Always Be Dancing

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


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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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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.

#picturebooks #children #books #diversity #community #mindfulness #similarities #differences #love #butterflyeffect #kindness #gratitude #candlewickpress #bookreview #review


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Pepa Pig and the Christmas Play

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Pepa Pig and the Christmas Play by Neville Astley & Mark Baker

A new Pepa Pig just in time for the holidays! Pepa and her friends, a diverse group of animals but all one giant family! Diversity is the norm and all are accepted. Such a positive and healthy message to share with your child during the holiday season and all throughout the year. The best part of the story is the teacher accepting and accrediting each child’s desire on how they want to participate in the school play and shows that each child is an integral part of the group. This book is all smiles and the words hardly matter as you can just go page to page and get lost in the visual story. Love the fun and festive colors and there is a coloring poster on the back of the slip cover that would be fun to color and cut out and hang as Christmas ornaments.

I know this will be going under the tree for my granddaughter!

Thank you to Candlewick Press for sending me this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Massive Candlewick Press, Childen’s Book Reviews Roundup! Yeehaw!

 

Alphabet Street by Ingela P. Arrhenius Ages 2-5

This pop-up book is so creative and will inspire hours of play and learning. The book is full of fun and quirky rhymes that take the reader through the shops and to meet the people on Alphabet Street,  all the while leaning the letters and sounds along the way. But that’s not all! This book also folds out and includes a beautifully illustrated play scene on the reverse of the shops and will inspire hours of imaginative play. I can see getting lost in the dreamy pastel artwork by the author and illustrator, Ingela P. Arrhenius. This is a wonderful ABC book and would make a great gift for a budding reader!

Jon Klassen’s Hat Box. Boxed set of Picture Books Ages 4-8

This is a beautiful boxed presentation of the wry and though invoking Hat stories by Jon Klassen. The books included are: I Want My Hat Back, This Is Not My Hat, and We Found a Hat, and a print of that scruffy bear, rabbit and the sought after hat. The engaging watercolor illustrations are enough to tell the story. It’s all in the subtle expressions and side-eyed glances. Each page builds up to the surprise, ending and the wry expressions of the characters add to the slightly racy humor. These are intricately crafted stories of cause and effect and fit in along side Aesop’s Fables. They each have something to teach. There is nothing wrong with a book that does not tie itself up with a pretty bow at the end. Some stories are sassy and these are some of the best! This would make a great gift for the holidays!

Inside Outside written and illustrated by Anne-Margot Ramstein & Matthias Arégui Ages 4-8

Wordlessly this beautiful picture book leads the reader into worlds large and small to bolster creative imagination. Within each two page spread, the reader is drawn narrowly into and widely out of scenarios where they might become a spelunker, a dog inside a doghouse or even a chick inside an egg. These unique perspectives will surely lead to interesting questions from curious kids and can offer great prompts for story telling, creative writing and afternoon day dreams. I love this concept and so appreciate the accessibility of a picture book that can expand to satisfy a larger audience: young, old, those who can read and those who cannot. Wonderful!

Mr. Scruff by Simon James Junior Library Guild Ages 3-7

This adorable book about people and their pets will grab attention with its fun rhymes and super charming ink & watercolor illustrations that will definitely elicit giggles. What is really special about this book is its compassionate story of diversity, acceptance and love. Kindness for animals, understanding that our choices have a resounding affect and that love is what makes the world go round. I highly recommend this heart-warming, heart-felt story.

Just Because by Mac Barnett Ages 4-8

This book is childlike satire at its best of the traditional bedtime avoidance rituals. Just before the lights can out, the fathomless quesions about life commencnse. Isabelle Arsenaults beautifully illustratoes each of the dad’s creative responses with gouche, pencil & watercolor illustrated 2-page spread of dream-scapes including flying fish, dinosaurs floating in space and mice blowing bubbles, all done with gorgeous muted tones that lend to the feel of nighttime and the slowly closing eyes of the sleepy child. This is a really cute bedtime book that will have you running to look up the real answers to these age old questions because curious minds will want to know! I highly recommend it! The expressions of the dog are priceless!

Paper World Planet Earth Illustrated by Bomboland  Ages 8-12

Paper-cutting is the art of cutting paper and this book takes this laser-cut multi-dimensional art-form deep into the earth’s core. I just love the creative use of vivid colors to create dimension, texture, and shadow that literally jump off each 2-page spread. Along with its in-depth scientific teachings, this book creates a sense of wonder.  On top of the already multi-layered aspect of the pages, there are flaps and die-cuts that offer more in-depth information about this big beautiful planet we call home. This truly one-of-a-kind book will appeal to readers of all ages and will bolster the curiosity of budding scientists, environmentalists and highly curious people!

