4 out of 4 stars
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As a former foster parent, I often dealt with children when emotions were running high, when fear, anger, or anxiety were threatening to overwhelm the child, and a tantrum or breakdown was imminent. One of the main skills I wanted to help the children learn was how to calm themselves down in those critical moments.
The children almost always recognized when they were teetering on the edge but rarely knew how to cope. Therapists recommended deep breathing and finding their happy place, basically a meditation technique that allowed them to mentally remove themselves from the stressful situation long enough to calm down.
Finding and going to their happy place was a skill, a skill that had to be developed. It would not work if the children only attempted to go there when they were already in a state of heightened emotion. It was something that had to be practiced when they were already calm, when they were already at peace. And that was often hard to get them to do.
This is why I loved I Can See Peace by Julie Penshorn and illustrated by Jeanine-Jonee Keith. This is a book that can be used by parents, teachers, counselors, or any caring adult to help teach children to find their happy place, to see peace. It provides an opening when the child is already calm to have the discussion and creates an opportunity to practice finding their happy place.
The book talks about seeing peace in all sorts of situations. It starts with happy situations. But then it talks about the fact that sometimes peace can be hard to see when something happens to scare or anger the child, and yet, it still encourages the child to look for peace and assures them that they will find it. I can imagine reading this book to a child on a regular basis, and using it as the introduction to then practice deep breathing and going to their happy place. I can also imagine reading it to a child on the brink of a tantrum (or in the midst of one) as part of the routine of practicing those same skills of deep breathing and going to their happy place.
In addition to the message of the book, I loved the illustrations. Not only were they big, bright, and colorful, they were inclusive. Children of multiple ethnicities were shown, as was a child with a wheelchair and another in a hospital bed. The illustrations can help children see themselves in the book, which in turn helps them see how the message of the book can apply to them.
My only complaint about this book came from the electronic format in which I read it. In this format, I could only see one page at a time, and there were some moments/illustrations that covered two pages. The one page at a time format meant it was harder to understand what was going on in those moments. But I have no doubt that that issue is not there with a physical book, and if I were still fostering, I would definitely have a copy of the physical book.
I am thrilled to give Penshorn & Keith’s I Can See Peace my first four out of four stars rating. The message is given in a way that is easy for all children to understand. The illustrations are wonderful. I happily recommend this book for all kids in the toddler through kindergarten age range. And I also recommend this book for all grade school kids who are struggling with anxiety or other periods of intense emotions. As parents, helping our children find peace is one of the best coping mechanisms we can give them.
I Can See Peace
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