Always Be Dancing

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


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Where’s Waldo? Spooky Spotlight Search by Martin Handford

Waldo is back in a made for Halloween special and although he gives a lot of tricks, they sure feel like treats when you solve them! This edition includes a Glow-In-The-Dark slider that reveals hidden in the dark pictures, only adding to the mind boggling fun. This book will last well through this holiday and into the ones for years to come. Every time you pick up a Waldo book, the search begins anew. Hours of fun! I love this book although it makes my eyes see crisscross. All kidding aside, this book bolsters eye strength and concentration and has just the comfort appeal of our beloved Waldo, his striped clothes and the wonderful cast of characters.


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Early Fall Line-Up of Picture Books from Candlewick Press

Flying Paintings The  Zhou Brothers: A Story of Revolution and Art by Amy Alznauer; paintings by ShanZuo Zhou & DaHuang Zhou

Art is powerful and its transformational power takes center stage in this historic tale of the Zhou brothers whose lives and art were shaped largely by the Cultural Revolution in China. This is a heavy theme for a children’s picture book but with the author’s gentle touch of the subject, accompanied by dynamic ink-and-watercolor paintings by the subjects themselves, readers are immersed in the bold artistic style and the courageous spirit of the Zhou brothers. The book focuses not only on the historical moment in time but also on the difficulties that arise in families and those that relate to art, country, and humankind. The book is magnificently illustrated with art by the Zhou brothers themselves, enlivening the tale with a sense of a first hand narrative. This is a wonderful early non-fiction book that introduces two contemporary Chinese artists who were confronted with much suffering and many roadblocks but were still able to rise up and be true to who they really were. 

Grow: Secrets of Our DNA by Nicola Davies; illustrated by Emily Sutton

Knowledge is magnificent and this book is armed to the gills with it. From the beautifully drawn helices on the end pages to the realistic illustrations that bring life to the fascinating world of DNA, this book is a STEAM book for all ages. One of the best takeaways from this book is that although our DNA makes us unique, the fact that uniqueness is a constant for all living creations, only proves that we are all just one giant community. All the same, yet all different. All things grow, all things change. 

The cover drew me right in. The illustrator’s use of a variety of mediums, such as pastels, colored pencils, ink and watercolors are a beautiful blend of the simple and the complex. Although the illustrations are cartoon-like, they craftily capture important details using design elements such as texture, color and line. The illustrations wonderfully carry the science of the subject matter. The characters are diverse, the information is highly accessible and interesting and will surely kick off a larger quest for knowledge. I highly recommend this wonderful introduction to life science.  

Jabari Tries by Gaia Cornwall

Jabari is at it again! He does not let failure get him down. He uses creative thought to problem solve and just has a total CAN DO attitude! The book has a great non-fiction element that celebrates black scientists and doctors who help to fire up Jabari’s determination to figure things out. Jabari is honest and he gets frustrated, but his dad brings in the mindfulness aspect that scientists really need and after a few calming breaths, Jabari is ready to give it another try. Through his efforts, Jabari learns compromise and cooperation and through just enough action and rest time, he learns how to be successful and how to have fun!

The illustrations are fun and I just love the Rube Goldberg machines they come up with and the happy way a family interacts and relies on each other for support and love. Very sweet STEAM focused book and an inspirational story of perseverance, problem solving and creativity. 

Love Is Powerful by Heather Dean Brewer; illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Just like the disco song expresses, Love is the message! Love is, love is the message that I sing to you; Love is the message that I bring to you; Love is the message for a song…. Love is the message for us all! This book shows how a small child, who might be wondering how they can make an impact on the world, that one small gesture can have a much larger effect. This book is a great gateway into the world of activism and brings to light the invisible roots of our global connection. This book gives hope and highlights acceptance and shows how important it is to stand up for human rights for all peoples of the world. This story recounts a true story of the power to unify through love and positivity and how you’re never too young to be an inspiration. The march of diverse characters pulls you right in. They are so endearing with their shining eyes and smiles and pink “cat” hats, the 100’s of hearts floating all around the pages and the beautiful affirmations decorating the signs. This is what the world needs now! I see it right alongside Julian Is A Mermaid, by Jessica Love, as books that will become anthems for the ages. 

Norman: One Amazing Goldfish! By Kelly Bennett; illustrated by Noah Z. Jones

Filled with bright bold colors, this amusing story highlights overcoming fear, the power of the true friendship that one can have with a pet, and a trust in one’s own self-worth. This is a fun read and will keep the attention of young readers who will be able to relate to overcoming shyness when introduced to something new. People might try to douse your inner spirit with negativity but if you are true to yourself, whatever the final result, you will gain confidence, knowledge and above all, self- respect!  Three cheers for Norman the amazing goldfish. This is a delightful story with a positive message!

