A Morning with Grandpa by Sylvia Liu, illustrated by Christina Forshay (InfoSoup)
Mei Mei’s grandfather, Gong Gong, is in the garden doing his tai chi forms. He sways his arms and explains that the form is called “White Crane Spreading Its Wings.” He also tells Mei Mei that tai chi is a martial art which makes Mei Mei start doing karate chops. Gong Gong continues to show Mei Mei about tai chi and its slow and smooth motions. Mei Mei does each motion with her own style. Then it is time for Mei Mei to teach Gong Gong about yoga. With stretching movements like Downward Dog and the Mermaid, Gong Gong is soon learning new poses of his own.
This book won Lee & Lows New Voices Award. It is a lovely look at the relationship of grandparent and grandchild through shared experiences and trying new things together. The incorporation of Tai Chi and Yoga is also done very well and there is a section in the back of the book that offers more information on the poses and forms demonstrated in the story. The way that Mei Mei is able to both learn from her grandfather and then teach him what she knows is a noteworthy element to the story, demonstrating that children can both be students and teachers.
The art by Forshay is bright and refreshing. She captures the various forms and poses with ease, showing the balance required for both Tai Chi and Yoga. She also demonstrates the energy of Mei Mei and the deep affection that the two of them have for one another. It is a book filled with movement and motion.
A joyful look at grandparents and grandchildren and the dynamic of learning from one another, this picture book is superb. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from library copy.
I Am Yoga by Susan Verde, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds (InfoSoup)
A girl explains how yoga helps her in her day. When she is feeling the world is moving too quickly and that her thoughts are racing, she uses yoga to slow her mind, stop her heart from racing, and make room for creativity and ideas. The book then moves into the girl doing yoga positions which she describes in terms of the way that they make her feel. They make her shine like a star, feel like she is dancing with the moon, seeing far and wide, and sailing on the sea. She also talks about what those moves do, like make her more focused, open her heart, and be more playful. Basically, it is a book that celebrates yoga and the many ways that it can impact your day and make you more mindful.
Verde’s words are ones of joy and cheer. She captures the zing of the busy day and the distractions that come with it. Then comes the centering and slowing and the yoga, that are quieter and even more joyful. The focus is on the beauty of those moments, the way they transform a person and the feeling that you are left with afterwards. The mindful piece is clearly there, though yoga and its movements takes center stage.
Reynolds uses simple images to convey the feelings of the various movements. Awash with watercolors, the line drawings glow on the page. Some pages have just one color while others have sunsets of oranges, yellows and purples. The use of the bright colors makes the book a rainbow to read, moving from one feeling to the next and guided by the colors themselves.
A vivid and lovely look at yoga and its power to transform, the book ends with a guide to the yoga positions seen in the book. Appropriate for ages 3-6.
Reviewed from library copy.
You Are a Lion and Other Fun Yoga Poses by Taeeun Yoo
This is a fun and gentle way for children to learn yoga poses. The book opens with a Namaste to the morning. Children then learn about the lion pose, with the pose simply explained and shown. Readers turn the page to see the child in the pose and the jungle and lion around him. Other poses follow with the butterfly, dog, snake, frog and cat. The book ends with the Mountain pose and a group of children hold that pose up on top of the mountain range. Finally, the children lie down and are still, relaxing in the morning light.
The short text in the book has quick directions and then a few lines of poem to match that pose. The rhymes are basic, offering a little more insight into why that pose is called by the name it is. The entire book has a playful approach that matches the subject matter well. That playful nature is matched by a gentle spirit and a quietness that work particularly well here.
Yoo’s illustrations were done using linoleum block prints, pencil drawings and Photoshop. They have a wonderful texture to them, great lines, and a simplicity that is necessary when offering directions. The children are all different races, making the book all the more inviting.
This is a great pick for introducing young children to some basic yoga moves. The moves are simple, playful and presented in a fresh way. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy received from Nancy Paulsen Books.