Perfect Picture Book Friday – A Morning With Grandpa PLUS A Giveaway!!!

I am beyond thrilled to be sharing today’s Perfect Picture Book!

First off, it’s a lovely book that celebrates both the loving relationship between a grandfather and his granddaughter and the importance of mindfulness and the mind/body connection.

Second, it was written by my friend, author and illustrator Sylvia Liu,and is her debut picture book as an author, and it is always wonderful when a Perfect Picture Book has been written by a friend!

Third, it comes with special treats! 🙂

Treat #1 is that Sylvia is joining us today to personally provide the “Resource” section of the post.   She is going to explain in detail how  you can expand on her picture book at home and in the classroom!

Treat #2 is that she is giving away a copy of her book to one lucky winner!

So let’s begin by meeting her!  Hi, Sylvia!

Sylvia Liu pic © K Woodard Photography

Sylvia Liu, author of Morning With Grandpa, also a talented illustrator, and also the co-creator of the not-to-be-missed website Kidlit411 (Photo Credit – Copyright K. Woodard Photography)

Sylvia Liu is an environmental lawyer turned children’s author and illustrator. A MORNING WITH GRANDPA is her debut picture book as an author. She is inspired by oceans, aliens, cephalopods, and more. She lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia, with her husband and their two daughters. Visit her online at

And now, it is my great pleasure to introduce you to her Perfect Picture Book: A Morning With Grandpa!


Title:  A Morning With Grandpa

Written By: Sylvia Liu

Illustrated By: Christina Forshay

Lee & Low Books, April 2016, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 5-8

Themes/Topics: relationships (grandparent/grandchild), mindfulness, tai chi, yoga

Opening: “Mei Mei watched Grandpa dance slowly among the flowers in the garden.  He moved like a giant bird stalking through a marsh.  His arms swayed like reeds in the wind.

‘What are you doing, Gong Gong?’ asked Mei Mei.

‘I am practicing tai chi,” said gong Gong.  “This form is called White Crane Spreading Its Wings.’

Brief Synopsis: (from the publisher) Mei Mei learns tai chi from Gong Gong and teaches him yoga. While their styles are different, they enjoy their time together.

Links To Resources:  Today’s resources are detailed below in a special note from author Sylvia Liu.

The Benefits of Tai Chi and Yoga for Kids By Sylvia Liu

As stressed out and busy adults, we know the value of taking a moment out of our hectic days to calm our minds, meditate, or just breathe. Mindfulness relaxes, de-stresses, builds immunity, and promotes mental and physical health.

Tai chi and yoga are mind-body practices from Asia (tai chi originated in China and yoga in India) that promote health through body movement, breathing, and mindfulness. Meditation and qi gong are others.

When I wrote A MORNING WITH GRANDPA, my goal was to share a fun grandparent and grandchild story involving tai chi or qi gong to introduce children to these lesser known practices. I have since learned that children benefit from these practices in so many ways:

  1. Learning mental stillness helps counteract the sensory overload that comes from 24/7 entertainment, excessive screen time, and over scheduled lives.
  1. Tai chi and yoga instill discipline, concentration, and body awareness.
  1. Tai chi and yoga provide physical exercise and challenges in a non competitive way. Yoga increases strength, flexibility, and coordination.
  1. Both tai chi and yoga are rooted in natural forms and poses. Practicing these disciplines help children connect with nature.
  1. The calming, concentration, discipline, and self-confidence that develop with these practices can reduce symptoms of ADHD.
  1. Purposeful movement and concentration help put children in a learning state of mind.

Teachers and parents, when you read A MORNING WITH GRANDPA with your students and children, here are a few activities you can try that are fun and provide stress relief (for you and the kids):

Belly Breathing

Have you ever noticed a baby breathing? Their bellies go up and down, naturally breathing in a way that provides the most oxygen to their bodies.

