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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Groove & Flow w/ Eve 10-5-2020

Playlist: 

Groove: All songs/ Roy LobbFlow:
Saudade
Sentimentos
It’s Just The Wind
Tango Improvisado
Tomorrow Today
Everything Remains
The Sky Below
Past Perfect
Either/Or
Fade To Black
Puerto Oscura
En El palacio Del Sultan by Juan Martin
Tiferet by Juan Pascual
Tangos De Mi Novia
by Son De La Frontera
Villanesca By Devin Ulibarri
Sat Narayan Wahe Guru
by Ajeet Kaur  (see below for meditation)
Groove & Flow Playlist 10-5-2020
Breathing exercise for calmness and stillness 
4 Part Cycle:
1. In and out with the nose.
2. In and out with the mouth (with a gentle rounded mouth).
3. In with the nose; Out with the mouth.
4. In with the mouth; Out with the nose.
5. Start at segment #1. Repeat.
Relax into a rhythm. Mentally use the mantra Sa Ta Na Ma to keep all breath segments equal length. Concentrate on the mantra. If you lose track, start at segment #1 again. Relax.

“Sat Narayan” Meditation To Reclaim Your Peaceful Presence.

Go with the flow. Allow the currents of your thoughts ebb and flow with your breath. Feel your love flow. Fill every nook and cranny of your being with your inhale and then on the exhale, relax into your inner peace. You can go back again and again to that place inside you that showers you with love, your inner “love shack”. That place inside you that is safe and peaceful. That space inside from which  your whole life flows sweetly. 

The more you are able to relax into a state of inner calmness and stillness, the more you can project outwardly: peace, love, and happiness. 

Mudra: Hands are resting on knees or lap. Thumbs and index fingers touch.

Posture: Sit with a straight spine.

Breath and Eye Focus: Eyes 1/10th open looking at tip of nose or gently closed, focused on the Third Eye (between the eyebrows). The breath will adjust itself as you vocalize. 

Mantra (included all 4 lines as one repetition):

Sat Narayan, Wahe Guru (Sut Na-Rye-Yan, Waaa-Hey Garooo) Meaning: Support & Wisdom

Hari Narayan Sat Nam (Ha-Ree Na-Rye-Yan, Sut-uh naaamm) Meaning: Creativity & Genuineness 

Sat Narayan Wahe Guru

Hari Narayan Sat Nam

Directions:

  • Vocalize along with this recording by Ajeet Kaur, which is my favorite version of the mantra. Put your heart into it! You will find yourself singing it all through the day. 
  • When the meditation has finished, powerfully and deeply inhale while raising arms above your head, and hold for 10-15 seconds. Powerfully and deeply exhale. Repeat inhale-hold-exhale once more with raised arms. Then lower your arms to your lap/knees and sit quietly. Feel the vibrations of the mantra in you and around you.
  • Meditate 1-11 minutes.

May you be bolstered by the vibration of this meditation and granted its strength always!


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Meditations for My Next 40 Day Cycle

I just finished a 40 day meditation cycle. I always meditate first thing in the morning for 11-15 minutes…

I just finished the cycle of the Chattr Chakkr meditation kriya.

This mantra helps to move from fear of change to boldness and courage.  It removes feelings of anxiety, depression and phobias, leaving in its place courage and victory.  Just like the snake leaving behind its old skin.

Try this mantra for fear of change:

Chattr chakkr vartee, chattr chakkr bhugatay

Suyumbhav subhang sarab daa sarab jugtay

Dukaalang pranaasee dayaalang saroopay

Sadaa ung sungay abhangang bibhootay

These words bring victory during changing times! Chant along with my favorite version by Nirinjan Kaur or keep it playing in your house! I practiced this every morning for 11 minutes (the length of the recording) and I added this mudra:

Tomorrow, I will start a new 40 day cycle, but I am not sure which meditation I will choose?

Meditation for Developing Your Human Kindness. Also known as Bandhu Dya Kriya, Bandhu means “brother or comrade;” Dya means “kindness;” and Kriya means “action.” Give this kriya a lot of reverence and do it with a lot of love and devotion. Do it very calmly.

Mudra: Rest your elbows alongside your rib cage. Place your hands in front of your chest, palms facing upward, with the two Mercury (pinkie) fingers touching and the outside part of the base of the palms touching. Keep the Sun (ring) fingers and the Jupiter (index) fingers straight and the thumbs pulled back. Touch the tips of the Saturn (middle) fingers so that they form a triangle. The mudra is held before the heart center in a comfortable, prayerful position, but it does not touch the chest.

