For as long as you can remember, you’ve known how tiny you are among the stars. They’re huge and there are millions of them but you’re strong and, like the stars, your light shines bright — brighter, maybe, when you read “School of Awake” by Kidada Jones.
When Kadida Jones was a young girl, she had a lot of trouble in school. She says she didn’t want to be in a traditional classroom; she wanted to be “in the classroom of the heart,” knowing that it would someday allow her to “be helpful for girls” who need to learn about their own “true power.”
To begin your journey, the first thing you need is a shoe box. It doesn’t have to be fancy. That will become your “Soul-Soothing Tool Kit,” to help you when you need calming. First in it: put wishes you send to the stars because even Neil deGrasse Tyson said that we are all stardust.
Second, learn to recognize your “HeartStar.” That’s the little voice inside you that keeps you happy and protected. Learn to listen to it. Never ignore your HeartStar.
Learn mindfulness, and find out how bubble gum can teach you to breathe slowly. Know who you really are. Spend as much time as you can with nature; it’s a “true gift” that gives back. Learn to think before you speak; use your breathing exercises to help with this and remember that words are very powerful. Visualize “hater blockers” to keep your feelings safe; along those lines, be sure you understand what makes a bully, so you know how to deal with one. Be happy with yourself and what you’ve got, and never compare; it steals joy. Eat food that nourishes your body, get plenty of sleep, and be aware of night dreams; they can reveal messages to you.
Finally, when things get overwhelming and you’re feeling bleak, try using color to boost your mood. Then, lean on the “Super Powers” of music and pulse point taps and remember that “this, too, shall pass.”
When it comes to “School of Awake,” there are really two kinds of readers: those who will celebrate the fact that a book like this even exists, and those who will dismiss it as overbearingly new-agey.
For both camps, author Kidada Jones has something to offer, but with caution: this is a girl-power book all the way, but its content sometimes literally veers off into space. It includes exercises meant to calm an upset adolescent inside and out, but those helpful actions are often buried in pages loaded with affectation. Parents will be happy to see chapters on manners and kindness, but the truth is that a girl who’d get that far in this book probably doesn’t need instruction on those points in her life.
For the most tenderhearted 9-to-14-year-old dreamers, this book may make you twinkle like the star you are. For the girl whose feet are planted on the ground the book will leave you wondering what you are.