Monday, March 23, 2015

Anna and her Rainbow-Colored Yoga Mats by Giselle Shardlow - A review.

Anna and her Rainbow-Colored Yoga Mats

Book Overview

  • Paperback: 36 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 147740077X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1477400777
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.5 x 0.1 inches

To Purchase:

Available on the Kids Yoga Stories website w/ PayPal: 
& on Amazon by clicking on the story image:

Book Summary

A Yoga Story About Friendship, Happiness and Acceptance

Anna finds happiness practicing yoga on her rainbow-colored yoga mats at recess. She imagines traveling the world and exploring new places. Will her classmates accept her and join the fun?
The storybook includes a Foreword by Katie Manitsas, Director of Jivamukti Yoga Sydney and Author of Yoga Off the Mat and The Yoga of Birth.

My Review:

Finding acceptance in this crazy world of ours can be challenging. Giselle Shardlow's book Anna and Her Rainbow Colored Yoga Mats highlights the challenges of a young girl getting used to a new school and classroom. Adjusting to a new classroom is hard enough for any kid, but for a young girl with a hearing impairment, adjusting can be especially challenging. For Anna, she finds peace and acceptance by sharing her world of yoga with the other children in her class. This delightful story weaves yoga poses throughout, providing the perfect opportunity to share with your child the movements of yoga. What is especially enchanting about this book is how it promotes creative expression and imagination. The yoga poses are not prescribed routines, but instead they are movements that describe imaginative play, which is perfect for any child.


Creating Rainbow Chakra Rocks to go with the book: 

As an extension activity for this book, I thought it would be a great time to introduce the seven main Chakras and their colors since they also represent a rainbow. I am no Yogi, but I do have a series of mantras that I recite for each of the Chakras: I am divine; I am connected; I am expressive;I am loved; I am strong;I am creative; and I am safe. 

On a walk in the woods behind our house, inspired by my youngest daughter's obsession with throwing rocks in the creek and my oldest daughter's obsession with carrying "calming" rocks in her pockets, I suggested we bring back a bag full of rocks for an art project. The goal was to create a series of calming rocks for my oldest to remind my daughter she is divine, she is connected, she is expressive, she is loved, she is strong, she is creative, and most importantly, she is safe.

We had a basketful of rocks, which we cleaned and dried.

Then we picked out paints that best matched the seven main Chakras.

I love the excitement of a jar full of clean brushes just waiting to make magic.

My youngest was much more excited by painting her hands than the rocks.

When we were done, we had several sets of Chakra calming rocks. 

With Sharpie markers, I wrote one inspirational word on each rock: divine, connected, expressive, loved, strong, creative, and safe to remind my oldest of the meaning of each Chakra.

My youngest enjoyed simply creating a circle of rocks around her on the yoga mat and saying, "Namaste."

I created this PDF to celebrate the seven Chakras and create a mat to put each of the rocks in the appropriate circle, which serves as a simple color matching activity for my youngest child. 

Download your own Chakra Mat to place the rocks on.

Let me know if you make your own Chakra calming rocks. I would love to see a picture of them.

More info about the author:

FTC Required Disclosures:
 *I received a review copy from the author free of charge. All opinions expressed in this review represent my honest opinions about the book. **This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. If you purchase the books through these links, I receive a small portion of the payment, which I use to support this blog. Thanks for your support! 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Dahlonega Literary Festival - March 28 and 29, 2015

Looking ahead to the coming weekend, I wanted to share this fantastic opportunity to mix and mingle with some literary greats.  This coming Saturday, I will be making the drive up to Dahlonega to attend the 2015 Dahlonega Literary Festival. Included in the schedule is a panel focused on writing children's books on Saturday morning (Writing and Illustrating Children’s Books, Panelists: Mark Braught & Lynn Cullen, St. Luke’s, Rm. 104). 

Check out the full details of the event. 

Dahlonega Literary Festival
"A Book Lover's Paradise"

Dahlonega, GA – The 11th Annual Dahlonega Literary Festival will occur March 28 & 29, 2015 in historic downtown Dahlonega, GA. This yearly celebration of books promises to delight anyone who enjoys reading!

