Posted in Interview

INTERVIEW: Amanda Given

Author Bio…

Amanda Given, of Marblehead, is the founder of Govinda Yoga Play. She lives in the northeast of the US. She works with young children and tweens to assist them with easing their uncomfortable, big emotions. She helps children with emotional regulation, breath and body awareness, and often is drawn to helping them foster loving compassion, gratitude, and kindness  to themselves and others through yoga and age appropriate, playful meditation. Yes, it’s possible to be playful in meditation 🧘‍♀️ 🥳. She holds a masters in speech language pathology. After practicing in schools and hospitals for close to 18 years, she dove into a yoga teacher training 4 years ago. Always a writer by hobby, Lonnie and Scarlett and Balloon Breath came about after working with youth at a Girls Inc. locally. I hope you enjoy their story. #bigwmotions #emotionalregulation 
#exhalethesad #inhalethehappy


Thumbnail That: What inspired you to write Balloon Breath?

Amanda Given: While I was teaching yoga to tweens I thought of how useful an activity for young children and their caregivers would be to incorporate into their daily lives. I used a little lamb to demonstrate belly breaths and Lonnie was born.

Thumbnail That: When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

Amanda Given: My creative mind blossomed after a misdiagnosed medical event. My fear let go, my ability to love fiercely opened. I transcended after a yoga teacher training 200 hour course in 2015 and after this I dove into loving awareness and nonjudgmental living with Vipassana like meditation. It just evolved. I began writing to heal and then these children’s stories came in, it was quite lovely.

Thumbnail That: What influences do you attribute to your writing style?

Amanda Given: There isn’t any author in particular. I do my own thing. I don’t wait for accolades. I pretend I’m a child, I am at 49 years old. It’s more fun for me and my girls. Let all the messiness shine through, it’s ok.

Thumbnail That: What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book and why?

Amanda Given: The initial work of trying to write as a child would experience my story was difficult. I kept explaining my story. My writing coach would laugh. Finally, I was that child reading it. Then it flowed.

Thumbnail That: Where is your favorite place to write?

Amanda Given: Airplanes, while I fly. In my car , I’ll sit in my parking spot. Or, up at our mountain home.

Thumbnail That: What advice would you have for new children’s book authors?

Amanda Given: Be a child that you are writing for. You have to act it out and either stop and write, or run audio or video. But pretend you are in with children that are listening and watching you at an authors visit. Also, find a mentor. Pay a person that knows the ropes. Get into a group and have accountability.

Thanks Amanda for taking the time to share your Balloon Breath journey with us.

Connect with Amanda on social media: Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

Don’t forget to pick up your copy on Amazon.

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I hope you are enjoying these interviews as much as I am. We will be wrapping up our interview series with children’s book author, Lori Holmes, next Thursday. So stay tuned!

Happy reading,

Posted in Book Review

REVIEW: Balloon Breath by Amanda Given

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

A copy of this book was provided by the author for my honest review.

Barnes & Noble | Amazon

Title: Balloon Breath

Author: Amanda Given

Illustrator: Polina Hrytskova

Published: October 12, 2018

Theme: Emotions

Character Origin: Animal

Book Type: Picture Book | Pages: 24

Ages: 3-8 | Book Level: — | Lexile Measure:

Synopsis: Lonnie is sick and tired of his brother teasing him. He’s had it! See what happens when his brother, Curly, makes Lonnie mad enough to blow his top. It’s up to his babysitter, Scarlett, to save the day. This charming story will help any child, young or old, open up and deal with their feelings.

My thoughts…

I found this book really delightful to read. I love that it took the quandary of coping with emotions a step further and offered a solution for Lonnie to overcome his feelings. Most books only deal with identifying an emotion and offering reassurance that those feelings are natural or ok. That is what sets this book about from others of this topic. As a parent, and especially a new parent, it can be challenging helping your child through their emotions let alone a way to cope with them. Balloon Breath does just that–offers a solution.

Hrytskova’s  illustrations were quite bright and colorful. My only critique would be that the words sometimes get tangled up in a few of the illustrations and are hard to read. The sequence of the conversation  gets lost when there’s multiple proses on a page in a few spots. This is a great book especially for young readers as it’s easy to read and can also be enjoyed read aloud. The exercise at the end is an added bonus. If you are looking for a book to help your child deal with being upset, Balloon Breath should be on the top of the list.

My rating…