Bluebird signs Facebook lockdown activities group founder Balkind

Bluebird signs Facebook lockdown activities group founder Balkind

Bluebird has signed a book from history teacher Claire Balkind whose Family Lockdown Tips & Ideas Facebook group has racked up 1.1 million followers in less than a month.

Publisher Carole Tonkinson and commissioning editor Hockley Raven Spare acquired world rights for Great Family Days In, plus e-book short Family Lockdown Tips and Ideas: 20 Favourite Activities, from Sophie Lambert at the C&W Agency.

Balkind set up her Facebook group on March 13th, hoping to get and share inspiration for entertaining her two young children while on lockdown. In less than a month, the group amassed 1.1 million followers, and tens of thousands of ideas for family entertainment and education. Bluebird will publish an e-book short inspired by 20 of the most popular activities on May 17th 2020 with all profits going to Barnardo’s, followed by the full-length book in October.

The publisher said: “Both books will include activities for children from babies up to early teens, with a number being nominated or chosen by members of the community. The activities do not require many materials and have specifically been designed for maximum fun, even where outside space is not available. As well as being a compendium of great activities, whether stuck indoors due to lockdown or simply bad weather, the book acts as a historical record of how families – ordinary people – dealt with the conditions placed on them by Covid-19, and is a testament to the power of community.”

Tonkinson said: “Not since commissioning Pinch of Nom and Joe Wicks, have we seen a community spirit like the one Claire has tapped into with Family Lockdown. The community is brilliantly supportive and engaged and it is astonishing to think it has only existed for a few weeks. As a highly qualified teacher and also a mum of two, Claire has all the professional and personal insights to help any parent find creative, fun ways to enjoy time with their children — in lockdown or just over school holidays and weekends. The engagement in the community is off the charts, and we see this as the next huge community-fuelled bestseller coming from Bluebird.”

Balkind added: “Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that the Facebook group would grow to the incredible size that it has and I am so deeply humbled by the daily inspiration shared on the page. Families all around the world are showcasing what they are capable of, despite the challenging circumstances and the virtual support that members have offered to each other is profoundly moving. I feel very lucky to lead the community online and am beyond delighted to work with Bluebird, to put in print what has been created virtually. I am so grateful for Carole's support and am very excited for the future.”