Showing posts from January, 2021

Slow Down: 50 Mindful Moments in Nature written by Rachel Williams, illustrated by Freya Hartas

  Slow Down: 50 Mindful Moments in Nature  written by Rachel Williams illustrated by Freya Hartas Review Copy from Magic Cat Publishing / Abrams Kids Enchanting, engaging, essential! Slow Down: 50 Mindful Moments in Nature is one of the most beautiful and captivating books I have read in years. While the premise of this book encourages readers to go outside and notice the natural world (W. H. Davies's poem, "Leisure," at the start of the book begins, "What is this life if, full of care, / We have no time to stand and stare?") the act of reading it is also one of leisurely pleasure. The titles of each moment often read like lines of poetry as, "Dew Collects on a Leaf," a "Sea Star Shuffles Across the Ocean Floor," "Moss Drinks in a Woodland Rain Shower," and "Cherry Blossoms Fall to the Ground." Hartas's illustrations are delicate, the ideal mix of scientifically illustrative and occasionally playfully anthropomorphic

Everything Comes Next: Collected and New Poems by Naomi Shahib Nye, illustrated by Rafael López, 256 pp, RL 3

  Everything Comes Next: Collected and New Poems  by Naomi Shahib Nye illustrated by Rafael López Review Copy from Greenwillow Books What is your personal relationship with poetry? I have a mostly love relationship with poetry, starting with Shel Silverstein at the age of ten. I wrote a lot of poetry in high school and read even more in college, writing my senior thesis on a book of poetry. I am tempted to say that poetry is best when read out loud and shared, but then I remember reading poetry in solitude, each carefully chosen word and line break captivating me. Everything Comes Next is filled with both kinds of poems - poems best read out loud and best read in solitude.  When I read a book of poetry published for children ("poetry for children," much like "picture books," are genres that are often assumed to be simple or simplified because they are for children. Poetry for children is so much more than nursery rhymes, in the same way that picture books are more

The Box of Emotions: 80 Cards To Make Sense of Your Feelings by Tiffany Watt Smith, illustrated and designed by Therese Vandling

  The Box of Emotions: 80 Cards To Make Sense of Your Feelings   by Tiffany Watt Smith illustrated and designed by Therese Vandling Review copy from Laurence King Dr. Watt Smith, investigator of the hidden cultural forces which shape our emotions and director of the  Centre for the History of the Emotions , is the also author of the book, The Book of Human Emotions: From Ambiguphobia to Umpty -- 154 Words from Around the World for How We Feel , the text of which The Box of Emotions is based on. She is also the giver of the excellent TEDTalk of the same name. Adapting her brilliant and engaging book into a beautifully designed, wonderfully organized box of cards is truly a gift that can be used and enjoyed in a number of ways. Each of the 80 cards contains a mini-essay on a different emotion on one side and a mesmerizing color pattern on the other. Increase your emotional (and intellectual and cultural) intelligence as you explore the aspects of emotions, taking a deep dive into their

The Empathy Game by Saskia H. Herrmann & Jorik Elfernik, visual design by Rinske Spijkerman

  The Empathy Game by Saskia Herrmann & Jorik Elfernik Review Copy from Laurence King Starting conversation with the roll of a dice, The Empathy Game encourages sharing, listening and engaging with our fellow humans. Empathy is the active act of recognition and vulnerability, the act of understanding others and thinking outside of oneself and relating to different people. While the capacity for empathy is inborn, it is a learned behavior that, as our nation (world?) becomes increasingly divided and divisive, we desperately need more of, especially in our leaders. Like most aspects of emotional intelligence (the ability to know what you are feeling, to accurately label and name the different emotions and use your emotions to inform your thinking), empathy is a skill that needs to be taught, from classrooms to boardrooms. Over the last few years, an increasing number of quality picture books that support social-emotional learning have been published (my reviews of SEL titles here )