All Around Us

a new children's book
written by Xelena Gonalez and
illustrated by Adriana M Garcia

Grandpa says that circles are all around us. We just have to look for them.

He points to the Rainbow that rises high in the sky after a thundercloud has come. He traces the colorful arc with his hand and says, "Can you see? That's only half the circle."

He and his granddaughter meditate de and outside us, on where our bodies come from and where they return to. They share and create family traditions in this stunning exploration gardens and seeds, on circles seen and unseen, inside of the cycles of life and nature.


Workshops

We have curriculum and programing surrounding the lessons in the book that provides an innovative way of getting your class involved. Here are a few we offer.
Tai Chi Storytelling

Tai Chi Storytelling

In this unique and dynamic program, Xelena will follow a reading of her book All Around Us with a movement-based retelling of the tale. Drawing upon her experience living in China, she will introduce participants to the basics of tai chi in a way that will make the story meaningful and unforgettable. Time permitting, participants will then engage in a group story circle that will involve their own ideas and movements inspired by tai chi, yoga, or other forms of expression. This program is appropriate for ages 5 to adult, and can be modified for younger audiences with parent participation. View Full List

Story Walk: An Interactive Way to Experience Story

Story Walk: An Interactive Way to Experience Story

Also in conjunction with the San Antonio Public Library, Xelena and Adriana shared an early version of the book with their community through a dynamic reading and art installation, designed in the style of a Story Walk. This unique way of sharing stories promotes family literacy, healthy living, and nature appreciation. Please contact the creators to discuss the space and cost considerations involved in replicating this exhibition in your space or city. Indoor or outdoor displays are possible. View Full List

Circles are Everywhere

Circles are Everywhere

What do you see inside a circle? What can you design using only circles? What circles are you a part of? Using simple demonstrations and free-writing/drawing exercises, this workshop can be tailored to fit any age group. It involves brief discussion post book-reading and a chance to participate in a worldwide experimental art project based on circles. Older writers will leave with the beginnings of a reflective story, essay, or poem. 30 minutes minimum, which includes story time for younger participants View Full List

Author & Illustrator

Xelena González

Xelena González

Author

Xelena González has roots in San Antonio, Texas but has stretched her wings to fly all the way to Guangzhou, China, where she works as a librarian in an international school. She studied journalism at Northwestern University and library science at Texas Woman’s University, but her true training as a storyteller has come from getting to know other living beings—including plants, animals, and people who happen to speak different languages or see the world in unusual ways. She tells these stories through picture books, essays, song, and dance.

Adriana M Garcia

Adriana M Garcia

Illustrator

Adriana M Garcia creates as a way to document lives and to honor the human existence, aiming to extract the inherent liminality of a moment before action as a way to articulate our stories. She is proficient both in traditional painting as well as web-based new-media applications. For this particular project, Adriana and her collaborator have challenged each other to answer complex questions about culture, humanity, and unique worldviews in a way that is simple, universal, and appealing enough to reach the youngest members of our society. In that effort, she hopes to offer a visual voice to a profound story.

Reviews

Read what they are saying about All Around Us.
Not everyone sees life and time as linear as portrayed in this genuine and tender conversation between a grandfather and his granddaughter as they explore the significance of the circle both in their immediate day but also the history of their family and culture. An authentic voice of perspective that is needed in our diverse world that begs for books that reflect the uniqueness of our multifaceted world.
Bookpeople of Moscow (Idaho)

Bookpeople of Moscow (Idaho)

—Jesica Sweedler DeHart
A girl and her grandfather contemplate circles, both physical and metaphorical, in this thought-provoking tale of family, community, and interconnection, a debut for both author and artist. . . González’s text follows soaring arcs itself, and circular shapes dominate Garcia’s multilayered illustrations. Her tender portraits highlight the intimate bond between the narrator and her grandfather, while bright, zigzagging lines create a setting that hums with energy. . . Read full review
Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly

In this warm, gentle story that celebrates family, culture, community and the connectedness of all things, a young girl and her grandfather work side by side in their vegetable garden, hang out in their backyard, walk around their neighborhood—and find circles to see and contemplate. . . All Around Us is a quiet, beautiful story, and is highly recommended. Read full review
De Colores: The Raza Experience in Books for Children

De Colores: The Raza Experience in Books for Children

—Beverly Slapin
González asks readers to rethink the world as one full of unceasing rebirth. A clearer example of this viewpoint soon follows. In the garden, Grandpa and the girl tend to their lettuce, carrots, and chiles, with the resulting stems, leaves, and seeds going back into the ground. “What we take from the earth we return,” says Grandpa. . . . Life-affirming in its quiet splendor. Read full review
KIRKUS REVIEW

KIRKUS REVIEW

Gonzalez, who is mestizo, has written an evocative picture book that shares her family and culture’s circle of life experiences. The illustrations are full of rich, earthy colors featuring a young girl and her grandfather.

School Library Connection

Marion Mueller, Library Media Consultant, Mishawaka, Indiana
The warm relationship the two share is evident as the girl happily absorbs the lessons, often spiritual in nature, that her grandpa teaches.

Booklist Publications

— Maryann Owen
All Around Us is the best book I've read all year! The message is simple but profound-- and the art work is stunning! I place a copy in the hands of all who enter our children's section and watch the magic unfold.

BookWoman

— Susan Post

CONTACT

Let us know what you think about the book or if you are interested in workshops or a Story Walk.