Introducing mindfulness to young children.


LIly is on a picnic with her father and sister Ruby. Lily and her dad are playing checkers - at least they were until Ruby fell onto the blanket and rolled over their game. Once again, Ruby has ruined everything! Lily is so angry she pushes her little sister. While he got Ruby settled, Lily's dad shared a story from his father's journal It is about a day when he was so angry at his sister that he took off on his bike, pedaling far, far away to a pond. There he met a frog named Anger who wouldn't let go of Cam ... until Cam's emotions calmed and, at Anger's urging, found Metta.

Parent Perspective:
This is a lovely story. I like how the author layered the "history" with the present. Sibling rivalry is universal and timeless, and so is how we choose to deal with it. Although the story has great depth and meaning (lots of allegories), the message is crystal clear and simply presented.

My one disappointment with the book is how quickly (no pun intended) from Anger telling Cam to find Metta to Cam reciting simple mindful or meditative phrases. Cam doesn't know what Metta is, yet 12 pages later, and without ANY directions from his guide Anger, he knows how to practice Metta. Given the intended audience, more clarity is called for. 

Parents need to be prepared to answer the question, so I encourage them to read the Reader's Guide before sharing the book with their kids. Readers are exploring several wordless scenes that move the story forward without explanation and when that is done Cam understands and is flawlessly practicing Metta. 

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

There is a very calming, soothing presence about the book that will open readers' hearts and minds to the ideas of Metta. A great - and memorable - choice for readers who are interested in or can benefit from mindfulness practices.

Content Awareness Factors:


Type of Book:
This is a story that uses nature to help kids grasp empathy, compassion, and sibling peace.
Educational Themes:

Young children will relate to Lily's experience with being angry. In this case, it is a sister, but could just as easily be a playmate or friend. She models simple meditation that can easily be repeated and shared as practice with young children as a way to deal with strong emotions.

The other, more subtle part of the story is how Lily creates an invitation for empathy not just for herself, but for her sister, too. It is also easy to see how Cam loved his sister deeply, too, even as he is dealing with his anger (the yellow butterfly). With each reading, you can draw out more of these elements.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
9 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
4 and Up
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy, especially if you have kids who are siblings.

Title Peace, Bugs, and Understanding: An Adventure in Sibling Harmony
Author Gail Silver
Publisher Plum Blossom Books, Imprint Parallax Press © 2014
Illustrators Youme Nguyen Ly
ISBN 9781937006631
Material Hard Cover
Cost $16.95
Genres Family, Emotions and Feelings
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