Update: The winners for this giveaway have been chosen. They are:
Between the ages of twelve and twenty-two I worked at an afterschool program for children, where I read my fair share of picture books.
I always enjoyed that I could really get into it, doing silly or dramatic voices, and the kids seemed to appreciate this too. At least, I assume that’s why they sat so still, seemingly captivated, because stillness was not their norm.
They were active, lively, and sometimes over-stimulated, as children often are. They led busy lives, even though they were all under ten, going from school, to our program, and often to nighttime activities after that.
Back then, I didn’t know about mindfulness. When I eventually discovered this practice in my mid-twenties, it didn’t occur to me children could benefit from stillness and silence in the same way—or that they’d be capable of either.
But they are, in fact, capable, and they can benefit tremendously.
While I don’t yet have children of my own, I hope to have them someday—and I also hope to write picture books. For these reasons, I was thrilled to read Tiny Buddha contributor Licia Morelli’s new picture book The Lemonade Hurricane: A Story of Mindfulness and Meditation.
It’s a charming book, in eighteen pages, that introduces children to mindfulness in a fun, easily digestible way. And it includes a back-of-book presentation of simple mindfulness techniques that can be used at home or in the classroom.
From the Amazon page:
In The Lemonade Hurricane: A Story of Mindfulness and Meditation, Emma admits that she doesn’t really like hurricanes. After a busy day of school and activities, Emma likes to sit still and rest.
Her little brother, Henry, does everything but. She calls him “The Lemonade Hurricane.” Henry is a lot of fun when he’s not storming through the house, so Emma decides to teach him how to be still. By showing him how to sit, bow, and breathe, Emma is able to calm the hurricane within Henry.
I’m grateful that Licia took the time to answer to my questions about her book and teaching mindfulness to children, and that she’s provided five free copies of The Lemonade Hurricane for Tiny Buddha readers.
To enter to win one of five free copies of The Lemonade Hurricane:
- Leave a comment below
- For an extra entry, share the link to this interview on Facebook or Twitter, and include the link to your post in your comment.
You can enter until midnight PST on Friday, January 29th.
1. What inspired you to write The Lemonade Hurricane?
I was inspired to write Lemonade Hurricane because, having two children of my own, I wanted to introduce them to mindfulness and meditation in a non-didactic way. It was my hope to teach through story and have them absorb instruction that way.
I was finding that teaching children meditation wasn’t the same as teaching myself—it had to happen organically and pique their interest. The notion of getting them to sit and breathe for thirty minutes flew right out the window!
Lemonade Hurricane is my answer to teaching the “how tos” in a way that gets them trying it out and interested in it without feeling like it’s a “have to.”
2. From the reviews I’ve read, it’s clear that children, parents, and teachers love this book. Why do you think it’s been so successful?
I think the success comes from the fact that it’s an easy read and the Emma and Henry characters are relatable. We all know at least one “Emma” and at least one “Henry” and in that way it starts conversations with our kids about these types of personalities.
Also, Jennifer E. Morris did incredible work with the illustrations—she manages to pull the reader right in with the pictures and I think parents and kids are really drawn to that also.
3. How can mindfulness benefit children, and what age is good to start teaching them?
Mindfulness can benefit children many different ways—most importantly, it teaches them to take time and pay attention. Pay attention to their feelings, to others, to how they are in the world, and even though it starts at a most basic level it’s something that builds a foundation for their whole lives.
I know if I’d learned mindfulness at a young age I would have been able to apply it to school, work, friends, and myself so much growing up. It would have made navigating the world a lot less stressful sometimes!
I think starting as early as three is great—get them going with basic breathing (taking deep breaths before bed) or asking them to talk about what they liked and were thankful for during their day. Basics of paying attention can start at any age and then let it evolve as they grow.
4. The story about Emma and Henry illustrates just how busy children are these days, with numerous different hobbies on top of school. Do you think that’s part of the problem—crammed schedules with very little time to simply be? Would doing less be a valuable goal, in addition to being more?
Our kids definitely have more going on than when we were little, and there’s a lot more pressure to “perform” for sure.
I think as we move into a new way of being in society, introducing concepts of mindfulness and meditation will add in the aspect of “being” as they shuffle through the motions of their daily lives. It seems this “busy” is the new normal, so I think we have to embrace that and also add in the stillness and mindfulness to balance it out.
5. Aside from sitting in stillness, have you identified any other practices that help children learn and practice mindfulness?
I highly recommend making mindfulness practice into a game and making it fun for the kids as they try it out. In classes I use a bell that I ring and we all sit and listen to it ring, and when we can’t hear it anymore we raise our hands. The kids really respond well to this. They think it’s lots of fun and for a few moments they are sitting in stillness without knowing it!
There are also some great resources to practice at the back of Lemonade Hurricane that make it easy to “practice” while making it fun too!
6. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced when teaching your own children mindfulness, and what’s helped you overcome them?
I think the “buy in” to practicing mindfulness has been my biggest challenge. Getting my kids to find interest in the process. Lemonade Hurricane is my answer to that because they buy in without knowing that’s what they’re doing.
My eight-year-old son loves reading the story because it’s at his perfect reading level and my five-year-old daughter likes to imitate the pictures so from there we can keep the conversation going whereas before it was harder.
7. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you so much for having me here at Tiny Buddha! I’m so glad to have the opportunity to be interviewed! If people want to see more they can head to www.lemonadehurricane.com or but Lemonade Hurricane: A Story of Mindfulness and Meditation on amazon. Thank you!
FTC Disclosure: I receive complimentary books for reviews and interviews on tinybuddha.com, but I am not compensated for writing or obligated to write anything specific. I am an Amazon affiliate, meaning I earn a percentage of all books purchased through the links I provide on this site.