly focused on the effects of vitamins as well as the nutritive values of pulses and other food items consumed by some of the poorest sections of the Indian population. She notably stood against physicist C.V Raman and demanded that she be allowed to work at the Indian Institute of Science.

Ada Lovelace (10 December, 1815 – 27 November, 1852)

Known as the ‘first programmer of the world’, Ada wrote an algorithm for a computing machine back in the 1800s. She provided amazing insights into the analytical engines invented by Charles Babbage. She also went on to theorize a method for the engine to repeat a series of instructions, a process known as looping that computer programs use even today!

Janaki Ammal (4 November, 1897 – 7 February, 1984)

Janaki was an Indian botanist, also the first Indian woman botanist. She leaves her mark in history as a botanist who developed several hybrid crop species still grown today. These include varieties of sweet sugarcane that India could grow itself instead of importing from abroad. She specialized in breeding hybrids of plants and also made significant contributions to genetics.

Vera Rubin (23 July, 1928 – 25 December, 2016)

An American astronomer, Vera discovered the existence of dark matter in galaxies. The discovery brought about a change in the way we think of the universe. and showed us how galaxies bind together. Apart from her observations confirming the theory of dark matter, her enthusiasm for science also motivated many other women to follow in her footsteps.

Chien-Shiung Wu (31 May, 1912 –  16 February, 1997)

Chien was a Chinese-American physicist who developed a process for separating Uranium metal by gaseous diffusion. Her repeated experiments went on to prove that identical nuclear particles do not always act alike. She continued to make significant contributions throughout her life – for which Chien was awarded the National Medal of Science in 1975.

Katherine Johnson (26 August, 1918 – 24 February, 2020)

Johnson was a mathematician who worked for NASA. Her calculations of orbital mechanics were critical to sending the first Americans into space. She also worked on the Space Shuttle and the Earth Resources Technology Satellite. Katherine received the Medal of Freedom – America’s highest civilian honour by President Obama in 2015. She was honoured for her outstanding contributions to mathematics and science.

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Common Mistakes you should avoid while speaking English

Isn’t English a funny language? And it’s made even funnier when we speak the language incorrectly! Fret not, even native English speakers tend to mix up phrases or get confused between certain words. We’re here to shed light on some of the common mistakes to avoid while speaking English.

Use of the wrong tense

Many, I repeat many people use the wrong tense unknowingly. For example, instead of saying ‘I didn’t say that,’ we end up saying ‘I didn’t said that,’ A lot of us get confused between past tense and present tense and this leads to a mix-up while we speak the same. Don’t get tensed up and practice the tenses we’d say!

Starting every sentence with ‘Basically’ or ‘Like’

‘Basically, it’s like I always like to travel.’ That’s basically a big no! Refrain from using words like ‘basically’ and ‘like’ before or in-between sentences. Doing so reflects laziness and a lack of creativity while we speak. This is a common mistake made by the English-speaking population in India.

Using two comparatives/superlatives together

As a general thumb rule, always remember that a sentence must not have two superlatives or comparatives together. For example, ‘The pizza is more better than the one we had yesterday’ is incorrect. Here, better is the comparative of the adjective good and more is the comparative to the adjective much. ‘The pizza is better than the one we had yesterday’ will be the correct sentence.

‘Me’ vs ‘I’

‘They are going to send my friend and I an invitation. Here, if we remove the person preceding the I, it would sound – They are going to send I a package.’ This is wrong! The correct sentence will be ‘They are going to send me a package. Similarly, if we say Rahul and me are going to the market.’  Now again, if we repeat the same process for the previous sentence, it becomes ‘Me am going to the market.’ This is also wrong. Avoid this mistake and in both cases, and always, put yourself last!

