I have taught children’s yoga for many years, and I like to incorporate books into my classes, especially those that integrate themes of science and nature. I find that many children’s yoga books lack fluidity and use lofty, abstract language that is inaccessible to young readers. Relationship is another key element I look for in a children’s book, and in typical yoga picture books, the child often is alone. What I love about my own yoga practice is the connection it facilitates with other living beings and the universe as a whole. In teaching children, I want to foster the skills needed to form and maintain healthy relationships. Primarily in our Western culture, we relate yoga with the postures (asanas); however, postures are only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Yoga is also imbedded with ethical guidelines, which fundamentally involve not just how we relate to ourselves but to the world around us. According to Patanjali’s Yoga-Sûtra, there are five virtues: nonharming (ahimsâ), truthfulness (satya), nonstealing (asteya), moderation (brahmacarya), and greedlessness (aparigraha). (To learn more visit: https://www.yogajournal.com/yoga-101/philosophy/yoga-sutras/path-happiness/). So why not create a children’s book that incorporates not just the postures but a respect for other humans the natural world around us? I wanted a children’s book to feel like the practice: connected, fluid, and relational, so I wrote the books I was looking for.
When Daddy Shows Me the Sky provides the reader a glimpse of the simple moments that bond Daddy and daughter. The young girl marvels as her daddy points out the wonders of the night sky and channels that excitement through movement. The story teaches readers the seasonal constellations and unique characteristics of the night sky by pairing those elements with yoga poses. Pairing lessons with movement allows young readers to make connections between the natural world and their own emotional experience.
When Daddy Shows Me the Sky may be my first, but it won’t be the last. There’s always more to explore.
Keep looking up,
Every book has an origin story. To say When My Daddy Shows Me the Sky has been in my mind a long time is an understatement. Try twenty years. In graduate school, I first sketched a picture book storyboard about a Daddy showing his daughter the constellations. This was my first attempt at penning a picture book; I had been more of a poet up until then. After graduating, I closed the page to my sketchbook and moved on to new projects and work, but in the back of my head I always knew it would be the first.
Summer 2019 followed a five year creative writing dry spell for me, as my writing time mainly consisted of non-fiction articles for work. Statistics had hidden the stories. When I returned to my roots and began working in a school again, the stories started to re-emerge. I realized the hole I felt was due to being so far from my creativity. Since originally outlining When My Daddy Shows Me the Sky, I had become a yoga teacher, a counselor, and a mom, all of which became intertwined in the story. And suddenly it became a book I couldn’t have written 20 years ago.
At the end of March 2020, when time seemed to both stop and slip through our fingers, I decided to send my book out to publishers. After I hit send, I purposely pushed the submission out of my mind, nothing to do but wait. Six months later, I opened my email to see a message from Brandylane Publishers. I closed the door to my small office, so my coworkers and my students couldn’t see me dancing. It had finally happened. I experienced the *real* moment that I rehearsed in my mind since I was a girl, and it was everything I had imagined it to be.
Keep looking up,