I Am a Peaceful Goldfish, written by Shoshana Chaim, illustrated by Lori Joy Smith

I Am a Peaceful Goldfish
written by Shoshana Chaim
illustrated by Lori Joy Smith
Greystone Kids, 2021
978-1-77164-637-6 (hc) $22.95
for Preschool to Grade 1

Picture Book | Emotions | Breathing Techniques | Mindfulness | Self-Care | Self-Regulation

It’s often a challenge to calm down when things seem to be going wrong. However, with a touch of imagination, a dash of mindfulness and a generous helping of breathing techniques, feelings of anger can be transformed into a more peaceful state of mind. In I Am a Peaceful Goldfish, we are introduced to two frustrated young children who lead each other through playful breathing techniques by envisioning themselves as various animals and objects. “I imagine I’m a peaceful goldfish. I take a slow, big breath in. Then I let out all my air to make bubbles in my bowl.” “I’m a rainbow pinwheel. I take a slow, big breath in. Then I let out all my air to spin round and round.” Feeling relaxed and composed, the children return to their activities in a more positive frame of mind.

Shoshana Chaim has written a charming and needed introduction to breath awareness and mindfulness for young children. Using age-appropriate language, she provides readily obtainable tools for children to be successful when faced with uncertainties. In her helpful Author’s Note to readers she writes, “Learning to take deep breaths is one of the skills that can make you feel better. When you practice being a dragon, a pinwheel or a peaceful goldfish, you can remember how to take these deep breaths when you’re not feeling your best…Try it. Now how do you feel?”

Lori Joy Smith’s delightful illustrations, rendered with an iPencil on an iPad, will engage children as they learn a beneficial life skill. Of note are the endpapers featuring a multicultural assemblage of children’s faces, the first mirroring anger and the latter happiness. The custom font of the text, created from Smith’s hand lettering, resembles a child’s printing and is especially appealing.

—Senta Ross is a former elementary teacher and teacher-librarian in Kitchener, Ontario.

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