Using ‘Say’ & ‘Tell’

Confusion between these two words leads to improper sentences being spoken by us. ‘Say me your name’ is incorrect because the word ‘say’ is usually used to express something in words. It also demands an action to be performed, which is incorrect. The correct usage would be ‘Tell me your name’

Wrong usage of ‘Does’ & ‘Do’

A common mistake we make while speaking is using which of these two words to use and when. Does is the singular form of the subject and do is the plural form. Does is used with he, she, or it; do is used with I, you, we, or they. For example, ‘He does not like that’ or ‘They do not like that.’ Did you notice the usage changes as per the subject?

Confusion with ‘Revert’ / ‘Revert back’

The word ‘revert’ itself means to get back to a previous subject or condition. So adding the word ‘back’ in the sentence is incorrect and is of no use! ‘I will revert soon’ is correct and not ‘I will revert back soon.’ 

‘Cope up’ vs ‘Cope with’

We always say cope with and not cope up with. Although we end up with this English speaking during informal conversations, it’s always better to know the correct usage. Cope up and with are never used together! For example, ‘Let’s cope with the hectic days’ is correct. Adding up after cope in this sentence would make it incorrect!

So, we hope you will be able to cope with the changes you make to your English speaking or it does not bother you? Tell us about your learning experience and we shall revert! Adios!

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The Women who helped write our Constitution.

India will be celebrating its 72nd Republic Day. It was in January 1950 when our Constitution came into effect. The Father of the Constitution, Dr B.R. Ambedkar couldn’t have shaped this without important contributions by women who came together from different backgrounds. Their voices and opinions were critical in shaping the final draft of the Constitution.

Many of these women included Dakshayani Velayudhan, the only Dalit woman member. There was also Begum Aizaz Rasul, the only Muslim woman member of the Constituent Assembly. All these women came from conservative families. They contributed significantly to the final draft of the Constitution. These women spoke against issues like gender discrimination and laying emphasis on concepts of liberty. They knew the plight of women and worked together to voice their concerns regarding the discrimination that Indian women faced. Women like Ammu Swaminathan were of the view that India should be a country with no gender inequality. There were only 15 women out of the total 389 members of the Constituent Assembly. But the strong views of these women and their emphasis on important issues prevailing in the society made it possible for major inclusions in our Constitution.

Upliftment of Women

Hansa Mehta worked towards the upliftment of women across society. She was the one who ensured that the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ was made inclusive. That is how the phrase “All men are born free and equal” was changed to “All human beings are born free and equal” in our Constitution. There were others like Sarojini Naidu, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, Vijay Laxmi Pandit and many more who spoke against gender and caste discrimination. Their powerful voices had an impact on many and their thoughts eventually led to our Constitution becoming inclusive.

The important contributions that these women made to our Constitution prove that women have the power to change the world. The Constitution of India guarantees every individual the right to freedom and dignity. Despite this, there are still many places where gender inequality persists in India. It is the need of the hour to empower each and every woman. It’s equally important to bridge the gender gap that prevails in many parts of society.

Malala Yousafzai once said, “No struggle can ever succeed without women participating side by side with men.” So, this Republic Day, let us all remember these remarkable women. They didn’t think they were representing only themselves; they spoke on behalf of many other women. Without their strong opinions,  the goal to frame a Constitution that was equal to all would not have been possible. Let us salute the women of India who make way through all adversities in life.

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6 Fundamental Rights We Enjoy as a Republic

India may have become a free nation on August 15, 1947, but it declared itself a Sovereign, Democratic and Republic state only on January 26, 1950. We adopted our written constitution on this day – that’s why it’s significant. Here are some of the fundamental rights you enjoy thanks to our constitution!

Right to equality

This is a fairly basic right, right? Here’s what it means, in short: Every citizen is equal in the eyes of the law. there shall be no discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, gender or caste. 

Violation of these could be punishable by law. The principle of equality and non-discrimination guarantees that in equal circumstances, everyone is dealt with equally.

Right to freedom

The right to freedom includes a whole host of freedoms. It includes the freedom of speech and expression, the right to practice any profession freely, the right to live and move anywhere within the country and the right to assemble, and form unions or cooperatives. It ensures that all people of the country can live a life of their choosing with dignity. 

