“Hope for the Future begins with Children.”
Anxiety and big emotions are such a large part of our children’s lives these days. Probably more so than ever thanks to the state of our world in 2020. Just think, a year ago many kids had never heard of things like pandemics, distance learning, Shelter in Place orders, civil unrest, stimulus checks, white privilege. And possibly adults too.
2020 is the year of great awakening for everyone…and that is bound to cause some anxiety in kids.
My hunch is that this “invisible disability” has been present for many years; it’s just finally getting recognized and acknowledged. There are also many things teachers and parents can do to assist our Littles in better navigating anxiousness and fear including books like this.
The Magical Mindful Day by Deborah Salazar Shapiro is a children’s book for people of all ages, intended to inspire the practice of mindfulness, to raise awareness of our interconnection with all living beings, and to remind children that the Earth is their friend.
It dawned on me a few days ago that May was Mental Health Awareness Month and though this book is about kindness towards Mother Earth, it also is a great picture book for reinforcing the message of compassion and awareness for what is going on around us. “Mindfulness” has a long and fancy definition in the dictionary, but, as my Bestie Debbie says it best…”PAY ATTENTION.”
The Magical Mindful Day tells the story of a young girl named Gaby, her stuffed cat Baba, and a wise cat named Oreo. Oreo meets Gaby at the beach one day and gently guides her on a peaceful journey through awareness—of herself and her environment. With an awakened sense of wonder and respect for the earth and every living being, Gaby, discovers that mindfulness has as much to do with our inner being as it does with our outer world. In fact, she learns, we are one with all: the body, mind, spirit, oceans, forests, jungles, deserts, and plains, as well as creatures great and small.
Children’s books about mindfulness have wide appeal today and, in my opinion, are a welcome response to a stressed-out world where kids feel the increasing pressure to fit in, do more, and achieve more. I have a 6th grader and a 9th grader and the social pressures and issues they deal with on a daily basis blows my mind and breaks my heart. Our kids need an oasis from the storm of life and books are such an amazing way for them to decompress and escape for awhile. Non-fiction that improves their brain and gives them new tools for navigating life is the cherry on the sundae.
In a world seemingly driven by electronics and social media, it is easy to become disconnected from surrounding people and nature. In The Magical Mindful Day, Salazar Shapiro highlights the importance, now more than ever, to guide children how to reflect on the effects of the items they use on a daily basis, especially plastic products, and the power they have to create change by making conscious choices about how they treat the people and world around them.
About The Author
Deborah Salazar Shapiro, MSW, is a psychotherapist, mindfulness teacher, author, and artist who was born and raised in San Salvador, El Salvador. She has been working with children and families for over 15 years. Deborah holds an MSW from the University of Southern California and a masters-level degree in psychology from the University Dr. Jose Matias Delgado in San Salvador. She lives in San Diego, California with her husband, two daughters, and a wise cat named Thay. Follow Deborah on Instagram.