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August 2017

    adult books, book reviews

    Has Your Flower Bloomed Yet: Bloom by Brittany Travestè (A Book Review)

    Bloom by Brittany Travestè

    Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book from the author to facilitate this review.  As always, all opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.


    Has your flower bloomed yet or are you a seed still waiting to sprout and grow?

    Synopsis
    Manifested from the seed of reflection, Bloom is one woman’s restorative quest toward love-of the internal sort. Through bare as bones poems, narrative essays, and brief meditations, it proves to be healing for you, too, if you’ve ever looked upon yourself and cringed at the not so beautiful. Bloom seeks release and acceptance. It is an act of utter vulnerability with the hope of giving you freedom to sprout gracefully into your most magical self, understanding that every experience, lapse in judgment, and fall from grace has led you right back to you.

    Reflection
    As author Brittany Travestè states in this book, “We have so much in common with flowers. We, however, attempt to hide the process. We try to pretend that we woke up in love with ourselves. As if our mothers pushed us out into a world that is perfect.”

    This short collection of poetry, prose, narrative essays, meditations and honest reflection is SO beautiful! It’s broken out into four different sections: seed, sprout, grow and bloom. Women (and teens) will be taken on a beautiful journey of self-reflection, self-love and self-care. I can relate to so many of the poems and reflections from my humble beginnings when I was a “seed” to my naive years as I was still “sprouting” and “growing” to my current life living in full “bloom”.  I like the poem Insecurities, but Thank God for Mama, I Ain’t Sorry and Blues in His Left Thigh to name a few.

    I’d recommend this book for teens and women on a quest to restore their internal love for self.  This book may help you find things hidden deep within your soul like fears, doubts or negative traits.  As you go on your own personal self love journey be sure to accept whatever you find and continue to move forward in your quest for self discovery.

    You can grow even stronger by honestly facing the characteristics revealed by your personal inventory. Don’t be afraid to admit who you are and accept your limitations. Only then can you start working on the weaknesses to become a better person and enjoy your strengths to savor each day.  “In Bloom, you’ll recall that yours is the love you’ve been searching for all along.  You were planted for this.”

    About the Author
    Brittany Travestè is a self-published writer, poet and cultivator of black girl magic.  She credits her mother for nurturing her love for literature.  Brittany earned her BA in Journalism from Howard University where she began to flourish as a published writer.  To learn more about Brittany’s journey to BLOOM visit her website.

    Your turn: Have you read this book yet?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    book reviews, children's books

    Black Girls Do Ballet: I Just Kept Spinning by Destini Berry

    Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher to facilitate this review.  As always, all opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

    I Just Kept Spinning
    by Destini Berry, illustrated by Ashley Foxx

    Publisher: Kifani Press
    Format: Hardcover
    Age Range: 5-8 and up

    Can Black girls do ballet?  Oh yes, they can (and so can other girls too)!

    Synopsis
    Follow the story of 7-year-old Destini, who wants more than anything to dance but is banned from her first recital because her long locs seemingly don’t fit the mold of a prima ballerina. Little readers however, will see that Destini won’t let anyone else define her beauty or her destiny.

    Reflection
    One day after ballet class, little 7 year-old Destini is pulled aside and told by her dance teacher she can no longer participate in class because she has dreadlocks in her hair. Her teacher tells her ballet dancers should be “neat and clean”. She calls her braids unruly and tells her they must go. Feeling devastated and dejected, Destini tells her mother what happened. Soon the news spreads like wildfire and the local media is involved. In the end, the teacher has a change of heart and Destini gets to keep on spinning. Based on a true experience, this beautiful book inspires young girls to believe in themselves.

    The “ideal” ballet standards have alienated many non-white women from the dance world for decades here in America and worldwide. Non-white girls and women have been told they have flat feet, they’ve been criticized and ridiculed about their hair, skin color or weight.  I’m so happy there are books like this to remind little girls not to accept “no” for an answer when they are faced with obstacles. It also teaches themes of self-acceptance, standing up for yourself and confidence.

    The hand drawn illustrations by Ashley Foxx are so colorful and gorgeous and really make this book come alive. A great book to read with aspiring ballerinas, lovers of dance or anyone who is striving to make it with the odds against them.  Little girls with dreadlocks or braids who dance ballet are sure to be delighted to see themselves reflected in this wonderful book.

