More Peaceful: Rise and Shine and Are We There Yet

Hello! I’m here to show and tell a little more about the new book I recently illustrated — Peaceful Like a Panda, which just came out for the start of 2021. It’s written by the lovely and talented Kira Willey, published by Rodale Kids, and is the follow up to the original kids mindfulness book, Breathe Like a Bear. As of the time of writing this, Breathe Like a Bear has sold almost 150,000 copies, which I think really speaks to the fact that no matter how big or little you are, practicing a little mindfulness can help us all deal with life better, especially in these difficult times! It feels really great to be a part of kids learning how to focus, or calm down, or deal with feelings, particularly when I read reviews or accounts of how these books are helping children who have anxiety or learning issues. 

On to the pictures! Panda is organized in such a great way, which is by time of day or activity. So the first section of the book is Rise and Shine, full of exercises that help kids wake up and get ready for a day of learning and fun. 

This is one of my favorites from this section, called Good Morning, Body!, where kids say hello to each part of themselves, and get ready for the day.

Another fun one is Wake Up Wiggle, which has you wiggle each part of you, until you’re all wiggles! I chose to illustrate this with colorful monkeys, because they’re a good stand-in for kids and they’re good at wiggling. (Of course all the empty space on all of these illustrations is where the text goes!)

This is from the exercise How’s The Weather?, which focuses on the weather *inside you*, be it sunny or stormy, they’re all OK. I always enjoy the chance to draw a rainbow.

The second section of the book is Are We There Yet, which uses the idea of travel and/or vehicles to teach mindfulness. I had fun drawing this meditating bunny in a car seat for the intro spread!

Chugga Chugga Train has kids pretend they’re a chugging train, alternating between slow trains and fast trains. I’ve spent a lot of time both watching train-related kids shows and building wooden train tracks with my kids, so it was fun to do a train illustration, full of animals going somewhere.

Hot Air Balloon is a breathing exercise where you take several quick breaths as though you’re filling up your hot air balloon, and at the end you’re ready to go on a ride!

The last one I’ll share from this section is Red Light, Green Light, which has kids pretend to be driving fast and slow, with some nice deep breaths after they come to a stop. I thought a koala would be a good driver for the slow car, since koalas spend so much of the day sleeping!

So there you have some of my favorite illustrations from the first two sections of Peaceful Like a Panda. See my previous post for more about the book and links for ordering a copy. (Of course if you want to read Kira’s great text that goes with these pictures, you’ll have to see the whole book in person!) Next time I’ll share some pictures from the middle two sections of the book. Until then, thanks for reading!

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