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Breathe with Me: Using Breath to Feel Strong, Calm, and Happy

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
Breathe with Me: Using Breath to Feel Strong, Calm, and Happy Book Poster Image
Gentle tools for kids to connect daily moments to breath.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Being able to identify and handle emotions is a lifelong skill, and the healthy connection between body and mind is explained in simple, relatable ways here.

Positive Messages

However you're feeling is OK and valid, and you have the power to be in control of your reactions.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Young readers see themselves reflected on the page, seeing how their bodies and emotions affect each other, and learn to connect the two in positive ways. 

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mariam Gates’ Breathe with Me: Using Breath to Feel Strong, Calm, and Happy is a gentle, detailed, and delightful way to remind children and adults of the importance of focused breath. Similar to her earlier books (Good Night Yoga, Good Morning Yoga, Yoga Friends), Breathe with Me is about connection. With age-appropriate examples and eye-catching illustrations, readers learn to name how they’re feeling -- for example, nervous about being the new kid in a group -- and connect that emotion to a type of breathing -- Dandelion Breath -- that helps calm. The book lovingly pairs situations readers can relate to with detailed instructions for a specific kind of breath, helping kids and adults recognize the power of their own bodies and minds.

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What's the story?

In BREATHE WITH ME: USING BREATH TO FEEL STRONG, CALM, AND HAPPY, author Mariam Gates guides young readers through a range of common emotions, and connects those emotions to ways of taking a breath. Each type of breathing helps kids become more aware of their bodies and take charge of the way they react to feeling scared, angry, tired, sad, and more. The emotions are relatable and explained in simple terms, and each type of breath is described in clear, reassuring language with vibrant illustrations.  

Is it any good?

Emotions are a wild ride for parents and children, and one of the hardest parts of helping kids with their feelings is helping them identify what those feelings are. Breathe with Me makes figuring out those ever-changing emotions easier for kids, and gives them the tools essential to being in control of their reactions. The language Gates uses is unfussy and kind, making it easy for young readers to see themselves, without judgement, on the pages: A Belly Breath isn’t supposed to mask the cause of sadness, it’s to help the child feel better.

The illustrations by Sarah Jane Hinder are just as much a part of the book as the words. The kids in the book are inclusive and engaging, and, magically capture the changes focused breath can make on a kid’s body and expression. Breathe with Me can help kids see that they aren’t alone in feeling what they feel and can learn how to harness their reactions in positive ways -- a lesson adult readers can learn right along with their children.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about some of the stressful situations in Breathe with Me. What can cause some of those feelings? Do you remember how your body felt the last time you were mad?

  • What's your breathing like right now?

  • How do you like to wake up in the morning? Would Rainbow Breath help you?

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