How can you help a child reap the benefits of mindfulness, especially if they’re not old enough to read or sit still for very long?

Breathe and Be: A Book of Mindfulness Poems aims to introduce kids aged 4–8 to mindfulness by connecting them to the natural world through poems and accompanying images.  

The poems use a five-line form of Japanese poetry called tanka, an early version of haiku.

Below are three poems and illustrations from the collection, which was written by Kate Coombs and illustrated by Anna Emilia Laitinen.

snow scene

I breathe slowly in,
I breathe slowly out. My breath
is a river of peace.
I am here in the world.
Each moment I can breathe and be. ​

child under a tree

​I watch the stream.
Each thought is a floating leaf.
One leaf is worry,
another leaf is sadness.
The leaves drift softly away.

children practicing mindfulness by a sunset

I breathe slowly in,
I breathe slowly out. My breath 
is a pathway of peace
moving softly through me.
Each day I can breathe and be. 

Excerpted from Breathe and Be: A Book of Mindfulness Poems by Kate Coombs, illustrated by Anna Emilia Laitinen. Published by Sounds True, 2017.

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