Will You Be My Friend by Sam McBratney; Illustrated by Anita Jeram

We’ve been waiting a lifetime for this sequel. This book just feels like home. The characters are so familiar and with each illustration of their expressive faces, you fall deeper and deeper in love with them. I just want to stroke the new bunnies sweet pink nose-enough it is cartoon-like, it has an element of realness that just makes them so cuddly. I love the hopping bunnies on the end sheets  that just led you into this story about the joys of discovering a new fiend. This is a warm  and wonderful tale that leaves ample space for children to illustrate the tale for themselves, is a loving portrayal of a young child’s growing independence and the deep seated happiness of finding a new friend.

Thank you to Candlewick Press for all of these amazing books. All opinions expressed are my own.


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Flamenco Books for Spanish Heritage Month (9/15-10/15)

Children’s Books (many available both English and Spanish editions):

  • Aunt Elaine Does The Dance From Spain by Leah Komaiko
  • Carmen Amaya (Pequeño y Grande) by María Isabel Sánchez Vegara and Ana Albero Vázquez 
  • Flamenco Fantasy by Cynthia Ventrola Struven
  • In My Family by Carmen Lomas Garza
  • Lola’s Fandango by Ann Witte
  • Mo Baila Flamenco by Fresia Barrientos Morales 
  • ¡Olé! Flamenco by George Ancona
  • Perlie and The Flamenco Fairy by Wendy Harmer
  • Quiero Bailar Flamenco by Azucena Huidobro
  • Spain by Susie Brooks
  • Spain: The Culture by Noa Lior
  • Thea Stilton and The Spanish Dance Mission by Thea Stilton

Mid Grade/Adult Books:

  • A Way Of Life by D. E. Pohren
  • A Summer In Flamenco by Jackie Cornwall
  • All About Flamenco/Todos Sobre Flamenco by Silvia Oivo
  • Art Of Flamenco by D. E. Pohren
  • Bird With The Heart Of A Mountain by Barbara Mariconda
  • Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies And Their Journey by Isabel Fonseca
  • Carmen: A Gypsy Geography by Ninotchka Devorah Bennahum
  • Duende: A Journey Into The Heart Of Flamenco by Jason Webster
  • Flamenco…All You Ever Wanted To Know by Emma Martinez
  • Flamenco, Flan And Fatalities: A Happy Hoofers Mystery Series by Mary McHugh
  • Flamenco Legend: In Search Of Camarón De La Isla by Marcos
  • Flamenco: Passion, Politics and Pop Culture by William Washabaugh
  • Golden Earrings by Belinda Alexander
  • Lady Bullfighter: The Autobiography Of The Northamerican Bullfighter by Patricia McCormick
  • Lives and Legends of Flamenco by D. E. Pohren
  • Only In Spain: A Foot-Stomping Firecracker of a Memoir About Food, Flamenco and Falling In Love by Nellie Bennett
  • Queen of The Gypsies: The Life And Legend of Carmen Amaya by Paco Sevilla
  • Song Of The Outcasts: An Introduction To Flamenco by Robin Totton
  • Sonidos Negros: On The Blackness Of Flamenco by K. Meira Goldberg
  • Tales of The Alhambra by Washington Irving
  • The Gypsies of Spain by Jan Yoors (Photographs by André A. López)
  • Through Spain On Donkey Back by W. Parker Bodfish


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2 Picture Books on Feelings, Friendship and How To Be True To Oneself

Gustavo The Shy Ghost by Flavia Z. Drago

Gustavo is shy, he is cautious, he is introverted, wary and shadowy. He is of course, a ghost; not one who likes to scare, but instead one who is painfully shy. With Day of The Dead appeal, this book can be enjoyed everyday! The gorgeous mute-toned hues of the illustrations pair perfectly with this simple tale of feeling invisible. The story is so relatable as we all may experience shyness at some point, but many suffer from this all the time. This book canhelp someone who feels too afraid and it shows a way to be brave by taking baby steps and using positive affirmation which may help to take a giant step. The overlying message is about being true to oneself and also about how having a passion for the arts can give you strength. People need to be accepted for who they are and they might find other friends who feel the same way. I mean, the young monster, Alma (which by the way means soul in Spanish) who Gustavo wants so badly to be friends with stays invisible throughout the whole story. 

Soon to be a Halloween favorite! 

Nana Says I Will Be Famous One Day by Ann Stott. Illustrated by Andrew Joyner

Some Grandmas are Nanas; Some Grandmas are Grammies. Some Grandmas are Bubbies. I am a Mimi. The one thing that ties us all together is our unconditional love for our grandchildren. We are all gaga for them! I know I am personally a Rootin’ Tootin’ Mimi who loves to play, take walks, and bake cupcakes whenever I have the chance! This book shows the beauty of the so necessary intergenerational friendship between an elderly person and a young child. It shows that age knows no bounds when it comes to love. This book shows that cats and dogs can get along, that it’s ok to be over the top in love and it is also important to be able to be taken care of and to know when someone needs your support. This is just how this relationship should be. Having grandparents in your life is a beautiful gift. Here is a great article about the necessity of grandparents in your child’s life. 

