Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Rain Before Rainbows by Smriti Prasadam-Halls {Mental Wellness}

When I share books to help us with our emotions and mental wellness I usually end with this book. Rain Before Rainbows by Smriti Prasadam-Halls because I've learned it can rain really hard and rainbows can appear. Hanging on to the moments of rainbows will help you get through the rain.

This book takes readers on a journey with a girl and fox. As this friendship pair begins walking the reader senses they are leaving something behind. The author gives great examples of things that were and what they can be offering readers - a feeling of forward movement. For example, "Night before daybreak. The old day is done." 

I love the encouragement I felt about the hardships we all face. "Dark days may shake us and worries creep in, with dragons to duel and battles to win." Girl and fox discover friends who are helpful and kind. I just wanted to say YES! friends are a rope to hold on to especially when it's so easy to keep things to ourselves when life gets hard. The story ends with the reminder that morning is bright. 

Illustrator David Litchfield used ink and paint and then rendered the images digitally and all I can say is WOW! The shading and intentional use of light brings softness to each page. This softness on the pages of darkness makes the darkness seem natural. We all have mountains to climb. 

As I opened the book Rain Before Rainbows by Smriti Prasadam-Halls something caught my eye in the small print section with all the publishing and copyright information. "Inspired by Psalm 30:5 - "Weeping my tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning." I hope to find an interview with Sriti Prasadam. I'd love to know more about this.

My Bibliotherapy moment - 

"Rain before rainbows, clouds before sun, night before daybreak - a new day's begun."

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

The Little Book of Joy by His Holiness the Dalai Lama & Archbishop Desmond Tutu {Mental Wellness}

A friend gifted me the book, 
The Little Book of Joy by His Holiness the Dalai Lama & Archbishop Desmond Tutu when my world felt a little bit uncertain and it brought me a lot of comfort. I teared up reading with several moments of bibliotherapy. 

I'm going to share the bibliotherapy moment that tugged most at my heart. 

"Even if you slam the door and your joy can't get in, it's just not he other side waiting in al loving hug."

I was reminded while I couldn't feel joy right now and missed it, it was waiting and would return which is the message of this entire book. His holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu share their story of growing up away from each other longing for a friend. They share if we look at just sadness that is all we see and encourage readers to look around for joy.

Their examples of joy are easy to find; the warm sun on us, being silly, a cozy bed, and rain puddles to name a few. They also share once they found joy they found sharing their joy created more joy.

I think it's a great mentor text for writing a list of joyful things. I think it's a great text to launch sharing joyful things from our classrooms into the world. I'm going to be pondering how to do that more intentionally this summer for next year.

Monday, May 29, 2023

Maybe Tomorrow? by Charlotte Agell {Mental Wellness}

Maybe Tomorrow?
by Charlotte Agell is a tender story about getting low, feeling bogged down and finding others to help us realize there is a tomorrow. Elba is a purple hippo with a big block she drags around with as string. Norris is a green alligator who dances everywhere. 

Elba and Norris meet in the park and we watch Norris try to engage Elba with a picnic. Norris wants to know what is inside Elba's block. They have tea in the rain and Norris keeps trying to find out what is in the box with no luck. As they walk to the ocean, Elba shares she misses Little Bird and is sad. Elba tells Norris all about Little Bird. The block starts to shrink and get lighter. 

Elba and Norris model what friendship filled with kindness and empathy can do to bring comfort to a sadness. Sometimes we all need a little encouragement and checking to try the next tomorrow.

My bibliotherapy moment - 

"How?" whispered Elba.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Lemonade Hurricane by Licia Morelli {Mental Wellness}

Lemonade Hurricane A Story of Mindfulness and Meditation by Licia Morelli is told from he point of view of a sibling with a very active younger brother. Emma likes moments in her day to rest and Henry is very active with running, wrestling, and noises. Henry has days filled with activities and really enjoys karate putting all his energy in to it. Emma calls all his energy - a lemonade hurricane.

