Inês Castel-Branco, Author & Illustrator
Magination Press, Fiction, Apr. 30, 2018
Suitable for Ages: 4-8 and up
Themes: Breathing, Stretching, Relaxation
Opening: “Mom, I can’t sleep!” / “Why not?” / ” don’t know… I’m nervous and I can’t stop thinking, thinking, thinking…”
Do you know how to breathe? Do you really know how to breathe?
When a young boy can’t sleep, his mother teaches him how to breathe with his whole body. He learns new ways to move his body, notice his breath, and calm himself.
He can pretend he is a ringing bell, a cat, a rocket…any number of things! The activities combine controlled breathing, stretches, and visualization, and are an introduction to mindfulness and meditation that can be used to help induce sleep or just to calm the body and mind.
Why I like this book:
The story is a conversation between a boy and his mother when he can’t relax and go to sleep. The mother is a shadow in the background on the first page as she teaches her son how to breath properly. If you teach children how to breathe and relax at a young age, they will have tools to use throughout their lives. Focusing on breathing helps them to stop thinking and quiet their minds.
The book helps children learn to visualize and use their imaginations. The exercises the mother uses to guide the boy — floating on a wave, smelling roses, blowing up balloons, launching a rocket and breathing with vowel sounds — are shared at the end of the book with detailed information on how to do each exercise and how they help children work through fear and anxiety. This is a wonderful family activity.
Author Inês Castel-Branco’s illustrations are joyful, peaceful and simply beautiful. Readers will feel the positive energy flowing from the boy just by studying each illustration and the exercise he is attempting. Make sure you check out the end papers as they are filled with poses taught in the book.
Resources: Breathe is a picture book that helps children work through worries and fears by playful breathing, stretching and relaxation techniques. There is a Note to Parents and Caregivers at the end that includes exercise techniques based on yoga, tai chi, chi kung and meditation.
Inês Castel-Branco founded Fragmenta Editorial in Barcelona with Ignasi Moreta, and so submerged herself in the fascinating world of the typography and layout of books. With the birth of their three children, Inês returned to making models (now of castles, zoos, and doll houses) and they discovered the marvels that can be made with recycled objects, which are explained on Ines’s Spanish blog, “Mama Recicla.” Their love of children’s books also grew, until they decided to start this collection. One morning during breakfast, she “saw” in her mind the book that you now have in your hands, and she once again took up her brushes and painted.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.
*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.