Wednesday, March 7, 2018


Danza!: Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México

Danza! tells the story of Amalia Hernandez, the founder of El Ballet Folklorico de Mexico. She drew from local dance traditions throughout Mexico and combined them with ballet and modern techniques to create spectacular performances. The costumes are inspired by local tradition and when the company tours it takes more than three tons of costumes with it! Tonatiuh captures these beautifully by combining digital collage with his hand-drawn illustrations. I love this mixed-media approach which uses photographs to fill in fabric, hair, and other materials and adds a wonderful texture. Amalia's life and the spread of Mexian folkloric dance is an inspiring tale. I'm lucky enough to have seen the Ballet Folklorico de Mexico perform and recommend that you do too, but first read this book!

Danza! by Duncan Tonatiuh: buy it or check it out today!

Breathe Like a Bear review

Breathe Like a Bear: 30 Mindful Moments for Kids to Feel Calm and Focused Anytime, Anywhere

This colorful and practical guide leads kids through a variety of exercises in mindfulness. The bright illustrations and simple language make it an engaging way to teach mindfulness to even the youngest kids. The exercises are broken down into five sections: Be Calm, Focus, Imagine, Make Some Energy, and Relax. Each exercise gets a fully illustrated two page spread with large text in appealing fonts explaining what to do in kid-friendly language. I love the squirrels with their kindness exercise and the wolf that leads the get your grumpies out exercise, but it's afternoon as I write this, so I am most drawn to the energizers. This example from that section certainly looks appealing to me. Just look at that lion!

Breathe Like a Bear by Kira Willey, illus. by Anni Betts: buy it or check it out today!

Bravo Review

Bravo!: Poems About Amazing Hispanics

Reading comforts me.
I find magazines in trash piles.
Reading leads to writing.
I find poetry in tomato fields,
and stories in the faces
of weary workers.

-from "Tomas Rivera" by Margarita Engle

This gorgeous collection of poetry highlights many lesser-known figures from artists to activist. The poems are short but inspiring and made me want to learn more about the people described. It would be a great class share, especially with the full-page mixed media illustrations that could each make beautiful posters on their own. Brief additional biographical information is included in the back, but you will probably want to do more research on your own after reading.

Bravo!: Poems about amazing Hispanics by Margarita Engle; illustrated by Rafael Lopez: buy it or check it out today!