Review Policy

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Book Review: Who We Are! All About Being the Same and Being Different

Author: Robie H Harris
Illustrator: Nadine Bernard Westcott
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

From the Book Jacket: Young children are curious about almost everything. Asking questions is one of the many ways they learn about themselves and the world around them. The Lets Talk About YOU and ME series provides our youngest children with easy-to-understand facts and fascinating answers to their delightful, thoughtful, and often nonstop questions. 

Join Nellie, Gus, baby Jake, and their parents at Funland as they go on rides, watch performers, and play games with many other children and grown-ups. This enjoyable excursion can help children understand that people are the same as one another in lots of ways and different from one another in lots of ways. 

Accessible, humorous, family-filled illustrations; conversations between Gus and Nellie; and matter-of-fact text help children to realize why treating other people the way they want to be treated - and the way you want to be treated - matters, whether a person is a lot like you or different from you or is a friend or someone you have met or seen for the first time. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I'm adding this one to my kid's bookshelf at home and also here at school to use in lessons on differences. I see books like these as community builders. The more we teach and remind children how important, wonderful, and normal differences are - the more we become connected on a deeper level. 

A Link to This Book and Others You Might Find Helpful:

Monday, April 25, 2016

Book Review: What Happens When A Loved One Dies? Our First Talk About Death

Author: Dr. Jillian Roberts
Illustrator: Cindy Revell
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up
Book Series: Just Enough Series

From the Book Jacket: It can be difficult to know how to talk with children about death, whether they are experiencing grief and loss for the first time, or simply curious. Child Psychologist Dr. Jillian Roberts created the Just Enough series to empower parents and caregivers to start conversations with little ones about challenging subject matter. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: Kids have a lot of questions about death and dying. I thought this was a really informative book to help give children real answers and also comfort. 

Questions asked: What does death mean? Do people die too? What happens when someone dies? What happens to the person who has died? Where does that person go? What is a soul? Where does the soul go after a person dies? What is the afterlife? Will I ever see the person I love again? Why do I feel so sad? What can I do to feel better?

So happy to have this new recommendation for parents and children. 

A Link to This Book and Others You Might Find Helpful:

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Book Review: The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever

Author: J. Joseph Hopkins
Illustrator: Jill McElmurry
Interest Level: Ages 6 and Up

About This Book: Unearth the true story of green-thumbed pioneer and activist Kate Sessions, who helped San Diego grow from a dry desert town into a lush, leafy city known for its gorgeous parks and gardens.

Katherine Olivia Sessions never thought she’d live in a place without trees. After all, Kate grew up among the towering pines and redwoods of Northern California. But after becoming the first woman to graduate from the University of California with a degree in science, she took a job as a teacher far south in the dry desert town of San Diego. Where there were almost no trees.

Kate decided that San Diego needed trees more than anything else. So this trailblazing young woman singlehandedly started a massive movement that transformed the town into the green, garden-filled oasis it is today. Now, more than 100 years after Kate first arrived in San Diego, her gorgeous gardens and parks can be found all over the city. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I've been trying to pump up my career lessons and this new book has it all! It also reinforces the other messages I've been teaching this year around growth mindset, personal power, and perseverance. Not to mention it's a wonderful true story for girls who are interested in science. It's very well written. My main takeaway was that if you have an idea - you CAN accomplish it and overcome obstacles. Katherine LITERALLY changed the landscape of San Diego. Great read. 

A Link to This Book and Others You Might Find Helpful:

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Book Review: Good Morning Yoga - a pose-by-pose wake up story

Author: Mariam Gates
Illustrator: Sarah Jane Hinder
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

From the Book Jacket: Calm and awake, "I can do this!" is all I need to say. A deep breath in, a long breath out - I am ready for the day! This "wake up" story is so much more than a story. It's a practice for kids and parents to greet the morning with joy and embark on their daily adventures with intention and confidence. Turn the page and reach up to the sky, press your feet into the earth, and get ready for a great day!

Why It's On My Bookshelf: We already own Good Night Yoga so we were happily surprised to see a new edition. My daughter learned twelve new poses and I love the continued emphasis on taking deep breaths. Our favorite thing about the book is the visualization story called 'How I Want to Feel Today.' I can see an absolute difference in behavior when we use these books. They are empowering, interactive, and teaches yoga in a fun way. It's been a wonderful way to get ready for our day. 

A Link to This Book and Others You Might Find Helpful:

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Book Review: Grandma

From the Book Jacket: Oscar loves Grandma, and their time together is always lots of fun. As she becomes less able to take care of herself, she has to go into a nursing home. 

More and more children are encountering dementia and its effects on their families. This touching story, told in Oscar's own words, is a positive and practical tale about the experience. The factual page about dementia helps children talk about their feelings and find new ways to enjoy the changing relationship. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: When there is change in a family kids need information. Grandma provides the reassurance children might be looking for in a situation that feels uncertain. If they are not told the reasons about a change - they will fill the holes on their own. They need to be in the loop and this is the perfect book to help do that. 

