Peaceful Me

Groundwood. May 2023. 32p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781773063416.
PreS-Gr 2–A brown-skinned child with black hair describes all the ways that they feel peaceful: with other people or alone, inside or outside, having fun or doing kind things. They also describe how to regain that peaceful feeling when it doesn’t come naturally: “Sometimes being peaceful is easy. Sometimes it takes work to get there.” The child takes a deep breath in and out, finds a quiet place, pictures favorite things, or finds a hug. The first-person narration is simple and direct, and the art, created with hand-printed textures, complements and enhances it beautifully: the child’s exhale appears as a spiral, and a bird’s-eye illustration of them floating in the water is stunning: ripples form a ring around them, light bounces off the water, leaves float on the surface with a sliver of shadow beneath. Like Deborah Underwood and Renata Liwska’s The Quiet Book, and Julia Denos and E.B. Goodale’s Here and Now, this is a book that refrains from didacticism and connects directly with children through its text and pictures equally and effectively.
VERDICT There is much to ponder, practice, and observe here, and the book has a sense of play; some readers will enjoy finding a little black cat on many pages. Highly recommended, a first purchase for all libraries.

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