Posture: Sit in Easy Pose with your spine straight, chin in and chest lifted. Place your hands in the mudra.

Breath & Eye Focus: Inhale through the nose in 8 strokes (break the inhalation into eight equal segments with a slight pause separating each part so that there is a distinct beginning and end to each segment. In other words, you are inhaling in 8 separate “sniffs.” Each stroke is about one “nose length.” You can feel the breath travel the length of the nose from the nostrils to the eyebrows. Each count of a stroke is about one second, so the 8 stroke inhalation takes about 8 seconds).  Eyes are open only 1/10th of the way so you  are gazing at the mudra. Exhale completely and totally with a whistle through the puckered lips. Continue for 11 minutes.

“Sat Narayan” Meditation To Reclaim Your Peaceful Presence.

Mudra: Hands are in Gyan Mudra (thumbs and index fingers touch, resting on knees or in lap).

Posture: Sit with a straight spine.

Breath and Eye Focus: Eyes 1/10th open or gently closed, focused on the Third Eye (between the eyebrows). The breath will adjust itself as you chant. Mantra:

Sat Narayan Wahe Guru (True Supporter, Indescribable Wisdom)

Hari Narayan Sat Nam (Creative Sustenance, True Identity)

Sat Narayan Wahe Guru

Hari Narayan Sat Nam

Directions:

  • Chant along with this recording by Ajeet Kaur, which is my favorite version of the mantra. Put your heart into it!
  • When the meditation has finished, powerfully and deeply inhale while raising arms above your head, and hold for 10-15 seconds. Powerfully and deeply exhale. Repeat inhale-hold-exhale once more with raised arms. Then lower your arms to your lap/knees and sit quietly. Feel the vibrations of the mantra in you and around you.
May you be elevated by this meditation and blessed with its strength always!

Kirtan Kriya/ Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation: A meditation for total balance.

Here is a blog post I wrote about beginner meditations, please check it out.

Kirtan Kriya, often referred to as SA TA NA MA meditation, is the most important meditation in Kundalini Yoga. If you can do only one meditation, this is it. It will readjust and align you to bring balance into your body, mind and spirit and thus your life. It is your teacher. It is your best friend. The bottom line is that this meditation works. All you have to do is do it. You can trust the process and the technology.

Check out this article on how this meditation is becoming scientifically recognized as a powerful tool for preventing or stopping Alzheimer’s disease, increasing all aspects of cognitive function, (perception, thinking, reasoning and remembering) and reducing stress levels while improving short term memory. Here is another article about it’s direct benefit for Alzheimer’s Disease.

Posture: Sit with a straight spine.

Breath and Eye Focus: Eyes 1/10th open or gently closed, focused on the Third Eye (between the eyebrows). The breath will adjust itself as you chant.

Mantra: Chant SA TA NA MA along with this 11 minute recording by Nirinjan Kaur.

While chanting alternately press the thumb with the four fingers on both hands simultaneously. Press hard enough to keep yourself awake and aware of the pressure. Keep repeating in a stable rhythm and keep the hand motion going throughout the whole meditation.

SA press the thumb and the pointer or Jupiter finger together with pressure. The Jupiter/Pointer finger brings in knowledge, expands our field of possibilities and releases us from limitations.

TA press the thumb and the middle or Saturn finger together. The Saturn/Middle finger gives us patience, wisdom and purity

NA press the thumb and the ring or Sun finger together. The Sun/Ring finger gives us vitality and aliveness.

MA press the thumb and the pinky or Mercury finger together. The Mercury/Pinky finger aids clear communication.

Visualize or feel each individual sound come in the crown chakra at the top of the head, down through the middle of the head and out to infinity through the third eye. This is very important and must be done with each sound. It is an essential part of the cleansing process. If this part of the meditation is not done, you may experience a headache.

Whatever you experience is OK. Do not try to avoid or control your experiences. Simply be with what is going on and go through it. It is all part of the balancing process.

11-Minute Variation (The recording does not follow these times exactly-just go with the flow).

  • 2 min out-loud
  • 2 min whisper
  • 4 min in-head , continue with hand movements
  • 2 min whisper
  • 2 min out-loud.


