Always Be Dancing

The Art of Movement for Every/body & Mindful Book Reviews By Eve


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The Groove & Flow Experience March & April 2021

Please sign up today for The Groove & Flow Experience

The Groove & Flow Experience March & April 2021

The Groove and Flow Experience is my special blend of yoga, dance, Qigong, and meditation styles where the participants can explore and experience the joy of movement and freedom of expression within a supportive, creative environment, regardless of experience and/or abilities. This class is balanced with movement, relaxation and meditation and participants can be on a mat or in a chair. All abilities welcomed for this one of a kind experience.


Classes will remain fully online.

For classes through the Common Street Spiritual Center, you must email me (AdamAnt_Eve@hotmail.com) to register. I am asking $10 for these classes. Please email me if assistance is needed.

Payment options:

Venmo (@Eve-Costarelli; Cell-1643)

Paypal  (Please use friends and family)

Checks: Eve Costarelli, 16 Porter Road, Natick, MA 01760

March 2021

Mondays 7PM: 1, 15 & 29 Common Street Spiritual Center (email me to register) 7PM

Mondays 7PM: 8 & 22 Morse Institute Library (Registration is open) @ 7PM

Saturday 7PM: 20th. Vernal Equinox Embodiment with Paula Spina. Tickets available on Eventbrite. Details to follow. 

April 2021

Mondays 7PM: 5 & 19 Morse Institute Library (Registration is open) @ 7PM

Mondays 7PM: 7 & 26 Common Street Spiritual Center (email me to register) 7PM

Tuesday 5:27-5:52PM: 6th. CCTV. Details to follow. 

Sundays 11:00AM: 11, 18, 25 & 5/2: BCCA/CCCA. Info & registration details here.

Bio: Eve Costarelli is passionate about bringing the joy of movement to all-bodies. Through her interactive, self-designed mindful movement program, Always Be Dancing: The Art of Movement, Eve uses yoga, dance & social consciousness to create a healthy, diverse, inclusive environment. Eve is the yoga coordinator for the Common Street Spiritual Center and facilitates all-inclusive yoga and dance programs throughout Massachusetts. Eve’s programs are fun, upbeat, and wholly inclusive. Focus is on abilities not disabilities.

What is The Groove & Flow Experience? What makes it unique? How does it fit in?

It is…

  • Somatic practice
  • Embodied movement
  • Bioenergetic exercise to realize potential for happiness, gratitude, inner peace, self-worth, joy
  • Qigong
  • Yoga bodywork
  • Kundalini
  • Meditation
  • Breath-work
  • Housemusic
  • Dance
  • Flamenco
  • Duende/spirit
  • Mindfulness
  • Peace
  • Self care
  • For EveryBody
  • Connection
  • Community
  • Creativity
  • Personal interpretation
  • Imagination, innovation, creativity

Goal? happiness, gratitude, inner peace, self-worth, joy, balance, mindfulness, peace, self care, connection, community, creativity, health


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Mindful Book Review By Eve: My Sister, Alicia May by Nancy Tupper Ling

In conjunction with the Multicultural Children’s Book Day event 2021, I was gifted My Sister, Alicia May Written by Nancy Tupper Ling; Illustrated by Shennen Bersani (Pleasant St. Press)

When I received this book to review for Multicultural Book Day 2020, I immediately wrote to the author to tell her what a sweet and wonderful book she had written. It just made me feel good and happy to read this story. It is so real, down-to-earth and full of kindness and just shows how a strong sense of being can open you up to a positive focus on life.This is the honest account through the eyes of one child whose older sister has Down Syndrome and she does a beautiful job of sharing her experiences with her and how she comes to a greater sense of self through their connection. We need more books like this, in every library, school and home just to show the pure beauty of the diversity of each life, each family-yet through all our uniqueness it too binds us together when we share our experiences and create a much broader and open sense of normal. The illustrations lovingly portray for us the life for these sisters-you can see their similarities in their faces and gestures. Life is life and it is not always easy but if you can be grateful and appreciative of your life you can spread this joy to others as well as being satisfied and at peace in your skin. I highly recommend this beautiful heartfelt story. 

I was gifted a copy of this book by the author. All opinions expressed are my own. 

#downsyndrome #downsyndromeawareness #readyourworld


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GROOVE & FLOW starting 1/11/2021

GROOVE & FLOW is back starting 1/11/2021

Please send me an email to register. A link will be sent to you. Save time and register for 1/18/2121 at the same time.

Classes will remain fully online 7PM Monday nights.

