4 star reviews, Book reviews, Childrens' Books

My Mixed Emotions by DK Publishing

4/5 stars

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From the Publisher:

My Review:

This book is packed with information for helping kids understand their feelings.  It describes the four main feelings: happy, sad, afraid and angry and then goes into details about when you might feel each of those things.  I think this book is good for all kids, but especially for those kids who have trouble expressing themselves.

I plan to read this to the kids in one of the library programs I am running this fall.  It would also be a great addition to a parents’ shelf in a children’s library.

4 star reviews, Book reviews, Childrens' Books, Yoga

Let’s Play Yoga by Márcia De Luca + Lúcia Barros

4/5 stars


I began practicing yoga to get back in shape after my second daughter was born and it changed my life.  I have struggled with an eating disorder since I was 12 years old.  I had never found an exercise routine that I liked enough to really stick with for more than a few months.  But yoga was different.  I toned muscle, but it also felt good.  Really good.  So good that I found myself wanting to do it and missing it if I didn’t do it.  I found myself able to breathe deeper and aware of my breath all the time.  I found myself calmer and more at peace when I practiced and feeling a little harried and crazed and unfocused when I did not practice.  I have had a regular almost daily practice for over sixteen years and I sing the praises of yoga to all who will listen.  I have turned my husband – who had never exercised outside of the occasional bike ride and one of my good friends – who had felt they couldn’t do yoga because they weren’t flexible enough – into devotees too.

So, when I saw books aimed at turning kids on to this amazing form of exercise, I was like, “Yeah!  Right on!” and I wanted to know more.

Let’s Play Yoga is a very cute book.  It starts out by explaining that ‘yoga’ means ‘union’ and that we are all stronger together.  It then goes on to explain that yamas are things to avoid – a lot of candy, bad thoughts, etc. and niyamas are things to do more of – like exercise and thinking positive thoughts.  I loved this simple explanation and I admit that even after all of these years practicing yoga, I never understood yamas and niyamas so clearly.

Let’s Play Yoga makes yoga a game kids can play.  It starts with ten rules, such as not being violent, telling the truth, right use of energy and not being jealous.

Then the authors created stories to go with the poses.  So Tadasana or Mountain pose, becomes Tada and is the story of a girl who stands tall like a mountain.  Then there are examples of how kids can stand tall and how it helps them focus and balance better when they practice this pose.

I thought it was a cute book and a cute way to teach kids about yoga.  I loved The Ten Basic Principles or Rules of Yoga – -those are such important lessons for all of us to learn and I can always use a reminder.  I also loved that the book explained what Sanskrit was and used the Sanskrit terms for the poses in the stories.  This book not only teaches the basics of yoga, but also presents ways for kids to bring yoga into the rest of their lives or as yogis say “off the mat”.

Credit line: Let’s Play Yoga! How to Grow Calm Like a Mountain, Strong Like a Warrior, and Joyful Like the Sun © Lúcia Barros and Márcia De Luca, 2014. Illustrations © Bruna Assis Brasil, 2014. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold. theexperimentpublishing.com

You can purchase this title on Amazon or Barnes and Noble or wherever books are sold.

I would like to thank Netgalley and Experiment Publishing for my copy!

4 star reviews, Book reviews, Childrens' Books, Yoga

Yoga for Kids by Susannah Hoffman

4/5 stars


In the foreward for this book, actress Patricia Arquette writes how “we live in a world of chaos” and “it’s important to find ways to heal and combat the fast world”.  That is what yoga is.  Yoga forces us to slow down, to breathe deep, to focus on our movements,  to accept ourselves where we are – I have yet to take a yoga class where the teacher does not, at some point, remind us that we are all different and that maybe we could do a pose deeper the day before but, like Susannah Hoffman, the author of this book tells readers that they are doing yoga perfectly for them that day, even if one side is tighter than the other or it’s more difficult today than it was yesterday.

This book starts by explaining that in yoga, we often start with “Om”–seated on the mat, cross-legged, leaving everything else behind and focusing on our breath.  And we end with “Namaste” – hands at prayer position, the light in you recognizing the light in others.  It’s the message we end with and try to take off our mats back into the chaotic world.

