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.
Dorktales Storytime podcast was just what I needed! These stories make use of traditional fairy tales but the narrator, Jonathan Cormur, restructures and reimagines these tales with smart, funny and creative turn-abouts, creating whole new stories with tons of humor and unique viewpoints that will have the whole family giggling with appreciation. Not only are these humorous and contemporary, these stories generate new ideas and will inspire looking at things from different angles and creative problem solving.
In addition to these well crafted tales, there is also a series of podcasts that highlight Hidden Heroes in History, which are real stories about people you probably never learned about in school but who have changed history in ways we could have never imagined
One thing I want to add is how much I love the rich content of these podcasts. There is fact and fiction and as a mom driving here and there, one of my favorite things to do is to listen to books in the car. These podcasts fit into just the right amount of time to listen to between locations. Some are fun, some are real, but they are all wholeheartedly interesting and I look forward to each new one’s arrival. I cannot recommend them enough. They bring “feel good” feelings all around!
Dorktales Storytime Podcast is classic children’s fairy tales told with a geek-ish twist! Jonathan Cormur is the host (and storyteller) of the family-fun podcast that features geeky-retellings of fairy tale classics and true tales about the Hidden Heroes of History. Think Fractured Fairy Tales meets Big Bang Theory and the History Detectives!
In Dorktales Storytime Podcast, Jonathan is joined by his plucky puppet sidekick, Mr. Reginald T. Hedgehog (or “Mr. Redge,” if you prefer) to tell goofier versions of tales that have delighted kids for generations.
The shows are suitable for preschool and early elementary school ages and are an excellent way to keep kids engaged and learning while having loads of giggles and entertainment.
You may recognize Jonathan from his work with his mom, Jodi, from Geek Club Books and Zoom Autism Magazine. His new podcast for kids, Dorktales Storytime Podcast, showcases his career as a successful voice actor who also happens to be on the spectrum.
Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP1: What are Dorktales?
Jonathan Cormur introduces himself as the host and storyteller of the Dorktales Storytime Podcast and answers the question you may be pondering, “What ARE Dorktales?”
Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP2: Three Little Hogs?!
By Karen Simpson Gardiner
The Three Little…HOGS? Who’s heard of that? According to Mr. Redge, our Dorktales sidekick, it’s a classic tale from the fairy tale cannon! Come hear our storyteller recount the story of hedgehogs Porky, Percy and Peregrin, and their ultimate triumph over the dastardly wolf using a glue pot, rapier and a wheelbarrow. According to Percy, “It’s epic, man!”
La, la, la, la-la! Have you heard the tale of Little Red Riding Hood? You know, the one about the sweet, innocent little girl in the beautiful red cloak who out foxes the big bad wolf? Well forget that one and think ninja granny with a stealthy rescue plan and fierce tranquilizer dart skills.
“Rump, who?” asks Mr. Redge as Jonathan spins the tall tale of Daphne, the Miller’s daughter, who must spin thread into gold for a greedy king. It’s an epic yarn involving a magical lawn gnome, a clever guessing game and a Wizard of Oz ending!
The true tale of a woman who reached for the stars! Mary Golda Ross was one of the first women to rise in the ranks of engineering and one of the first Native Americans in the field. Her work in the early days of spaceflight was very important and is still to this day.
Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP6: The Prickly Duckling
By Amy Thompson
After the quacks and croaks of laughter from his siblings and bullying bullfrog, the poor little duckling waddles off through the marshes to find someone who will accept and love him. What about the gaggle of goslings? Or the brood of chicks? “No one understands me! I’ll never fit in,” he cries until he bumps into the best version of himself.
Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP7: The Emperor’s New Quills
By Amy Thompson
Is the fancy fabric for the emperor’s new clothes really invisible to those who are not worthy? Or is this a case of double-dealing dupery by two wily weavers? As the emperor struts his stylish self through the streets of his kingdom, it will take one forthright boy to blurt out the naked truth.