Thank you to Candlewick Press for these books. All opinions expressed are my own.


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Books to Peak Your Curiosity!

Alphamaniacs: Builders of 26 Wonders of the Word by Paul Fleischman. Art by Melissa Sweet

This is a Junior Library Guild award winner, and I can see why! This collection of mini-biographies of daring linguists who saw language through shapes and sound and then dissected and reconstructed it into awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, wacky and wonderful verbal curiosities of the most marvelous kind. These creators took nothing at face value-instead they were able to see language on many planes.I am inspired by the sheer creativity and found each story so interesting. This is the perfect book for a budding linguist or coder! This is nonfiction for the junior and mid grade reader that is delivered in a very creative and engaging way.I so appreciate the great variety of words used-it was really run rolling them off my tongue, and I enjoyed the interesting illustrations and the diverse fonts. 

Incredible Jobs You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of by Natalie Labarre

This book puts a capital C in creative careers. The fact that we can put a name to this plethora of the innumerable opportunities there are for you to find the one-two-three man many paths you might like to follow-or even forge a new one to add to the second edition! This book does a great job of disseminating facts by keeping them so interesting and interactive. There are questions posed of direction to ponder through each two-page spread. This book opens up the world of possibilities for finding fulfillment in life! Love it! 

I’m sure the first thing noticed is the totally cool large size presentation of the book that will be a great addition to any coffee table; young and old will be immediately drawn to this book! The illustrations are a clever depiction of realistic items seasoned with a bit of fantasy and whimsy. 

This Or That? What will you choose at the British Museum? By Pippa Goodhart

This book has created such a marketable concept for bringing art alive from all the museums in the world! This opens the doors of museums far and wide to everyone. I am enamored with this simple but thought provoking book that does a great job of creating texture, style and color ideas that just pop off the pages of the book.  You might choose this or you might choose that but more importantly, your answers can lead to more curiosity and greater imagination. This is a book for all ages! Children and grown ups can enjoy it together and travel many roads to discovery.

Thank you to Candlewick Press for these books. All opinions expressed are my own.


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Entertaining Selection of Picture Books from Candlewick Press Picture Books Highlighting Kindness, Diversity, and Mindfulness

Zero Local: Next Stop Kindness by Ethan Murrow and Vita Murrow

With very few words, this wonderful picture book is able to clearly express kindness and gratitude and how the two can easily help to build community. In an urban setting, on a commuter rail, where the characters are at first noticeably separated and in their own worlds, how one small gesture can awaken people to what is in front of them. The Butterfly Effect is in full form-where a tiny change in one place creates a large effect in another. Here we see a young child taking on the job of spreading love and positivity-one tiny gesture. The others start to notice, show their curiosity, get involved and smile-change happening. They will then go on their ways, back into their worlds again, but this time with a different paradigm, thereby affecting change on a much larger level.

This is all told in a seemingly simple book. But the few words, the scratch pencil art that is only highlighted occasionally by bursts of yellow. Why not just try to read the story by looking for the yellow moments-what story can you derive from them?

I love the diverse character array, the varied perspectives offered by the angles drawn, that the speed of movement is created wonderfully with pencil lines and from end-sheet to end-sheet pure creative fun! I highly recommend this book. It’s a shower of mindfulness that will evoke curiosity and a wonder view of the world.

The Same But Different Too by Karl Newson. Illustrations by Kate Hindley

Amazing adorable menagerie of characters highlighting their similarities and differences! These illustrations are absolutely so endearing. I just want to hug each one! The most important message of this book jumps out from the  get go- I am me and you are you and that is just the way it is supposed to be. Our similarities and differences are what keep the balance in the world. We need each other. 

Simple examples highlight the similarities and the differences and show how they are beneficial and that they work together for a symbiotic relationship. The rhymes are very nice and flow easily and the illustrations enrich the simple words. This is a great read-aloud which will be memorized and recited along. It is just so sweet. I really appreciate the attention to mindfulness and how it presents different ways of paying attention.  The last 2-page spread is adorable beyond words! Highly recommend this book! 

What I Like Most by Mary Murphy. Illustrations by Zhi Cheng-Liang

Starting immediately with the delicate cherry blossom watercolor art of the front end-sheet and the tree of autumn at the end, I knew I was going to love this book. The illustrations are beyond superb. Each one is a piece of art that creates a lvog atmosphere that accompanies the thoughtful text, that is full of curiosity and wonderment.

