With increasing pressure on children to achieve good results, maintain friendships and to grow up in a world of non-stop information, it is important to teach them the importance of relaxation and living in the moment. It is also important for children to make the link between relaxation and increased happiness.
When Mama hums it helps her to relax. She calls it her heart song. Humming helps her to move into a state of awareness known as mindfulness. Kaya sets off in search of her own heart song. Along the way she helps Pak to reawaken the magical elephant carousel. The reader is encouraged to find their own heart song through play and adventure. A message at the back gives some additional information about mindfulness.
The artwork is beautiful. Jewel-bright elephants and flowers stand out against a calming green background. The pictures, like the text, encourage a state of calm.
A couple of reviews have suggested that this would be too abstract for the youngest picture book readers, but I don’t think that is the case. The reader may not understand the concept of mindfulness when it is explained to them, but they can explore the difference between calm and excitement.
Lantana’s mission is to redress the balance seen in publishing so that children of all nationalities see themselves represented in fiction. Representation goes beyond skin colour – imagine if the food you ate or the words you used were never shown in fiction. Kaya’s Heart Song is set in Malaysia and shows children from different backgrounds together on the carousel.
A beautiful addition to any bookshelf, and a great resource for mindfulness and relaxation.
Thank you to Lantana Publishing for sending a copy of the book. Opinions my own.