Right against exploitation

The right against exploitation prohibits all forms of forced labour, child labour and trafficking of human beings. Children under the age of 14 are not allowed to work (this does not include helping your parents out with chores at home, haha!).

This is a vitally important right as it protects the most vulnerable segments of society. It prevents misuse of services or exploitation of an individual by force or coercion. 

Right to freedom of religion

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This includes the right to change one’s religion, to practice your religion freely and observe its customs. Since India is a secular state, it is officially neutral in matters of religion and supports neither religion nor irreligion.

Cultural and educational rights

This preserves the rights of any group of people to conserve their culture, language and script. 

Considering the diversity in languages and scripts in our country, this is a pretty important right. Under this right, minority communities also have the right to establish and run educational institutions. 

The right to constitutional remedies

In the event that any citizen of our country is denied any of these basic rights, they have the right to move court. This is considered one of our most important rights because it ensures the protection of our fundamental rights. The courts can issue writs to protect the rights of its citizens. 

But, as with all things, it is just as important to remember our fundamental duties as much as our rights. Each of us has a role to play in building a healthy and prosperous nation, and without them, we cannot hope to have a better society and nation. Let us all strive to be responsible citizens of our country! 

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Republic Day: 15 Unknown Facts about the Indian Constitution

After over 7 decades, one would have thought we’d know all there is to know about our country and our constitution. But here are 15 amazing facts about the Indian Constitution that you probably didn’t know!.

1. The Constitution Was Originally Written in Hindi and English

The original copies of our constitution were drafted in two languages – Hindi and English. Both these copies were signed by each member of the constituent assembly

2. The English Version Has 117,369 Words

With 117,369 words, the Constitution of India contains 444 articles in 22 parts, 12 schedules and 115 amendments. It would take you 15 hours to go through the entire constitution. Pheww!

3. Our Constitution took inspiration from various other Constitutions

The Indian Constitution is called a ‘bag of borrowings’ because it has borrowed provisions from the constitutions of many other countries like the US, USSR, UK, France and many more!

4. It Is the Longest Constitution in the World

117,369 words make it the longest constitution in the world. Another fun fact: The constitution of Monaco is the shortest with 3,814 words.

5. Father of the Indian Constitution, Dr Ambedkar, Was Ready to Burn It

Dr. Ambedkar strongly argued in favour of amending the constitution while debating about how a Governor should be invested with more powers. “I am quite prepared to say that I shall be the first person to burn it out. I do not want it,” were his words!

6. It Was Handwritten by Prem Behari Narain Raizada

The Indian constitution was published in Dehradun by Prem Behari Narain Raizada, an Indian calligrapher who hand-wrote the entire constitution. It was written in a flowing italic style.

7. Each Page Was Decorated by Artists from Shantiniketan

The original hand-written constitution was decorated by artists from  Shantiniketan – a neighbourhood that was expanded by Rabindranath Tagore.

8. Basic Structure of the Constitution stands on the Government of India Act, 1935

The Government of India Act, 1935 was originally passed in August in the same year. It forms the basis of our Constitution.

9. 9 December 1946: The Constituent Assembly Met for the First Time

The Constituent Assembly was the first Parliament of India with Dr Sachchidananda Sinha being the  first president of the assembly on December 9, 1946.

10. It took almost 3 years to write it down!

To be precise, it took 2 years, 11 months and 18 days to come up with the final draft of the Indian Constitution. No wonder it is the longest Constitution in the world! 

11. 2,000 Amendments Were Made to the First Draft

Before being finalised, as many as 2000 amendments were made to the Constitution.

12. The Original Copies Are Stored in Special Cases

The original copies of the Indian Constitution, which were written in Hindi and English, are kept in special helium-filled cases in the Library of the Parliament of India.

13. 26 January 1950: The Constitution Was Legally Enforced

That’s the date when our Constitution was legally enforced. Another fact: The date 26 January was chosen to declare Purna Swaraj or complete independence back in 1930.

