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May MOSS Kids Book Club

And our May pick is...


All I Need To Be by Rachel Ricketts & Tiffany Rose


May Pick -- All I Need To Be

This month, join these children in heart-centered and mindfulness-based practices in the face of fear, anxiety, and racial injustice. When the world gets to be too much, we can always take a moment to look within ourselves for love, support, and healing. This lyrical mindfulness guide filled with an inspiring, positive self-esteem message helps young ones, especially Black and Brown children, feel big feelings and celebrate their whole being. Included is a special author's note and guide for caregivers to help little ones get embodied when their feelings get too big to handle. Perfect for Mental Health Awareness month!


Meet Our Creators:

*Sourced from Rachel Ricketts' website

Rachel Ricketts (she/they), when asked, states that she is a sacred soul having a wild human experience in a multiracial Black, queer, highly-sensitive, disabled & badass femme body. She's an author, a storyteller. She is a speaker. She is a healer, a sacred space holder. A spiritual activist, racial justice educator, and bestselling author, Rachel Ricketts, supports beings of all ages learning about and practicing embodied justice to create a healed and liberated world for all, especially Black and Indigenous femmes and others made most marginalized. She loves donuts, dancing, disruption, and all things metaphysical (ideally all at once). All I Need to Be is her first children's book. But we all know, picture books are for everybody. Especially this one. Rachel currently lives in Toronto, Canada. You can find her work & learn more about her website:


Tiffany Rose is a left-handed author/illustrator currently based in Shanghai,China. Rose saw a need for children of color, to be represented in children’s literature and illustration. She remembers what it was like as a brown child not seeing herself reflected in the books and characters she loved so dearly, and has been inspired to create art and meaningful stories, so that underrepresented children can see themselves in books. ​Pencil in hand, she's changing that notion one illustration at a time. Joining her children's book portfolio, she is also the illustrator of Abdul's Story, Marley and the Family Band, and Hurry Kate, or You'll Be Late. She is the author/illustrator for some of our favorite books -- M is for Melanin & Dear Reader: A Love Letter to Libraries. Check out her website here: http://www.asouthpawdraws.com/


Below you will find our monthly craft; printable activity sheets; and our community outreach activity where we will be making chalk art to brighten the days of our community members. For more books to read this month, don't forget to check out our favorite mental health book list:


We will be starting each of our book clubs off with Slumberkins! Listening to Take A Deep Breath with Trevor Hall & meeting our friend, Alpaca. We will be reading one of Alpaca's stories -- Alpaca Holds Your Worries & each child will have the opportunity to put their worries into Alpaca's worry bag before we start (you can provide each child with a slip of paper & crayon to write or draw their worry). We love Slumberkins as a tangible social emotional tool & resource to connect, reflect, practice, & grow. The plush creatures help make the lessons come to life as a physical representation of connection. Each creature comes with two books; (1) the introduction book which instills positive messages & core beliefs & (2) the lesson book which teaches kids how to practice emotional skill-building & to help develop empathy. To learn more about Slumberkins, check out the website below & if you're new to Slumberkins, use code MOSSKIDS for 15% off your first purchase! Plus your purchase helps us earn a small commission to buy new books!


We really hope you enjoy this month of book club as we try to keep our nationwide book club free & accessible for all. Each book is intentionally handpicked with each activity and outreach curated to engage and enrich our youth's experiences. Through these diverse and inclusive reads, working and playing together, and giving back to their own community, we hope to instill empathy, understanding, & kindness in our kids. If you didn't receive a copy of the book, don't fret. Email us at hello@mosskidsbooks.com for a virtual storytime reading of All I Need to Be, read by our co-founder, Kara Cecchi.

 

Let's Craft: Breathing wands & Diy stress balls


Craft # 1: Breathing wands

Materials:

  • Pipe cleaners (1 for each kid)

    • Regular pipe cleaners for older kids

    • Thicker pipe cleaners for younger

  • Beads (12 for each kid)

    • Small beads for older kids

    • Large wooden beads for younger


Modifications:

With this craft, you can modify based on developmental level. We are working on our fine motor skills & bilateral coordination to place the beads on the pipe cleaner. These skills transfer into hand-eye coordination using scissors, buttoning/unbuttoning, & listening to verbal instructions.


Easy: Prep the pipe cleaner prior to start, closing off the one end. Use the thicker pipe cleaners. Use the larger beads. Allow child to thread beads, may need visual to begin. Close the pipe cleaner. Monitor child when child has pipe cleaner.

Moderate: Allow child to begin craft independently, may need assistance to close off the pipe cleaner at the beginning and the end.

Hard: Allow child to create independently.


Instructions:

1. Gather materials. Choose the pipe cleaner best suited for developmental level.

2. Starting with one side of the pipe cleaner, create a small circle by wrapping the end of the pipe cleaner around itself.  This will secure a closure and allow you to thread the beads without them slipping off.

3. Thread all 12 beads on the pipe cleaner in any order you’d like.

*Let's talk about incorporating learning concepts. Throughout this activity, you can work on creating patterns which we learned, during a past MOSS Kids Book Club, is a fundamental skill to organizing the world around them. You can also work on sorting, counting, & identifying colors.



4.  Secure a closure to the other side of the pipe cleaner just as you did in step one. Be sure to leave enough room on your wand to be able to slide the beads from one side to the other once both ends are closed.

5. Using one of the closure circles, sculpt a heart by bending the pipe cleaner in the middle.

*Let's talk about our hearts. Have child find their own heart. Younger kids may need help. Can they feel their heart beating? Is it fast or slow? What's something we can do to slow down?