This is such an amazing early mindfulness book that will be enjoyed by children and adults alike who will all feel the lasting impression of the illustrations and words way past the reading of the story. This book will delight the senses and offers many factual images of seasons, climate, locations, animals and activities. This book conjures up for me The Children of Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren. This book is sure to become a childhood classic. I cannot recommend it enough! 

Thank you to Candlewick Press for these books. All opinions expressed are my own.

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A Dynamic Duo by Whitney Stewart and Christine Engel:

A Dynamic Duo of well written and beautifully illustrated non-fiction books by Whitney Stewart and Christine Engel.

What’s On Your Plate: Exploring the World of Food

This is not simply a book about exploring the world of food; it is actually a book about the world and its varied cultures. The facts are extremely well researched, honest and eye-opening. The wonderful union of author and illustrator is wholly creative and engaging, with just the right amount of pertinent information, each one accompanied by a recipe, opening up the door to explore and be curious about cultures and peoples. I appreciate how it draws lines connecting one place to another through the food and gives voice to our multicultural heritages. I love the mix illustrations of drawings and actual images. Its very eye-catching and really brings life to the information. I think this book will peak even the most finicky eaters interest to explore!

What Do You Celebrate: Holidays and Festivals Around the World

A great introduction to the varied yet similar holidays and festivals across cultures and the world. Even if the celebration is not specific to your culture, the overlying message is that although we are unique, we are all connected by our similarities. It is a very inspiring and accessible book about diversity, acceptance and the human spirit. I highly recommend this book. It is so relevant and full of joy and jubilation. The accompanying illustrations are beautifully detailed and depict a wide range of peoples. I love the mix collage aspect of the art!

Thank you to Whitney Stewart for sending me these books. All opinions expressed are my own.


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Mindful Book Reviews by Eve: This year the Easter Bunny is bringing some Egg-cellent books from Candlewick Press!

This year the Easter Bunny is bringing Egg-cellent books from Candlewick Press! 

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Follow Me Flo! By Jarvis 

I just cannot get enough of the lively bright yellow Flo and her adorable facial expressions-those eyes really tell it all! All of the cartoon-like characters are so animated they practically jump right off the page. This story tells in a fun and relatable way the importance of listening to your parents, paying attention and that being responsible is very important yet it can be fun too. The story is a sweet sing-song style which can lead to many fun interpretations from opera to rap. This will keep the story lively and current and will encourage some fun out-loud sharing moments. Additionally, each page is sprinkled with tiny bugs that fly and hop and are just as cute as can be! Great book that is clear and will elicit some giggles while delivering a very serious message.

9781536204926Hazel and Twig: The Lost Egg by Brenna Burns Yu

Hazel & Twig, along with their Umma and Appa (which mean Mom and Dad in Korean) live in an adorable diminutive world full of hopes and dreams. There is some scientific learning about different types of eggs and bird life, but mostly it is a sweet tale of sisterhood, kindness and cooperation. Each illustration is so delicately depicted that you are literally swept into their tiny world. I am thoroughly enchanted by each tiny flower stem. This is a delightful tale that gently explains that finders are not keepers, and sisters are your best friends! 

Thank you to Candlewick press for sending these books. All opinions expressed are my own.

 


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Mindful Book reviews By Eve: Thank You, Crow by Michael Minkovitz

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Thank You, Crow by Michael Minkovitz; Illustrated by Jose D. Medina

I love the sweet green child and the doe-eyed crow. They make a beautiful couple creating art together. The child is kind-hearted and helps the hurt crow, who in turn brings joy and wonderment to the boy. This is a creative page turner that will elicit many giggles and ooh’s and aah’s.

Thank you to Penny Candy Books for sending me this book as part of a giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own.


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Gilly the Giraffe Self Esteem Activity Book by Dr. Karen Treisman

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Gilly the Giraffe Self Esteem Activity Book: A Therapeutic Story With Creative Activities to Help Children Aged 5-10 by Dr. Karen Treisman

This book puts the B in Brave! Such a useful and accessible book. Just reading the book is inspiring and has helped me to focus on how I can facilitate a positive learning environment for the students and the teachers by incorporating the story and ideas into my in-school yoga classes. The story is one that flows well by adding yoga poses, breathing activities and short meditations and the added applied practices offer many useful ways of building self-esteem activities into the classroom.

Dr. Treisman brings another part of the world to many readers-with new words and ways. This is a great book about diversity. It is colorful, eye-opening and totally relateable. The story promotes creative problem solving, by offering a view from another angle. It is like a game of Statues, where one person sets themselves up as a statue; the next person walks around, looking at the shape from different angles, and then fits themselves into the structure, which is a fun way of promoting this way of thinking.

I highly recommend incorporating these activities throughout the day. Practicing increases personal growth and strength.

Anther great book by Dr. Triesman is Presley Pug, check out my review here.

Thank you to JK Publishing for sending me a copy of this book. All onions expressed are my own.