I request $10 for these classes, but welcome all regardless.

Payment options:

Venmo (@Eve-Costarelli; Cell-1643)Paypal
AdamAnt_Eve@hotmail.com
Checks: Eve Costarelli, 16 Porter Road, Natick, MA 01760

Thank you so much for being part of the ever growing Groove & Flow community.

Sending much love and light for the New Year!

Eve

BTW! Do you know I have a Facebook group for a shared mindful experience? Please check it out! 108 Days Of Everyday Mindfulness

#yoga #dance #accessible #embodiedmovement #mindfulmovement #music #Qigong #onlineyoga #online #instruction #groove&flow #grooveandflow #alwaysbedancing #alwaysbdancing #iameve #meditation #groovy


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Yule Soul-stice Embodiment: an embodied movement event to celebrate the winter solstice and the dawning of the age of Aquarius

Yule Soul-stice Embodiment is our gift to you in celebration of the winter solstice and the dawning of the age of Aquarius. Let us bring in the light on the longest, darkest day of the year with a promise of joy, connection and a huge dose of creativity!

Playlist: Let you love be like the sun; shine down on everyone. Let the sunshine in!
Myopia by Moby
A Love Song by Garth Stevenson
Reflection by Garth Stevenson
Sea of Stars (Remix f. Amanda Giacomini) by MC Yogi
Give Me the Sunshine by Leo’s Sunshipp
Age of Aquarius Dub (f. Ashley Irae) by Soultry Dub
Slippin’ Into Darkness by War
Be Still by Beautiful Chorus
Ek Ong Kar Sat Nam Siri Wahe Guru by Soul Surfing
Solstice Playlist
The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper
And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us—listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome, Yule!
Illustration from The Shortest Day

Eve Costarelli (Groove and Flow Embodied Movement) blends yoga, Qigong, dance and meditation where participants can explore and experience the joy of movement and freedom of expression within a supportive, creative environment, regardless of experience and/or abilities. Classes are balanced with movement, relaxation and meditation and participants can be on a mat or in a chair. All abilities welcomed for this one of a kind experience.

Paula Spina (Upward Spiral Studio) combines the best techniques and learnings distilled from many disciplines from Core Movement Integration to Pilates to enable better posture, a stronger core and greater overall health with the goal to help people live better by moving better.

If you loved this event…we’ll be back on Saturday March 20th for the Spring EquinoxStay tuned!


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Groove & Flow: Reducing Stress & Fortifying The Mind & Body

Groove & Flow Playlist 11/30/2020
Walk On Air (Sun & Moon Mix) by Holy Ghost
After Sunrise by Sergio Mendes
Let’s Get It On (Step Remix) by Marvin Gaye
Apple Tree by Erykah Badu
Soul Shakedown Party by Bob Marley & The Wailers
Steppin’ Out by Steel Pulse
Ain’t No Half Steppin’ by Big Daddy Kane
2 Step remix by DJ Unk, T-Pain, Jim Jones & E-40
Yes, Yes Y’all by Sergio Mendes (ft. Black Thought, Chali2na, DebiNova & Will.I.Am)
Makambo by Geoffrey Oryema
Humme Hum by Mirabai Ceiba

Kundalini Kriya for the Nervous System & Glandular Balance

  • Simulates the pituitary to create balance between the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.
  • Makes the body flexible and strengthens the chest muscles and stimulates the lymph nodes in that area.
  • Balances the parathyroid gland and stimulates weight loss.
  • Balances Prana & Apana and sets the navel point, the seat of your inner power.
Humme Hum Tumme Tum
Wahe Guru
I am thine in mine myself
Wahe Guru

*I am you, in the core of my own being. Yahoo.
Recognize that the other person is you.
*You can find harmony between opposites.
*We have a shared essence beyond our physical selves.
*We can reconnect to the essence and experience oneness in the moment, within ourselves, with others, with the universe.

Humme Hum Tumme Tum moving meditation video


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This Is Something Special 4 U

Opening breath sequence: 

*Sit comfortably. Make an antenna w/ R hand and block R nostril with thumb. Long Deep Breathing thru L nostril. 2 min. Inhale hold for 10 seconds. Relax.
*Repeat blocking L nostril. 2 min. Inhale; hold 10. Relax.
*Inhale L, exhale R. 2 min…
*Inhale R, exhale L. 2 min …
*Gyan mudra (the “ok” sign in both hands). Begin Breath Of Fire (this is a type of breath that you pump from the center of your navel to expel your breath. It’s the same as long deep breathing; it’s just at a much faster pace. So it’s in, out, in, out… and each time you breathe out, you pull your stomach in. The breath should be powerful and strong and through your nose). Totally center yourself at your brow point. Powerful, rhythmic breathing. 2 min…Inhale, circulating the energy. 
*Meditate on your personal intention for today. What brought you here. Think of something that will help propel you forward through the next week.

