feature image from Town of Chestertown.
Week 1, Day 1 with my students always starts the same. We go over how the Rise Up Yoga Curriculum works, what it can do for them, we talk about my one classroom rule, then we jump right in.
I crack open Everwhere, Wonder (illustrated by Robbi Behr and written by Matthew Swanson).
I pause and smile and look around the room to see their eyes grow big as they scan the title page.
Real quick: I have known Robbi and Matthew for a couple of years now. They are delightful human beings and I couldn’t be happier that their book is kicking ass and taking names. I very much hope it wins some kind of an award. I may or may not send out aggressive emails during book award season if I ever find out when that is.
Back to the kids, as we turn through the many pages and their faces light up at gorgeously illustrated pictures of pyramids, the waters of Alaska, the dense and green leaves of Brazil and the golden savannas of Kenya.
I’ve had students yell things like “My mom is from Kenya!”
or “Hey, that kid looks like me!”
The truth of the matter is that yeah, Everywhere, Wonder is a one of a kind book in that it has a non-white character just being a kid. That is not really commonplace in kids lit. Most diversity is introduced when a new and different looking kid comes to a school. Not to say that there isn’t value in those books, but man is it great for a non-white kid to just be a kid in a book. Riding his bike, exploring the world and sharing his story.
I use this book in my curriculum to introduce mindfulness to kids ages three to nine. Yes, it’s a picture book for smaller kids, but the illustrations by the imitable Robbi Behr and the clever wordsmithing from Matthew Swanson allow this book to transcend a small niche.
And for me, this book so perfectly presents a yoga adventure for all the kids to go on creating poses like pyramid, tree, boat, bridge and balloon for some pranayama work. We love to create a doorknob pose. (Gotta get the book if you wanna know what that’s about.)
I don’t want this review to be one that breaks down the finer points of the plot or whatever book reviews are supposed to do, (Can you tell I’ve never written a book review before?) but I want to emphasize how every child should have access to a copy of this book. At a library, school, in their home, a little free library. This is an amazing baby shower gift, a birthday gift for a kid up to nine years old.
Honestly, let’s replace that lame ass Dr. Seuss graduation book with Everywhere, Wonder. Inscribe it with “go share your story.” That shit would be way more motivational and beautiful than some played out trope that sells a million copies in white affluent America. For real. Go to effing “Wholand” or go see the sites beautifully illustrated by Robbi. I vote Robbi.
If you still need convincing (first, *side eye*) second, the entire message of Everwhere, Wonder is to be present. Isn’t that what we want for our kids?
Oh, and Shirley has nearly 500 new pals because all my kids ask to be her friend. Want in on that joke? Get the book.
Holy crap! I just saw that you can download a workbook to go with it!
Don’t be a boner. Go get this book and give it to all the kiddos you love. Seriously, books over Shopkins and fidget spinners.
Get your copy of the book already! And if you’re wondering, no, I don’t curse around kids. Now go get the book.