A Link to This Book and Others You Might Find Useful: 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Book Review: The Dot

Author/Illustrator: Peter H. Reynolds
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

From the Book Jacket: "Just make a mark and see where it takes you." The words of Vashti's teachers are a gentle invitation to self-expression. But Vashti can't draw - she's no artist. To prove her point, Vashti jabs at a blank sheet of paper, leaving an unremarkable, angry dot. "There!" she says. 

That one little dot marks the beginning of Vashti's journey of surprise and self-discovery. That one little dot marks the beginning of a delicate fable about the creative spirit in all of us. That one little dot marks the beginning....

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I started using The Dot as part of my growth mindset lessons. The story reminds kids that if you put real effort into something....the results can be amazing. Vashti goes from doing zero work to becoming an artist - all because she changed her thinking (thanks to a teacher challenging  her). It ends with Vashti passing along this powerful message to another child who does not believe in himself. Love how it came full circle. 

Find the lesson plan HERE

Book Trailer:

A Link to This Book and Others That Might Be Helpful:

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Book Review: What to Do when You Grumble Too Much A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Negativity (Interactive Workbook)

Author: Dawn Huebner PhD
Illustrator: Bonnie Matthews
Interest Level: Ages 6-12

About This Resource: Did you know that life is like an obstacle course? It's exciting and fun, but full of tricky spots to get through. If you're a kid who feels so frustrated by those tricky spots that it's hard to enjoy the good things in life, this books is for you. 

What to Do When You Grumble Too Much guides children and their parents through cognitive-behavioral techniques used to treat negative thinking. Lively metaphors and illustrations help kids see life's hurdles in a new way, while drawing and writing activities help them master skills to get over those hurdles. And step-by-step instructions point the way toward becoming happier, more positive kids. This interactive self-help book is the complete resource for educating, motivating, and empowering children to work toward change. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: Even though this is a workbook geared towards individual use, I have started implementing it into small group counseling and classroom lessons. It's been a fantastic supplement to my growth mindset lessons. The kids love all of the metaphors that teach what negative thinking is and how to beat those thoughts. This is a really empowering resource and the kids are really drawn to it because it sheds light on emotions they may not have been able to understand or cope with.  

A Link to This Book and Others You Might Find Helpful:

Monday, January 11, 2016

Book Review: Angry Octopus - A Relaxation Story

Author: Lori Lite
Illustrator: Max Stasuyk
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

From the Book Jacket: Children love to unwind and relax with this fun exercise known as muscular relaxation. Children will be able to relate to the angry octopus in this story as the sea child shows him how to calm down and manage his anger. This effective stress and anger management technique focuses awareness on various muscle groups to create a complete resting of the mind and body. Muscular relaxation can lower stress and anxiety levels. It can be used to decrease pain and anger. This engaging story quiets the mind and relaxes the body so your child can let go of anger and fall asleep peacefully. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: My favorite thing about this book is how it stresses you are the boss of your body and feelings. You can control your anger - even when things are falling apart and you feel like you might explode. Many kids feel out of control and need to hear this. Angry Octopus works on teaching the child how to be the boss by practice deep breathing. He becomes angry over something very small and after he gets himself back together through breathing he is able to solve the problem. Such an excellent resource! 

A Link to This Book and Others You Might Find Helpful:

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Book Review: Bernice Gets Carried Away

Author/Illustrator: Hannah Harrison
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

From the Book Jacket: Bernice is having a truly rotten time at her friend’s birthday party. First, everyone else gets a piece of cake with a frosting rose. But not Bernice. Then, everyone else gets strawberry-melon soda. Bernice gets the prune-grapefruit juice. And it’s warm. The last straw is the one lousy (squished) candy she gets from the piƱata. So when the balloons arrive, Bernice knows just what she has to do: grab them all. And then, poor cross Bernice gets carried up, up, and away. Luckily, she figures out just how to make her way back down to the party…and she brightens lots of other animals’ days on her way.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: A great message in this one - focus on others...don't focus on what you can GET from others. What's most important are friendships and relationships. Bernice Gets Carried Away delivers this message in such a lovely way. I want to figure out how to add this to my bucket filling lessons. What makes Bernice most happy in the end is when she gives all the balloons away. Because it's really not about the balloons - it's about being a giving person. If you are focused on being a receiving person - you are going to miss out on being connected to those around you. Love.

A Link To This Book and Others That Might Be Helpful:

Monday, December 14, 2015

Book Review: You Are a Lion! And Other Fun Yoga Poses

Author/Illustrator: Taeeun Yoo
Interest Level: Ages 3 and Up

From the Book Jacket: Go ahead. Take a deep breath. And become... A LION. And roar in the jungle! A BUTTERFLY. And flap your wings! A FROG. And hop! With simple instructions and bright, clear illustrations of playful animal poses, celebrated New York Times Best Illustrator Taeeun Yoo introduces young children to the joy of yoga. 

Yoga is great for kids because it promotes flexibility and focus - and it's fun! It might even calm the beast in your little one. So breathe deeply and enjoy!

Book Trailer:

Why It's On My Bookshelf: One of my goals this year was to introduce more Yoga into my lessons. This book is definitely helping me reach this goal. Kids love it. The illustrations are awesome and show the kids exactly what the pose looks like along with an animal in the same position. We've read this book so many times that now I can just call out the pose and they know what to do. Fantastic resource!!

A Link to This Book and Others You Might Find Helpful: