September 12 – National Mindfulness Day

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-what's-in-your-mind-today-cover

About the Holiday

Established in 2009 by the nonprofit Wisdom Publications to raise awareness of mindfulness and its benefits. The day is celebrated with workshops, meditation groups, or just by taking some time out of the day to spend time in quiet contemplation on your own. For more information and  articles on mindfulness practices, tips on getting started, and how to set up your own meditation group, visit mindful.org.

What’s in Your Mind Today?

Written by Louise Bladen | Illustrated by Angela Perrini

 

As readers open the cover, an encouraging narrator ask them, “What’s in your mind today?” The narrator goes on to give some gentle instructions on how to relax and count ten breaths to reach a place of quiet contemplation: In and out again, you’re up to two. Now there are only eight more to do. In…and out…and there goes three.” Once the child has counted ten breaths, the narrator says they can open their eyes and look at the thoughts in their mind. The narrator asks, “Are they angry or are they kind?”

There are many kinds of thoughts in a child’s mind, and sometimes it’s hard for them to describe how they feel. The narrator introduces five children and their thoughts for readers to identify with. First comes Molly, who can’t pin her thoughts down then comes Oliver, whose “thoughts are monsters, stomping around.” How can he manage these thoughts? By facing them head on, “they have no power of the their own to stay.”

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-what's-in-your-mind-today-birds

Image copyright Angela Perrini, 2020, text copyright Louise Bladen, 2020. Courtesy of Beaming Books.

George is troubled by his thoughts that bounce around like bubbles. But he, too, can make them pop and float away. Amelia feels nervous, but with a word she can feel braver. And Sophie? She keeps bad thoughts away before they can ever settle in. The narrator reassures readers that thoughts—whether good or bad—don’t have to last. If they breathe and are mindful they will feel “calm and at peace.”

Louise Bladen, a meditation and mindfulness coach for children and adults, infuses each page of What’s in Your Mind Today? with a soothing cadence that promotes relaxation. By introducing five children, Bladen touches on common emotions and reassures kids that everyone has thoughts of anger, nervousness, or other ideas that leave them troubled. Bladen offers comfort and support by revealing to readers that they have control over whether they listen to and act on these thoughts or not and how to feel peaceful amid changing and sometime turbulent thoughts. Bladen’s rhyming verses and easy rhythm make this a read aloud that is accessible to even the youngest readers.

On the first page, Angela Perrini invites readers to join the circle of children who, with their eyes closed, sit on a mat silently mindful of their thoughts. On the next spread, as one child breathes a row of threes bends toward them. When they breathe out, the trees bend away. To demonstrate how light deep breathing makes you feel, Perrini depicts a pair of lungs filled with clouds and hot-air balloons. As the children in the story confront their thoughts, charming double-page spreads take readers inside the children’s silhouetted heads to watch as they send angry thoughts running, pop troubling bubbles, and directly tell their thoughts to go away with purpose until all that is left is tranquility.

An affirming introduction to mindfulness, What’s in Your Mind Today? would be a go-to book on home, classroom, or public  bookshelves to help kids still anxious or disruptive thoughts and reconnect with their inner peace.

Ages 4 – 8

Beaming Books, 2020 | ISBN 978-1506463773

To learn more about Angela Perrini, her books, and her art, visit her website.

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-what's-in-your-mind-today-cover

You can find What’s in Your Mind Today? at these booksellers

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million

To support your local independent bookstore, order from

Bookshop | IndieBound

Picture Book Review

Please leave a comment - I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s