In her debut picture book, the mega-bestselling author of the young adult Matched series introduces children to mindfulness and being grounded in the present.
"A gentle child's-eye view of mindfulness." —Kirkus Reviews
Everyone experiences a wide range of emotions, and some of them are not easy to handle. Bestselling novelist Ally Condie has crafted a thoughtful and atmospheric meditation that illustrates some practical ways to stay grounded when the world feels overwhelming. We can feel, taste, look, hear, or smell. We can be creative or express our thoughts. We can do kind things for others. We can ask for a hug.
Here gently instructs young readers how to slow down, be present, and to use all their senses in order to appreciate the beauty around them, to connect with nature, and to feel calm in their bodies and minds. By getting out of our heads and focusing on one thing at a time and being present, we realize that these hard feelings are not as big and scary as they seem.
"Some days the world is a warm gold sun," writes Condie (the Matched series) in her meditative picture book debut. But "some days, some hours, some minutes/ are hard." In blue, green, and peach tones and softly textured, rounded shapes, Kim (Mommy's Hometown) shows the book's young protagonist, portrayed with tan skin and brown hair, in various emotional states: "Today I am here./ Feeling sad./ Feeling worried./ Feeling frustrated./ Feeling lonely." The following pages model ways to self-regulate, showing the child doing sensory exercises ("Look./ Close./ So close"), engaging in movement ("Jump./ And jump and/ jump and jump"), and finding or forging connection ("Tell./ Someone how I am feeling," and leaving Mom a snack plate). Throughout, the child exudes intentionality about their needs, even when those needs might seem conflicting: "I need you not to touch me," they say to a caring adult; "I need you to hold me very tight." Soon, the feeling of being unmoored dissipates, and with gratitude and joy the child knows they are "here." Inviting readers to ground themselves, catalog-like text that works as a beginner's mindfulness manual offers reassurance that the tools for self-soothing and self-awareness are always close at hand. Ages 4–8.