Playlist: The Rebels & Revolutionaries of Sound by James Rhodes Ages 12+

Right off the bat, with the gorgeously colorful marbled paper-art end-pages, you know this book is going to be engaging. This book is a multi-sensory treat exciting not just the eyes and mind but also the ears and the whole body. By including a Spotify play-list, your senses get an extra jolt by adding the emotional quality that only music can bring. Through music, the whole being is able to experience these “original” rock stars of classical music, a genre often overlooked when considering the basis of current music. Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven are hip!
The back stories plus the ties to current day movies, and music offer just enough information to entice even the most stubborn “pop” fan into appreciating the inspiring stories of these great composers. I was motivated to find the full tracks of the songs and really listen to these amazing pieces that helped shaped every piece of music and ring tone we hear today.

This is a great gift book and would look especially awesome on a coffee table or for your favorite band teacher! The collage, silkscreen & digital illustrations by Martin O’Neill are really well done and are very exciting and add a lot to the text. Each one could become a framed piece of art!  

Walk This Underground World by Kate Baker Ages 5-8

Wonderfully informative! This creative non-fiction picture book opens up the underground world by taking the reader from deep in the underground city of Montreal to the subways of Tokyo to burrows of prairie dog and mole rats. This book will inspire curiosity and a realization that what is on the surface is just that and that there are many hidden gems that go into life on this an amazing planet. Sam Brewster intricately details each 2-page spread page with pop-open doors, windows and crevices to give an ever deeper peek into the teeming underground life. I highly recommend this book. It will excite and instill the desire for the young reader to know about our planet helping to create budding scientists, archaeologists, architects and highly interested and engaged people. 


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Halloween Picture Books from Candlewick Press

Where’s The Witch? Ingela P. Arrhenius

This is a very sweet, fun baby’s first activity book. It’s a guessing game with fun textural flaps and great introductory words about everyone’s favorite holiday…Halloween. The illustrations are adorable and are created with a bright, pleasing color palette. The “surprise” mirror at the end is crystal clear and the viewer’s image is well reflected-which I think is VERY important. Cuteness abounds!

Pick A Pumpkin by Patricia Toht; Ill. Jarvis

Really fun, quirky rhymes carry the reader from pumpkin patch to Jack O’ Lantern. Pick A Pumpkin offers the true nitty-gritty of the whole pumpkin carving process alongside a loving ode to the beauty and wonderfulness of family fall-time traditions. The adorable wide eyed children are presented in a gorgeous varied fall inspired palette and I love the multi-layering effects. A great book to read aloud as the rhyming just rolls of your tongue and

I highly recommend it and cannot wait to share it with my granddaughter!

Hide and Seek by Katie May Green

This book’s old world appeal is so charming and sets the mood perfectly for this fun and not too scary romp into the night for a game of hide and seek. The lavender-eyed beauties slip out of their picture frames one night and out into the garden for a night of fun and giggle inducing shenanigans. Each page offers the reader a chance to look for the twins and I love the onomatopoeia of the rain storm that sends them all scurrying back inside. The illustrations are beautifully detailed and with simple dark scratchy lines create a pleasant nighttime feel to this wonderful addition too the Halloween book tradition.

I highly recommend it and cannot wait to share it with my granddaughter!

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

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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: The Big Adventures of Tiny House by Susan Shaefer Bernardo

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This is such a cute story embedded with the 4R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle & renew. I just lve the jaunty bright yellow of the tiny house-which makes it feel as big as a mansion. The illustrations are top notch and I had some fun laughs at the anthropomorphic faces on the homes and cars. The book shows the negative judgment of people (in the form of houses) but in the end it shows that community is built on giving and sharing and that there is beauty in the uniqueness of life. The book left me with the feeling “if you build it, they will come”, be passionate and love what you do and that a simple song can lift the spirits and make life a wonderful journey. Love the world and all it’s diversity. Love this giant hearted book!

The illustrations by Courtenay Fletcher are sweet and connect to the story perfectly. I love the diverse sampling of characters and how they show in simple ways the diversity of the human race and that acceptance of all is key…and to have a wanderlust…get out there are see this great beautiful world!

I highly recommend it and cannot wait to share it with my granddaughter!

