January 19, 2016
I am Yoga by Susan Verde, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
I am Yoga
by Susan Verde
illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Abrams Books for Young Readers
I have to admit that I picked this up because I am practicing yoga. I’ve noodled over a couple of ideas for “yoga stories” and wanted to see what Verde and Reynolds had accomplished.
This is the story of a girl who practices yoga whenever she feels small or like she doesn’t belong. She stills her body, quiets her mind and slows her breathing. She is yoga.
“I can sail with the sea.
I go with the flow.”
Within the main “story,” each page features paired lines of text and an amazing illustration by Peter Reynold. In this case it is a black line drawing of the girl doing a boat position or navasana. The illustration is colored in soothing blues and greens.
Admittedly, there isn’t a lot of story in this book. And it isn’t a how-to book. A child who picks this up to learn yoga isn’t going to find much that is terribly helpful. Yes, the poses are explained and described in the back matter but it still isn’t meant to be highly instructional. One detail that I loved — in the backmatter, each pose is explained and there is an illustration but it is not the same illustration as in the book. Each pose, or asana, is done by a different boy or girl. It clearly gets across the idea that yoga is for all kinds of people.
That said, the book accurately depicts the calming effects of yoga. I can see an adult or teen who practices yoga sharing this book with a younger reader who wants to know more about what their counter-part is doing. It would also be an excellent choice to encorporate into a section on fitness simply because it is so different from sports. There is no competition. It isn’t about winning. It is simply about being, all of which is depicted within the combination of text and art.
The text and the art both are simple but creative, soothing yet somehow highly epressive. I would definitely recommend this book to any yoga practioner who is having a hard time explaining yoga and why they do it.