Breathing to your diaphragm or belly is an integral part of these practices. For this exercise, sit comfortably. Breathe through your nose and slowly fill up with air, directing the air to your belly. Your belly should expand slightly. As you breathe out, empty your lungs first and then your belly. Do a slow count while breathing in (maybe to 3 at first, but later you can count to 5 or more) and breathe out to the same count.

Touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth as you do this breathing exercise.

Relaxation Breathing

 I learned this from yoga: if you exhale for a longer time than you inhale, your body will automatically relax. This is because it causes your vagus nerve to send a signal to your brain to turn up your parasympathetic nervous system, which controls rest, relaxation, and digestion. (If you take a quick, short breath, you generate the opposite response, signaling your sympathetic system to pumps up your heart rate and get your adrenaline going for a “fight or flight” response).

Inhale to a count of two, hold for a count of one, and then exhale gently counting to four, and hold for a count of one.

Try the Poses

Look up tai chi or yoga poses on YouTube or check out the back matter in the book and give some a try.

Thanks, Susanna, for letting me stop by your site as part of the blog tour for A MORNING WITH GRANDPA!

(Thank YOU so much for joining us, Sylvia, and for offering the giveaway!!! 🙂 )

Further Reading:

The Benefits of Yoga for Kids

Say Yes to Yoga for Kids with Attention Deficit

Studies on Tai Chi Show Many Benefits for Children

A Simple Breathing Exercise to Calm the Mind & Body

Why I Like This Book:  In today’s busy world where so much of our time is spent indoors staring at screens, a book that celebrates physical movement, mindfulness, and being outdoors in nature is so welcome!  And what a wonderful and inspiring role model for young readers!  I think many kids will be up on their feet trying out the tai chi forms and yoga poses demonstrated by Gong Gong and Mei Mei 🙂  I like that both adult and child have something to offer the other, something to teach and something to learn, and that they take each other seriously and are willing to try each other’s activities.  I also think it’s wonderful that Gong Gong accepts that Mei Mei is trying, even though her exuberance might not be quite the way tai chi is usually performed, and doesn’t chide or discourage her, and that she in turn treats him with the same respect when his older body has a hard time with poses that she is strong and flexible enough to manage easily.  The descriptions of the forms are written in lovely, evocative language.  The art is also lovely, making the garden look bright and appealing and making the forms and poses look like fun 🙂  This book won the New Voices Award and it’s no mystery why – it’s a delightful book that I hope you’ll enjoy as much as I do!

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

Now for the GIVEAWAY!!!  One lucky person will win a copy of A Morning With Grandpa!  Just leave us a comment below by Tuesday May 3 at 5 PM EDT telling us about your favorite exercise (no that was not intended to be an oxymoron 🙂 ) and/or way to relax!  Names will be tossed in the Randomizer and a random name will be selected at random and announced randomly on Wednesday or Friday 🙂

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see your delightful picks for this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!!

52 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday – A Morning With Grandpa PLUS A Giveaway!!!

  1. Genevieve Petrillo says:

    So exciting! Congratulations,p and good luck, Sylvia. I used a book called Yoga for Kids when I was a teacher and my 3rd graders LOVED the stillness and balance as much as the air-pedaling and laughing that the book taught. I have done TaiChi in the past, but now I am a meditator. My “favorite exercise” is sitting in a chair, eyes closed, mind open, and listening to on my iPhone.

  2. Andrea Mack (@AndreaL_Mack) says:

    This is a book I really want in my personal collection! My kindergarten students also love to do yoga (we often do yoga stories from Cosmic Kids) so I’m going to look for this book for them. Thanks so much for all the resources!

  3. Diane Tulloch says:

    Love the story and the cover. I remember a woman taking me through some yoga positions to help calm me before sitting some school exams. I should have kept it up. Hopefully this book will be in our libraries down under soon. Lovely post Sylvia and Susanna.

  4. ptnozell says:

    I love intergenerational stories & love that both yoga & Tai Chi are non-competitive challenges & forms of exercise. Can’t wait to read your debut, Sylvia. Thanks for sharing, Susanna.

