Concepts such as “compassion,” “giving,” and “meditation” are introduced one letter at a time.
As with previous titles in Engel’s ABC for Me series, this book is printed on thick, sturdy pages that are filled with bright, cartoonish images of happy children with varied skin tones. A word connected (however tangentially) to the concept of mindfulness is introduced with brief, rhyming text on each page. The final pages present a definition of mindfulness and a few activities for practice. While the concepts are all positive notions that most people would agree are healthy for young children, problems with this book’s execution become immediately apparent with its cringeworthy appropriation of images from various cultures and spiritual traditions. Symbols such as dream catchers, Buddha statues, prayer flags, and culturally specific words such as “Namaste” and “Zen” are all used without providing any context on their origins or significance. The text also struggles, often forcing itself to fit the rhyme structure. “Pay attention to your energy. Is it high or very low? / Either way, just remember it will always flow.” Further, the book confuses mindfulness—the nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment—with other concepts and actions that, while well-intentioned, don’t necessarily have anything to do with mindfulness, such as “sleep” and “vegetables.”
Positive and healthy behaviors and practices clumsily mixed together with, ironically, seeming unawareness of the book’s overall effect. (Board book. 3-7)