Thank you to the author, Susan Schaefer Bernardo, for sending me this book. All opinions expressed are my own. Inner Flower Child Books

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#bookreviews #children #picturebook #mindfulness #alwaysbedancing #evecostarelli #fiction #iameve #theaccidentalkundalini #peacemoji #influencer #world #travel #tinyhouse #diversity #juvenileliterature


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Mateo Finds His Wow A Story Of Wonder And Gratitude by Gabi Garcia

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Mateo Finds His Wow A Story Of Wonder And Gratitude by Gabi Garcia (Illustrations by Charity Russell; Skinned Knee Pub.) 

Gabi Garcia has done it again! Mateo Finds His Wow is a beautifully worded and illustrated story about a child in a funk who, through simple mindful attention, discovers the “wow-ness” of life in the moment. Ms. Garcia’s books fill an important niche in children’s mindfulness books as her books are so well crafted and sincere that they fit the needs of both adult’s and children’s connection to the stories.

This book packs a ton of wow! Be prepared to be positively changed by this wonderful book of awareness, curiosity and the amazement of the little things in life. The book is accompanied by bright wall charts that are helpful reminders of how to find the ¡WOW! in life.

A special note about the lovely and beautifully detailed illustrations by Charity Russell. They match the story perfectly and I really love the eye catching and fun fonts. 3 Cheers!

Thank you to the author for sending me this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

For more information about me, please visit alwaysbedancing dot com

#bookreviews #children #picturebook #mindfulness #alwaysbedancing #evecostarelli #fiction #iameve #theaccidentalkundalini #peacemoji #gratitude #wow #influencer

 


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Roots And Wings: A handbook for parents and educators to promote positive change based on the principles of mindfulness by Alex Koster M.Ed.

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This is a wonderfully helpful book that is passionately written from deep in the soul of the author. Alex Koster openly shares her knowledge on how a mindful approach to life can bring about positive family, community and societal change in this increasingly digital, impersonal, self-absorbed age. The simple but effective strategies and techniques she offers give parents and educators the mindfulness tools they will need to “put their air masks on first” and then be able to help their children become confident, happy, compassionate adults.

The main message I took away from this book is that by living a more aware, kind and joyful life, life itself will be more enjoyable. Therefore, I will be a more loving and lovable person who is then confident, happy, and compassionate enough to help my children and for those who I care for. Sounds like a win-win to me!

I highly recommend this wonderful book. It’s heart centered approach is just what is needed to diffuse the stress of today.

Thank you to the author for sending me this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Mindful Book Reviews by Eve: You Are Light by Aaron Becker

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This book is simply delightful. From the very first turn of the page, which casts a gorgeous mandala shadow onto my hand, I was drawn into its sturdy die-cut frame and stained-glass creativeness. The poetic prose match perfectly with the play of translucent-jewel toned inserts that radiate around a bright yellow sun, together illuminating the story of the sun’s effect on the water cycle while at the same time reflecting the story back onto the reader. You cannot but hold it up to the light at each turn! It’s truly mesmerizing and joy-inducing. This book is very clever and artfully profound. It will certainly delight young children but it has a wider outreach due to its unique and beautiful presentation of both spirituality and natural scientific facts.

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This book is an absolute exuberant celebration of life. With few words, it reminds us to be mindful of our consumption, of our relationship to mother earth and of our connection to every living thing. It is truly an awakening. This book is the full package: creative concept, engaging story; good for young and old…and it is devotedly dedicated to STEAM. I love it!

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Thank you to Candlewick Press for sending me a copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Neon The Ninja: Activity Book For Children Who Struggle With Sleep and Nightmares by Dr. Karen Treisman

Neon The Ninja: Activity Book For Children Who Struggle With Sleep and Nightmares by Dr. Karen Treisman

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This book is immediately likable because of Neon, the lovable and trustworthy main character who embodies a heroic persona to bring children struggling with sleep and nightmares a sense of control. Neon is highly engaging and interactive and allows children to feel empowered to be their own super inner-ninja. Neon is the story of a superhero who is emboldened with the power to rid fear, worry and anxiety. This story/activity book is a treasure box of shareable applied practices such as coloring pages, worksheets, art activities, breathing exercises and sentence completion activities. The actives are all very creative and reflective.
Dr. Treisman on accessible creative trauma informed practices for and about children are highly engaging and accessible. I highly recommend this book.
¡Olé Namaste! Eve Costarelli

Thank you to Jessica Kingsley Publishing for sending me this book. All opinions expressed are my own.
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