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Purpose, Intention & Patience

Living with a sense of purpose is so important. Wake each day with a drive and will to do. Find things that interest you and a determination to learn, even when it is hard. Learn to figure things out-ask questions-make mistakes. Experience the inner sensations of your passion.

Life is to be lived with gusto-zest-zeal. You must live in and for the moment. Your goals and desires and hopes and dreams have many paths that lead to them. Allow yourself the freedom to travel many paths. They will lead you to experiences that will help you on your way. Do not be disappointed if your path is different than you thought it would be; instead be flexible. Learn along the way. Find joy in your travels. Be inspired to live.

Experience the moments within a larger context. Everything you do will cause an effect. Whether the desired one, or not, or possibly one that is not immediately noticeable…maybe not even in your lifetime. Above all be patient Know that patience is not just the ability to wait for it to happen. Rather, it is the absolute knowing that it will happen. Just. Know. It. Will. Happen.

You can effect change.

Alwasy keep your vibration high.

Have a positive outlook.

Look at your heart.

Have hope.

With peace,

Eve

If you are local to Natick, MA, please join me today. I will be leading a short Grove & Flow associated with the fire element and summer. Come get grounded!

Grounding In Community

Natick Common 1:30-3:00PM

Grounding In Community is an outdoor, in-person, and safe way to grow our hope and support each other. Every last Sunday afternoon, from 1:30 – 3:00, we meet under the shade of a giant tree on the Natick Common for a time of spiritual practice, artistic expression, and truth-telling. We lie on the grass, sit on blankets and chairs, sing, explore movement, and speak words of truth that give us greater strength and freedom.

We are living in times that are heavy with foreboding in terms of health, economics, and politics. And so we gather in community to affirm that we are not alone in being afraid and in needing support. Together we create a space where we find the courage to face all this…and to find a way of being well and of keeping hope alive within.

For everyone’s safety, we will wear masks and maintain six feet of distance. If you want, please also bring a blanket, yoga mat, or chair to sit on. It is also recommended to bring a water bottle.

If you are inspired to share a poem, story, song, or reading–something that grounds you in truth and gives you hope–there is a time of open sharing in the structure of the gathering where this will be welcome.


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How To Be and Give Peace

What is the meaning of “BE THE PEACE” to you?  Has it changed since we last met? Be the Peace means that I am peace and people perceive me as peace and I emit peace. I know that even a tiny bit of peace can cause a ripple effect and although I may never see this peace, I have no idea what this ripple will actually do and I can only hope that it will be the change/the peace movement. Like the butterfly effect that a tiny movement of a butterfly wing will cause an avalanche of movement in the future. I do not think the meaning has changed except that it has deepened and widened in perspective.

‘You may never know what results come of your actions but if you do nothing there will be no results’. ~Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi said, “My life is my message.” What does that message bring to mind to you? All I want to do is give people peace through movement. I want my form of yoga/mindful movement to be something that people seek out and they can feel peace through a deeper exploration of their own selves within the yoga. To be truly at peace we must be at peace within ourselves. 

My mind often repeats the lyrics to one of my favorite yoga songs by Wade Imre Morissette (yes, Alanis’s brother) called Om Narayana

Joy on the inside and peace on the outside,
Loving on the inside and laughing on the outside,
Kissing on the inside and healing on the outside,
Flowing on the inside and thriving on the outside,
Clearing on the inside and accepting the outside,
Shining on the inside and shining on the outside.

Are Gandhi’s message and the message of BE THE PEACE aligned in some way for you? Being the peace in my life’s message is given through my yoga and I hope through my writing. I want to be seen as a writer and I want people to read what I write. I want to write books that show that peace is so multi-faceted that it is possible to find the angle of peace that suits you and for you to live that way of being. I imagine that peace is a multi-sided dice cube and you can roll it and whatever word/synonym of peace that pops up will be how you express peace at that moment. Mindfulness and peace are completely intertwined.