She'd love for Henry to slow down and tries to show him how to be still. Henry is all over the tree and the yard while she is sharing how to pause and breathe. Then she shares an idea of riding an elephant and Henry can sit and breathe with Emma.

I love hearing about the emotions and journey a sibling has while trying to share strategies for an overactive family member. 

The author's note shares an analogy for mindfulness and meditation to a glass of lemonade. A great visual to use with readers. She also shares strategies for practicing mindfulness and meditation. 

My bibliotherapy moment - 

"When I sit I can feel the ground beneath me. I can hear the birds chirping. I can smell the grass."

Saturday, May 27, 2023

When Sadness is at Your Door by Eva Eland {Mental Wellness}

When Sadness is at Your Door by Eva Eland is my favorite book about sadness. We need to talk about sadness more and picture sadness. Eva has taken a topic often illustrated with dark hues and uses a light aqua teal to represent sadness. Along with brown, choral, and a smooth white/ivory background readers are encouraged to accept sadness.

Eva reminds us sadness surprises us. Sadness lingers. We can try to hide it. Then she writes giving readers ideas for living with sadness. We need to name it, listen to it, understand where it comes from and what it needs. We don't have to understand it and we need to sit with it. 

Sadness can want us to sit and not do very much. This is okay and we need to do opposite action activities - things that we don't really want to do so we get engaged and moving. Eva shares ideas like drawing or listening to music to name a few. Reminding us that tomorrow is a new day.

A great follow up is a writer's notebook entry about things that make you sad.

On Eva's website she has teaching notes to guide our work with her book.

My bibliotherapy moment - 

"If you don't understand each other, just sit together and be quiet for a while."

Friday, May 26, 2023

A Day So Gray by Marie Lamba {Mental Wellness}

I love A Day So Gray by Marie Lamba! It's a book for mindset, opinions, and changing the way we think. Two friends are bundled up for a walk in winter. The first page makes me laugh and and if you live in Central Ohio you might have said this yourself, "This day is so gray." The friend replies, "No, it isn't." 

As the page is turned, readers automatically think then what is it. The descriptive language and the power of seeing beyond the obviously really made me soak in the illustrations. Imagine this - "It's deep soft brown, and shining blue, and silver splashes on bright yellow."

The girls walk more following the pattern of a negative thought with a positive reflection. Then they come inside and it continues for a bit more until they settle down to a warm fire and both agree it is cozy. Which helps our negative thinker find some reflective descriptive thinking about a blanket, and hot cocoa, and the sunset outside. 

Sometimes it's easier to see, feel, and experience the gray. The sad and negative; pausing to live in these for a moment can be necessary and it's helpful to learn to see beyond.

I think this book would be a great springboard for looking at a piece of art with a gray hue and writing down what else we see. 

There's a winter scavenger hunt on Marie's website that might be nice to do with your students or share with families as a follow up the book.

My bibliotherapy moment - 

"And we are cozy, too, on this day what was so much more than gray!"

Thursday, May 25, 2023

the Circles All Around Us by Brand Montague {Mental Wellness}

the Circles All Around Us by Brad Montague is all about connections. The story begins with child drawing a circle with child around themselves. While this circle is safe it can also be lonely. We follow the child expand their circle to include family, extended family, and then friends. Our circles change depending on where we are and sometimes our circles of connections and bring discomfort. As our circles grow so does our caring. The ending of this story is reminder about caring for ourselves while maintaining these circles of connections.

Navigating people can be hard when someone is working on their mental wellness and yet connections have been proven to be necessary to help our mental health. This book reminds us connections are needed and our circles can change, grow, and shift.

My bibliotherapy moment - shifted from the first time I read this book.

First read - "So let us create bigger circles all around us for the rest of our days."

Second read - "It doesn't mean the circle is easy. It can get harder the more we share."