Always Be Dancing

Yoga and Flamenco for Every/body & Mindful Book Reviews By Eve


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Stay Cool at School* by Lori Lite

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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Stay Cool at School by Lori Lite*; Illustrated by Richard Watson

I love how mindfulness in schools is becoming the norm and that more and more teachers and school districts are interested in bringing mindfulness and self-help strategies into their school communities. In my opinion, the younger we can start this the better, as empowering our young children with strategies to deal with big emotions, can only be a win-win for the children themselves and the greater community at large.

Lori Lite is in the top of the tier of people offering easily accessible ways to bring mindfulness into the classroom. Her most recent book Stay Cool at School is an adorable and extremely important book for teachers of young children (ages 3-9) who want to help their students identify big emotions and offer them tools to cope. Since coping is a practice, the more this is encourages, the more likely the students will be able to access their wisdom at times of high emotions.

In the story, the two adorable dream monkeys, Jumpy & Sunny help the young child in the story to identify the big emotions experienced, from anger to over-excitement to embarrassment and joy. In each instance, they offer up various breathing strategies that anyone can do, without anyone else even noticing, to increase a sense of calm, self-control and to encourage a positive outlook. 

The illustrations are very cute and I love the fun color palette. The scenarios and emotions are well articulated and this book can be enjoyed over and over again.

I highly recommend this book to families and school communities alike. Libraries should have a section for mindfulness books specifically aimed at children. I know I am going to embrace this book and share it with the children I have the opportunity to work with through my children’s yoga program. Its fun and engaging nature make it an easy fit as a gateway into mindfulness for young children.

*A special note: Stay Cool at School is only available through Scholastic Book Clubs. Contact your child’s teacher for their order/login with the teacher’s information to their club and/or their 5 digit class code. More information here http://bit.ly/LLStayCool

For more information about Always Be Dancing: Yoga & Flamenco for Every/Body, my mindfulness/yoga/dance program, please visit: alwaysbedancing(dot)wordpress(dot)com.

¡Olé Namaste! Eve Costarelli

Thank you to Lori Lite for sending me a copy of this book. All opinions stated are my own.

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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: The Present Is A Gift by Elchanan Ogorek

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The Present Is A Gift written & Illustrated by Elchanan Ogorek

This is a great gateway book into mindfulness for children. The book uses strong, positive affirmations drawing on very creative connections to animals and their inherent qualities and how that ties into mindfulness through thoughts and actions. The art work is fun and quirky and the animals are really enchanting. This book makes mindfulness very accessible for the young. It is a wonderful addition to the mindfulness for kids books! I highly recommend it.

Thank you to Elchanan Orgorek for sending me a copy of his book. All opinions expressed are my own.


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Mindful Book Reviews by Eve: Two Wonderful Books By Gabi Garcia

 

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Listening To My Body by Gabi Garcia is a really nice, effective book to aid children in understanding about sensations and feelings and how these things interact to better help them navigate understanding their own needs. The book is written with compassion and obvious desire to help kids tune in and trust themselves. There are great short noticing activities throughout and I really like the recap word list at the end for a visual reminder of the sensations and feelings brought up by the story. The noticing activities are also listed for easy access. A special shout out to Ying Hui Tan for her adorable illustrations. The characters are sweet and they clearly express the content of the book. The art is textural and creative and very endearing.

 

Listening With My Heart: A Story Of Kindness And Self-Compassion by Gabi Garcia shares the messages of awareness, self -respect and friendliness, using positive self talk within a story that empowers you to being true to yourself. The spirit of the book is openhearted and generous and the illustrations are super adorable. The message is clear-be compassionate and kind to yourself so that you can reach past yourself and extend the kindness to others. The illustrator, Ying Hui Tan, has really developed her style and palette. The children’s wide-eyed expressive faces display great emotion and work in beautiful unison with the words. I love the layering effects and the wide use of texture. The back of the book has some wonderful kindness activities. All around, this is simply a lovely book! 

 

I highly recommend these books. They make great read aloud’s to share with children, students, parents and teachers. These books should be in libraries, classrooms and homes!

Full Disclosure: The author sent me these books. All opinions expressed are my own.

 


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Book Review by Eve: Windows by Julia Denos; Illustrations by E. B. Goodale

9780763690359This charming picture book is partly an I-Spy. By reading the simple text, the reader can search for the related images on the pages, but it is also so much more. The worlds revealed through the windows create the opportunity for the reader to invent their own stories. Like putting together a puzzle, piece-by-piece, as the changing light of the day counter-posed with the the lighting of the indoor lights heightens the view from the streets outside,  the windows allow pieces of the inhabitants to be revealed.  This book, that’s words create interest in the world around accompanied by the richly colored and finely detailed illustrations, can help pique the readers own interests in discovering this great big wonderful world. These windows, teeming with similarities as well as differences, offer a glimpse into the unknown, making it friendly and inviting. Differences make us the same as much as the similarities! I highly recommend this book. It is creative and special. 

How will I use this book?

This is a lovely book with a message of peace and acceptance. It is a perfect book to include in my youth yoga program as a jumping off point for creating yoga poses out of what we see in the story. I allow the kids to pick anything they see and create a yoga pose from it. There are some recognizable ones, like tree, cat and dog (downward facing or puppy dog), but kids can also make poses from bicycles, hanging clothes and star-burst clocks! The talking points revolve around acceptance, feeling of security and peace.

Windows meditation:

  • Start seated or laying down and take in a few deep breaths.
  • Feel your breath coming in and out through your nose.
  • Focus your breath into your belly.
  • Let yourself go and allow yourself to rest calmly.
  • Imagine a window in front of you. You could be standing inside, looking-out or outside, looking-in.
  • Through this window you will see yourself having happy times. These happy times can be with your family, with friends, by yourself or with an animal; they can be from vacations or at home; they can be of your favorite place to relax; they can be indoors or outdoors; they can be real and they can be imagined.
  • Now settle your eyes on one happy moment. It does not have to be your favorite one just anyone your eyes rest on. Think about this happy time…how old were you? What’s the temperature? The smell? The colors?
  • Let your self be wrapped up by all the sensations of this moment. You are safe, loved and relaxed.
  • Inside each one of us, we carry images that can help us to feel grounded, focused and thankful. Bringing these images up during difficult moments can allow us to find the peace and stillness we have inherent inside each one of us.

    This book was sent to me by Candlewick Press. All opinions are my own.

     

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