Peaceful Like a Panda: New Year, New Book!

Cover of Peaceful Like a Panda
The cover of the new book, Peaceful Like a Panda

Happy 2021! I hope you all had a happy and safe holiday time and start to the new year. I had a lovely time with my little family — lots of excitement over presents and Santa for my kids since they are 2 and 4, and we even had Christmas Eve snow to play in, which was a lovely surprise! Now my new year’s wish (and probably everyone’s) is for 2021 to bring us an end to this awful pandemic, and to see the world return to a healthy, normal life. Here’s hoping it comes true, and sooner rather than later!

This happy sun is one of my favorites, from the Rise and Shine section

To start the year with good news, I am very excited to announce the release of a new book I’ve illustrated — it’s Peaceful Like a Panda, the sequel to the original Breathe Like a Bear book, written by Kira Willey and published by Rodale Kids. This is a fantastic 96-page mindfulness book featuring 30 new exercises for kids to learn and practice. Just like the original book, this one is fully illustrated by me, with a 2-page illustration for each exercise. There are lots of cuddly animals, bright colors and vibrant scenes to go along with the easy-to-do exercises designed by Kira.

I like this starfish illustration, which is in the Brain Boosters section, because it reminds me of all the rock pooling I do with my kids. Though we’ve only found a starfish once!

I love the way the book is organized into 6 sections, each based around a time of day or a type of activity that kids do throughout the day. It starts with Rise and Shine, which features exercises to help wake you up and get you ready for the day. The second section is Are We There Yet, which includes mindfulness moments that can be done on the way to school or that build on the theme of travel. Section 3 is Brain Boosters, designed to help kids focus and learn throughout the day. In the fourth section, Play Time, the exercises encourage using your imagination and having fun. Section 5 is Let’s Eat, which centers on being mindful about what we eat and where that food came from. Lastly there’s Good Night, which helps kids wind down at the end of the day and become calm and ready for sleep. 

From the title exercise, Peaceful Like a Panda, which is in the Brain Boosters section.

As with all of the mindfulness books I’ve illustrated, this is written by the amazingly talented Kira Willey, who not only writes books but also writes and performs children’s music, and teaches kids yoga and mindfulness in schools! If you like mindfulness and music, or if you have little ones who do, you should definitely check her out — her website is here and she is on Spotify! These books have been such a pleasure to work on due to Kira’s great writing, and also because of the wonderful people at Rodale Kids, especially art director Jan Gerardi who has been so positive, kind and hard-working throughout the whole process. Thank you Kira and Jan!

Another illo I like from the book, I guess because it reminds me of drinking a nice, cool lemonade on a hot day!

I’ve included a few of my favorite illustrations from the book here, and will be posting three more times about this great read in the coming weeks, detailing more about each section of the book. If you’d like to pick up a copy you can get it on Amazon US here and from lots of other smaller booksellers. In the UK, it has a listing on Amazon here but at the time of writing it currently says it’s out of stock. It does appear to be for sale on other sites such as Blackwell’s and will presumably become available from other retailers. (Since the book just became available in the US, I suspect it takes a little longer to roll it out here in the UK!)

Thank you so much for reading, as always, and stay tuned here for more posts about this great book and more pictures from each section. Stay safe out there, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

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