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Friday, April 20, 2012

Meet Gisela, Daughter of Charlemagne

Gisela was probably born sometime between 770 and 781. No birth date was ever recorded for her. She was the second or third daughter of King Charles of the Franks (Charlemagne) and his wife, Hildegard of Savoy. Gisela's mother was Charlemagne's first wife. Hildegard and Charlemagne had 6 children before Hildegard died.

Gisela was educated at Aachen, the site of Charles' castle. This town is located in Germany near the city of Bonn and close to the Rhine River. Her father was a very religious man and his chapel still stands today. Charlemagne believed in education and thought it important that his children be able to read and write.

Some girls were sent to monasteries to study, but Charlemagne had his daughters educated at home. Gisela would have more than likely been educated by Alcuin, an Anglo-Saxon scholar brought to the castle by her father. In her lessons, Gisela would have studied Latin. Most books were written in Latin. She would have written on wax tablets with a stylus.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Gevrehan, Daughter of Sultan Mehmet II

Gevrehan was the only daughter of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II. She was probably born sometime after 1450.

In 1453, her father conquered the city of Constantinople and renamed it Istanbul. In the newly named city, he started many colleges and universities. Education and justice were very important to the sultan.

Gevrehan had four older brothers. Her brother, Bayezid, became the sultan after their father. Gevrehan and her family probably lived in the Eski Saray Palace that once stood in Istanbul. Gevrehan would have lived with the other women in the Harem.

There was much trade and business in the city of Istanbul. The Ayasofya (or Hagia Sophia), formerly a Christian place of worship, was transformed into a mosque. Her father was very tolerant of other religious practices and allowed Christians to continue their worship. Great changes were occurring in Istanbul during the time that Gevrehan was growing up. It was a very exciting time.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Creative Child Magazine Toy of the Year Awards

While attending Toy Fair 2009 in New York, I was introduced to the Creative Child Magazine Toy Awards Program. One of my “neighbors” at the fair had just received a Preferred Choice award from the magazine and her booth was vividly decorated with her award.

When I returned home, I began to investigate this awards program. Over the course of a few days in April, Creative Child Magazine hosts more than one hundred reviewers in Henderson, NV. The reviewers are parents, teachers, and education professionals who review the many toys and books that are submitted. The reviewers rate each product on criteria established for a variety of categories. At the conclusion of the two day event, the reviews are scored and tabulated.

There are three levels of award: Toy of the Year, Preferred Choice, and Seal of Excellence. The winners of the awards for each category are announced in June on the Creative Child Magazine website and are highlighted in the holiday edition of the magazine.

In 2009, I decided to enter the Gisela Doll and book set. I was hoping for some sort of recognition of the product. My hands were shaking when I opened the email from Melissa at the magazine. I was elated to learn that Medieval Maidens had received a Seal of Excellence award for the category of doll with storybook. I was even more thrilled to learn that American Girl’s Rebecca and storybook was also a winner in the category. My doll had been recognized in the same category as American Girl!

The following year, I decided to enter the Gisela book set, Gisela’s Story and Gisela’s Holiday Story in the historical and educational book category. This time, Medieval Maidens was honored with the 2010 Book of the Year award. An even greater joy was to have the Mary series named 2011 Book of the Year. Having Tiffany’s work recognized was an even greater occasion to be proud.

Creative Child Magazine goes to great lengths to provide parents with detailed information about products currently on the market for their children. It has been our honor to be part of their awards program.