Leyla by Galia Bernstein

Leyla by Galia Bernstein
Review Copy from Abrams Kids
Leyla is a sweet story of living with a big family by Israeli author and illustrator Bernstein, but it is also a wonderful story about finding peace when the noise is too much. While the word meditation is never used, Bernstein's story is so well told - and illustrated - that it doesn't need to be. Leyla is tired of her large, fussy, busy, noisy family that is always wanting to hug, kiss and groom her. So she runs away to a quiet place, hurting her foot on a rock along the way.
There she meets a lizard. Who shushes her. The lizard is very busy doing nothing and Leyla wants to learn how to do nothing, too. The lizard instructs her saying, 

To do nothing, you sit perfectly still, feel the sun on your skin, listen to the leaves rustling un the wind and the insects buzzing in the air, and think of nothing at all.
In my favorite illustrations in Leyla, she sits, eyes closed, body relaxed, next to the colorful lizard. When she opens her eyes, nothing has changed, except now the sun is on the other side of the sky! Missing her family, Leyla realizes it's time to go home, but she asks the lizard if she can come back so they can do nothing together again and he agrees.
Back home, she has a huge audience ready to listen to tales of her adventure and ready to kiss her foot better. That night, tucked in her mother's arms, Leyla doesn't mind the noise and closeness of her big family. But, when she does, she goes to see the lizard, "and the lizard was always there."




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