Dahlonega Literary Festival featured authors include Raymond Atkins, Jackie K. Cooper, Delilah S. Dawson, Molly Harper, Kevin Hearne, Ann Hite, Man Martin, Frances Mayes, Cherie Priest and many more. Illustrator Mark Braught will also share tips on character drawing and illustration. The festival will also present 26 Regional Writers including Kerry Alan Denney, Grace Hawthorne, Kevin Horgan, Dianne Mize, Rodney Page, Shelley Pickens, Rona Simmons, and Kimberly Cross Teter.

Festival highlights include author discussion panels covering a variety of topics, RSVP lunch with authors at area restaurants, a keynote address from author Frances Mayes and author book signing sessions.

The Dahlonega Literary Festival, begun in 2004, celebrates books, writers, literacy, storytelling and literary performance art. This is an intimate festival about books and authors with a mission to promote interaction between readers and writers in a relaxed, informal environment. The organization is a 501(c)3 non-profit.

Festival events will occur in various locations around the historic square of downtown Dahlonega, and all activities are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. The 2015 Dahlonega Literary Festival will be a particularly special event as it will be held in conjunction with the Southern Literary Festival.

Please visit for event details, updates and driving directions. Follow Dahlonega Literary Festival on social media at

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Great Expectations

Something about March consumes my soul. The month has such great expectations that I cannot help but feel empty and void with desire to grow new roots.

March taunts my grand expectations for a lovely spring by chilling my bones with the last insults of winter.

In March, the commutes seem longer, the tasks harder, and the nights more restless, if that is even possible. March fills my soul with the dreams to go on grand new adventures and fill every last moment with business. However, somehow I find myself just staring out the window paralyzed by my great expectations.

And then there is that moment when I notice the bulbs that were planted in the fall have sprouted, and suddenly life doesn't seem so impossible after all.
My oldest struggles with the same great expectations, and I felt we needed to create a board of positive thoughts to combat the darkness that seems to always creep in at the bitter end of winter. It is essentially a Pinterest board in real life. My husband hung a cork board in our foyer specifically for this purpose. I searched books and the internet for inspirational quotes and mantras.

 My daughter and I filled the board with the phrases and words that most directly spoke to our hearts.

Such a simple process, but I guarantee I read these quotes more often than any I would "pin" to a board on Pinterest. Finding happiness most certainly can be found when one deliberately seeks out to find it.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Moat is Not a Goat: Poems for Clever Little Girls by Elsa Takaoka- A Review

About the Book

Title: A Moat is Not a Goat: Poems for Clever Little Girls * Author: Elsa Takaoka * Illustrator: Fanny Liem * Publication Date: November 27, 2014 * Publisher: Independent * Pages: 32 * Recommended Age: 4 to 8
Summary (Amazon): This is a collection on 16 beautifully illustrated poems about sweet and charming everyday experiences, especially written for little girls. This book will teach, inspire and empower little precocious lassies, opening their hearts and minds to the delightful world of imagination.

My Review

My oldest and I were lucky enough to receive A Moat is Not a Goat: Poems for Clever Little Girls written by Elsa Takaoka and illustrated by Fanny Liem. My daughter is a huge fan of poetry, and many of the children's poems books that are available tend to be filled with poems that a crass and geared towards boys. This collection of 13 poems is the perfect alternative to most other collections of modern children's poems as it is filled with creative and witty poems that clever little girls will delight in reading.

The author even has free downloadable coloring pages to go with the book.  You can find them on the author's website. My daughter's always love it whenever there is an extension activity to go along with a book they have read.
Click on this Thumbnail to visit the Author's website for the free download.

