Review Policy

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:

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Book Review: What Does it Mean to Be Kind?

Author: Rana DiOrio
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

About This Book: A girl in a red hat finds the courage to be kind to the new student in class. Her kindness spreads, kind act by kind act, until her whole community experiences the magical shift that happens when everyone understands―and acts on―what it means to be kind.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I'm putting together some lessons on kindness for January and have not had a chance to use this book yet. I think this will be a great refresher for kids as we go into the new year to remember how important it is to extend kindness to everyone in all that we do and say. This is a lovely book with many examples of kids doing caring acts for others. It is spot on. 

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

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Book Review: A Little Bit of Oomph!

Author: Barney Saltzberg
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

About This Book: How do you make the ordinary extraordinary? With a little bit of oomph! A Little Bit of Oomph! teaches the invaluable lesson of throwing your heart into whatever you’re doing and trying just a little bit harder— because with a little extra effort and a lot of oomph, you can make anything beautiful.

A Little Bit of Oomph! is filled with pop-ups, lift-the-flaps, spinning circles and gatefolds—and, underlying every page, Barney’s timeless message that creativity is for everyone. Just add a little bit of oomph.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I'm working with students on Growth Mindset this year and I love this little gem. I like using the word OOMPH to describe perseverance. It's great motivation. We expect A LOT from students. They need lots of encouragement. This is a cute little read to provide that inspiration and support.

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Book Review: Living with Mom and Living with Dad

Author/Illustrator: Melanie Walsh
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

About This Book: Her parents don't live together anymore, so sometimes the child in this book lives with her mom and cat, and sometimes with Dad. Her bedroom looks a little different in each house, and she keeps some toys in one place and some in another. But her favorite toys she takes with her wherever she goes. In an inviting lift-the-flap format saturated with colorful illustrations, Melanie Walsh visits the changes in routine that are familiar to many children whose parents live apart, but whose love and involvement remain as constant as ever.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I have a few books on my shelf that are similar to this one but what makes this one extra special are the lift-the-flaps. Very creative and engaging! This book is done so well. I'm so happy to add it to my list of recommendations for families. The ending is also very supportive of the child. "My mom and dad love me a lot, and so does everyone else in my family." There are a bunch of pictures of all sorts of family members who care about the child. Very well done!

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

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Book Review: I Think, I Am!: Teaching Kids the Power of Affirmations

Authors: Louise Hay and Kristina Tracy
Illustrator: Manuela Schwarz
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

From the Book Jacket: "Your thoughts create your life!" This is the message that Louise Hay has been teaching people throughout the world for more than 25 years. Now, children can learn and understand the powerful idea that they have control over their thoughts and words, and in turn, what happens in their life. 

Within the pages of I Think, I Am! kids will find out the difference between negative thoughts and positive affirmations. Fun illustrations and simple text demonstrate how to make the change from negative thoughts and words to those that are positive. The happiness and confidence that come from this ability is something children ail carry with them their entire lives!

Why It's On My Bookshelf: This book has been a total game changer for me as a strong counseling technique. It has really taken some of my lessons to a whole new level and the response I'm seeing from kids is unbelievable. Teaching kids they have control over their thoughts is huge - it can change a hard day to an incredible day. I Think, I Am! does such a wonderful job of teaching kids what a positive affirmation is and how to challenge negative ones. There are 13 examples in the book like, "I can't believe I forgot my sweater. I always forget everything!" "I don't like my hair. I wish it were hers!" "If I don't do what they want, they will be mad at me." The situations are easy to relate to. I cannot recommend this book enough. Get it on your shelf immediately!

A Link to This Book:

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Book Review: The Lemonade Hurricane - A Story of Mindfulness and Meditation

Author: Licia Morelli
Illustrator: Jennifer Morris
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

From the Book Jacket: Henry's life can get busy - sometimes too busy. When that happens, Henry gets wild, tearing around the house like a lemonade hurricane. But his big sister Emma has an idea. 

Maybe, just maybe, she can help her brother learn to be still. This charming story tells how mindfulness and meditation can help calm even a hurricane like Henry, and simple instructions in the back of the book show how you can do it, too!

The Book Trailer: 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I have been teaching The Zones of Regulation and have been trying to find picture books to model the RED zone (when the body is out of control) and how kids can get back to the GREEN zone (when the body is in control). This is such a great story to help kids be aware of their physical energy and how to regulate it. What kids take away from the story is they can calm themselves by using the tool of deep breathing. In the book they show Henry and Emma meditating. We talked about how we can apply breathing to everyday situations in the classroom, cafeteria, playground etc. Kids might not exactly be able to sit down and meditate in the moment but then can still use the strategy of taking deep breaths. I also showed the video "Just Breathe". Such a successful lesson!

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