    Kifani Press is committed to publishing high-quality works of fiction featuring characters of color by authors and illustrators of color. Recommended for ages 5-8. Visit http://ijustkeptspinning.com for more information or to pre-order.  You can also use discount code DYS15 to receive 15% off your entire order through September 15, 2017.

    Your turn: Are you looking forward to reading this book with your little readers?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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    book reviews, children's books

    KidLitPicks: Little Kids, Big Emotions 17 Picture Book Recommendations

    Did you know that reading with your kiddos supports the development of emotional intelligence? Well it does! By enhancing vocabulary, creating an openness to experience, and providing safe space for emphatic imagination, books open our children to the world of emotions in pretty powerful ways. This month, the #kidlitpicks theme is Little Kids, Big Emotions and we are excited to share some great picture books that address your children’s big and budding feelings! Some books will aim directly at helping kiddos understand and express themselves (a major tantrum-busting skill) by featuring an array of emotions, illustrations, and feeling words. Other books will feature stories that give children the opportunity to imagine themselves in interesting narratives about sadness, hope, joy, fear, angry, and all the rest.  This month’s @kidlitpicks theme was chosen and introduced by @afriendlyaffair, with a special message: As a clinical psychologist, I feel strongly about the importance of giving your kids a plethora of ways to express themselves. Hopefully your feed will be full this month of books that help us all along the way of building a good base of knowledge, play, and imaginative experiences so that our kids can understand the world around them and be resilient.

    Places To Be, by Mac Barnett and Renata Liwska
    “All the ups and downs in life, the zigzags and u-turns, can be difficult to navigate, but with a friend at our side in all those places to be, we’ll get through.” — Summer from @readingisourthing

    Feminist Baby, by Loryn Brantz
    “She’s a force to be reckoned with!” — Mel from @spiky_penelope

    “It is wonderful for opening discussions on feelings, friendship, diversity and, of course, abstract art..” — Clarissa from @book.nerd.mommy

     

    Tiny Tantrum, by Caroline Crowe and Ella Okstad
    “We all know a little girl like her!” —  Kim from @bookbairn
    Brave, by Stacy McAnulty and Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
    “This primer is a perfect introduction for kids and a great refresher for their grownups.” — Miranda from @bookbloom

    In My Heart, by Jo Witek and Christine Roussey
    “The die cut hearts are one of the many appealing features of this book.” — De from @books_and_babycinos

    The Forever Garden, by Laurel Snyder and Samantha Cotterill
    “A wonderful story about friendship and gardening! ” — Arielle from @childrensbooksgalore

    Emily’s Blue Period, by Cathleen Daly
    “For families going through separation or divorce, Emily’s Blue Period is an especially compassionate and helpful book…be sure to have some art supplies ready to make your own collage afterward.” — Rossa from @curiouslittlepeople

    My Brother, by Dee Huxley
    “Older children will appreciate this metaphorical story that is a tender exploration of loss and grief from a sibling’s perspective.” — Rossa from @curiouslittlepeople


    A Book of Feelings, by Amanda McCardie
    “What sets this book apart is that it not only focuses on different kinds of emotions but also how those emotions may affect them and how to identify and understand them in other people.” — Rossa from @curiouslittlepeople

    I’m New Here, by Anne Sibley O’Brien
    “I think this book is great for both welcoming children to classrooms and also providing American children with an understanding of what it feels like to be new and learn how to speak and write a new language..” — Charnaie from @hereweeread
     
    The Field Guide to the Grumpasaurus, by Edward Hemingway
    “It was a great reminder for me that there are times to be firm and strict but there are just as many times to show empathy. Both are important.” — Wendy from @homegrownreader
    Everyone, by Christopher Silas Neal
    “A beautiful and hopeful look at understanding emotion.” — Heather from @kidlitbookbits

    The Color Monster: A Pop-Up Book of Feelings, by Anna Llenas
    The Color Monster is the perfect emotional primer for young kids. It explores the range of emotions children experience — all through amazing pop-up pages bursting with color!” — Anna from @kidlitcrafts

    Today I Feel, by Madalena Moniz
    Today I Feel fits in perfectly with the theme. It’s an Alphabet book of feelings.” — Mel from @kids.books.we.love

    Annie’s Chair, by Deborah Miland
    “In a deceptively simple way, it taps into some of the BIG preschooler emotions around sharing and space..” — Shannon from @ohcreativeday

    Grumpy Pants, by Claire Messer
    “A great door to talk to kids about these grumpy feelings and learning how to deal with them.” — Michelle from @the.book.report

    Your turn: What books would you add to this list?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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