The poems in this book are carefully placed around vibrant illustrations that will capture the imagination of little girls. There are ponies, princesses, pirates, castles, and little girls be happy, energetic, creative kids. What I enjoy about these poems is they maintain the innocence of childhood, in both content and pictures. The poems also address challenges for kids such as stereotypes and conflicts with friends and siblings. This collection of poems would be an asset to have when conquering those difficult to broach childhood issues. My favorite poem is titled, "Sniffle, Sniffle." In this poem, a little girl is trying to get out of going to school by faking being sick. When the girl realizes how boring being home in bed will be the little girl is filled with regret. Suffice it to say, this was a powerful poem to read in our house.

To purchase: 

Amazon (Paperback) * Amazon (eBook) 


 FTC Required Disclosures:
 *I received a review copy from the author free of charge. All opinions expressed in this review represent my honest opinions about the book. **This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. If you purchase the books through these links, I receive a small portion of the payment, which I use to support this blog. Thanks for your support!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Introducing Barefoot Books

Over the past two years, I have been reading and learning about authors, illustrators, the publishing process, and publishers. I have even been taking a course called, "A Novel Experience" that discusses the process of getting books published. I am so interested in this process because I have come across so many people who have taken different paths to publishing books. I have also spent a lot of time thinking about what it is that makes my children fall in love with a book- the words, the pictures, that certain Je ne sais pas?

This journey to find the best children's books for my girls has led me to Barefoot Books. With this publisher, I have found gorgeous books that are culturally diverse. My youngest adores these books, asking to read them again and again. She especially loves how so many of the books come with CD's. Listening to the music and words that go with each book adds a whole new dynamic.

Check out some of our favorites:

 As a Barefoot Books Ambassador, I have this amazing opportunity to offer to you, my blog readers, an online marketplace where you can purchase these fantastic books. Don't worry, I will keep blogging about books from all different publishers, but I will also be featuring special books from this company.

As a kickoff event, I will be offering 20% off purchases on from my marketplace.  I will also be hosting an online Facebook party on March 17, 2015 from 9:00-9:30 pm (EST) to personally share stories and descriptions about our favorite books. If you would like to join in, please email me your Facebook contact information to jenny.houlroyd at You don't want to miss the Facebook party because I will be giving away special prizes during the event.

Click on the Shop now button to see all the wonder and joy of Barefoot Books.

***FTC Disclosure: As a Barefoot Books Ambassador, I receive a portion of the sales from books purchased through my marketplace. These funds are used to support my Books, Babies, and Bows blog. Thanks so much for your support!.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Journey into Reading Aloud with Big Kids

Today is World Read Aloud Day. Both my oldest and I were sick, but we had the pleasure of making lemonade out of lemons by spending the sick day reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone together. 

Yes, she can read on her own. Yes, she is an independent reader. However, I thoroughly enjoy spending time each day reading with her. Why should you continue to read aloud with your child after they become independent readers? In celebration of Read Aloud Month, I thought I would share some of the reasons I think it benefits both the parent and the child. 

1. We often read picture books because pictures sometimes tell stories that are too complicated for words. A perfect example of this concept is the wordless picture book- Journey by Aaron Becker. Loneliness of a child is perfectly captured in this captivating book. The images speak to my 8 year-old in a way that words cannot, at least not yet.

2. After a long day at school and all sorts of required reading, it helps my daughter unwind to read simple picture books with her younger sister and me. These simple stories that we choose after challenging reading all day leave positive impressions of the reading experience. 

3. Reading picture books aloud creates a confidence in my daughter as a reader. Picture books contain a cadence and rhythm that empowers her reading to sound like natural conversation. 

4. Reading aloud with my eight year-old gives her permission to continue being a kid. I select books that will keep childhood magical. 

5. Reading aloud books that contain pictures gives a great opportunity to discuss artwork and the process of creating illustrations with older kids. We often talk about what we think the illustrator used to paint or create the pictures. We discuss how different colors bring different emotions to life. 

Do you still read aloud with your big kid? For more information about the importance of reading aloud, check out this infographic from Read Aloud 15 Minutes. Below is the link so you can download it yourself.

This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. If you purchase the books through these links, I receive a small portion of the payment, which I use to support this blog. Thanks for your support!
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