Deborah Hopkinson is an award-winning author of more than 50 books for young readers, including picture books, middle grade fiction, and nonfiction. In Mindful Day, she teams up with illustrator Shirley Ng-Benitez, whose awards include an illustration selected for exhibition at the 2020 Bologna Children’s Book Fair.
Both women appreciate mindful moments. Hopkinson walks her dogs in the woods and works in her garden; Ng-Benitez gives treats to her kittens and watches sunsets. They bring this appreciation into a happy, gentle tale that begins when it's still dark outside, as we notice one small bird who "lifts his voice to sing up the sun." The first-person plural voice welcomes and includes readers immediately:
"And we open our eyes
to the gift of a new day.
From there we go from one cherished, unpretentious moment to the next: moments of breathing, hearing a car honk, savoring a sweet berry, looking for a lost shoe, brushing hair, and more, with attention to the senses involved in each task. Pictures show a mother, an older sister, and a baby brother — not to forget a fluffy white kitten! — whose focused and often beaming faces reveal the pleasures of being mindful.
Mindful Day is meant for pre-school and early elementary listeners. Special touches — like a picture of the sister putting on her little brother's socks and the line "little ones have such a hard time waiting, don't they?" — make the book especially suitable for a child with a new sibling.