  5. Sue Heavenrich says:

    What a great interview! I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this book – the cover is so inviting.. I know some teachers who use tai chi before teaching math. I teach tai chi to seniors, and we have great fun with forms and the names used to describe them (not to mention our own picturesque names we give them)

  6. Leslie Leibhardt Goodman - Writer says:

    When my father was in his late 80’s, he took up tai chi as a way to find focus and calm. (Note: he was still working full time as an astrophysicist) When I need to find calm, I make a soothing cup of tea and curl up with a book, blanket, and my cozy dog. I enjoyed this post and am inspired to read this book. Maybe I should add tai chi to my morning before I sit to write.

  7. jennifermaryg says:

    Reading is my favorite way to relax! One of my favorite books to share with my former students, and now with my own children, is Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back by Joseph Bruchac. The book’s message of environmental respect is timeless…and important.

    A Morning with Grandpa by Sylvia Liu looks like a great book! Looking forward to reading it 🙂

  8. chattytcp says:

    Susanna ~ what a great choice 🙂

    Congratulations Sylvia!

    I love this book, and I had it in my hands thumbing through it yesterday. A WONDERFUL story. Anytime you pair up the very young and the older generation is time well spent. Relationships with grandparents should never be taken for granted. Time is precious and they are not around forever.

    Yoga and tai chi are two mindful practices they I try to incorporate in my daily life. I’ve also introduced this to my students. They loved it and really, really benefit from it.

    Best of luck:)

  9. rnewman504 says:

    Congratulations Sylvia! I LOVE your book. Running is my favorite sport. Once I settle into the right pace, it’s very relaxing for me. Gives me time to work on damage control with my stories.

  10. Marla says:

    Looks like a great book! I think introducing relaxation & balance activities are great for any age. My personal favorite exercise is cycling/hiking and yoga makes a great cool down too. Never tried Tai Chi, but (as a nurse) always recommend it for the elderly!

  11. jeanjames926 says:

    This book looks like a wonderful way to introduce children to tai chi and yoga, both such relaxing but somewhat difficult exercises to master. I am more of a runner myself, but use yoga poses to stretch and wind down. If I were a teacher, I would definitely use these exercises in my classroom, what a great way to engage children, and begin their day with peaceful introspection.

  12. julie rowan zoch says:

    This has been a favorite blog-tour to follow, one because Sylvia is a friend and I am so happy for her, but I like her portrait and it’s a joy to see her smile over and over! I just picked up my very own copy at the beginning of the week.

  13. Patricia Tilton says:

    Can not wait to get my hands on Sylvial’s book. I am so thrilled to see authors writing and publishers publishing books on mindfulness, Tai Chi, Yoga and anger management. These are such important tools for children to learn! Thank you Sylvia!

  14. lindaschueler says:

    I love books like this, and I love reading them to my daughter. It sure is important to take some time for stress release and mindfulness in our busy busy world. Thank you for writing this book! As for me, I love to walk, but I will sometimes do yoga with my daughter.

  15. Joanne Sher says:

    Can’t wait to get my hands on this book! Tried to request it through my library, but it isn’t there :(. Hopefully soon! My favorite exercise is a good walk – especially if it’s with my daughter. But, unfortunately, I don’t do it nearly enough. Hopefully with the warm weather, we will be better about it. My son (15) is going to be doing a week of yoga at the end of this school year – experiential learning through the school. Interested to see how he likes it. He is ADHD and mildly autistic, and I suspect it will be VERY good for him 🙂

  16. littleredstoryshed says:

    Hello Sylvia and congratulations on your new book! My favourite sport is running..! I love the peace of mind I feel when I am out. It’s my time to think and so very often things just fall into place, occasionally I have to stop and jot a rhyme into my phone, or a word I have been searching for! At school I use Eline Snel’s ‘Sitting Still Like A Frog’, meditation exercises for the young. It works a treat just before nap time and the little ones just love it! Congrats again!

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