My girl loves her some yoga, as evidenced by many of our weekly update posts, like this one, this one, this one, and this one. While we do watch some yoga videos, we also have very minimal screen time in our house, so I’ve looked for tools to encourage Annabelle’s love of yoga without necessarily relying on a live video. We tried yoga cards, and those were fun, but didn’t excite quite so much as I had hoped. I have offered her a book of poses from a class I took years ago, and have also attempted to lead her through a series of poses on my own. Both were fun, but Annabelle’s interest was short lived. Reluctantly, I had to admit that nothing quite compared to the videos. That is, until I discovered Giselle Shardlow’s clever, unique, and engaging Kids Yoga Stories.
Giselle is an experienced educator and a certified yoga instructor who began writing yoga stories when her search for resources to use in classes turned up surprisingly little. She has a wealth of brilliant ideas on her blog, but the big hit in our house has been one of her books: Sophia’s Jungle Adventure. The book is available in both English and Spanish, and there’s also a coloring book, not to mention the 20 wonderful extension ideas on Giselle’s site.
There is so much that I love about this book. Not only is it beautifully illustrated and a brilliant way to weave together reading and yoga, but is also provides an excellent way to learn about the story’s setting of Costa Rica, and the jungle animals who live there. Many of the yoga poses shown are inspired by animal movements, sparking an interest in these creatures, and making the book a great jumping off point for budding yogis and explorers alike. I’ll admit, too, that I like slithering like a snake and flying like a toucan just as much as Annabelle does.
Each page includes a key word that corresponds with a yoga pose. The key word is in bold, and a little image of Sophia demonstrating the relevant pose is featured in the corner of the page. We always read the story on our yoga mats, so that we can easily move into airplane pose when Sophia leaves on her adventure and follow along from there, but even if you remain seated, it’s a fun and educational story that any child can enjoy. The back of the book includes a guide for parents and teachers, with tips on successfully practicing yoga with children and a table that includes each of the poses presented in the book, complete with images. These additional resources makes yoga accessible even to those who are brand new to the practice of it, or whose children, like mine, surpass them in skill.
Annabelle has asked almost daily to read about Sophia since the book arrived, and bounces around the house reciting lines from it. It is definitely the perfect thing for my yoga-loving girl. Giselle was sweet enough to send me a copy of Anna and Her Rainbow Colored Yoga Mats, too, and Annabelle loves it just as much. I really appreciate the way Giselle weaves various themes together in her writing. Anna, in this story, happens to wear a hearing aid and meets a classmate who knows how to lip read and offers to teach Anna as she teaches him yoga. My Annabelle had never heard of a hearing aid before, but she has asked many questions since we started reading this book and I love that she’s learning now, so that the idea won’t be foreign to her when she encounters someone who uses a hearing aid in real life. It’s clear that the mission of Kids Yoga Stories goes beyond simply doing poses – Giselle’s books enrich children’s lives in many, many ways.
I would absolutely recommend Kids Yoga Stories to anyone who has or works with young children. Both books are aimed at 3-8 year olds, and this age range seems right on to me, though I think that plenty of 2 year olds and 9 or 10 year olds would love them, too. Annabelle will be turning three next month and they certainly don’t go the least bit over her head, and yet I can see them being perfectly engaging years from now.
Sophia’s Jungle Adventure is available in both English and Spanish on kidsyogastories.com, along with Anna and Her Rainbow Colored Yoga Mats. You can also find Sophia on Amazon, if that’s an easier place for you to shop. The cost is $15.95 on both sites. Based on our experience, I can say it’s definitely $15.95 well spent!
Giselle has generously offered a free copy of Sophia’s Jungle Adventures to a reader from anywhere in the world. Simply enter using the rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway will close on Monday, March 4th. I’ll contact the winner using the email address they provide, and announce their name on the facebook page.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Sophia’s Jungle Adventure and Anna and Her Rainbow Colored Yoga Mats for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was given, and I was not obligated to write a positive review. All opinions are my own. I do my best to share only products I feel especially good about, and that I think may enrich your life as they have mine.
Amazon link is an affiliate link.