14. 26 January 1950: The National Emblem of India Was Adopted

Our National emblem – The ‘Lion Capital Of Ashoka’ was adopted on 26 January 1950. It has 4 Asiatic Lions standing back to back that symbolize power, courage, pride and confidence.

15. Amended Only 104 Times since 1950

As of January 2020, the Indian Constitution has been amended 104 times since it was first enacted in 1950.

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5 brain foods that nurture your child

You are what you eat – that adage may be truer than we think! Good nutrition is crucial for healthy brain development but here the challenge – to make children eat healthy all the time! Worry not, here are a few tasty and healthy ‘brain foods’ that your children will love

Greek Yogurt

Greek Yogurt is known to have more protein than other yogurts. It helps in keeping cell membranes flexible, helping the brain in sending and receiving information – classic brain food! It is not only a delectable food item but is known to keep the mind sharp because of its nutrient content. Try adding some fruits and nuts to the yogurt for a wholesome meal for your children. They’ll come back for seconds!

Veggies & Fruits

Leafy green vegetables and fresh fruits are a great source of vitamins and minerals. Well, we’re sure you already know that! It goes without saying that fruits & vegetables have nutrients that support memory and brain development. Greens like broccoli, kale and spinach have rich brain-healthy nutrients like vitamin – k that improve brain function. Having salads and fruit salads is also a great way to keep a check on your child’s nutrient intake. A healthy and balanced meal daily can help in reducing the risk of developing cognitive impairment in the long run. Spinach puris / rotis, kale chips and broccoli soups are a good way to sneak these brain foods into your child’s meal. 

Oatmeal

Oats are known to be a brain-boosting meal and at the same time, satisfy hunger! You will come across a variety of oatmeal flavours in the market that your children will surely love. It can be had in the morning or as a midday snack. Oats are rich in carbs that give you the required energy to jump-start your day. The fiber in oats will also keep hunger at bay until your next meal. And just like greek yogurt, you can top it up with berries and fruits for a hearty bowl in the morning! Try oat bars or oat cookies with berries and honey as a snack between meals. It also keeps children full for longer.

Nuts & Seeds

Nuts and seeds contribute to improved cognition and concentration. Pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds are also linked to better brain function. They are quick on-the-go munchies and are also a great source of vitamins that aid in keeping your memory sharp. Having a handful of these regularly can help children in keeping their minds sharp and active all through the day. So next time, make sure children have these must-have brain foods before they start the day.

Peanut Butter

If crunching nuts isn’t your thing, try peanut butter instead. Peanuts and peanut butter are a great source of healthy fats. Also, it’s a great alternative for chocolate spreads and butter! Try replacing regular butter with peanut butter next time you make sandwiches for your children. The nutrients in peanut butter are known to improve cognitive thinking and help in lowering blood pressure. Switching to peanut butter is a healthy way to change your snacking habits. 

Although we’d love our children to have healthy food, it only works in the long run, if we follow these ourselves. Children model their behaviour on their parents’ food habits. So perhaps it’s time to switch to healthier options as a family! Let’s start stocking up on brain foods!

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How to Nurture Your Child’s Creativity and imagination

The minds of children are always brimming with curiosity. They live in a world filled with imagination and creativity and calling them idea-generating enthusiasts wouldn’t be wrong at all! All children are born with a creative steak, it isn’t something that can be taught. However, there are many ways in which parents can help nurture their children’s natural creativity and imagination.

Appreciate their ideas

When parents appreciate their child’s openness and ideas, it naturally encourages them to think and imagine more. The more children imagine and think of solutions to problems, the more confident they become with the creative thought process. Inculcating a habit of ‘open thinking’ always helps in nurturing a child’s creativity and helps them to try out new things and become open-minded. Recognizing and appreciating their ideas always helps to get more ideas flowing through their minds!