Affection
Amicability
Amity
Armistice
Calmness
Caliber
Character
Closeness
Commitment 
Community
Composure
Consciousness 
Contentment 
Cooperation
Courage
Ease
Empathy
Equanimity
Friendliness 
Friendship 
Good Vibes
Good Will
Harmony
Hope
Integrity 
Intimacy
Kindness (Loving Kindness)
Kinship
Love
Neutrality
Pacifism
Patience
Peace
Peacefulness
Quiet
Reconciliation
Respect
Serenity
Self-Possession
Sociability 
Society
Stillness
Sympathy 
Tranquility
Understanding 
Unity 
Zeal
Facets of Peace

Two more words/phrases that mean a lot to me: Ubuntu & MWE

UBUNTU

I am, because you are

The word ubuntu is part of a Zulu phrase which literally means that a person is a person through other people. … Ubuntu is a nebulous concept of common humanity, oneness: humanity, you and me both…MWE. Dan Siegel coined the term “MWE” which I love. It is the me; it is the we; it is the me in we; it is the we in me. It is a sense of a sense of internal consistency about who I am across time and across multiple social identities (e.g., race/ethnicity, profession, culture, gender, religion). This integrated identity serves as an internal framework for making choices and provides a stable base from which one can act in the world. Ubuntu is peace. MWE is peace.

‘Be aware that patience is not the art of waiting. It is the metaphysics of knowing that resting calmly will deliver.’ ~ Guru Singh


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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: Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs by Susan Schaefer Bernardo

Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs by Susan Schaefer Bernardo; Illustrated by Courtenay Fletcher; Inner Child Flower Books.

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As part of Multicultural Children’s Book Da2019 (1/25/19) I am reviewing the wonderful new title Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs by Susan Schaefer Bernardo. The sweet dialogue, encased in calming rhythms, delivers the important message that love is forever. I was immediately drawn to the fact that this story, although seemingly about people who are separated by physical distance, also touches on the reality of a more permanent separation. This book does not make you feel sad; it just allows the embrace of love to be felt, no matter the permanence of the separation. I love this book. It should be in homes, libraries, schools, therapist offices etc. It is not only a beautiful bedtime story for all children, but it also serve an important purpose as a therapeutic book for children coping with grief, anxiety or loss.

The illustrations by Courtenay Fletcher are sweet and connect to the story perfectly. I love the diverse sampling of characters and how they show simple ways that love is always present, even when a person is not present.

¡Olé Namaste! Eve Costarelli

Thank you to Susan Schaefer Bernardo for sending me this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

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

#ReadYourWorld hashtag #mindfulbookreviewsbyeve #childrensyoga #childrensbooks #picturebook #mindfulness #yoga #alwaysbedancing #evecostarelli #speedyyogini #speedykundalini

********************************************************************************

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators. 

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board!

*View our 2019 Medallion Sponsors here: https://wp.me/P5tVud-
*View our 2019 MCBD Author Sponsors here: 
https://wp.me/P5tVud-2eN

Medallion Level Sponsors

Honorary: Children’s Book CouncilThe Junior Library GuildTheConsciousKid.org.

Super Platinum: Make A Way Media

GOLD: Bharat BabiesCandlewick PressChickasaw Press, Juan Guerra and The Little Doctor / El doctorcitoKidLitTV,  Lerner Publishing GroupPlum Street Press,

SILVER: Capstone PublishingCarole P. RomanAuthor Charlotte RiggleHuda EssaThe Pack-n-Go Girls,

BRONZE: Charlesbridge PublishingJudy Dodge CummingsAuthor Gwen JacksonKitaab WorldLanguage Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ LanguagesLee & Low BooksMiranda Paul and Baptiste Paul, RedfinAuthor Gayle H. Swift,  T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s DaughterTimTimTom BooksLin ThomasSleeping Bear Press/Dow PhumirukVivian Kirkfield,

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board

Honorary: Julie FlettMehrdokht Amini,

Author Janet BallettaAuthor Kathleen BurkinshawAuthor Josh FunkChitra SoundarOne Globe Kids – Friendship StoriesSociosights Press and Almost a MinyanKaren LeggettAuthor Eugenia ChuCultureGroove BooksPhelicia Lang and Me On The PageL.L. WaltersAuthor Sarah StevensonAuthor Kimberly Gordon BiddleHayley BarrettSonia PanigrahAuthor Carolyn Wilhelm, Alva Sachs and Dancing DreidelsAuthor Susan BernardoMilind Makwana and A Day in the Life of a Hindu KidTara WilliamsVeronica AppletonAuthor Crystal BoweDr. Claudia MayAuthor/Illustrator Aram KimAuthor Sandra L. RichardsErin DealeyAuthor Sanya Whittaker GraggAuthor Elsa TakaokaEvelyn Sanchez-ToledoAnita BadhwarAuthor Sylvia LiuFeyi Fay AdventuresAuthor Ann MorrisAuthor Jacqueline JulesCeCe & Roxy BooksSandra Neil Wallace and Rich WallaceLEUYEN PHAMPadma VenkatramanPatricia Newman and Lightswitch LearningShoumi SenValerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Traci SorellShereen RahmingBlythe StanfelChristina MatulaJulie RubiniPaula ChaseErin TwamleyAfsaneh MoradianLori DeMonia, Claudia Schwam, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls RevolutionSoulful SydneyQueen Girls Publications, LLC

