Review Policy

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Book Review: Ida Always

Author: Caron Levis
Illustrator: Charles Santoso
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

From the Book Jacket: Gus lives in a big park in the middle of an even bigger city, and he spends his days with Ida. Ida is right there. Always. Then one sad day, Gus learns that Ida is very sick, and she isn't going to get better. 

The friends help each other face the difficult news with whispers, sniffles, cuddles, and even laughs. Slowly, Gus realizes that even after Ida is gone, she will still be with him - through the sounds of their city, and the memories that live in their favorite spots. 

Ida, Always is an exquisitely told story of two best friends - inspired by a real bear friendship - and a gentle, moving, needed reminder that loved ones lost will stay in our hearts, always.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: This book captures the journey of loss so perfectly. Especially how much it hurts. You go through all kinds of emotions with both bears as the story leads up to Ida's passing. Love and caring for one another is emphasized as they deal with the devastating prognosis. That's how they get through it, by trying to be positive and helpful and taking advantage of every minute they have together. In the end, even though Ida is physically gone, her presence is often felt by Gus. The ending reminds us that closure is part of the journey. If you have a child who is experiencing loss or has been told a loved one is going to die - this is a solid and comforting resource to use. Reminded me that it's going to be okay......

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

Monday, May 9, 2016

Book Review: Jack's Worry

Author/Illustrator: Sam Zuppardi
Interest Level: Ages 5 and Up

From the Book Jacket: A touching and reassuring story about the jitters associated with first experiences — and the satisfaction that comes with conquering your fears. Jack loves playing the trumpet, and for weeks he’s been looking forward to taking part in his first concert. But on the morning of the big day, Jack finds he has a Worry. And his Worry starts to grow. Even when Jack’s mother calls him for a special breakfast, even when he hides under the bed or runs around the yard, his Worry follows him. Suddenly, when it’s almost time to leave for the concert, Jack finds it’s all too much. For anyone who’s ever been afraid of failing at something new, this book offers just what’s needed to shrink a Worry down to size.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: Such a great book to help kids understand their anxiety and how to overcome it. I feel like I have so many kids who are dealing with worry. These worries are debilitating because kids don't know what to do other then Fight, Flight, or Freeze. 

Jack is worried about performing in a concert so he tries to deal with it by avoiding having to go. When his mom asks him if everything is OK, he cannot find the words to talk about his worry. Many children feel this way. He is afraid of making a mistake in the concert. His mom is able to reassure him that the concert is about having fun and not about being perfect. His worry begins to shrink. 

When he arrives at the concert he sees his friends are also covered with worry. So he helps them make their worries go away. As a counselor I am so happy to have this new resource. It's going to help me show kids how to open up, develop strategies, and face their fears. 

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

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Book Review: Charlotte and the Quiet Place

Author: Deborah Sosin
Illustrator: Sara Woolley
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

About This Book: Charlotte likes quiet. But wherever Charlotte goes, she is surrounded by noise, noise, noise — her yipping dog, Otto; the squeaky, creaky swings; the warbling, wailing sirens. Even in the library, children yammer and yell. Where can Charlotte find a quiet place? Sara Woolley’s magnificent watercolors bring Charlotte’s city to life when Otto leads her on a wild chase through the park. There, Charlotte discovers a quiet place where she never would have imagined!

Sometimes children need a break from our noisy, overstimulating world. Charlotte and the Quiet Place shows how a child learns and practices mindful breathing on her own and experiences the beauty of silence. All children can relate to the unfolding adventure and message of self-discovery and empowerment. Parents, teachers, and caretakers of highly active or sensitive children will find this story especially useful.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: This is such a helpful resource for self-regulation. I am using this to teach kids to take a break and find a quiet space in the classroom to get back to a calm state. There is also an awesome discussion guide you can use. So happy to have this new tool. It also fits perfectly with my Zones of Regulation lessons. 

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

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: