Breathe by Inês Castel-Branco


Inês Castel-Branco, Author & Illustrator

Magination Press, Fiction, Apr. 30, 2018

Suitable for Ages: 4-8 and up

Themes: Breathing, Stretching, Relaxation

Opening: “Mom, I can’t sleep!” / “Why not?” / ” don’t know… I’m nervous and I can’t stop thinking, thinking, thinking…”


Do you know how to breathe? Do you really know how to breathe?

When a young boy can’t sleep, his mother teaches him how to breathe with his whole body. He learns new ways to move his body, notice his breath, and calm himself.

He can pretend he is a ringing bell, a cat, a rocket…any number of things! The activities combine controlled breathing, stretches, and visualization, and are an introduction to mindfulness and meditation that can be used to help induce sleep or just to calm the body and mind.

Why I like this book:

The story is a conversation between a boy and his mother when he can’t relax and go to sleep. The mother is a shadow in the background on the first page as she teaches her son how to breath properly. If you teach children how to breathe and relax at a young age, they will have tools to use throughout their lives. Focusing on breathing helps them to stop thinking and quiet their minds.

The book helps children learn to visualize and use their imaginations. The exercises the mother uses to guide the boy — floating on a wave, smelling roses, blowing up balloons, launching a rocket and breathing with vowel sounds — are shared at the end of the book with detailed information on how to do each exercise and how they help children work through fear and anxiety. This is a wonderful family activity.

Author Inês Castel-Branco’s illustrations are joyful, peaceful and simply beautiful. Readers will feel the positive energy flowing from the boy just by studying each illustration and the exercise he is attempting. Make sure you check out the end papers as they are filled with poses taught in the book.

Resources: Breathe is a picture book that helps children work through worries and fears by playful breathing, stretching and relaxation techniques.  There is a Note to Parents and Caregivers at the end that includes exercise techniques based on yoga, tai chi, chi kung and meditation.

Inês Castel-Branco founded Fragmenta Editorial in Barcelona with Ignasi Moreta, and so submerged herself in the fascinating world of the typography and layout of books. With the birth of their three children, Inês returned to making models (now of castles, zoos, and doll houses) and they discovered the marvels that can be made with recycled objects, which are explained on Ines’s Spanish blog, “Mama Recicla.” Their love of children’s books also grew, until they decided to start this collection. One morning during breakfast, she “saw” in her mind the book that you now have in your hands, and she once again took up her brushes and painted.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

30 thoughts on “Breathe by Inês Castel-Branco

    • I agree with you. I would have benefited from a book like this. I am really excited that there are many more relaxation/mindful/yoga/breathing books for teachers/parents to choose from. Have two more to review. Teaching a child at a young age will give them a lifetime tool.


  1. This would have been so perfect for me and my daughter when she was young. She always had trouble sleeping and now suffers from a sleep disorder as an adult. Doctors should keep a copy in their office.


    • Children are lucky to live in an age where there are such a variety of books available to them. Perfect for preschools. Wished I had a copy as a child. I used to massage my daughters feet when she was young and it relaxed her entire body and she would fall to sleep — started as a baby though.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a lovely book! It would be a great companion to Susan Verde’s & Peter H Reynold’s I Am Peace. And I love the background information you gave on Castel-Branco.


  3. I found myself breathing slower, in and out, as I read your review. I went on the book site and also read another review on Amazon. I have one grandson with ADD, and what an excellent way to help him cope with his anxiety. (And his younger brother is the one who’s already discovered yoga – at 5!) 🙂


    • Pam, I really love this book. I will be sharing two more in mid-August by Magination Press. One hasn’t been published. I truly believe that the younger we start with kids, the easier it is for them to learn tools to help themselves.


    • The book was published April 18. Not all libraries purchase everything. I always request books that I want to read or feel should be on their shelves and have been successful. I have another two similar books reviewed that I will share in the future. But, I really love this one. It is for older kids too.


  4. This sounds wonderful, Patricia. Breathing is such an important part of calming oneself, whatever the age. Combined with visualisation and meditation, it works really well. It is good to have a book that supports parents and children when anxiety seems so prevalent in our busy world. I used to use meditation stories with my daughter when she was young. It was great for helping her sleep. I wish it had been done for me when I was a child. I remember going to my mum many nights, complaining that I couldn’t sleep. The mind just keeps on ticking.


  5. Mindful breathing…what a wonderful idea for a book for kids who these days are more and more stressed by the pace of society and the images they see on TV and tablet. A perfect book for adults also, Patricia…thank you!


    • What I love most about this book is that it is something parents and children can do together! I’m excited that publishers are printing more books to help children with relaxation and mindfulness.


  6. Hello Patricia, I love your book choices, you have been consistently amazing over the years with promoting and supporting children’s books. Mostly encouraging us to read to children, and finding the right books for the children to engage themselves in. I wanted to share this link with you
    It is an amazing place for Calgary families.


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