cover image Here: I Can Be Mindful

Here: I Can Be Mindful

Ally Condie, illus. by Jaime Kim. Viking, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-5933-2714-2

“Some days the world is a warm gold sun,” writes Condie (the Matched series) in her meditative picture book debut. But “some days, some hours, some minutes/ are hard.” In blue, green, and peach tones and softly textured, rounded shapes, Kim (Mommy’s Hometown) shows the book’s young protagonist, portrayed with tan skin and brown hair, in various emotional states: “Today I am here./ Feeling sad./ Feeling worried./ Feeling frustrated./ Feeling lonely.” The following pages model ways to self-regulate, showing the child doing sensory exercises (“Look./ Close./ So close”), engaging in movement (“Jump./ And jump and/ jump and jump”), and finding or forging connection (“Tell./ Someone how I am feeling,” and leaving Mom a snack plate). Throughout, the child exudes intentionality about their needs, even when those needs might seem conflicting: “I need you not to touch me,” they say to a caring adult; “I need you to hold me very tight.” Soon, the feeling of being unmoored dissipates, and with gratitude and joy the child knows they are “here.” Inviting readers to ground themselves, catalog-like text that works as a beginner’s mindfulness manual offers reassurance that the tools for self-soothing and self-awareness are always close at hand. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. Illustrator’s agent: Claire Easton, Painted Words. (May)