A girl learns how to fight worry with belly breathing in this debut picture book by Haske, with images by debut illustrator Nam.
At the book’s outset, Maya meets Worry, depicted by Nam as a tangled scribble attached to Maya’s head, which soon becomes all-consuming. Maya worries about going to class by herself, going to the playground, attending a party, and going for a drive with her parents. Going to bed, where she’s alone with her anxious thoughts, is torture. Maya’s parents aren’t sure what to do. But one day, in a school group activity, Maya learns how to breathe into her belly and find Courage. Nam shows Maya’s Courage as sparkles all around her, helping her to welcome events that previously frightened her. Maya also learns not to fight Worry but to recognize it and be brave anyway. Readers never learn why Maya became so fearful, and the lack of details about how she learned to belly breathe may invite questions. However, children should still be able to adapt Maya’s technique to their own lives. Nam’s illustrations feature beautiful lighting effects that add appealing depth to characters and settings. Maya, with her blond pigtails, is surrounded by a diverse group of friends, teachers, and schoolmates in this approachable work.
Maya’s technique may not cure anxious kids’ concerns, but it may offer comfort and confidence.