A gentle, helpful tool for cultivating kid mindfulness.

I AM PEACE

A BOOK OF MINDFULNESS

Yoga instructor Verde and illustrator Reynolds reunite (I Am Yoga, 2015) in this introduction to mindfulness featuring a worried child who focuses on the moment.

Feeling “like a boat with no anchor,” the child announces, “there are times when I worry about what might happen next and what happened before.” Taking a moment to breathe, become grounded, centered, and aware of “the here and the now,” the child’s thoughts settle, and “worries gently pop and disappear.” Through acts of kindness, connecting to nature, and using the senses, the child now feels anchored and at peace within the moment. The spare, seemingly hand-lettered, first-person text and sprightly illustrations, executed in ink, gouache, watercolor, and tea, stand out against pristine white backgrounds. Drawn in loose, black outlines and then washed with rainbow hues, the somewhat androgynous child resembles a young yogi with black hair, light-brown skin, bare feet, turtleneck, cropped pants, and a hat and necklace appropriately adorned with peace symbols. Vignettes of the child in a balance pose, feeding birds, and meditating beneath a tree (magically sprouting from fallen birdseed) reinforce messages of kindness, compassion, and self-awareness as worry melts into bliss. A guided-meditation exercise offers interactive opportunities for readers to create their own mindful time.

A gentle, helpful tool for cultivating kid mindfulness. (author’s note) (Picture book. 3-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2701-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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Thoughts always inform actions; if we can help youngsters see individuals instead of differences, there’s hope.

WHAT IF EVERYBODY THOUGHT THAT?

From the What If Everybody? series

Thinking mean-spirited thoughts can be just as damaging as saying them out loud.

Javernick and Madden pair up once again (What If Everybody Did That?, 2010 and What If Everybody Said That?, 2018), this time to address bullying in a school setting. One hopes that all schools are diverse with regard to both culture and ability, but it can be difficult to help students see beyond differences. Javernick poses scenarios in which children exhibit varying physical disabilities, learning disabilities, medical conditions, and more. A group of children is often depicted scrutinizing one (four taller kids in gym class look to a shorter one, thinking, “He’s too little to play basketball” and “He’ll NEVER get that ball in the hoop”) as the titular phrase asks, “What if EVERYBODY thought that?” The following spread reads, “They might be wrong” as vignettes show the tiny tot zipping around everyone and scoring. If one sees someone using a wheelchair and automatically thinks, “Too bad she can’t be in the relay race”—well, “they might be wrong.” The (literal) flipside offered to each scenario teaches children to be aware of these automatic assumptions and hopefully change perceptions. Madden’s mixed-media illustrations show a diverse array of characters and have intentional, positive messages hidden within, sometimes scratched in chalk on the ground or hanging up in a frame on a classroom wall.

Thoughts always inform actions; if we can help youngsters see individuals instead of differences, there’s hope. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9137-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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Number lovers will enjoy this comic celebration. Although doubters may not be convinced that math is fun or approachable,...

I'M TRYING TO LOVE MATH

Having tackled such hard-to-love topics as bees and spiders, Barton (Give Bees a Chance, 2017, etc.) here lobbies for the love of math.

An unnamed, unseen math-phobic narrator opens by announcing that they’re not alone, as “4 in 10 Americans hate math. That’s like 40%,” only to be hilariously interrupted by a three-eyed purple ET. “Did you just use math to explain how much you don’t like it?” The ET proceeds to explain how math is everywhere and in everything we already love, including cookies (demonstrating that a recipe is in effect a word problem), music (explaining the time signature and notes on a staff), and pizza (measuring the pie using pi). Loose and lively illustrations and big, bold lettering take readers on a colorful tour of cool math history and concepts. But the narrator’s critical questions go unanswered: How do you learn to love a problem like 785 x 5? And what to do with your frustration when you can’t arrive at the “one right answer?” The ET suggests shaking the numbers off the page when they get too overwhelming—an entertaining but ultimately evasive strategy.

Number lovers will enjoy this comic celebration. Although doubters may not be convinced that math is fun or approachable, they will be impressed with its ubiquity, and that’s a start. (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-451-48090-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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