Have creative resources around

Make sure there are plenty of craft items – pens, papers, paints and whatever you can think of, around children. This is a great way to get children involved in activities where they can freely put their thoughts on paper, either through writings or drawings. Having open-ended toys around like ‘lego blocks’ or ‘play-doh clay’ can keep them busy for hours and at the same time, keeping the creativity alive. You’ll be amazed at what all children can create and learn from the simplest of resources around.

Question them often with ‘What if?’

Well, the question ‘what if?’ says it all! This is a question that can trigger endless ideas in children. Try to put this question wherever you can in-between conversations with your little ones and see how they start thinking of creative possibilities about everything. Promoting a habit of thinking ‘out-of-the-box’ and triggering thoughts in their minds is a good way to spark creativity in the minds of children.

Nurture their interests

Get children involved in activities and hobbies they wish to take up! Picking up a hobby or trying to learn something is a great way to build up curiosity and creativity. Let’s say your child is keen on learning to play the guitar. Think of ways and means of keeping their interests alive. Buy them ‘how-to-books’ on learning to play the guitar or maybe another instrument that can be used along with the guitar. Taking up hobbies is a great way for children to showcase their creativity!

Give them the freedom to think!

Allow your children to think out-of-the-box whenever they can. Create a learning environment at home where children do not hesitate in asking you questions or talking about what they feel about anything. Giving them the freedom to be creative with the right encouragement will always keep the curiosity alive. Remember, curiosity promotes creativity!

Be creative yourself

Children will follow in your footsteps. Share creative ideas with your children about anything and everything! You could be planting seeds in your garden, or preparing a new dish! Involve your children in your creative process. Children will watch and learn from you. Setting an example for them is a great way for them to nurture creativity in their minds and encourage them to think differently!

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Dyscalculia – Does your child have it? Signs to look out for

Dyscalculia, dyslexia, dysgraphia, … there are so many terms floating around! How do you know if your child could have it? And what can one do if they do have it? 

What is Dyscalculia? 

Let’s start with the definition, first. So, in simple terms, Dyscalculia is a condition that makes it hard to do math and tasks that involve math. While dyslexia relates to problems with reading and writing, dyscalculia is related to math and problems in understanding numbers. According to a study, around 3 to 7 percent of children and adults have dyscalculia. Though the introduction of match concepts early in their lives can help them improve math skills and manage the challenges, it’s advisable to look out for the signs. Here are a few signs that might help you to spot dyscalculia in your child and look for solutions to help them!

Grasping basic maths concepts is difficult for them

Do your children find it out to carry out basic math operations – addition, subtraction, multiplication and division? If their understanding of these basic operators is not up to the mark and they aren’t able to perform basic arithmetic calculations, it is an early sign of having dyscalculia. If children use their fingers for the calculation of the simplest of problems, it is time for you to look into it and assess the issue. Dyscalculia is as common as dyslexia but it is not very easy to understand problem signs of the former. That’s because people with dyscalculia have trouble with maths in different ways. Signs vary from person to person. 

Recognizing numbers is troublesome

Children may find it difficult to recognize numbers and number patterns. For example, if you ask them to hand over 3 lego blocks and they hand you a handful without counting them, then this could be a sign of dyscalculia. Also, if they use visual aids like fingers to count numbers when most children of the same age do so without any aids, it’s time for you to look for solutions that can help them overcome their problem with numbers.

They find it difficult to understand maths phrases

Another sign you can look out for is if children find it difficult to comprehend maths phrases. Do you notice them getting muddled between common phrases like ‘greater than’, ‘less than’ or ‘equal to’? This could be another sign of them being ‘dyscalculic’. If they frequently end up putting in the wrong operators or have problems in understanding math phrases, you should try to figure out why the problem is a recurring one.

Explaining math processes is a problem for them!

Do you notice children having trouble explaining the steps in a maths problem? Does it happen even for the simplest of math problems? It’s not unusual for children to have a hard time doing maths. But if they have problems with numbers and find it difficult to explain the most basic steps involved in solving a question, then this could be yet another sign of them having dyscalculia. If children find it hard to hold numbers in their head while doing even simple math problems,it might be time to dig deeper!

