Breathe, get comfortable, give and take the gift of time with this journey.

MY HEART FLIES OPEN

Mindfulness, affirmations, and yoga instructions form the text of this uplifting, “fantastical trip.”

Beginning with the breath, the confident, first-person narrator knows “I am love” and sits resting in Easy Pose. From there, each page turn introduces ways to manage feelings and use the breath, the mind, and affirmations to know “I am stillness,” “I am life,” “I am bold,” and “I am grateful.” All the while, the text moves readers through yoga poses that embody the thoughts expressed. Facing each page of text is a colorful illustration of a Black child in the yoga pose described, floating in space, cresting a wave, releasing butterflies, nose to nose with a dolphin, or surrounded by hearts. The child’s contented face, with eyes closed and smiling slightly, and the energy that emanates from the simple lines, shapes, and colors will attract young readers to the pages. The affirmations, set apart with a larger, colored display type, will become familiar, comforting refrains taking up space for positivity and setting a standard of self-care for readers. Achikeobi-Lewis’ lyrical prose and visual art combine to offer a beautiful experience of mindfulness and movement perfect for meaningful time between children and caregivers that will feed the spirits of both.

Breathe, get comfortable, give and take the gift of time with this journey. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62317-613-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: North Atlantic

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 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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Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children.

AN ABC OF EQUALITY

Social-equity themes are presented to children in ABC format.

Terms related to intersectional inequality, such as “class,” “gender,” “privilege,” “oppression,” “race,” and “sex,” as well as other topics important to social justice such as “feminism,” “human being,” “immigration,” “justice,” “kindness,” “multicultural,” “transgender,” “understanding,” and “value” are named and explained. There are 26 in all, one for each letter of the alphabet. Colorful two-page spreads with kid-friendly illustrations present each term. First the term is described: “Belief is when you are confident something exists even if you can’t see it. Lots of different beliefs fill the world, and no single belief is right for everyone.” On the facing page it concludes: “B is for BELIEF / Everyone has different beliefs.” It is hard to see who the intended audience for this little board book is. Babies and toddlers are busy learning the names for their body parts, familiar objects around them, and perhaps some basic feelings like happy, hungry, and sad; slightly older preschoolers will probably be bewildered by explanations such as: “A value is an expression of how to live a belief. A value can serve as a guide for how you behave around other human beings. / V is for VALUE / Live your beliefs out loud.”

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children. (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-742-8

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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