FOLLOW YOUR BREATH!

A FIRST BOOK OF MINDFULNESS

From the Exploring Our Community series

A reminder to pause, breathe, and notice the moment.

Five friends from Ritchie’s informational series Exploring Our Community learn about mindfulness.

Pedro is nervous about moving. His mom, a martial arts instructor, teaches him and his friends about mindfulness to try to relieve his anxiety. She talks them through various tips and tricks. First they learn how to stretch and focus on their bodies. (A sidebar gives readers a stretch to try on their own.) Then they take a mindful walk through a park and into a garden, noticing the sights and smells. A sudden rainstorm brings up a discussion about emotions. “Like the weather, feelings change and are often beyond our control.” The pals head back to Pedro’s house for a sleepover, where they learn how to do a body scan before bed. Bold headings announce each topic (“Be Wise—Visualize!”) while the main narrative follows the friends. A subnarrative in smaller font gives more in-depth facts. Ritchie’s inked, comics-inspired illustrations are bright enough to appeal but also subdued enough to complement the calming subject matter. Examples of mindful games are appended along with a glossary. Pedro and his friend group make up a diverse, mixed bunch. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.3-by-17.8-inch double-page spreads viewed at 35.2% of actual size.)

A reminder to pause, breathe, and notice the moment. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0336-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

I AM MONEY

An educational and uplifting foundation in financial mindsets and rules of thumb.

A walking, talking billfold of cash takes readers through the ins and outs of money.

Held together by a shiny gold clip and often accompanied by anthropomorphic coins, our narrator is a smiley, positive presence who eats pizza and rides a bike, just like us! Money explains its value as well as how to earn it (mowing lawns, selling lemonade), spend it, save it, and share it. The narrator uses clothing as a metaphor to explain different forms of money—sometimes the narrator dons “digital and crypto clothes,” though the author doesn’t elaborate on these. A similar reference to “credit card coats” is accompanied by a warning on overspending. Most commendable are reminders of readers' self-worth: Though readers are encouraged to invest in themselves, it’s made abundantly clear that money does not confer value to people. A message about earning interest is followed by a wordless page of coins and bills passing by a bank and a credit union—concepts that are a bit too advanced to describe in detail for this book’s audience. For now, tracking savings in a clear jar (not a piggy bank) is advanced enough. A guinea pig appears throughout the cheerful, textured art, making a suitably cute sidekick for the narrator.

An educational and uplifting foundation in financial mindsets and rules of thumb. (money tips) (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781728271262

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2023

THE LITTLE BOOK OF JOY

Hundreds of pages of unbridled uplift boiled down to 40.

From two Nobel Peace Prize winners, an invitation to look past sadness and loneliness to the joy that surrounds us.

Bobbing in the wake of 2016’s heavyweight Book of Joy (2016), this brief but buoyant address to young readers offers an earnest insight: “If you just focus on the thing that is making / you sad, then the sadness is all you see. / But if you look around, you will / see that joy is everywhere.” López expands the simply delivered proposal in fresh and lyrical ways—beginning with paired scenes of the authors as solitary children growing up in very different circumstances on (as they put it) “opposite sides of the world,” then meeting as young friends bonded by streams of rainbow bunting and going on to share their exuberantly hued joy with a group of dancers diverse in terms of age, race, culture, and locale while urging readers to do the same. Though on the whole this comes off as a bit bland (the banter and hilarity that characterized the authors’ recorded interchanges are absent here) and their advice just to look away from the sad things may seem facile in view of what too many children are inescapably faced with, still, it’s hard to imagine anyone in the world more qualified to deliver such a message than these two. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Hundreds of pages of unbridled uplift boiled down to 40. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-48423-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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