Unwind. Up, Up, and Away!

Children - Grade K-3rd
22 Pages
Reviewed on 10/18/2018
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Unwind. Up, Up, and Away! is an educational book for children, grades K-3, written by Christopher Gates and illustrated by Javier Ratti. Gates has been involved in the educational process for over ten years and is a Certified Social and Emotional Intelligence Coach. It’s all too easy to understand why six-year-old Alyssa feels so overwhelmed and helpless. She experiences so many different emotional responses, and they seem so powerful and determined to control or overwhelm her. Sometimes she feels trapped and ready to scream in frustration. But there is something she can do to reverse this process, to reclaim her own sense of empowerment. Mindfulness allows her to recognize the emotions she experiences and understand why she feels as she does. And there are ways for her to explore mindfulness, to reclaim her own power and soar. Gates also includes material about emotional intelligence and social emotional learning for parents, educators and caregivers; the artist’s renderings of the emotional monsters kids encounter; and the CASEL SEL wheel with information on social and emotional competencies.

Up, Up, and Away! will help kids and adults alike gain a different perspective on how kids respond to the emotional stressors they encounter and how they can regain their own sense of power through mindfulness techniques. Javier Ratti’s artwork is vivid, exciting and dynamic, and I sincerely doubt any kid or adult will be able to resist getting involved in Alyssa’s story after seeing the artwork on the very first page and every page thereafter. His depictions of the emotional monsters and the colors he uses to express them are brilliant. I loved how Gates takes Alyssa and the reader to a crisis point and then opens the door to solutions kids and adults can easily work through as they read. I found myself doing just that, and I especially loved the exercise where I plucked a dandelion from a field and watched the seeds float through the air after lightly blowing on it. Gates’ informative section at the end of the book is so helpful for understanding where kids are coming from and why they feel as they do. This book has the potential to be an awesome emotional step forward for anyone who happens to read it. Unwind. Up, Up, and Away! is most highly recommended.

Kris Moger

Unwind. Up, Up, and Away by Christopher Gates tells the story of a young girl overcome by her emotions. Fear, anger, and other intense feelings are crowding in, overwhelming her. How does she deal with them? How does she keep them from destroying her? She has only herself to rely on. This little girl has to find the answers within herself.

In Unwind. Up, Up, and Away, Christopher Gates’ goal is to help children learn constructive ways to deal with their emotions. Gates’ writing is simple and almost poetic. He presents a simple, rhythmic meditative breathing exercise in an imaginative way that is appealing and easy for children to follow. On top of all this, the artwork by Javier Ratti is amazing. The colours are vibrant and the characters so appealing. Gates has put a great deal of attention into making meditation and breath control accessible to children and even adults. I found myself relaxing as I read the story, soothed by the words and the images.

I can easily see the illustrations catching a child’s attention while the story helps them learn important skills about emotions. This would have been a great book for me to share with my children when they were young. I love the simplicity of the presentation and how appealing it appears to be for children. Altogether, this book presents solutions to complicated issues in an uncomplicated way. I would recommend this book to any parent or grandparent, as well as teachers and caregivers.

Alyssa Elmore

Discover the power of mindfulness in the children's storybook meditation, Unwind. Up, Up, and Away! by Christopher Gates. When six-year-old Alyssa first starts feeling alone and out of control, she nearly becomes consumed with darkness. The more upset she gets, the more closed in she feels. Before she knows it, Alyssa has almost lost touch with herself. Then, she remembers that she has more power than she may have initially perceived. Determined to overcome the trapped feelings her darker emotions are causing, Alyssa starts noticing the feelings that are taking over her mind. She sees that these emotions look a lot like scary monsters in her mind. As she takes a moment to breathe, she tells herself to unwind and relax. Discover Alyssa's next steps to mindfulness and inner peace by joining her on an exciting journey of the mind and soul.

Unwind. Up, Up, and Away! by Christopher Gates is a beautifully illustrated children's storybook about a little girl who chooses mindfulness over lower emotions that threaten to cloud her mind. Young Alyssa is feeling stressed and scared. As things become more closed off and frightening, she starts seeing monsters about her. I appreciated how the author gave faces (in the form of non-frightening monsters) to our lower emotions; even going as far to include a monster emotion chart for use in identifying the lower emotions. The author vividly illustrates to children how to take control of their feelings, beginning with choosing to notice what they are experiencing, then following it with some simple breathing techniques and gentle movements. As the story progresses, you will learn uncomplicated meditation techniques to help release anxiety, fear, anger, and many other lower vibrations. I would recommend this book to children ages four to six.