“When the Anger Ogre Visits,” by Andrée Salom

November 5, 2014

anger ogreSome weeks ago I read this book with my kids (a six-year-old boy and an almost-eight-year-old girl) several times now, and they enjoyed both the story and the images. But the book became especially relevant recently when my son developed the habit of kicking and punching his sister. That’s a phase a lot of kids go through, but it’s especially worrisome because he’s taking karate classes, and at some point he’s going to be able to do some serious harm.

So last night, when my son was getting mad, we picked up the book again, and read through it. he wanted to read the book out loud himself, and he was able to do so … Read more »

“The Christmas Quiet Book” by Deborah Underwood & Renata Liwska

November 27, 2013
The Christmas Quiet Book is available from Amazon and Amazon.co.uk.
The Christmas Quiet Book is available from Amazon and Amazon.co.uk.
Shhhhh!! Let’s be very quiet while we review author Deborah Underwood and illustrator Renata Liwska’s The Christmas Quiet Book.

Are you sitting comfortably? Have you silenced all the alarms on your computer and phone? Have you closed all other windows or switched your browser to full screen mode? Have you taken three full breaths, closed your eyes, and spent a few minutes quietly listening to the world around you? No? OK, go do that now…

I adore Ms. Underwood’s books. So does my six-year-old daughter and, to a lesser extent, my four-year-old son. My wife’s a big fan, too. Underwood writes a lot … Read more »

“The Buddha’s Apprentice at Bedtime,” By Dharmachari Nagaraja

November 25, 2013
Buddha's Apprentice at Bedtime
Available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.
Three years ago I walked into a bookstore in Vancouver, where I was doing a book launch, and literally the first book spine that caught my eye in the Buddhist book section was called Buddha at Bedtime. As the father of two young children I pulled it from the shelf with excitement, and was astonished to discover it had been written by an old friend of mine from my days in Glasgow.

Of course I got a copy of the book, and it’s been a bedtime fixture in our household ever since. Now comes a much-welcomed sequel, The Buddha’s Apprentice at Bedtime.

As with the first volume, … Read more »

“No Ordinary Apple,” by Sara Marlowe and Philip Pascuzzo

September 3, 2013

no ordinary apple

Title: No Ordinary Apple: A Story About Eating Mindfully
Author: Sara Marlowe, Philip Pascuzzo (illus.)
Publisher: Wisdom Publications
ISBN: 1-61429-076-8
Available from: Wisdom Publications, Amazon.co.uk, and Amazon.com.

No Ordinary Apple is a variation on the famous “raisin exercise” that’s so popular in meditation classes. (If you’re not familiar with the raisin exercise it’s where we mindfully eat a single raisin, thoroughly exploring it with our senses.) But No Ordinary Apple is, of course, a children’s book — and a very welcome addition to the growing body of meditation resources for children.

The fruit is question is an apple rather than a raisin and the mindful eater … Read more »

The power of appreciative words: “Mishan’s Garden,” by James Vollbracht & Janet Brooke

June 15, 2013

Mishans-Garden“The greatest gift you can ever give another is to see what is best and unique about them.”

This morning I stumbled downstairs, bleary-eyed, having got home late after teaching a class the night before. My six-year-old daughter gave me a running hug and a huge smile. She’s naturally affectionate, but I suspect there was an ulterior motive, because a few seconds later she came running back to me with Mishan’s Garden in her hands, asking that I read it to her. And so, I did.

Mishan is the titular heroine, a young girl who lives in The Village Above the White Clouds, where her father is the innkeeper. Misha is a special girl, whose … Read more »

A Buddhist blog by kids, for kids

March 25, 2013

Buddha-drawingChildren from the The Dharma School in the UK, Europe’s only Buddhist-based primary school, have set up a blog to present their experience of Buddhist pracice.

At the school’s blog, pupils from Years 3 to 6 are creating a series of podcasts and blogs about meditation and mindfulness as part of an ICT project with teacher Ross Young. As most of the information online about meditation is written by adults (and primarily for adults) the kids wanted to relay their experiences and perspectives in a way they felt would be accessible to children their own age.

You can subscribe to receive regular updates and podcasts (via itunes) and check out their “how to” guide … Read more »

Room to Breathe: The official trailer

November 13, 2012

Room to Breathe is a surprising story of transformation as struggling kids in a San Francisco public middle school are introduced to the practice of mindfulness. Topping the district in disciplinary suspensions, and with overcrowded classrooms creating a nearly impossible learning environment, overwhelmed administrators are left with stark choices. Do they repeat the cycle of forcing tuned-out children to listen, or experiment with a set of age-old inner practices that may provide them with the social, emotional, and attentional skills that they need to succeed?

Even just this brief extract of the film is powerfully moving. I can’t wait to see the whole thing.

Room to Breathe Official Trailer from Sacred Planet Films.

Here’s … Read more »

“Now I Know That Silly Hopes and Fears Will Just Make Wrinkles on My Face” by Sally Devorsine

November 23, 2011

This lovely children’s book has been test-driven by my five-year-old daughter, and found to be engaging and illuminating. In my amateur estimation it would be suitable for children considerably older — at least up to the age of eight or nine.

Now I Know (the full title is “Now I Know That Silly Hopes and Fears Will Just Make Wrinkles on My Face”) is the first of a series, also called Now I Know, described as a “Collection of Retro Cool Wisdom for Kids.” This series of children’s books is written and illustrated by Sally Devorsine, who lives in Bhutan, where she teaches a western school curriculum to young monks.

Title: Now I

Read more »

Silence is golden: how keeping quiet in the classroom can boost results

October 22, 2011

Encouraging pupils to keep noise to a minimum has substantial benefits and should become a valuable component of all children’s education, it is claimed.

Dr Helen Lees, from Stirling University’s school of education, said that “enforced silence” was seen as a punishment and often acted to suppress children’s natural ability.

But she said that teaching children about the benefits of “strong silence” – deliberate stillness that gives them the opportunity to focus and reflect in a stress-free environment – can have a significant effect on pupils’ concentration and behaviour.

The conclusions are made in a new book – Silence in Schools – to …

Click to read more »

“Buddha at Bedtime,” by Dharmachari Nagaraja

May 16, 2011

Recently I walked into a bookstore and saw a spine bearing the title “Buddha at Bedtime.” As the father of two young children who always want a good story at bedtime, I was delighted to know that this book existed. I was even more delighted — and surprised — when I pulled the book from the shelf and realized that I knew the author, Nagaraja.

So for full disclosure, I first met Nagaraja at the Glasgow Buddhist Center over 20 years ago, and although we’ve never been close friends, we were ordained together and I’ve sometimes asked him to review books for me. But our connection is weak enough that his book could be out … Read more »