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

A Crafty ArabAgatha Rodi BooksAll Done MonkeyBarefoot MommyBiracial Bookworms, Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms ShareColours of UsDiscovering the World Through My Son’s EyesDescendant of Poseidon ReadsEducators Spin on it Growing Book by BookHere Wee Read, Joy Sun Bear/ Shearin LeeJump Into a BookImagination Soup,Jenny Ward’s ClassKid World CitizenKristi’s Book NookThe LogonautsMama SmilesMiss Panda ChineseMulticultural Kid BlogsRaising Race Conscious ChildrenShoumi SenSpanish Playground

TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party. GO HERE for more details.

FREE RESOURCES From MCBD

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta

Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/

Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: Julián Is A Mermaid by Jessica Love

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Today, I read Julián Is A Mermaid by Jessica Love (Candlewick) in my kids yoga classes today. The children range from age 2 1/2-almost 6 and one of their favorite activities is the Calming Rock meditation time. Each child gets a pile of colored glass rocks: some large and flat, some chunky, some blue, some green, some clear, some red, orange and yellow. They know that once the quiet music goes on, it is time to settle down and take on quiet bodies, mouths and minds. It is time to let their imaginations free and make designs or pictures or just enjoy the beautiful colors and textures of their rocks. After a full class practicing the skills of movement and stillness, I brought the rocks out, turned on some quiet music and the kids settled into the routine. I told them that I would be reading them a story and that some of the pages had words and pictures and some of the pages were only pictures. I explained that I would hold the book up and they had the choice to just listen, or they could look up and see the pictures as I would quietly alert them if the page had no words so they could see the pictures as I moved them slowly by.

I told them it was a story about mermaids and we immediately got into a discussion of other things that live in the sea and about the water and the waves. We decided our rocks reminded us of the ocean and we imagined a wave rolling in and messing up the sand beneath and then calming so the water becomes clear again. I started reading the beautiful simple prose and loved the peppering of a few Spanish words such as abuela grandmother mijo my dear; this is very endearing and has a feeling of love and safety. The children calmly listened to me and played with their rocks, and most eyes lifted as I passed the book by. I would watch their eyes take in the sequences of pictures and the special look that would come into their eyes when they got the story. To say I love this book is not enough. The message is one of hope, acceptance and authenticity and is accessible to the very young as well as the old. I am meeting with a local GSA today at a middle school and this book will be part of their yoga/mindfulness class as well. I cannot recommend this book enough. It should be in every school, every library, every home. It is a beautifully crafted message of love and the illustrations are fantastically expressive. This is a home run for this debut author-illustrator.

Even with young children as young as this, discussions happened around accepting other languages styles, choices, ways of being; accepting ourselves and that each individual person is really the only one who knows themselves and for them to nurture and love their inner self (of course I used a fun analogy of a tiny them inside themselves driving around them around like a giant ship.) I explained that even when that ship goes to school or is at home or is with friends, that the inner core them was always the same and they could feel safe, strong and grounded in that knowledge of who they really are. I was able to tell them that their really is a Mermaid Parade that happens in New York where everyone dresses like mermaids and parades together to the sea. https://www.coneyisland.com/programs/mermaid-parade

This book is about:

#acceptance #consciousness #diversity #character #love #courage #compassion #pride #empathy #support #lovingkindness #freetobeyou #freetobeme #freetobe #instalove #inclusion #strength #culture #community #comunidad #equality #mermaid #mermaidparade #coneyisland #Iam #satnam #authenticity #individuality


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Mindful Book Reviews by Eve: Breathing Love: Meditation In Action by Jennie Lee

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This is a lovingly written book about choosing love. Ms. Lee passionately writes about loves inspiration and how it opens you up and strengthens your inner landscape to allow for a full experience of your true nature. Sat nam, I am my truth. Each chapter is headed by inspirational and unique quotes cited from spiritual leaders, poets and philosophers. Each one offering a gateway into the breadth of the chapter’s contemplations on love. This is a very thought provoking book and is a great addition to your body-mind-soul library. I highly recommend this book- it is eye (heart) opening And I have been seeing signs of love everywhere since I read it. There is unifying peace in the release into universal love.


