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Mindful Moments for Kids

Children's music artist and yoga instructor Kira Willey is back with a unique collection of 30 one-minute mindfulness exercises. Whether you are seated or standing, these exercises can easily be done in a classroom or at home. Willey's easy techniques are designed to help children harness their energy, release anxiety and develop self-awareness. Each track consists of Willey's simple voice-over instructions set to her original, award-winning songs. The recording includes hits such as “Candle Breath,” “Rainstorm” and “Today I'm Going To Be...” The album is available at

SkyMath App

Do your kids suffer from attention deficit because they are always on their iPad? The new SkyMath app is an excellent way for your children to make better use of their iPad time and supplement what they are learning in school. The app is designed to boost math confidence and skill level in children grades K-5. SkyMath allows parents to assess their children's skill level, monitor growth and celebrate their mathematical achievements with customized, real-life rewards. The app also re-assesses the user's skill level to determine next steps, and provides an easy and fun way for parents to be more actively involved in their children's education.

— Jenny L. Heinbaugh

Book Reviews

By Mary Quattlebaum

babies / tots

Water Is Water

For Valentine’s Day, why not spotlight a vital resource:   water?   A brother and sister introduce the water cycle as they frolic throughout the year.   There are snowballs and a frozen lake for skating in winter, autumnal fog, springtime mud and puddles and a summer splash in the now-thawed lake.
  Onomatopoeic words such as “creep,” “seep,” “slosh” and “drip” energize the rhythmic text by Miranda Paul, and Jason Chin’s watercolor illustrations vividly convey the many forms and pleasures of water.   The young mixed-race main characters are frequently joined by neighborhood kids from many ethnicities, thus reflecting the diversity of the contemporary American experience.   A lovely, lively book.

ages 4 – 8

Poems in the Attic

In Grandma’s attic, a seven-year-old girl discovers poetry written by her mother as a child.   Mama’s poems--curious, observant and sensitive--chronicle years of frequent moves with her military family.   The daughter (and reader) gets a peek at the Aurora Borealis in Alaska, the white sands of New Mexico, a castle in Germany and cherry blossoms “like snowflakes” in Japan.   The girl writes in free verse on one side of a double-page spread, and her mother’s playful, assured tanka poems appears on the opposite page.   Nikki Grimes keeps the two speakers and eras separate through different poetic styles and subjects.   Elizabeth Zunon’s luminous art captures the color and key images of various lands.

ages 9 – 11

Frederick’s Journey

Powerful lineated prose tells the life story of Frederick Douglass, who was born a slave.   One of his white mistresses taught him the alphabet when he was a boy, and he would read newspapers he found in the street and trade food for lessons from poor white kids.   Finally, after one failed attempt, he escaped to Massachusetts, married and began to speak out against slavery.   He and his wife helped with the Underground Railroad.   Doreen Rappaport, an acclaimed nonfiction writer, interlaces her succinct, fascinating biography with quotes from Douglass.   Through his pictures, London Ladd brings to life this vital man and his times.   This is a wonderful book to share not just for Black History month, in February, but all year long.