SPINNING: Choreography for Coming Home (Moxie Road Productions, 2017)
When Janine Kovac gives birth to micro preemie twins nearly four months before they are due, she channels the grace and strength that carried her through a successful ballet career. The human body has amazing healing powers if you just know how to listen to it.
But old habits bring up old haunts and bitter memories—the futile quest for perfection and a career-ending injury. In the sterile, fluorescent world of the NICU, ballet breeds hope as the twins make a miraculous recovery.
Can it also bring resolution to the dancer so many years after the abrupt and painful end to the career she loved so much?
KIND WORDS FOR SPINNING:
“Janine Kovac’s memoir, written with a fresh and engaging voice, will grab you by the heart and won’t let go until the very end. What a ride! Brava!”
—Ellen Sussman, New York Times bestselling author of four novels, A Wedding in Provence, The Paradise Guest House, French Lessons, and On a Night Like This
“A deft and moving exploration of fear, strength, and the ways in which our past lives are always catching up with our present. Janine Kovac weaves her terrifying introduction to motherhood and her career as a professional ballerina as naturally and masterfully as if she’s choreographed a new dance. And she has.”
—Anna Solomon, author of Leaving Lucy Pear and co-editor of Labor Day: True Stories of Motherhood by Today’s Best Women Writers
“Janine Kovac has written a beautiful, honest book about what it means to live in a body, the triumphs and dangers of dancing, the deep joy and sadness of becoming a mother to twins born far too soon. I devoured this book in a single morning, wanting to know what life would unveil for this family. You will too and the story will stay with you for a long, long time after you close the book and breathe again.”
—Nayomi Munaweera, author of Island of A Thousand Mirrors (winner of the Commonwealth Regional Prize for Asia) and What Lies Between Us
“I loved Spinning from the first page. Janine Kovac artfully weaves her past as a professional ballet dancer with the story of the premature birth of her twin sons. ‘The human body has amazing healing powers if you just know how to listen to it,’ writes Kovac. Spinning is both a testament to the miracle of the human body and to the ways that deep listening allows us to heal and pull meaning from our lives.”
—Kate Hopper, author of Ready for Air: A Journey Through Premature Motherhood and Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers
Available for purchase through these fine booksellers:
Book Passage Pegasus Books Subtext Books Amazon
BRAIN CHANGER is a practical application of self-care, expressing gratitude, managing flow, and cultivating a growth mindset—but with a twist of cutting-edge cognitive science.
This collection of essays is what emerged from my thesis (scroll down) and guest blog posts I wrote for Christine Carter’s site RaisingHappiness.com.
Here’s some nice things that people had to say about BRAIN CHANGER:
“The science of mind—cognitive science—is anything but dry and abstruse. It is about how to live. Janine Kovac figured this out under the most extreme stress: becoming the mother of premature twins not given much chance to survive, while finishing her cognitive science degree and raising a two-year- old. Brain Changer is an inspiring, hard-to-put-down book of how she used her cognitive science to bring her one-and-a-half pound twins and herself through a mother’s nightmare to healthy happy lives.”
—George Lakoff, University of California, Berkeley and New York Times bestselling author of Don’t Think of an Elephant
“Most people don’t know that they need to have a little cognitive science under their belts in order to parent well, but read this book and you’ll know that probably, you do. It’s a useful and interesting tool for much more skillful—and therefore effective and joyful—parenting.”
—Christine Carter, PhD, author of Raising Happiness and The Sweet Spot
“Brain Changer is a perfect gem of a book. Kovac weaves together cognitive science, language and metaphor, and deeply moving personal stories of difficult moments at the beginning and end of life. With candor, humor, and authenticity, Brain Changer offers a way through trying times not just for parents, but for everyone. I highly recommend this engaging and helpful book.”
—Lorrie Goldin, Licensed Clinical Social Worker
“Any parent who has experienced loss will soak up the wisdom of this book. Janine Kovac has a unique talent for taking raw experiences and bringing them to life with deep insight, candor and a unique perspective. Her background in dance, cognitive science and directing all come together in a production that is dazzling.”
—Maria Ramos-Chertok, The Rockwood Leadership Institute and author of The Butterfly Series Workbook and Journal
“Brain Changer offers a fascinating look at how Janine Kovac used language to reframe her world during a time of extreme trauma. This book is a good read with lessons easily applied to everyday life for all of us.”
—Marianne Lonsdale, founding member, Write on Mamas
You can buy Brain Changer here or get the ebook through Amazon or iTunes.
THE BOOK OF KID (Bobcat Books, 2016)
I didn’t write The Book of Kid, but it is one of my indie publishing projects. It started as a classroom project for the school auction became a book of parenting advice from third graders. The original book was a work that combined original original art (block prints) and suggestions for grownups.
The authors of The Book of Kid have generously decided to donate all royalties from book sales to benefit elementary students in Oakland Unified School District.
