This meditation primer draws in elementary–school children through an appealing graphic-novel format sprinkled with humor, yet is surprisingly broad in scope. Leo lives in a family where everyone — his mother, father, older sister, the cat, and even, apparently, his teddy bear — meditates. He realizes that he doesn't even know what meditation is, so he asks his mom.
She explains that it's like looking through the magnifying glass at the discovery museum: "Meditating means putting your whole mind on one thing." Leo has no trouble coming up with possibilities to think about, from school to candy to his best friends. Instantly, he has a list of six (!), and his mom sympathetically says, "It's not as easy as it sounds, is it?"
She teaches him how to practice, a little at a time. She starts with posture and relaxation, then proceeds to instruction on counting breaths, mindfulness, and how to keep just the right level of concentration, like guitar strings that are neither too loose nor too tight.
But Leo's learning process is abruptly interrupted when a bully at school punches him in the nose. The book then shows its truly impressive colors, covering the vital ties between mindfulness meditation, ethics, empathy, generosity, and humility. As science writer David Robson suggests in a March 2022 BBC article, this is not standard fare even in much meditation training for adults, in which often not enough attention is given to keeping "calm" from becoming "callous".
Our hats are off to Francesca Hampton and illustrator John Ledda for creating a children's book that even goes into topics like making a dedication: "a strong wish that [having meditated] will make you a better person who helps other people feel happier." They understand that when inner peace is paired with conscience and kindness, real transformation can take place.