Dorktales Storytime Podcast EP8: Louis Armstrong
Hidden Heroes of History
By Molly Murphy
A tale of Mississippi river boats, parasol parades and breaking racial barriers! A man that built a music legacy and a legacy beyond music—Louis Armstrong transformed jazz music and became the beloved “Ambassador Satch” who performed all over the world! So much of his life was about a deep passion for music and using it to bring people together.
A few years ago, I taught teen yoga workshops for the library. They were a lot of fun and I really enjoyed sharing them with the community through the library. One of the best things, is that all programs through the library are open and accessible to all and are free of charge for the participants.
Fast forward to now. The teen librarian shared my name with the adult programming coordinator and voilà! through a generous self-help grant, I am now offering my Groove & Flow series through their online event portal (search for yoga in calendar). Here is the link to my online yoga video-library. Along with my classes, the library has been able to bring a fabulous online Qigong program with Dr. Ming Wu and Dr. Wei Li. Here is the link for the online Qigong video-library.
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.
This year the Easter Bunny is bringing Egg-cellent books from Candlewick Press!
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.
Hazel 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.
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.
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.
Dr Karen Treisman is the prolific author and creator of this wonderful therapeutic story designed to help start conversations with children about coping with big feelings and how to find inner peace and a sense of overall calmness. This therapeutic story about the universal commonness of having feelings and expressing emotions is full of kid friendly examples. At the heart, this story explains, through the eyes of an adorable pug name Presley, that although each person’s experiences are unique that every person has these experiences which makes the journey to finding peace within the turmoil all the more accessible.
This story on one level should be read by caring adults, as it clearly presents a picture of a young child struggling to come in control and it is also a perfect book to be read aloud. It is sweet and interesting and offers many fun and easily reachable activities to help kids cope with their emotions and find calm, especially the idea of a ‘mind retreat’ – an imaginary safe space where he can relax. Even an imaginary place can offer comfort and security a personal space to relax in and find ones calm. The sweet drawings by Sarah Peacock enhance the story and I can see many kids wanting to snuggle up with Presley for comfort!
With the assistance of the creative activities and photocopiable worksheets, children to explore the ideas raised in the story. Growing up takes practice and that is good, because by practicing something, we get better at it. Getting better at something leads to happier feelings and a stronger sense of self-worth. The book also presents practical tools for parents, teachers, caregivers and other professional who support children aged 5-10.
This book will come in very handy with my in-school yoga and mindfulness program. as having applied practices to bolster learning is extremely useful and fits in very well with the classroom environment.
I have a copy of this wonderful book to giveaway. Please comment on this post and share on twitter. Be sure to tag @dr_treisman @JKPBooks @alwaysbedancing. Winner will be selected on September 30th.
Thank you to Jessica Kingsley Publishing for sending me this book. All opinions expressed are my own.
For more information about me, please visit alwaysbedancing dot com
Really fun, quirky rhyming book with a solid description of anatomy of the skeleton, that is perfect for the budding scientist. It brings new words and a deeper understanding of the skeletal body in a fun, non-scary way. The book is very clever and step-by-step reconstructs a pirate skeleton all the while imparting scientific knowledge and answering questions like “what is inside me?” and “what do these body parts do?” This is a great first book of anatomy for teachers scientists, doctors, yoga teachers and is fully accessible to very young children with its endearing, friendly, humerus (ha ha) skeleton and beautifully detailed underwater scenes. This is a great book for the Halloween book shelf and to celebrate “Talk Like A Pirate Day.” I love the big bold colorful illustrations by Bob Kolar and there’s a wonderful skeleton poster inside the jacket. This book is a winner from front to back!
I highly recommend it and cannot wait to share it with my littlest yoga students as we bend stretch, and strengthen our skeletons!
Thank you to Candlewick Press for sending me this book. All opinions expressed are my own.
For more information about me, please visit alwaysbedancing dot com