The first poses are warm up poses, simple things like shoulder stretches and side stretches, which encourages a warm up before getting into more complicated poses.  There are two pages explaining how to do each pose. After every few poses, Susannah Hoffman shows the reader how to put it together in a sequence or, as we say in yoga, “how to flow”.

There are pop-ups on some of the pages for grown-ups to tell them what the pose is doing and how to make sure their child is doing it in such a way that they won’t get hurt.

The photographs in this book are beautiful and very engaging and inviting, they made me want to get up and do yoga!  I loved how they used different kids of different ages and abilities and several kids with Down syndrome.


I thought this was a great introduction to yoga for kids ages 7-12.  I would definitely consider buying this for the library.

I would like to thank Netgalley for my digital copy.

Book reviews, Childrens' Books

Daniel Daniels and the World’s Worst Zoo by Robby Yates

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This was a cute early chapter book for kids in 2nd – 4th grade about a boy, Daniel Daniels, whose parents are not good at communicating with each other or with him.  There is a zoo in their town and the zookeeper is not nice to the animals, so Daniel comes up with a plan to change that.  It was a cute, cleverly written story with a nice resolution at the end.

Most kids would be able to relate to the description of the classroom setting and be empathetic about the way the zookeeper treats the animals.  I am sure many kids would come up with their own plans for how to help the animals.

Book Blurb:

Daniel Daniels spends most of his time doing one of two things:

  1. Avoiding the school bully, or
  2. Hanging out with his animal friends.

Unfortunately, Daniel’s animal friends all live at The World’s Worst Zoo, run by the cruel and crabby Mr Gregory.

One day, an unfortunate incident with some ointment at the zoo leaves Daniel with a few special tricks up his sleeve‌—‌tricks that he can use to save the animals, and teach Mr Gregory a lesson.

Curious, witty and sweet, this adventurous chapter book will charm and thrill the young and the young-at-heart!


Author Bio

Robbie Yates is an author based in the vibrant city of Melbourne, Australia. He enjoys the crunch of autumn leaves, and eating tasty snacks from his childhood.

In his free time, Robbie likes to read the stories of Roald Dahl, Paul Jennings and J.K. Rowling. Robbie also likes to go geocaching, play board games, and have water-balloon fights.


Author Contact Details & Links

Website: http://www.robbieyates.com/

Website for this book: http://robbieyates.com/daniel-daniels-and-the-worlds-worst-zoo/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Robbie-Yates-410844732660426/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/robbie_b_yates

Gmail: robbie.b.yates@gmail.com

5 star reviews, activism, Book reviews, Childrens' Books, homosexuality

Sewing the Rainbow by Gayle Pitman

5/5 stars

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Typically I read and review thrillers, contemporary and women’s fiction and YA books, I also work at a library and run children’s programs.  I adore Gayle E. Pitman’s A Church for All. Although my job requires me to be conscious of everyone’s right to an opinion and I understand not everyone feels the way I do, I do like to slip in a book or two here and there that might reach a child who needs to hear it.  Gayle E. Pitman writes those books and this is one of those books.

This is based on the creator of the Rainbow Flag, Gilbert Baker who was a sparkly, glittery boy whose dad could not accept that he wanted to be creative and colorful.  When he grew up, he moved to San Francisco where he made costumes for famous people and sewed banners for marches but there was one evil symbol in his city and he wanted to change that.  He got the idea to made a beautiful colorful flag to replace the symbol.  And it did.  When you see that Rainbow Flag, you know it is ok to be yourself.

The illustrations are wonderful.  There is an informative note about Gilbert Baker at the end of the book.

Sewing the Rainbow is not overtly in-your-face Gay Pride, but it gets the point across.  My hope in slipping this story in once in a while is that maybe there is a kid who feels they are sparkly and glittery and that they don’t fit in and maybe they will remember this story and realize they are not alone.  Maybe they won’t know it when they hear the story, but at a later time they will remember the story and remember the flag and realize they are not alone.  Or maybe there are kids who are just curious about the pretty flag with rainbow colors and their parents were uncomfortable with the question, but after hearing the story, they will now understand that it symbolizes that it’s ok to be yourself.

I would like to thank Netgalley and American Psychological Association Magination Press for the galley copy of this book.