Charlotte and the Quiet Place Written by Deborah Sosin Illustrated by Sara Woolley Puppy Mind Written by Andrew Jordan Nance Illustrated by Jim Durk Reviewed by Sandy and Tom Farley
Charlotte and the Quiet Place (2015) is a story for ages five to nine, set in one of the noisier places in North America: New York City. Charlotte and her dog find a quiet space in a park, where she notices her breathing and inner quiet. She learns how to re-create that space in other parts of her world, closing her eyes, breathing deeply, and taking her mind back to that park.
Puppy Mind (2016) is a poem from a boy’s point of view, describing the puppy-like part of his mind, which wanders off topic to follow distractions in the present as well as thoughts of past and future events. By focusing on his breathing, the boy learns how to calm his puppy mind. He befriends his mind with kindness and breathing so he can either control it or play with it, as appropriate. This book is also written for ages five to nine.
These two picture books are among several that Parallax Press has produced to help make mindfulness accessible to children. The press also publishes many works by Thich Nhat Hanh. The children’s stories reflect the diversity of our world and portray calm and focus as desirable ends in themselves, yet it is easy for us to see the connection to meditation or worship. We recommend these books for children and adults to read together and for use in elementary education, religious or secular. ~~~
Sandy and Tom Farley are members of Palo Alto Friends Meeting and co-authors and illustrator of Earthcare for Children, a curriculum they are in the process of revising for a new edition.