ALREADY A BUTTERFLY
A Meditation Story
By: Julia Alvarez
Illustrated by: Raúl Colón
Published: June 16, 2020
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co
Mari is a busy butterfly. She flies around in a blur, rushing to the next flower to make sure she can get all the nectar and pollinate everything that needs her. When she finally stops for the day, Mari still can’t rest because she is thinking about all the flowers she needs to visit the next day. Can any moms relate?
Mari spent time relaxing in her warm chrysalis before she became a butterfly and she misses those peaceful days. When she became a butterfly, her parents, the Posas, sent her off with the parting words “We want you to be happy butterflies!” Since there were hundreds of other butterflies, they couldn’t possibly explain what happy meant, so Mari focused on doing her job to pollinate the flowers. One day a flower bud stops her and reminds her of the days where she felt peaceful and calm and teaches her how to feel that way again. Through breathing exercises and imagination, Mari was able to feel happy again.
The illustrations are truly beautiful and the choice of colors are naturally calming. Even though this is a picture book, I feel like it is more appropriate for elementary-aged kids rather than toddler or preschool age. It’s a longer story and has bigger concept ideas, but even the younger ones can understand that our bodies need rest. So finding a way to tell the story at their level and enjoy the gorgeous illustrations would also work.
Mariposa is the Spanish word for butterfly and I love how the author used this as the name for the butterfly character. The author has a strong connection to the Mariposa DR Foundation in the Dominican Republic that works to educate and empower impoverished girls. She shares about this organization and her inspiration for this story at the end of the book. No matter where you go in the world, kids are faced with many distractions, lots of stimulus, wanting immediate gratification, and packed schedules that include school, practices, and homework. This book offers an opportunity for kids AND parents to slow down, spend a few minutes not thinking about the next thing, and relax.
For tips on how to start mindful meditation with your child, click HERE.
Julia Alvarez is the author of numerous bestselling and award-winning novels including How the García Girls Lost Their Accents and In the Time of Butterflies, collections of poems, and works of nonfiction as well as picture books. She has won the Pura Belpré Award, the Américas Award, the Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature, the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature, and the National Medal of Arts.
Raúl Colón has illustrated several highly acclaimed picture books, including Draw!; the New York Times bestselling Angela and the Baby Jesus by Frank McCourt; Susanna Reich’s José! Born to Dance; and Jill Biden’s Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops. Mr. Colón lived in Puerto Rico as a young boy and now resides in New City, New York, with his family.