Mikey is a boy who worries a lot. He has trouble enjoying life, and spends his days playing games on his tablet and ignoring the world. Eventually, his mom takes away his tablet, and Mikey doesn’t know what to do. He feels bad about himself, and cries alone in his room. However, his friend Nia knows how to help him. She has a superpower, and Mikey does too—it’s a superpower that everybody has! This superpower is mindfulness, which means being present in the moment by taking deep breaths and allowing thoughts and feelings to come and go like the wind. Nia shows Mikey an easy way to practice mindfulness, and his life changes forever.
In this heartwarming and informational book, Lorena Dolinar helps parents and teachers alike teach children the power and importance of mindfulness. It introduces readers to what mindfulness is and why it is important to develop a regular practice. Through the example of Mikey, Dolinar shows us how tapping into this natural “superpower” is the key to living a healthy and extraordinary life.
In this illustrated children’s book, an anxious boy gets help from a friend who teaches him mindfulness practice.
Fourth-graders Mikey, a white boy, and Nia, a black girl, are neighbors and best friends, but they have different approaches to life’s problems. Mikey is a worrier, always afraid something bad will happen, and this keeps him indoors and lonely. He distracts himself by playing on his electronic tablet, but he often gets so absorbed that he doesn’t hear his mother call him for dinner, which annoys her. Nia, on the other hand, loves to live in the moment: “She calls this ‘being mindful,’ and it is her superpower!” notes the third-person narrator. After noticing that Mikey is unhappy, she resolves to help him by teaching him about mindfulness and how to practice it himself. He agrees to give it a try, and Nia takes him through the process, step by step. He learns that he can handle his feelings, make better choices, and focus, and he’s more attentive to his mother, pleasing them both. Mikey resolves to practice his new “superpower” regularly, which makes him happier and keeps him out of trouble. A note to parents and teachers explains how to use the book with kids, offering more background, questions to consider, and examples of mindfulness practice. In her debut, Dolinar, a psychotherapist, explains in clear, simple language how readers can slow down and pay attention to the present. (The book doesn’t address the issue of kids with more serious attention-related issues, such as ADHD, but clinical studies have shown mindfulness training can be effective in such cases.) The author shows what to do when intrusive thoughts arise, as they will: “Always look and take notice of them, but don’t hang on to them for long.” Introducing the subject through a friend rather than a parent, teacher, or therapist is a nice touch that may help readers feel more comfortable with a new technique. Barinova’s (The Story of Emi, 2018, etc.) images are cartoonlike—simple lines, oversized heads—and include appealing details and a calming, peach-and-light-blue color palette.
A useful, relatable introduction to mindfulness for kids.
--- from Kirkus Reviews
About the Author:
Lorena Dolinar is an author, mother, and registered psychotherapist. She holds an honours degree from the University of Toronto in psychology, as well as an addictions diploma from Georgian College. She has worked as a substance use therapist for over seventeen years. She has also been trained in mindfulness, and she teaches this skill to youth accessing counselling services. Her work reflects her deep concern for kids growing up in today’s fast-paced and uncertain world, as well as her dedication to helping others. She believes that mindfulness is an effective starting point for regaining a sense of calm and control and improving daily functioning. “Mikey Discovers His Superpower” is her first book. She currently lives in Oakville, Ontario, with her husband and two children, as well as the family’s miniature pinscher, Bella.