Big Breath: A Guided Meditation for Kids by William Meyer, illustrated by Brittany R. Jacobs

Big Breath: A Guided Meditation for Kids 
Illustrated by Brittany R. Jacobs
Review Copy from New World Library
As the title indicates, this guided meditation takes readers/listeners through the experience of sitting quietly, focusing on your breath, visiting positive emotions and experiencing peace. Meyer's words are both gently inviting and simply descriptive, allowing readers/listeners to follow their breath without getting carried away by imagery. He beings by inviting you to sit comfortably, eyes closed, and listen to your breath. From there, you listen to the world around you before reflecting inward, imagining that breath is the wind that blows thoughts away. Meyer's words encourage readers/listeners to connect with their body, to experience breath coming in through your nose and flowing down to your fingers and toes. Using joyful words and images, Meyer then leads readers/listeners to "let go of the day," before taking a final breath and opening your eyes. He ends the meditation by asking readers/listeners to notice the calm and relaxation they now feel and to carry it with you and share it.

Jacobs's pastel watercolors further guide readers through this breathing practice, although I imagine this book will be heard more than seen. I read it out loud to a class of sixth graders that has been practicing guided meditation since the start of the school year. There is a small table where they have their mantra on display, along with steps for practicing and after lunch every day, students lead each other in quiet reflection. They generously allowed me to take over their practice and read Big Breath and ask them questions about their experience afterward. As I read, I was happy to see all of them, eyes closed, and experience peace fill the room. Afterward, they commented on the descriptive language Meyer used and how much they liked the journey the meditation took them on.

There is only one downside to Big Breath: If you are reading it out loud, you can't completely experience the meditation!

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