This cleverly written book by local author and psychologist Lynn Jenkins introduces the concept of mindfulness to kids. Ollie, a cute but cheeky little rat, receives a treasure map from his grandmother leading him to a treasure that will bring him happiness. As he follows the map, he encounters different activities to observe, smell, feel, listen and taste and eventually discovers his “treasure”.
The beautiful drawings by local illustrator Kirrili Lonergan bring to life Ollie’s adventures. It’s a wonderful book to read with your kids to encourage them to use their senses as they notice the world around them.
Ollie’s Treasure is published by EK Books. RRP $24.99. Ages: 4 – 8
The Mummy Project received a review copy.
For more information about Lynn Jenkins, read the Q&A below. Lynn was kind enough to answer some questions about herself and her upcoming addition to the popular Lessons of a Lac series.
What inspired you to write Ollie’s Treasure?
A passion for early intervention and mindfulness – educating children in useful emotional ‘tools’ they can start using early in life and strengthen as they grow older.
What’s the benefit of mindfulness for kids and parents?
Lots! It teaches us to pause. This is needed in kids’ lives these days. They know how to rush and do a lot but valuing and nurturing ‘pausing’ might not happen so much. Practicing mindfulness is like exercising a muscle at the gym. Mindfulness builds the ‘tuning-in’ muscle. A strong tuning-in muscle allows us to better notice when we are swept up in, or holding onto ‘thought stories’ that are making us feel certain heavy ways, like anxious, depressed, angry, frustrated, ashamed, guilty, etc. The ability to pause that mindfulness nurtures, allows us to ‘respond’ as opposed to ‘react’. This is probably the biggest benefit for kids and parents. Parenting can be a tough gig! Lots of big emotions fly around – mindfulness gives us more opportunities to respond in a way we’d like as opposed to reacting from big emotional states. For kids, emotions are big but the skills to manage them are only in their infancy. Having mindfulness as a way to notice feelings and thoughts, is helping them to put the ‘brakes’ on their feelings over time.
How would you suggest that parents use Ollie’s Treasure to introduce mindfulness to their children?
In Ollie’s Treasure, Grandma guides Ollie to look, hear, feel, smell and taste- so to use his senses to notice what is around him. This is the best way to introduce mindfulness to kids – encourage them to use their senses to notice what ‘is’ right now. Starting here and then continuing as they grow older will strengthen their ‘tuning-in’ muscle that they can then start using to notice specific troublesome ‘thought stories’ and feeling states as they are more able to do so.
What’s your favourite way to be mindful?
I have come to love a quiet mediation time – the silence and peacefulness is nice. Among my favourite mindful moments is looking and listening to my kids when they are laughing and noticing the trees in autumn.
When can we expect a new book from you and Kirrili?
Our next venture is Perfect Petunias. This is the next Loppy and Curly adventure in which Curly teaches Loppy what do when his perfectionistic tendencies start interfering in his ability to do his school work.
Join Lynn and Kirrili for the launch of Ollie’s Treasure at Wallsend Library on 21 July at 6pm. The event is free but bookings are essential.