Elem – I am Courage

Verde, Susan. I am Courage. Abrams, 2021. 978-0-711-26145-7. p. 32. $14.99. Grades K-2. 

What is courage? Is it speaking out, believing in ourselves, asking for help, trying new things, and getting back up in challenging situations? It also could mean feeling scared yet facing those things that place fear in our hearts. I am Courage, by Susan Verde and illustrated by Peter Reynolds, is a picture book that promotes love and acceptance. The story shows various ways that a person can connect with themselves and others. 

We are strong.
We are capable.
We are important.
We are courage. 

THOUGHTS: I am Courage, the newest addition to Susan Verde and Peter Reynolds I Am series, is a story of empowerment. Readers will be reminded that they can conquer anything and remain strong in their bodies and minds. The yoga and mindfulness exercises at the back of the picture book also will encourage readers to be strong and confident. 

Picture Book          Marie Mengel, Reading SD

Elem. – Most Days

Leannah, Michael. Most Days. Tilbury House, 2021. 978-0-884-48727-2. 32 p. $17.96. Grades K-2. 

Little moments that make up a day are highlighted with a nod to mindfulness. A variety of children share observations while completing ordinary tasks. On his way to breakfast, a boy notices six leaves on a plant where there were five yesterday. Outside, a girl in a wheelchair notices a new spiderweb. Walking through a busy neighborhood offers opportunities to take in many sights and sounds unique to the moment with a focus on positivity and the “good things happen in the ordinary minutes of the day.” Some diversity is shown among the children and adults portrayed. Calm, pastel watercolor illustrations set the scene for an engaging read aloud reminding children to find stillness and beauty in everyday moments.

THOUGHTS: A good picture book to use in conjunction with a five senses unit or to introduce mindfulness to students.

Picture Book          Jackie Fulton, Mt. Lebanon SD 

Elem. – Too Many Bubbles

Peck, Christina, and Mags Deroma. Too Many Bubbles: A Story about Mindfulness. Sourcebooks, 2021. 978-1-728-23590-5. 48 p. $12.99. Grades PreK – 1.

Izzy starts with one thought, a grumpy one right above her head after a rough day, following her all day until it was time for bed. When she woke up the next morning, she had another thought bubble, and as the story goes she has more and more until they, literally, push her off the page. Izzy makes her way to her secret spot which has room for all of her bubbles. She takes a deep breath in and gently blows on the bubbles (the book encourages the reader to do the same to help Izzy). The back of the book has more information for the reader regarding mindfulness, as well as some exercises that the reader can practice. The illustrations in this book are very bright and colorful which was a nice contrast to the plot of Izzy feeling overwhelmed by all these thought bubbles.

THOUGHTS: This is a great introduction for mindfulness, as well as a great book to start a conversation with a reader about that topic. This book would be useful in any elementary library collection, or for an elementary guidance counselor or school social worker.

Picture Book          Mary Hyson, Lehigh Valley Regional Charter Academy

Elem. – Arlo: The Lion Who Couldn’t Sleep

Rayner, Catherine. Arlo: The Lion Who Couldn’t Sleep. Peachtree, 2020. $17.99. 978-1-682-63222-2. 32 p. Grades K-2. 

Everyone knows that lions need a lot of sleep. Exhausted Arlo the lion searched high and low for a good place to sleep, but all he finds are faults. “The grass was too prickly and the earth was too hard” while the “sun is too hot and the night is too cold.” Nearing desperation, Arlo encounters an owl who shares her secret song for sleeping through the daytime with less than perfect conditions. Before long, Arlo is using the song to calm his mind and body to fall asleep. Feeling fully rested Arlo is excited to share with his friends whom he awakens in his excitement. Thus, the story repeats for two cycles as the lion helps his friends perfect the technique until everyone is sound asleep. Brief, repetitive text is spread sparsely over the soothing mixed media artwork featuring watercolor, screenprint, acrylic ink, and pencil allowing readers to become absorbed in the mindful message and find stillness.

THOUGHTS: A nice gentle storybook featuring elements of meditation and mindfulness for children. Delightful as a stand-alone story or a good introduction to a breathing, meditation, and mindfulness lesson.

Picture Book          Jackie Fulton, Mt. Lebanon SD