Always Be Dancing

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


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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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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: 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: City by Ingela P. Arrhenius

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This book is not only coffee table worthy, it could actually be a coffee table-just add legs! I love everything about this giant-sized, hardcover picture book that is full of awesome, fun illustrations accompanied by big, bold words in varied, unique fonts. Each poster-sized page is full of delightful city attractions, richly detailed with endearing characters. This is a truly whimsical celebration of city life that will be poured over for hours-and-hours.

This book would make a perfect gift for the holidays (Can’t deny the super “wow factor” of its size) and for every day. I absolutely love the gorgeous illustrations and fancy fonts!

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¡Olé Namaste! Eve Costarelli

Thank you to Candlewick Press for sending me a copy of this book.

For more information about my accessible mindfulness/yoga/dance program, please visit alwaysbedancing dot com.


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Sleep, My Bunny by Rosemary Wells

Sleep, My Bunny by Rosemary Wellsimage001

 

Rosemary Wells is a household name and her adorable illustrations evoke memories of childhood’s past. Her bunnies are just so sweet and in this book, I especially love how they are superimposed onto gorgeous textural background paintings that represents the fading light of day into night. The setting sun on the title layout page is so vibrant and just radiates and shimmies right off of the page! You can just sense the chunky application of the paint. These charming illustrations of a bunny family’s nightly rituals are paired perfectly with the beautiful, simple, nature-inspired poetic text.

This is a lovely, calming bedtime story.

I highly recommend this book. It is the perfect gift for the holidays and everyday. The cover of the book has a sweet little line drawing on it and the end papers are just gorgeous splashes of color.

I am excited to be able to offer a free copy of this book to one lucky winner. You can comment on this post for an entry and then please head over to my Instagram page for more options to enter: https://www.instagram.com/mindful_book_reviews_by_eve/ (only available to the continental US) 1-d29454baf2

¡Olé Namaste! Eve Costarelli

Thank you to Candlewick Press for sending me a copy of this book (and one for the giveaway). All opinions stated are my own.

For more information about my accessible mindfulness/yoga/dance program, please visit alwaysbedancing dot wordpress dot com.


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Candlewick Press Round-Up!

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Do You Believe In Unicorns by Bethanie Deeney Murguia IMG_6664

This book allows you to believe in magic. It offers just the inkling of possibility that dreams are real and who is to say they are not. It is all about perspective and this is a book by continually posing questions and then offering up silly but plausible answers, it allows young children to relish in their dreams and keep alive the possibility of them being reality. The book affirms the creativity of childhood and presses the message to keep on dreaming and believing.

 

IMG_6667Interrupting Chicken And The Elephant Of Surprise by David Ezra Stein

This book is a hoot! David Ezra Stein is a master of hysterical play on words that will have both adults and children laughing out loud. This book builds up suspense between the punch lines and uses classic fairy tales to intertwine with the creativity of childhood and the typical home scenes of this loving chicken family. I adore the bright and bold color palette and the cartoon like animals, that somehow you feel should be talking and living just like humans do. The love between father and child is evident in this silly, adorable and gleefully ridiculous story. Loved it!

Magnificent Birds by Narisa Togo IMG_6663

This is a gorgeously illustrated non-fiction book, one that would be comfortable on a coffee table as well as in the hands of a child who loves picture books and is interested in birds and nature. Each carefully crafted linoleum-cut print is accompanied by a capsule about eat specific bird, offering just enough information to peak interest. I love the soft color palette and the lines in the prints lend a sense of movement and a life-like feeling to the birds.

This is a beautiful artistic book that highlights the love of birds, nature and looking up!

IMG_6666The Day War Came by Nicola Davies; illustrated by Rebecca Cobb (Published in association with Help Refugees)

This book took my breath away. This is not a soft story-it is a hard hitting look at the struggle for refugees, not just by being torn away from their homes by war but also as a result of ostracization by the new communities they arrive in. This is not an easy book but it is a necessary one. This simple words are full of impact, the characters drawn so lovingly but when that dark charcoal ash smothers the pages, you are lead right into the horrifying reality of a child who loses everything and everyone and then has to go on the run to survive. You feel this child’s longing, the rejection they experience but you also witness the glimmer of hope, through another child’s actions that are pure and full of compassion.

I highly recommend this book. This book is a beautiful dedication tot he refugees and an eye opener that even the simplest of actions can have the deepest effect. This book in the end embraces the beautiful uniqueness of every child symbolized through the beautiful unique chairs that gives each one of them a “seat” to be included.

The Stuff of Stars by Marion Dane Bauer; illustrated by Ekua Holmes IMG_6665

This book is a true work of art from the beautiful poetic prose to the amazing artwork that fills the pages. The rich, jewel-like color palette highlights the gorgeous pages of marbleized paper, ones that look like geodes and fireworks and the menagerie of animals and plant life that emerge through the story of creation. This book brings the story of creation that is both scientific and spiritual. This book is for children as well as for adults and it will open eyes to the wonder of us. Creative thought will be inspired and the wonder and beauty of the cosmos will be dreamed about!

¡Olé Namaste! Eve Costarelli

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