Problems in reconciling verbal or written cues and their math symbols

A very rare occurrence, but children might find it hard to reconcile a verbal or written cue (like the word ‘one’) and their respective math symbol ‘1’ in this case. They may find it difficult to interpret a verbal cue simply because their brain can’t find a relation between the cues and symbols. If it’s a perpetual habit they have while doing math, well, by now you know what the reason could be! A good example of this particular issue could be Ishan’s character from the movie ‘Taare Zameen Par.’!

Dyscalculia could be genetic too. Though there’s no definite cure for dyscalculia, it’s advisable to consult a learning specialist who can help your child with learning difficulties. Another way to help children is by speaking to your child’s teachers and getting them involved – to look for ways and means to overcome the problem. With repeated practice and review of maths concepts and getting familiar with numbers, parents can surely help their children overcome the problem.

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5 Books for Children who Hate Reading

“If you don’t love to read, you just haven’t found the right book.”

-Tim Green

Does this sound like your child? Do you happen to have a reluctant reader at home? The one who would rather watch a video than read? Take heart, dear parent, all is not lost! We just need to find the right book to ignite their love for the written word. And we have just the very thing for you. Here are our recommendations for 5 books for children that will help them fall in love with reading:

 1. Fox in Socks – Dr. Seuss

Here’s the note that comes with the book: This is a book you READ ALOUD to find out just how smart your tongue is. The first time you read it, don’t go fast! This Fox is a tricky fox. He’ll try to get your tongue in trouble.

This is a great book for you to read along to your young reluctant reader that will have them giggling away. Of course, it’s a great one to practice your pronunciations too! 

Why children love this book: Children love it when you read to them – and this a great way to encourage them to start reading as well. With fox in socks, Dr Seuss puts the fun and giggles back into reading and it doesn’t seem like a chore anymore! 

Ages: 2 Upward for reading aloud, 4 upward for assisted reading.

2. The Adventures of Captain Underpants – Dav Pilkey

The first in this series of books by American author-illustrator Dav Pilkey, it follows the life of Harold and George, a couple of elementary- schoolers who write, illustrate, distribute and sell homemade comic books called “The Amazing Captain Underpants”. 

Why children love this book: Children are drawn to the illustrations, the silly jokes and of course, sometimes hilarious misspellings that Harold and George make. They love that the book is at once relatable, and possibly frowned-upon by adults! 

Ages: 6 upward

3. Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse – Chris Riddell

Meet Ada Goth. She lives in Ghastly-Gorm hall with her father, Lord Goth, lots of servants and at least half a dozen ghosts. The book is beautifully illustrated. The jokes and the fast-moving pace of the book keeps everyone entertained right until the very end. 

Why children love this book: The story is unconventional, and it’s an illustrated book for older children – which is a rarity in itself. The language is simple and easy to read. And of course, the jokes are funny! 

Ages: 7 upward

4. The Name of this Book Is Secret (The Secret Series, Book 1) – Pseudonymous Bosch

Brave 11-year old heroes, Cass and Max-Ernest set out on the trail of a magician who has vanished under strange (and stinky) circumstances. The book is about the hair-raising adventures that follow and the nefarious villains they face. 

Why children love this book: Isn’t the title just amazing? It instantly draws children’s curiosity and the 11-year-old heroes, Cass and Max-Ernest solve a plot that full of puzzles that’ll get young minds ticking! the unconventional style it’s written in, further helps that reluctant reader along. 

Ages: 8 Upward

5. No Talking – Andrew Clements

No Talking is a 2007 children’s novel written by Andrew Clements. It is about the noisy fifth-grade boys of Laketon Elementary School, who challenge the equally loud fifth-grade girls to a “no talking” contest. This competition turns out to be really hard.

Why children love this book: The book is a light read – it talks about the natural boys vs girls rivalry that springs up around that age. It also looks at the rules made by adults from a children’s point of view, making it very relatable. 

Ages: 9 upwards