Good mindfulness exercises carry a challenging concept and wordy text.

THE IN-BETWEEN BOOK

An interactive book encouraging mindfulness by noticing the space in between.

There is space between everything. The narrator speaks directly to readers, creating an interactive book about learning to mindfully notice that space in between things in order to “become more curious, calm, and creative.” It begins by having readers close their eyes and notice the pause between breathing in and out or listen for the space between heartbeats. Then it directs readers to trace the space between the two daisies drawn on the page to find new shapes. Continuing, the narrator guides readers to look outside, to notice their footfalls while walking, and even to tell a joke to a friend, looking and listening for the spaces and pauses between what they see and what they hear. Inspired by the Japanese concept of ma, or empty space, the exercises are great ways to practice mindfulness. The actual concept of seeking and feeling empty space can be difficult to understand, and with a lot of text and hard-to-grasp concepts, this book will work best read aloud by a companion who can help coach listeners through the time and reflection necessary for understanding. The illustrations, done in different shades of purple, are simple, aligning with the calming, mindful tone; in many images, negative space is filled with scribbles or small shapes that emphasize it.

Good mindfulness exercises carry a challenging concept and wordy text. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68364-733-1

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Sounds True

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants.

A WORLD TOGETHER

Large color photographs (occasionally composed of montages) and accessible, simple text highlight global similarities and differences, always focusing on our universal connections.

While child readers may not recognize Manzano, the Puerto Rican actress who played Maria on Sesame Street, adults will recognize her as a trusted diverse voice. In her endnote, she explains her desire to “encourage lively conversations about shared experiences.” Starting out with the familiar, home and community, the text begins with “How many WONDERFUL PEOPLE do you know?” Then it moves out to the world: “Did you know there are about 8 BILLION PEOPLE on the planet?” The photo essay features the usual concrete similarities and differences found in many books of this type, such as housing (a Mongolian yurt opposite a Hong Kong apartment building overlooking a basketball court), food (dumplings, pizza, cotton candy, a churro, etc.), and school. Manzano also makes sure to point out likenesses in emotions, as shown in a montage of photos from countries including China, Spain, Kashmir (Pakistan/India), and the United States. At the end, a world map and thumbnail images show the locations of all photos, revealing a preponderance of examples from the U.S. and a slight underrepresentation for Africa and South America.

Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3738-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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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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