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Book Review By Eve: Go Yogi: Everyday Yoga For Calm, Happy, Healthy Little Yogis by Emma Hughes; Illustrations by John Smisson

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Along with the titled book in the photo, you will see a bent pipe cleaner with beads on it. That is a Breathing Stick. We make them in class with the students and they can make a second one to bring home with them to teach a family member or friend how to use it. How to use it: 1. Slide all the beads to one side on the bend. 2. Breathe in and slide the first bead to the hump in the pipe cleaner; 3. breathe out, slide the bead over the hump and to the other side. Breath as slowly as a turtle. Repeat 4 more times.

I just received my copy of Go Yogi! and I decided to jump right in and bring it to my kids yoga classes and let them help me review it. Well, I must say, the book received 100% favorable reviews from my students, ages 3-6! They loved it and the classes were super fun, were rich with content and the kids remained focused and interested throughout the whole class. The illustrations by John Smisson are super engaging and they tell the whole story, so words are not even necessary. The descriptions hold a lot of vital information, including how to get in and out of the poses, what the poses are good for, and many positive thoughts to keep young minds joyful and healthy. Because of this, the writing is mostly best addressed by an adult while the children read along. There are separate “grown-up” tips that are very useful especially for adults who are not yoga teachers which makes this book a great addition to classrooms, homes and yoga studios alike. I love the overall feel of the book with its muted colors, computer graphic illustrations and its mindful take on bringing yoga to kids.

I highly recommend this book as a feel good book full of positive affirmations, fun yoga poses and a very well crafted sequence that is very helpful for all children. It worked very well for kids ages 3-6 and with some modifications it worked equally well with kids as young as 15 months.

Full Disclosure: Jessica Kingsley Publishing sent me a copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

How I will use this book:

The following is a detailed description of the class I taught, weaving together the book with my knowledge of teaching yoga to children.

Right off the bat, I started out with that funny word yogi The kids laugh when they hear that word. It’s great to use with kids and for comparison, I explain that just like someone who plays tennis is a tennis player, someone who surfs is a surfer, someone who dances tap is a tap dancer, a person who does yoga is a yogi. T’s what they call someone who practices yoga. Of course, the most popular word to use in yoga is namaste. The book describes it as meaning hello & goodbye; I add that it means thank you. Thank you from me to all of you; thank you from you to me; thank you from you to each other. It’s a beautiful, encompassing with a happy feeling, word. It is part of yoga in America. The kids know, that since I also throw in bits of flamenco into my yoga classes, that at the end of my classes, we say ¡Olé! ¡Namaste!

I ask them, “Why do we practice yoga?” Th e book tells us “yoga can help you feel healthy and happy” and with that we launch into our “I Am Happy, I am Good” meditation (link to previous post with meditation here) that I adapted from a meditation by Shakta Khalsa for Radiant Child Yoga.

The book points out it is best to practice in a space clear of toys and noise and we take a moment to notice that our yoga space is uncluttered, our mats are in order and it is as quiet as it can be (for a noisy child care center, that is!) I have a play list*, I use in the background, to create ambiance in our space, but I am always happy to practice in silence too with the kids. One of my major goals in bringing yoga to kids is for them to learn the difference between noise and silence in body, mind and energy.

At this point, I put the book on the floor so that my hands are free. The special yoga breathing exercise is well described and I add in “Sit up, criss-cross yoga sauce” and to have them try covering their mouths while they breathe. I demonstrated the sound of the oceanic breath so they could hear it for themselves and I did this while looking at each one them and timing my breathing with theirs, so we could flow our breath together.

Hello Mr. Sun (Singing-love me some Raffi!.…Oh, Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, Please shine down on me. Oh, Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, Hiding behind a tree. These little children are asking you, To please come out so we can play with you. Oh, Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun. Please shine down on me.). Here I make up some qi gong-like movements for the kids to copy while we sing. Singing and moving is a moving meditation.

In a sing-songy voice:

*We reach up to the sky, Mountain pose. Feel strong and, steady and still.

*Breathe in, arms up reach up to the sun (tippy-toes)

*Dive down , splash, wooosh. You are a waterfall, flowing your water down to a river.