This is the set of “U.” It invigorates you by adjusting your internal and external energies. These are called the 4 U’s and they are “for you.”

“The ‘4 U’ kriya sets the nervous system to withstand pressures of society and challenges of times.  Do each posture without moving a muscle and this is said to create nerves strong as steel—’stainless steel forever.’ This kriya also works on eliminating fear and developing greater spinal flexibility. Different people will function at individual levels of development and capability.  Please refer to this post for poses and modifications

  1. Lie down flat on the back. Raise the legs and arms straight up to 90 degrees. Palms face each other. Point the toes. Knees and elbows are straight. Hold steady and think about what good you have done since you have come to the planet Earth. Reconcile activities with your beautiful intelligence. We are moving the life force energy today and without any movement. Keep yourself in the posture no matter what. The energy will adjust itself. Let the energy above you hold your legs and arms up. Float effortlessly.
  2. Still lying on the back, bring the hands straight up over the head on the ground. Then raise the lower body up into a modified Plow Pose, with the legs straight over the head but parallel to the ground. This is a simple flow of energy, a simple way of just being. Be a river.
  3. Come sitting up and stretch the legs out in front; the arms extend toward the toes, palms down and parallel to the ground. The back is straight and steady, like a statue. The pain and disturbance comes in the adjustment of the pranic energy. You feel the pressure of the muscles adjusting themselves. Some call it “chi”, some call it prana. Some call it “qi” energy, and we call it “ji energy. They all mean the soul, the inner Self, the being. Meditate, chant and recite anything mentally or verbally, but keep the posture perfect. Sat Nam, I Am, My Truth, Light-Bright. Say it strong and say it sweet.
  4. Stand up straight and bend over at the waist so the torso is parallel to the ground. Keep the back and neck straight. The arms will hang loosely down towards the ground. Form a “U” with your body. Don’t bend down to the toes. You can chant or meditate to keep yourself going. Be bold; be soft. Be bright; be light. Be earth; be air. 
  5. Deep Relaxation. Relax flat on the back. Listen to a gong, if available.
Meditation for Developing an Attitude of Gratitude:
An attitude of gratitude is the highest form of yoga. Finding abundance of gratitude in yourself will open the floodgates for what you have to be grateful for.

Posture: Sit in a comfortable posture, with a straight spine and neck.
Mudra: Cup your hands together as if you are gathering water from a stream and in this position, place them approximately 6 inches in front of your heart centre. Relax your arms at your side and feel every other part of your body relaxing and releasing.
Eyes and Mental Focus: In this posture, simply sit with your eyes closed and visualize all the blessings of your life falling into your cupped hands.
Breath: Breathe deeply and feel yourself merging with the light of all of those blessings.
Time: Continue for 3, 11 or 31 minutes (or however long it feels comfortable to do so).
*Bountiful Blissful and Beautiful by Kamari and Manvir
*Say Saraswati by White Sun
*Give Me the Sunshine by Leo’s Sunshipp
*Everybody Loves the Sunshine by Takuya Kuroda
*Heal Me by Nirinjan Kaur
*Cry Me A River by Justin Timberlake 
*Thank You by Sly & The family Stone
*Wishing On A Star by Rose Royce
*Guru Ram Das Lullaby by Bachan Kaur
Playlist for Groove & Flow 11/23


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Groove & Flow 11/16/2020: Light-Bright!

Tonight starts the mantra of Light-Bright. We need to be the brightness that conquers the darkness of the winter months and to allow the good in us to conquer the evil. We all have the proverbial devil and angel on our shoulders it is just how we react to them is what separates us. We need to be the light and shine as bright as possible to lead the way into a more positive time of growth for us, personally, communally and globally.

To keep your vibration bright, light and at a high frequency, make time for self care every day. Yoga, meditation, clean food, positive affirmation, kindness, Qigong…..set aside time each day-in a routine-for a formal practice and then encourage as much mindfulness into your daily life as possible.

