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Just Be.

An interactive book that helps a child and caregivers just be in the present moment and explore their world together using their senses.

Photo of Beth Bundy
3 2

Written by

Sit here 

with me.

How do you feel?

Breathe in.

1, 2, 3.

Breathe out.

1, 2, 3

Look around.

What do you see?

1, 2, 3


What do you hear?

1, 2, 3

Breathe in again.

What do you smell?

1, 2, 3

In your mouth.

What do you taste?

1, 2, 3

Touch something.

What do you feel?

1, 2, 3

Breathe in.

1, 2, 3

Breathe out.

1, 2, 3

How do you feel?

Sit here 

with me.




and just be.

Describe the intended vision for your early childhood book manuscript in 1-2 sentences

Just Be is a board book that children and their caregivers will interact with to learn how to be present through breath and mindfulness. Babies and toddlers will learn vocabulary, take notice of how they are feeling and identify what they see, hear, smell, touch and taste in their world.

Share your suggested book title

Just Be

How has this book been informed by early childhood language development research and evidence? (response minimum 250 Characters)

Just Be provides several ways for caregivers to support language development through a simple yet interactive format. The manuscript uses words that babies and small children hear on a daily basis, such as their senses and counting, and gives them the opportunity to point or name what they see, hear, smell, taste and touch in their immediate surroundings. The Milestones of Early Literacy Development states children ages 0-3 also like to read books over and over again. This book is one that can be read daily and incorporated into routines such as bedtime, mealtime and playtime. Pam Leo states in her Read Aloud Revival podcast that she ”find(s) that for toddlers, interactive books really hold their attention." The interactive tabs in Just Be open and close to show the child being hugged and they pull a tab as the lungs fill up to a count of three. This will excite children as they discover their world and repeat known and newly learned words.

How have you crafted this manuscript to resonate with and/or reflect the experiences of those living in urban contexts? (optional question)

I believe this manuscript can relate to a diverse range of people living in any environment since the goal of it is for the reader to explore their own selves and special places. In The New York Times article, Mindfulness for Children, David Gelles states that “being a parent is an incredibly stressful experience in its own right. For those raising children, practicing mindfulness exercises can be profoundly beneficial." My hope is that all people reading Just Be will find peace in practicing mindfulness and that it will also promote emotional development. The planned illustrations are made in gender neutral colors and forms so that all people can relate to the images.

Location: Country

United States

Location: State or Department


Location: City


Website URL (optional question)

Tell us more about you / your team

I am an educator, parent and artist who teaches art to children and youth as they explore their creativity and identity. I connect with the audience for this book because I also understand the intricacies of raising a young child in a city. I enjoyed watching the magic of language acquisition as my now-6-year-old son learned about the world around him but I also felt the struggle in parenting. I currently teach teenagers in a diverse Portland Public School and realize that everyone comes with varied experiences so I strive to support a diverse group of learners. Along with my passion for teaching art, I believe that children can be mindful, check in and be present and it is a skill that will benefit them for a lifetime. The vision for the pictures in this book are colorful blocked shapes and layered designs that are informed by my artwork. My paper cut process will bring this participatory book to life through layered cutouts, tabs, and pulls to express the ideas.

Provide an example visual identity for a look and feel you might like to achieve. ( (optional question, 3-5 visuals)

Multiple Choice - Have you been previously published (online, self-published, and print included)?

  • No

Do you have an agent?

  • No

How did you hear about the Challenge? (optional question)

  • OpenIDEO announcement email

What best describes you? (optional question)

  • I am/we are creatives, writers, or artists


Join the conversation:

Photo of Shondra M. Quarles

This is interesting. It made me feel calm and "mindful" reading it. Kids need this. We have a calm down space in our classrooms and this would be an awesome addition for some 1 on 1 time with the kiddos who need to just be!

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