Peace, Bugs, and Understanding

Peace, Bugs9781937006631_p0_v3_s260x420Peace, Bugs, and Understanding: An Adventure in Sibling Harmony

Gail Silver, Author

Youme Nguyen Ly, Illustrator

Parallax Press, Fiction, Dec. 9, 2014

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes: Anger, Sibling Rivalry, Mindfulness

Opening: Lily was having a picnic with her father and her little sister, Ruby, but it wasn’t much fun. Ruby was lying on the checkerboard.

Book Jacket Synopsis: Lily and her sister are having a picnic when Ruby spoils their game of checkers. Lily lashes out but soon gets absorbed in a wonderful book, the story of her great-grandfather Lahn’s encounter with a strong-looking frog-like creature called Anger. The precious old journal teaches Lily about Metta, a technique that has helped people transform anger into loving kindness for thousands of years.

Why I like this book:

  • Gail Silver, author of Ahn’s Anger, has written a positive and resourceful book for children and adults about transforming negative feelings. This book focuses on anger, but I believe it can be used with feelings of jealousy, frustration, anxiety, disappointment or any negative feeling that causes disharmony. It’s a book children and parents will want to read together.
  • Peace, Bugs and Understanding, introduces its readers to a very simple calming technique called “Metta,” which means loving kindness. Silver suggests “that when you practice Metta,  sit quietly and become aware of your own breath.” Once you calm yourself, you focus on the person you are angry with and wish for them “to be happy, be strong, be safe and live with peace.” 
  • This is a wonderful tool for children and adults to cultivate forgiveness towards others and even themselves. How can you be angry at someone when you are sending them kind, happy and loving thoughts?
  • The book is a story within a story. Therefore, Youme Nguyen Ly’s illustrations are colorful and warm watercolors in Lily’s world, but are gray and white pen and ink for Lahn’s journal.  The illustrations project a sense of calm that fits beautifully with the theme. This is a lovely collaboration between author and illustrator.

Resources: My favorite part of the book is a “Reader’s Guide” at the end that helps parents teach “Metta” to their children. There is also a page of discussion questions to use with children. This is also a book to pair with Ahn’s Anger, which I reviewed in 2013. You can visit Gail Silver and Youme Nguyen Ly at their websites.

Gail Silver is the founder of Yoga Child, a program that develops curriculum for school-based yoga and mindfulness programs. She is the author of Anh’s Anger and its sequel Steps and Stones.

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 Perfect Picture Books.

Anh’s Anger – Perfect Picture Book

Anh's Anger9781888375947_p0_v1_s260x420.jpg.Anh’s Anger

Gail Silver, Author

Christiane Kromer, Illustrator

Plum Blossom Books, Fiction 2009

Suitable for Ages: 4-7

Themes:  Handling Anger, Grandfathers, Mindfulness

Opening:  Anh was in the living room building a tower, the tallest tower he’d ever built.  His grandfather was in the kitchen making dinner.  “Anh” Grandfather called out. “Dinner is ready.”  

Synopsis:  Anh is building a block tower when his grandfather calls him for dinner.  He wants to keep playing — just one more block.  Anh erupts into anger and knocks down his tower.  When he says hurtful things, his grandfather tells Anh to go to his room and sit with his anger.  In his bedroom, Anh meets his anger in the form of a hairy, red creature.  They talk, howl, spin in circles and beat the ground with their hands.  Anh is so exhausted he’s ready sit and be still with his anger.

Why I like this book:  Gail Silver has written an enchanting book for both children, parents and teachers.  It is based on the teachings about mindfulness and Buddhism by Thich Nhat Hanh.  It encourages parents to stay calm and caring when their child has a melt down.  It helps children find ways of handling their own anger in a safe place.  This is an excellent book to teach children coping skills that they can use throughout their lives.  Christiane’s beautiful and lively Asian illustrations are mixed-media artwork that include paper and silk collages with realistic brush and pencil drawings.  You can visit Gail Silver  and Christiane Kromer at their websites.

Resources:  Encourage children to draw pictures about what their anger looks like.  Then ask them to draw a picture of what their anger look like when they calm down?

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