Here’s what some grownups had to say about The Book of Kid:
“A great reminder for parents of kids of all ages: Kids are taking notes every time we swear, check our phones compulsively, or say something negative about someone else. This book is an inspiration to be the best role models that we can be. Moreover, this advice from children to parents mirrors what research shows is best for them; sometimes kids really do know best!”
—Christine Carter, author of Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents
“The Book of Kid is evidence that kids hear and see and know more than we sometimes give them credit for. This book is chocked full of sound advice from kids to parents, advice that will help us be our best selves and also the parents our kids need. Read this book and then go play, listen, hug and challenge your kids. They’re begging for it!”
—Kate Hopper, founder of Motherhood & Words & author of Ready for Air: A Journey Through Premature Motherhood and Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers
“This little book has the potential to transform lives – if parents follow the sage advice in these pages, relationships can improve, children will thrive, and the benefits will radiate out into the world with positive repercussions for generations to come. I highly recommend this book for parents of young children everywhere.”
–Nina Lesowitz, co-author of the bestselling titles Living Life as a Thank You; What Would You Do if You Knew You Could Not Fail?; and The Grateful Life.
“If you don’t want to wait until your child grows up to find out how you could have been a better parent, read this book of heartfelt and surprising third grade wisdom. These children know better than many adults what is really important. Their beautifully illustrated jewel of a book has a prominent place in the waiting room of my child psychology practice.”
–Lucinda Cummings, PhD, Licensed Psychologist
“Listen to your children, Put down your phone, swear less, don’t bad mouth family–easily the best parenting advice I’ve ever read, and straight out of the mouths of funny, honest, wise kids.”
—Ann Imig, founder of the national live storytelling series, video-sharing company, and acclaimed book LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER
Multiples Illuminated: A Collection of Essays and Advice from Parents of Twins, Triplets, and More (2016)
Multiples Illuminated is a compelling collection of stories from writers and parents of multiples, as well as expert advice that is a must-have for all parents and grandparents of multiples. Having multiples is one of the most wonderful and challenging experiences you will have in your life. Whether you’re expecting multiples, or a few years into the multiples club, you will find stories you love in Multiples Illuminated.
Mamas Write: 29 Tales of Truth, Wit, and Grit (Bittersweet Press 2014)
Co-editor and contributing author
Twenty-four moms (and one dad) share stories from their lives as writers and parents. Essays range from finding one’s calling as a writer through adopting a toddler; a tribute to a dying wife; an account of a premature birth; raising a transgender child; the joys of sharing a favorite childhood book. In a concluding interview, authors share funny and heartfelt responses to questions such as: “How does a busy parent make time for writing?” “Why do you write, and where?” “What writing books inspire you?” and “What holds you back from writing?”
Praise for Mamas Write
These writers dig deep and don’t shy away from tough subjects, but their essays sparkle with humor and energy, too. I love the diversity of voices here, and their wide range of interests. From gauzy preemies in the NICU to a grown son, brooding with piercings and dreadlocks; from dreams of being writers (or mothers, or mermaids) to dreams of just one good nap-it’s all here, and it makes a great read.
Caroline Grant, Editor in Chief of Literary Mama and
Associate Director of the Sustainable Arts Foundation
Violet and Ruby by Chiara Kovac (Noelle & Noelle 2013)
When Violet and Ruby find a mysterious invitation, their camping trip takes an exciting turn.
Here’s what relatives have to say about Violet and Ruby
Stories for children written by children are the best. Loved the illustrations. I sometimes mixed up Violet and Ruby, but the illustrations always made it clear who was who, with the clever use of v’s and r’s on their dresses. Can’t wait for Volume 2. Full disclosure, I have known the author for six years.
Aunt Rita, fan of Chiara
Nothing But The Truth So Help Me God: 51 Women Reveal the Power of Positive Female Connection (NBTT 2012)
Alluring, provocative, and enlightening, Nothing but the Truth So Help Me God: 51 Women Reveal the Power of Positive Female Connection looks beyond the abundance of negative feminine stereotypes to reveal the powerful and positive aspects of female relationships. From the online social network for all women, A Band of Wives, this book brings together essays, poetry, and artwork that will change the way you look at the women in your life.
I’ll be honest. This isn’t a beach read. But I was a senior at U.C. Berkeley, and a mom of a toddler. When I wasn’t trudging my way through neuroscience texts and A.I. code, I was reading parenting books. You know, the ones written by experts who tell you you’re doing it wrong. And I thought, wait a minute. There are some deeper cognitive linguistic structures here. Maybe I could write a paper on this. And so I did. My thesis was awarded the Robert J. Gluskho award for Distinguished Undergraduate Research in Cognitive Science and became the foundation for my e-book, Brain Changers: A Mother’s Guide to Cognitive Science.