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.illustration of a 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.

illustration of children sitting around a campfire

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.

[This article was first published in 2017.]

Get Daily Dharma in your email

Start your day with a fresh perspective

Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.

Liberate this article!

You’ve read all of your free articles for the month. Subscribe now for immediate access to the magazine plus films, video dharma talks, e-books, and more.

Subscribe Now

Already a subscriber? Log in.