First Aid for Kids
Aiming to spread education on health-related topics for kids, in 2021 mum and paediatric nurse, Marta Almansa published Nurse Bear Does First Aid. Marta talks to MumAbroad Life about how the book came about, why it’s important to help children feel empowered from an early age and her series of bilingual books for children.
Interview with Paediatric Nurse Marta Almansa
Marta, you are Spanish from Barcelona. What made you decide to move to the UK?
When I was 12 years old, I visited London with my family and I fell in love with the city and the multiculturalism. I remember telling my parents that I would live there when I grew up. After finishing my 4-year Nursing Degree in Barcelona, that dream became a reality.
We moved to London seeking professional opportunities and we have been living here for nearly 5 years now. It started as an adventure! But 5 years in, I can say it was completely worth it.
Have you always wanted to be a paediatric nurse?
I was always interested in health and healthcare jobs. I knew I wanted to help people from an early age, and I became very interested in the psychosocial input that nursing has. The training we do in Spain includes paediatrics, mental health and adult nursing. It was only after doing a placement in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit that I became emotionally engaged to paediatrics. I knew that was what I truly wanted to do.
What do you love about your job?
In all honesty, nursing is a very demanding job both physically and emotionally. At the same time, nursing is a profession full of love and empathy. We get to know a variety of patients and families, and being able to support them and be with them during difficult times is really valuable.
You’ve written and published a number of bilingual books for children. What made you decide to do that?
At home we speak Spanish, we live in an English-speaking country and my family speaks Catalan back in Spain. As a multilingual family, I saw a clear need of having bilingual books to support my daughter’s language-learning journey.
I wanted to make a bilingual book for her, but then I realised that families around the globe would also benefit from more bilingual educational resources. I decided to publish my “There it is!” search and find books. These books are fun and engaging, they are game-based and kids love picking them over and over again.
What languages are the books in?
My bilingual books are currently published in English, Spanish, French, German and Catalan. There are different bilingual combinations of these languages. They will be translated to more languages including Italian, Portuguese and Japanese in the near future.
You have a 2-year-old daughter and live in a trilingual household. How easy or difficult is that?
It can seem a bit messy if you’re not in the middle of it, but it is easy for us as a family. Both my husband and I are Spanish, and we both speak English and Spanish to our daughter. I recently learned about the “Mixed Language Policy” bilingual strategy and that sounded pretty much like what we do: use both languages interchangeably. We go with the flow.
For instance, before reading a book, we ask my daughter “In English o en Español?”, and she lets us know. If the book is written in just one language, we might translate it simultaneously as we read. She speaks both languages really well. We videocall my family every day, and they talk to her in Catalan. She understands it but does not seem interested in speaking it too much yet.
Your latest project is a book in English called Nurse Bear Does First Aid. What age group is it aimed at and how did it come about?
As a paediatric nurse and a mum, I believe that children can save lives by knowing basic first aid skills and knowing how to call an ambulance. Books are great educational resources and children pick things up so quickly when images and illustrations are engaging and the message is clear. I wrote the book thinking about them as an introduction to First Aid.
The book is aimed at children 2 to 6 years old. At these ages they are like sponges and have the potential to learn all sorts of things. Why not teach them how they can help from an early age?
Are you hoping that the book will be used as a teaching resource as well as for family reading?
I am very grateful that lots of teachers, childminders, school nurses, health visitors and First Aid professionals have shown interest in the book, and after reading it they stated they are going to use it as a resource with young children.
On the other side, parents from different countries (including home educating families) are glad that the book has been published and value the importance of the message. I’m hopeful that ‘Nurse Bear Does First Aid’ will help young generations become potential life-savers.
Do you plan to publish Nurse Bear Does First Aid in other languages?
Yes! I’m hoping to have it translated to Spanish by the end of the year, followed by translations to different languages after that.
Do you have any other books planned for the near future?
There’s a clear need of more health-related books for young children. I’m focusing on these right now, and there’s so much to write about! So bear with me, but there are things in the oven.