A young girl offers mindfulness techniques and advice in this debut picture book.
Lena, a white, red-haired girl who appears to be an early elementary school student in the illustrations, directly addresses readers with her secrets to finding joy. She explains: “It is very easy. If you want, you can be happy too.” First, Lena describes noticing the colors in the world around her. Then, she sees how she can count on her fingers any time she wants. Next, she explores how the senses of touch and scent give her pleasure. In the longest section, she provides a visualization technique, imagining the warm feeling of happiness as a pink balloon that can encompass not only her, but also an ever expanding part of the world in a hug. This portion emphasizes the positive impact of sharing joy. While the idea of choosing happiness may be difficult for children who experience depression or other uncontrollable moods, the soothing mindfulness techniques and the tips Erdem supplies in endnotes about assigning colors to different emotions to express feelings may be useful. The cheerful, uncredited, manga-style images, colored with paints, deftly capture the emotional tone, though some readers will notice that the human inhabitants of the swelling happiness bubble have pale skin.
Parents looking to share mindfulness with their children in an easy-to-narrate tale should add this to their tool kits.