On Our Shelves Now
Written and illustrated by Omileye Achikeobi-Lewis, My Heart Flies Open is an inclusive, empowering, and uplifting picture book for girls of color about yoga, meditation, and coming home to self-love. All children will be charmed by this book.
In every situation I can blossom. Breathing in and breathing out, I know...I AM PEACEFUL.
Beautifully and brightly illustrated, My Heart Flies Open takes readers on a yoga journey of mindful reflection, self-discovery, and self-love. Starting with Easy Pose ("I AM LOVE") and moving through Mountain Pose ("I AM STILLNESS"), Triangle Pose ("I AM ME"), and more, My Heart Flies Open guides young readers through a grounding sequence of 15 yoga poses and affirmations.
More than just another yoga or mindfulness book, My Heart Flies Open transports young readers to a magical world where they learn to overcome negative emotions and move dynamically through their feelings--shining bright and connecting to the peace, laughter, love, grounding, and spirit that live inside all along.
With every yoga pose, each breath in, and each breath out, My Heart Flies Open brings young readers home to themselves: they are life, love, joy, and kindness; bold, fierce, peaceful, and whole. Written for children, and especially girls of color, ages 4 - 8.
About the Author
OMILEYE ACHIKEOBI-LEWIS is a mother, counselor, writer, artist, mindfulness teacher, kid's yoga teacher, Reiki Master, and fifth generation Vision Keeper. She is a SEED Diversity trainer and gives talks on mindfulness, indigenous wisdom, and their power to create peace in our world, communities, and school systems. Achikeobi-Lewis is the co-founder of YeyeOsun: The Institute of Sacred Balance and has worked for Asheville City public and charter schools, Winthrop College community counseling clinic, and Catawba Mental Health. She has collaborated with the UN on their international Post Sustainable water agenda and was invited to be a part of the UN Interfaith WASH Alliance. She loves helping kids and adults find the magic of the story within, the enchantment of cultures, the spell-binding power of the planet we live on, and the healing power of peace.
"Achikeobi-Lewis’ lyrical prose and visual art combine to offer a beautiful experience of mindfulness and movement perfect for meaningful time between children and caregivers that will feed the spirits of both."
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“My Heart Flies Open is a vibrantly illustrated book that offers readers empowering affirmations while gently guiding them through a series of yoga poses. This beautiful book celebrates the joy, strength, and wholeness children carry within.”
—Gabi Garcia, author of Listening to My Body
“Omileye Achikeobi-Lewis has created something special in this inclusive and accessible book for young girls of color. Her beautiful pictures are accompanied by inspiring words that will move all kids and the adults in their lives, too.”
—Mallika Chopra, author of the Just Be series
“This book is a treasure! An absolutely beautiful way to teach children not only a wonderful sequence of yoga poses, but how to use their own breath and bodies to transform negative emotions and feel a deeper sense of joy and connection in the world. These simple affirmations are just what children need and are so easily followed. I found myself breathing easier with each turn of the page.”
—Mariam Gates, MEd, author of Good Night Yoga and Good Morning Yoga
“Through elegant designs and heartful instructions, Omileye Achikeobi-Lewis transforms yoga into a magical journey for children to expand their bodies and free their minds.”
—Mark Wolynn, author of It Didn’t Start with You
“Achikeobi-Lewis’s enchanting art and gentle prose create a journey of self-discovery that will resonate with all readers. This book is a must-have for parents and teachers looking to help children bolster their positive inner voice and support with socialemotional learning.”
—Copland Rudolph, executive director of Asheville City Schools Foundation, and
Katie Dalton, coordinator of TAPAS Asheville City Schools Foundation Artist
in Residence Program
“Packed with affirmations, encouragement, love, and hope, My Heart Flies Open is the creation of an author blessed with a positive spirit and creativity. This inclusive book deserves to be in every good bookshop. It’s simply beautiful!”
—Brenda Emmanus, OBE, broadcaster and journalist
“My Heart Flies Open will bring peace to every child around the world in hard times. Achikeobi-Lewis’s vision for wellness for our young ones comes through every word and every painting. The book is a beautiful gift that every parent can give to their children and it will be treasured and passed on from one generation to the next.”
—Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Zen priest and author of The Deepest Peace
“Children will want to revisit this book again and again, perhaps not realizing the important lessons they’re learning along the way—powerful tools for self-regulation and the essential message of mindfulness: you are not your feelings.”
—Kira Willey, author of Breathe Like a Bear
“Affirming, illuminating, and peaceful, My Heart Flies Open is a gift of love to all children—and to see a Black girl child at its center is especially powerful. By illustrating the beauty and healing qualities of mindfulness and yoga, Omileye has made these ancient practices accessible to the youngest among us, and points a way for children and their adults to share these movements. It is a welcome and important addition to children’s literature.”
—Gail Cruise-Roberson, codirector of the SEED Project
“My Heart Flies Open is three magical books in one. It is a collection of lyrical affirmations and declarations for young spirits in search of a voice. It is an informative and detailed how-to guide to the basic yoga poses. And it is a visual delight full of colorful, whimsical paintings that illustrate the information while celebrating the imagination. . . . this wonderful book is bound to inspire and instruct all fledgling yogis of every age, color, and gender. I love this book.”
—Allan Wolf, author of No Buddy Like a Book and The Day the Universe Exploded My Head
“What a beautiful, uplifting, positive, and powerful book!"
—Dr. Tony Strange, program director for Winthrop University's Master of Education in Counseling and Development program
“This book is parenting at its best. Today’s kids don’t get to be children very long. They experience deep stress in schools and standards of perfection and expectation they sometimes can’t or don’t want to meet. In my experience as a Native American mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, an international spiritual teacher, author, artist, and activist, today’s parents’ first responsibility is to truly hear their children. We must encourage them to BE who they were born to be. Omileye’s book offers kids the space to explore their dreams, their heartfelt passion, and gives full acceptance to body, mind, and spirit through yoga postures and deep breaths. I’m buying one for every one of my great-grandchildren!”
—Robin Tekwelus Youngblood, coauthor of Path of the White Wolf
“My Heart Flies Open is a master class in sacred storytelling, spreading love, kindness, and compassion for all sentient beings. . . . [Achikeobi-Lewis] allows the images in her book to powerfully and lovingly illustrate her message—that the cosmos is not a place to be feared, but one of blessing and wholeness. . . . The girl remains centered whether she is in the depths of the ocean or on the edge of a cliff. The message is unmistakable. If we keep peace and equanimity in our hearts, we can overcome any obstacle along our path. This is a powerful message for anyone, and especially for children of color.”
—Glenn Aparicio Parry, two-time Nautilus award-winning author of Original Thinking and Original Politics