Seated Breathing Sequence:

  • Gyan mudra. Breathe in 4 sniffs; breathe out 4 sniffs. Last sniff in, ends the full inhale/Last sniff out, ends the full exhale. (1min.)
  • Clasp hands. Leave a space for a diamond to form. Powerful inhales and exhales. (1 min.)
  • Press hands together very hard. Make a diamond. Press the piece of coal so tightly a diamond forms. Continue powerful breathing. (1 min)
  • Inhale & Squeeze as hard as you can. Hold breath-tighten every part of the body as tight as possible. Breathe out & release.

Today’s set is for spinal flexibility and the release of pent up stagnation so we will become lighter and brighter.

Playlist:
Myopia by Moby
Circling by Four Tet
Sea Of Stars (Remix ft. Amanda Giacomini) by MC Yogi
Keep On Movin’ by Soul II Soul
River by Ibeya
Synchronize ft. Jarvis Cocker by Discodeine
I Want To Be Free by Ohio Players
Rude Movements by Ahsford & Simpson
Can You Feel It (Instrumental) by Mr. Fingers
The Ancient Gong by Guru Terath Kaur Khalsa
Sweat (Sweat the Club) by Jay Williams
Groove & Flow playlist 11/16/2020

Ayurvedic Tips for Autumn

Fall is a time of transition. Trees, shrubs, animals and birds are preparing for the winter. They are all gathering the energy, including nutrition, that they will need to survive the winter. Temperature is dropping and the wind is slowly gathering strength, carrying with it a hint of winter on its breath. Autumn is windy, erratic and cool.

These are all qualities shared by vata dosha (vata-wind/dosha=energy) 

Vata is one of the three energetic forces of the subtle body, the inner happenings of the life inside your body.. This particular dosha corresponds with the elements of air and ether (space). Thanks to the airy and mobile qualities of vata, it plays an integral part in healthy bodily functions such as digestion, the flow of breath, and communication between the mind and the nervous system. Vata types tend to have creative personalities and are often inquisitive in nature.

Excess vata can cause the body, mind, and emotions to feel scattered like the wind. This type of imbalance can happen to anyone, regardless of their Ayurvedic constitution or body type.

Ayurvedic tips to balance Vata this fall:

1. Enjoy warm cooked foods. Foods made with a little olive oil or ghee have a wonderful soothing effect that immediately calms down restless Vata. Root vegetables, hearty grains, soups, and stews are recommended. Cooked grains – like oatmeal, tapioca, cream of rice, and cream of wheat – and most nuts and seeds are also beneficial.

2. Use warming spices like ginger, black pepper, cinnamon and cumin, but not extremely hot spices like cayenne pepper.

3. Enjoy warm beverages such as chai or golden milk.

4. Eat less cold and raw foods. 

5. Take extra care of your skin with a warm sesame oil self-massage. 

6. Increase stillness in your day to connect with yourself. Vata is aggravated by feelings of fear and insecurity.

7. Get enough sleep; nap when you need.

8. Reduce stress by consciously practicing yoga, meditation, long deep breathing and alternate nostril breathing.

9. The colors we wear can greatly contribute to how we feel. To help us feel light, be sure to wear bright colors, such as a camisole, a scarf or a pair of sox. Choose the color that makes you feel the lightest and brightest you, you can be. Its a sure fire way to add the perfect color splash into your day to keep you light and bright and uplifting.

10. Try to stick to a regular routine: go to bed at the same time, meditate daily, yoga every morning.


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Floor Yoga Set For A Broken Ankle

My brother just had surgery because he broke his ankle. The injury is still very fresh so I created a yoga set that he can do sitting on the floor with his legs straight out (pillow under the knees to soften, when needed). He can gradually change these to seated in a chair but for now the weight and shape of the cast and the recentness of the accident, it is best to keep him on an even, low level. He will be most grounded in this position.

I suggest setting a timer for each section and keeping the sections evenly timed. Try 1-5 minutes each to start.

Yoga 11/11/2020

Start with Deep Belly Breathing:

* Sit comfortably, upright but not rigid or lay down.
*Close your eyes or keep them softly focused on one object. Having an actual spot for eyes to focus on is very important as it gives a home base for the eyes when the mind wanders. You can use the tip of your nose, a spot on the wall or through closed eyes, the third eye point.
*Place your hands on your lower belly, on your legs or in your lap.
*Create your own quiet, still space inside. I call this your Inner Love-Shack.
*Inhale through your nose. Keep your mouth closed. Your belly should fill round on the inhale. Your body will feel like it is a balloon being filled up.
*Notice the pause at the end of your inhale.
*Slowly let the air out through your nose. You want the exhale to be long and gentle. Your belly will soften. If a mouth exhale is done, keep the lips slightly pursed and allow the air to seep out slowly as if you are trying to ripple a flame of a candle.
*Notice the pause at the end of the exhale.
*Repeat 3-5x or as long as you like. If your mind wanders, just pull it back to the breath and the sensation of your hands. 
*When finished, sit quietly for a few moments and enjoy the stay in your Inner Love-Shack, inside and out.