*Step one leg back and the other leg back. Now you are a plank over the quiet water. Strong and long. Sturdy. Hold your tummies up so the water does not splash it but do not touch the sky with your backside. Hold it for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

*Slowly the plank lowers down to the water. Float on your belly, on the river, bobbing on the waves. Breathe in-the wave swells; breathe out, the wave slides away. Repeat. Be like a bird (hero pose), silently sitting on the water, bobbing up and down, but not getting jostled or ruffled. Just quietly resting on the quietly moving water.

*Oh! A little snake pops its head out of the water. Palms by shoulders. Now, you are the snake. Breath in, lift up (into cobra pose), breath out, hisssssssss. Here comes a dog, to play in the water. Press up into Downward Facing Dog pose. Press into the earth with your hands and feet. Lift your happy puppy tail and feel how long your back feels. One leg up, wag your tail. Woof! Woof! Put it down. Switch feet; wag; Woof! Woof! Bring it down. One hand up. Lick you paw. Other side. We try one paw and one leg (opposite sides) just for fun.

*Settle down into child’s pose to feel calm and happy, totally relaxed. Find that wavy feeling of your breath, calming you and bringing your focus inwards.

Usually we call this pose child’s pose, but for today we will call it seed pose. You, little seed, nestled in the earth, nourished by the rain and the sun, slowly your roots start to grow down deep into the earth and you being to know. Slowly we rise up onto our knees, let the head come up last, as it finally presses through the dirt. Now add your arms. Reach them up to the sun, palms together. Feel your body; it is a strong, rooted stem. With a final push, step up with one leg and then the other. Your roots strongly planted in the ground. Your arms burst open and greet the sun “Hello Mr. Sun! Here I am!” palms open wide as we grasp the energy the warmth, the glow from the sun and pull it towards you, bringing your hands to your heart. Right hand over the heart, left hand on top, and just breath. Energy, happiness and trust-pull it right into your heart. Feel your beating heart. Take a few breaths and slow down the beating.

Tea Pot or Watering Can (Triangle pose): I’m a little tea pot short and stout, here is my handle here is my spout. When I get all steamed up, hear me shout! Just tip me over and pour me out”.

Feather Fingers is the perfect time for me to add some flamenco into class. Some cuerpo, braseo, floreo y taconeo! ¡Olé!

Barn Door had them tried the balance with no support and then had them hold onto a ledge to support their balance. Did they notice if it was easier or harder or them same for them when they held the ledge to when they did not? Try it again without.

Chair Pose: feel how strong this pose makes your legs feel. Feel the energy of a lightning bolt; then we shoot off, up, far however, kaboom!

Warrior 1,2,3…with the chant “I am brave (Warrior 1); I am bold (Warrior 2); My own power (get set up to launch into Warrior 3); I can hold! (Warrior 3).”

Balancing Boat builds strong tummy muscles! Rock-and-roll and come right back up to boat pose

Pebble/Child’s Pose: have them take the pose and then go to each one individually and help into the proper form. Do not press on their backs; gently guide them into the shape. Nice round back. Breathing in, feel your belly press against your legs as it gets round; breathing out, the belly softens and your gently drape over your legs.

Butterfly add in “Fly Like A Butterfly” sitting in butterfly pose: Fly like a butterfly, fly like a butterfly, fly like a butterfly up so high. Repeat; Put hands together and place by a cheek, in a sleep like position: Sleep like a butterfly, (switch hand to other cheek,) sleep like a butterfly (switch hands, get a little quieter), sleep like a butterfly (switch; quieter) through the night. Repeat.

Tick-Tock Hands: I replace slightly with drawing circles on each others backs (sit in a large circle, so everyone has a person in front of them.) Go in one direction, now the other. Helps with cross brain and a great sensory exercises.

Calming Candle: First we go back to a little rock and roll action, and then roll up and over.

Savasana: Noodle Test: Go around to each child and have them totally release the effort in their arm or legs, like a wet noodle. Gently pick up the limb(s) and wobble them to have the kids feel the total loosey-goosey feel.

Sit up, cross-cross; rub palms furiously together to create warmth. Take your warmed, tingly hands and place them right one over the heart, then the left one on top, catch the thumbs (a bird shadow puppet) and feel the energy form your hands going right into your body and give yourself a happy, loving, friendly hug. Now let the bird fly away and we say “Thank you! ¡Olé! ¡Namaste!”