Finding my calm

A picture book with a mindfulness technique using one’s senses to help younger children find calm through the rollercoaster of emotions they can experience.
Author: Rebekah Lipp and Craig Phillips
Book Year: 2022
Publisher: Wildling Books
ISBN: 9780473599461
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Finding my calm

This is a sweet little book to support tamariki to manage and cope with the small but frustrating things that crop up throughout their day. Annoying buttons, overwhelming bustling, playtime challenges are all addressed here.

Once again, the illustrations produced by Rebekah Lipp and Craig Phillips reiterate how tamariki may be feeling, drawing attention to the faces and gestures, as well as including the kupu our tamariki use and need or introducing them – ‘crosser,’ ‘muddle,’ or even ‘flummoxed’ are terrific. We’re all hearing about emotional literacy, and this series of books always helps with it.

I really love the familiar scenes portrayed in this book and many of Lipp and Phillips’ others. The kōwhai, the bee backpack (I know a child with one), and The Hungry Caterpillar book cover are all gentle signs for tamariki, and parents that this book is for us. 

Finally, the primary intention of the book is to teach tamariki a mindfulness technique to help them find their calm. It’s about stopping and remembering 5, 4, 3, 2, 1:

  • Five things I can see
  •  Four things I can feel,
  •  Three things I can hear, 
  •  Two things I can smell and 
  •  One thing I can taste.

This technique is great for distracting us from what’s occurred and grounding us by tuning into the  world around us at any given time. 

I like that the 5, 4, 3, 2,1 strategy is reiterated through the book so that we remember to practice. It’s simple and I like all the ways I can think of to bring this up with tamariki:

  • ”“Do you feel muddled sometimes doing up your buttons?”
  • ”This is interesting, isn’t it? – we could count this out on our ringaringa, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...”
  • “Oooh, this time their friends aren’t listening...! What do you think we could do?”

There are plenty of opportunities to just get lost in the illustrations – “What do you think they might be feeling right now? How do we know?”

I could go on, but I know teachers, parents and professionals will be nodding along right now, knowing exactly how to use this book effectively with all tamariki. 

Nice one again from this powerful Wildling Books duo. This book is a young tamariki recommendation from me. 

Anna Mowat has a background in psychology and an English degree – she does a lot of writing for teachers and whānau to support their understanding of child development, wellbeing and continue to grow super relationships with tamariki. Anna works under Real Collective where she project leads Sparklers and Real Parents and works across other great initiatives such as Tākai. She is also a Mum who worries she’s doing it all wrong… so now we know this is normal!

Finding my calm

Disclaimer: Please note these reviews are not intended as endorsements or recommendations from the Mental Health Foundation. This feature introduces resources that may be useful for individuals with an interest in mental health and wellbeing topics.