________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 7. . . .October 21, 2016


Don’t Stress: How to Handle Life’s Little Problems.

Helaine Becker.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2016.
96 pp., pbk., $6.99.
ISBN 978-1-4431-4842-9.

Subject Headings:
Stress in Children-Juvenile literature.
Stress (Psychology)-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

***1/2 /4



Everybody needs some quiet time now and then. Meditating - engaging in quiet thought or contemplation - is a great way to get it and make the most of it! And it’s probably something you already do, at least occasionally!

When you meditate for relaxation, your aim is to consciously quiet your mind. When you first start out, it can be hard to do. Your brain is a very busy, very active and very noisy place! But over time you’ll find it gets much easier and easier to do. And a quieter mind is a calmer one.

Find a cozy place where you won’t be disturbed. Get comfy. Close your eyes. Try not to think about anything other than the sound and feel of your own breath moving in and out of your lungs. When a thought flits through your mind, let it go. Mentally “put it on a shelf” and leave it there.


The 88 activities in this nonfiction paperback book for elementary school-aged children can help minimize stress. Some activities, such as stretching, weighing pros and cons, and progressive relaxation, are described on two to three pages, but most appear on one page or in a small paragraph. Quotes, examples, and supplementary facts pertaining to the topics appear in cloud formations on every second page. Black and white silhouetted patterns decorate the page. These greyish suns, hearts, and animals add a subdued feel to the page. Most suggested activities are free, and they can be done alone or with a friend or family member (jump for joy, colouring, make a to-do list). The smiley sun and rainbow covered book may draw more girls than boys, but the suggestions inside do include stress relievers that will appeal to boys (practice a sport, play a game, listen to music). The author has included options for children who like to be physically active and for those who like to be creative. Some options only require a change in thinking. The one-page introduction provides examples of things children might be stressed about, but older and younger children could extrapolate suggestions from the book and incorporate them into their own lives.

     There is no back material at the end of the book, but the table of contents page will help the reader quickly navigate to specific areas. The topics are not in alphabetically order, but they may be listed by most popular or recognizable. The first three pages are about stretching, smiling, and breathing. This is an excellent self-help book for children, parents, and teachers. The author’s words have a can-do attitude, empowering everyone who reads them.

Highly Recommended.

Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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