Review Blog

Jul 22 2014

Big Sky Mind by Whitney Stewart

cover image

Ill. by Sally Rippin. Windy Hollow Books, 2014. ISBN 9781922081339.
Recommended. Big Sky Mind, with its cover featuring an elephant and monkey, looks like another picture book and opens with these two animals obviously having had an argument sitting at either end of a garden bench fuming. The text however tells another story and introduces the reader to the world of mindfulness and meditation. This is an easy to follow introduction to meditation techniques for children and beginners.
After a simple set of instructions on how to prepare oneself, each double page spread features a meditation accompanied by Sally Rippin's delightful and amusing illustrations featuring the animals from the cover. 'Mind Drawing, to focus your mind', 'Protection circle, to feel safe' and 'Mind Clearing, to ease your mind' are just three of the nine techniques proposed.
Common questions regarding meditation are answered in a 'What do I do when I feel...?' section covering topics including boredom, wriggling, sore legs and frustration. The answers speak directly to the reader with easy to understand suggestions and an acknowledgment that this is a learning process: 'Have no expectations and be kind to yourself.' It seems like good advice to me from my early experiences with meditation.
This book could be a useful addition to a parent or teacher's library especially at a time when the benefit of yoga is being explored in some schools. The book affirms the value of 'meditating before you act', and finding ways to have confidence in believing that you can solve problems by relying on your inner wisdom, reduce stress and be mindful of others.
Sue Keane

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