  1. Cow/Cat: Legs out, back not against a wall/bedside, hands on knees. Close eyes and beam out through the third eye point and add in the chant “sat” Nam” or whatever resonates with you to keep a high positive vibration happening in your head and throughout your body.
  • With chin moving up (cow) & down (cat)
  • Without chin moving 
  • Breathe in open chest, lift chin, lift puppy tail
  • Breathe out cat, curl forward (arch back like a halloween cat), drop chin
  • Breathe in your pelvic bowl spills water out the front
  • Breathe out the pelvic bowl spills water out the back
  1. Holding Up The Sky With One Hand (Legs out, can be gently backed up to a support) Start with hands on belly and return there on each exhale before you switch sides.
  • Press down with one hand to keep the floor from coming up. 
  • Press up the sky with the lower palm on the other hand. 
  • Breathe in as you stretch up & open; breathe out as you, bring the energy to your power belly and change sides.

Holding Up the Sky With Two Hands 

  • Start with both hands on lower belly
  • Breathe in as the hands travel up.
  • Stretch up over head, with both hands, from the lower palm. 
  • Breathe out, hands return to belly.
  1. Stealth Ninja (Legs out, body slightly pulled away from support, so that hand can snake behind)
  • Press one hand forward near your shoulder and chin, to ward off an attacker. It has the sensation of being propelled in that direction.
  • At the same time, look over the opposite shoulder, as if to check behind you. 
  • The other hand is behind the back reaching in in the same direction the head is facing. Your body is moving in one direction and you are looking over the other shoulder while at the same time the back hand is reaching as if to grab a friend’s hand
  1. Hip Circles (legs out, support under knees advised, hands on knees)
  • Move hips around in a circular motion in one direction, like an old fashioned coffee grinder
  • Repeat in the other direction.
  1. Backbend
  • Hands behind on the floor
  • Lift chest and lean back.
  • Head can drop behind, but keep chest lifting and open and back strong.
  1. Forward Fold
  • Fold forward but have knees comfortably bent
  • The “goal” is belly to thighs; knees bent more will facilitate this 
  1. Square Breathing
  • Breathe in (count 4/5/6/7/8…your choice)
  • Hold same amount
  • Breathe out same amount
  • Hold the same amount.
  • Repeat
  1. 4 Cycle Breath
  • In/Out nose
  • In/Out mouth
  • In nose/Out mouth
  • In mouth/Out nose.
  • Repeat


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Groove & Flow: Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe

Groove: Movement relaxation series to relax the entire body

Flow: Short & Sweet Kriya to get the energy moving

Playlist:
Myopia by Moby
Circling by Four Tet
Swisha by Ratatat
Running Up That Hill (Instrumental) by Kate Bush
Samba de Orfeo by António Carlos Jobim
Dazz by Brick
Be Still by Beautiful Chorus
My Secret Lover (Diplo Remix) by Private
I Was Born This Way (12 Instrumental) by Carol Bean
Like Some Dream I Can’t Stop Dreaming (Break Mix) by Daniel Wang
Synchronize Ft. Jarvis Cocker by Discodeine
I Want To Be Free by Ohio Players
Groove & Flow playlist for 11/9/2020

Ayurvedic Tips for Autumn

Fall is a time of transition. Trees, shrubs, animals and birds are preparing for the winter. They are all gathering the energy, including nutrition, that they will need to survive the winter. Temperatures, although right now quite balmy, are going to drop and the wind is slowly gathering strength, carrying with it the whiff of winter on its breath. Autumn is dry, rough, windy, erratic and cool.

These are all qualities shared by vata dosha (vata-wind/dosha=energy) 
Vata is one of the three energetic forces of the subtle body, the inner happenings of the life inside your body.. This particular dosha corresponds with the elements of air and ether (space). Thanks to the airy and mobile qualities of vata, it plays an integral part in healthy bodily functions such as digestion, the flow of breath, and communication between the mind and the nervous system. Vata types tend to have creative personalities and are often inquisitive in nature.
 
