A gentle, helpful tool for cultivating kid mindfulness.

READ REVIEW

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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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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