Recommended Age Range: Kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Publisher's Summary: Find Your Calm is a wonderfully accessible book that teaches children how to tap into their sense of safety when anxiety sends a false alarm, so they can find their calm. Includes simple activities for them to practice.
Dr. Annie's Takeaways
Recommended for: In child-friendly language, this book provides an explanation of anxiety and how it is often a false alarm, and it teaches children five mindfulness strategies to reconnect with their sense of safety and calm. This is a good fit for children who are often nervous and who have some insight into their thoughts and feelings. The strategies articulated in this book are applicable to older children and adults as well. Grown-ups with anxiety, you might like this book as much as your child (or perhaps more!).
Would a child like it? An anxious child will likely feel soothed and empowered by this book. It’s not a super engaging story, but it’s comforting.
Tone: Soothing, peaceful
Story Quality: Written in first person, this book shares the experience of a child with anxiety and how she copes by using a handful of different anxiety-management strategies. There’s not a plot or story to speak of, but despite this, the book is adequately engaging–the writing is clear and vibrant. I love how the author, Gabi Garcia, articulates the experience of anxiety as well as the rationale for using different strategies to “find your calm.” She is skilled at putting sophisticated ideas into language that a young child will understand and connect with.
Illustrations: Sweet, attractive illustrations in calming colors (lots of peach, soft blues, light greens, warm earth tones).
Representation: The child protagonist has light brown skin and dark brown, curly hair, and she goes to school with other kids who are White, Brown, and Black. She has a mother and a father who both have light brown skin and dark brown hair.
Psychological Practices: The girl shares that she has anxiety that jumbles her thoughts, overwhelms her, and makes her freeze (in class, on the school bus, and in doctors’ offices). Her father explains to her that anxiety is normal and helpful if there’s a real that, but that often it’s a false alarm. She then shares about the different ways that she reminds her body that she’s safe. She scans her environment for safety cues (e.g., “a friendly face, a color or shape, a tree, a flower…”), uses her five senses to pay attention to her immediate environment, notices her breathing, uses coping statements (e.g., “There’s no danger”; “I can get through this”), and pays attention to her body’s feelings without judgment (e.g., “I notice the jiggle in my legs before climbing onto the school bus”). These strategies help her to begin to feel more grounded and brave. In the back of the book, there are instructions for how to practice these different mindfulness exercises.
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