Excess vata can cause the body, mind, and emotions to feel scattered like the wind. This type of imbalance can happen to anyone, regardless of their Ayurvedic constitution or body type.

Here are a few simple ayurvedic tips to balance Vata this fall:

1. Enjoy warm cooked foods. Foods made with a little olive oil or ghee have a wonderful soothing effect that immediately calms down restless Vata. Root vegetables, hearty grains, soups, and stews are recommended. Cooked grains – like oatmeal, tapioca, cream of rice, and cream of wheat – and most nuts and seeds are also beneficial.
2. Use warming spices like ginger, black pepper, cinnamon and cumin, but not extremely hot spices like cayenne pepper.
3. Enjoy warm beverages such as chai or golden milk.
4. Eat less cold and raw foods. 
5. Take extra care of your skin with a warm sesame oil self-massage. 
6. Increase stillness in your day to connect with yourself. Vata is aggravated by feelings of fear and insecurity.
7. Get enough sleep, nap when you need.
8. Reduce stress by consciously practicing yoga, meditation, long deep breathing and alternate nostril breathing.
9. The colors we wear can greatly contribute to how you feel. Choose colors from the environment around you. In this cooler season of autumn, warmer richer hues, like autumn’s foliage, are a great choice. Adorn yourself with rich red, warm gold, and burnt orange.
10. Try to stick to a regular routine: go to bed at the same time, meditate daily, mindful movement every morning.
Simple techniques to help you feel grounded, steady, and nourished all season long!


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Mindful Book reviews By Eve: October Picture Books from Candlewick Press

A Polar Bear in the Snow by Mac Barnett Art by Shawn Harris

This is a simply beautiful book. I adore the eye-catching torn-paper illustrations and the white-on-white, with bursts of oceanic blue, of the images inviting us into the depths of the life of a polar bear. The accompanying narration compels us to follow the bear across the frozen tundra and into the deep blue sea, leaving much space for wonder and creative thought. The text and illustrations work perfectly together in this picture book about a loveable polar bear and each question is answered by a beautifully accompanying illustration that is so soothing and interesting. This is an early book about science and animals that will fascinate the youngest child. 

In The Half Room by Carson Ellis

Illumination is at the heart of this story and how a moon lights a room and at times how everything seems to only be a series of halves. It is quirky and at the first pass through might seem “disconnected” but by allowing the imagination to fill in the dark spots, we can see the mystery revealed. A child, who does not know the phases of the moon, might not understand why they only see half a moon, half a table or half a cat so they will explore this option with glee and curtiosity. It is very crafty and is a book about halves and wholes that allows the imagination to explore what the eyes are seeing. The surreal artwork lends a touch of fantasy to the story and brings to mind some of the great surreal art by the likes of Dali, Picasso and Arp. This is a slyly sophisticated book, take a look! 

Julián At The Wedding by Jessica Love

Jessica Love is back with another endearing tale of love, acceptance and joie de vivre. The art is dreamy and utterly charming. I love Julián’s purple suit with the skirted back and even the way “typical” roles are reversed. Here we see the sympathetic boy coming to the rescue of a girl who just likes to get dirty. Julián’s grandma is all in this time. There is nothing but a pure example of letting everyone be happy with their own self-expression. This book is a testament to love, friendship, acceptance and self-identity offering even a young child into a world where everyone is loved and has a place.  

Rain Before rainbows by Smriti Prasadam-Halls Art by David Litchfield

This book is breathtaking with every beautifully written word and accompanying illustration. This is a story of hope, personal growth and intention; the real sense that life can get better propels it forward. Each page is filled with richly colored fantastical scenes that will keep you mesmerized while the perfectly-paced story shimmers with promise and resilience. The little girl along with her trusty fox companion embark on a journey which parallels life’s ups and downs, yet offers a sense of hope that there is a beautiful rainbow just around the corner. I absolutely adore this book. It is a ray of sunshine for anyone stuck out in the rain.

The Boy and the Gorilla by Jackie Azúa Kramer Art by Cindy Derby

This story is profound. I cannot even imagine having to share this  book with a child who has lost a mother-it is heartbreaking-I had tears in my eyes as I read it. This book does a fantastic job of creating a safe place for a child to mourn. Questions are asked and pondered, pain is held in a safe container and the quietly thoughtful text pairs perfectly with the expressive illustrations. This heavy topic is presented in a loving way by using a non-threatening sentient being that is able to envelope the child’s sadness in its large furry arms and is able to answer the most unanswerable questions from deep in its heart. A tear-jerker but one of the most loving books out there on this topic.