Peaceful Like a Panda: Let’s Eat and Good Night

I’m here with the final installment looking at Peaceful Like a Panda, the latest and greatest kids mindfulness book, written by the super accomplished Kira Willey and published by the wonderful people at Rodale Kids. Today I’m posting images from the last two sections of the book, titled Let’s Eat and Good Night.

Let’s Eat is a section of the book devoted to the idea of mealtimes, food and where that food comes from. It makes sense that a whole section of the book could be devoted to this, since food is a bit part of a kid’s world! From learning to try new things  to all the fun that can be had getting little ones to help with the cooking and baking, food is both vitally important and a source of entertainment. 

Ask Your Belly is a great exercise that gets kids to think about whether they’re still hungry or if they’ve had enough, and to ask their bellies how they really feel. It’s something I think we could ALL use, when a lot of overeating comes from boredom or stress rather than hunger (I speak from experience!). I couldn’t resist making a hungry-like-a-horse pony the star of this one.

Thanks for the Food encourages little ones to be thankful for the food they’re about to eat, a good step towards being mindful about eating in general. I thought the farmers and food distributors should be farm animals, naturally.  

Lastly, I really enjoyed drawing the illustration for Where’s it From, which gets kids to think about the journey their food took to get to them. So many people are involved along the way, from growers to shops to the person who cooks the food, and it’s so good to think about that process. It was fun showing the path a carrot takes, from bunny farmer to dinner table.

The last section of the book is Good Night, which focuses on mindfulness practice that gets kids calmed down and ready for bed. I think this is probably one of the most useful sections, as kids can be so hard to get to bed! 

Jellyfish Breath uses the imagery of jellyfish bobbing up and down in the water to help kids lie down and take big breaths. This was a fun one to draw, because I’ve never really drawn jellyfish before but I’ve always meant to because they’re so pretty and colorful in real life. I had to give these ones little smiley faces because otherwise I think they’re a little creepy for kids, and also because it makes them so darn cute.

Goodnight Worries is an exercise that I could have used as a kid, when I went through that phase of worrying about lots of things once the lights were out. (Would our house catch on fire? was a big one, after we had the fire-preparedness talk at school. My poor parents, I remember several nights in a row of my Dad having to explain all the reasons our house was safe and wouldn’t just burst into flames!) Here kids learn to take all their worries of the day and put them into a little imaginary box for the night, so they don’t have to think about them at bedtime. 

Last of all here’s Sleepy Mouse, which has you curl up into a ball and pretend to be a little tiny mouse, all snuggled in his nest and ready for sleep. I get a little sleepy any time I look at this one, though that might be my general tendency to never get an uninterrupted night of sleep.

So there you have it — my favorite illustrations from all of the sections of Peaceful Like a Panda! It was such a wonderful project to work on, as have been all of Kira’s mindfulness books I’ve worked on, because the text is not only well written but it also provides a great jumping-off point to draw so many fun, colorful critters. Look for it online and in bookstores (if yours are open right now!), and thanks as always for reading!

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