Picture Book Snob
How to feel calm every day
The Calm Book by Alex Allan and Anne Wilson, Welbeck Children's Books
"Think about how you are feeling inside and out. Understanding what is going on inside your brain and body can help you stay calm so you can deal with whatever the day brings."
What's it about?
This is a wonderful book which teaches children all about how the brain works, and helps them understand why they may feel a certain way. It explores lots of different techniques to restore a sense of calm. Children are introduced to yoga, mindfulness, breathing and even some simple crafts. Developed in consultation with a child psychologist, there's a list of websites with further resources for parents and carers included.
What makes this stand out? It's a fantastic introduction to the science behind our feelings and an excellent way to create awareness of mental wellbeing from an early age. This book will help children to develop an emotional vocabulary, and have more control over how they are feeling too.
About the illustrations...
With lots of cuddly animals and a gentle colour palette, the images are as serene as they are beautiful. We see meditating frogs, bubble-blowing bears and rabbits floating on clouds. The brain and its components are brought to life by animated images showing them in action.
Why we love it...
It's fun to read as well as practical, and explains complex concepts in a child-friendly way. We have had great fun following the yoga moves (they've even inspired my kids to make up some of their own). The breathing and mindfulness techniques have been really useful too. I love how this book empowers young readers. It's brilliant how it shows that even when our feelings seem overwhelming, there are simple things we can do ourselves to restore calm. My kids are insisting we do the yoga daily, we have incorporated the breathing exercises into our bedtime routine, and we're looking forward to trying the crafts soon.
Why you need it...
The Calm Book equips readers with skills that will benefit them their entire lives, not just during childhood.
About the author:
Alex Allan has worked in children's publishing for twenty years, lives in London and has three children.
About the illustrator: Anne Wilson decided one day that telling a story through pictures was something she'd quite like to do for a job. Taking inspiration from natural forms, patterns and colours, Anne studied art, receiving an MA in Illustration from Central Saint Martins. In 2011 she won the Serco Prize for Illustration. Her clients include Lonely Planet Kids, Quarto, and Save the Children, among others.
About the consultant:
Sarah Davis is a child psychotherapist, with an MA in Integrative Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy and Counselling. Sarah has been the Young Person's Mental Health Lead for a charity in Hackney and has worked as a children's editor and consultant.
The Calm Book was published in April 2021 by Welbeck Children's Books. This is a follow-up to The Happy Book by Alex Allan and Anne Wilson, published in 2020. A huge thank you to the lovely people in Welbeck Children's Books for sending us a gift of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.