How to use the breathing wand:

Mindful Breathing: Starting with all 12 beads on one side, slide one bead across the wand as you inhale deeply and move another as you exhale slowly.  Repeat this process until all the beads are on the other side.

“I AM” Affirmations: Affirmations are powerful statements that promote self-validation (i.e., I am kind, I am brave, I am peaceful).  Appoint a bead for each word of an “I am” statement while gliding them from one side of the wand to the other.


Craft # 2: Diy stress balls

Materials:

  • Balloons (2 for each kid)

  • Funnel (not pictured)

  • Fillings:

    • Rice

    • Flour

    • Playdoh


Modifications:

With this craft, we are giving children the independence & autonomy to choose which filling will help them best. We know that not every thing feels comfortable to everyone. If you have little readers, these diy stress balls may not be the best option. Instead, you can make gel sensory bags! You just need a gallon ziplock bag, hair gel, buttons/pompoms, glitter, & ducktape. Put hair gel, buttons/pompoms, & glitter into the bag. Get all the excess air out of the bag & close. Tape each side of the bag to prevent leakage.


Instructions:

1. Gather materials. Stretch out & blow up balloon # 1.

2. Have child choose which filling feels best to them. Put the funnel into the first balloon.

3. Add filling. Slowly pour the rice or flour into the balloon until it is full. You may have to use a pencil/pen to push the flour down the funnel if it gets stuck. A lot of flour can be added to a balloon. Or put small amounts of playdoh into the balloon until it is full.

*Tip: Only use the playdoh if: (1) you have patience - you have to put in very small pieces even when using smaller balloons, (2) you have time - it's a very slow process & (3) if you want your kids to work on those skills & allow them to work independently (break off a small piece, roll into a log, & slip it down into the balloon) - kids will need adult assistance with the other two fillings.


orange & blue are rice; pink is playdoh, & yellow is flour

4. Close up & tie the balloon.

5. You can cut the neck off of a balloon # 2 & stretch it over the stress ball to hide the knot in the balloon. Adding a second balloon will give your stress ball an extra layer of strength, but it will also make your stress ball more firm when you squeeze it.


Remember: After you are done reading the book (if you received a copy from us!) & making your crafts, please have your kids sign the library card located in the front of the book (first names only!). Let's bring back a little bit of fun from our childhood. Also, please donate your book to your local public library, to your school library, or to a little free library in your area so more kids can enjoy a new diverse & inclusive read.

 

printable activity sheets:

We are waiting on printable coloring sheets from our illustrator, Tiffany Rose, if she is able & has the time. While we wait, here are printable activity sheets that go with Slumberkins, Alpaca:

 

Community Outreach: Positive sidewalk chalk art


This month we are spreading positivity, warmth, & joy with sidewalk chalk art. When our neighbors are walking throughout the community, on the sidewalks, into the library, or the local coffee shop, brighten their day with bright colors & positive affirmations! This is a very simple activity. It's the perfect time to talk about mental health, feelings, & the power of positive words. Be sure to discuss all feelings, even the ones that make us uncomfortable -- worry, sad, mad. All feelings are valid & they all have their role to play in our lives. You can listen to the Slumberkins album while you do your chalk drawings. Each song represents one of the creatures, their affirmation, & a core concept to help shape our child's inner voice.


Please do not skip this activity. We truly believe this outreach activity is a vital part of childhood & an opportunity to raise kind kids. Teaching our youth the importance of community. A community that can help create more empathetic, accepting kids who understand that power of coming together. To learn the importance of understanding emotions & feelings. And how to not allow those feelings to define us. How to acknowledge them, let them go, & continue on their journey. To know that some people struggle with that & understanding that you may not know what someone is going through. The power of a beautiful, bright chalk drawing having an important impact on someone else's day.

 

YAY! Another MOSS Kids Book Club pick, craft, printable sheet, and community outreach activity. We would love to see when you receive your books and all the breathing wands/stress balls/chalk art your kids create. You do not need to share kid's faces. Please be sure to tag us on Instagram @mosskidsbooks & use #mosskidsbookclub. Sharing about MOSS Kids Book Club is a way for your community to learn more about what MOSS Kids has to offer & for them to know where they can find the book you're donating. By doing so, we can reach & help more kids across the country. We'd also love to hear any feedback you may have, please email us at hello@mosskidsbooks.com. We appreciate you all so much for taking the initiative to bring kids together to read diverse books & hopefully learn vital life skills to help make our world a better place.


did you miss out on a chance at the book this month & want to sign up for next month?

All you need to do is fill out the google doc below & you'll be entered to win next month's book. TEN lucky winners will receive a copy for their book club to read together that month & then donate to their local school library, public library, or a little free library in their area!

 

Don't Forget: We Have Local moss kids book club locations in eastern north Carolina!!



Sunday, 5/19: MOSS Kids Book Club at Larema Coffee House in Rocky Mount at 2pm

Monday, 5/20: MOSS Kids Book Club at Wilson County Public Library in Wilson at 430pm

Saturday, 5/25: MOSS Kids Book Club at Boxyard RTP with Drag Story Hour at 10am

Sunday, 5/26: MOSS Kids Book Club at Dancy Garden (2839 Bynum Farm Rd) in Pinetops at 10am -- join us for a grounding storytime with children's yoga & sound bowl healing


Other MAY events:

Monday, 5/6: Parent Academy at MMA

Wednesday, 5/8: Picture Books on Tap: an adult picture book club at Larema Beverage at Rocky Mount Mills at 7pm

Sunday, 5/19: our 7th (!!) children's Little Free Library Launch at Larema Coffee in Rocky Mount at 1pm with treats & an adult book swap -- please bring a new or gently used children's book to donate to the little free library

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