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The Mindful Cat

Our goal is to promote healthy thinking for young children and create a space for them to understand their emotions better on a daily basis.

Photo of Amy Cheung

Written by

When you start to look around
Left and Right
Up or Down
When you go about your day,
Sometimes things don’t go your way.
You may run into something scary.
You may lose your temper when you’re weary.
It’s easy to be SAD.
It’s easy to be MAD.
Whatever it may be,
Whether it’s good or bad,
It’s always better to be a Mindful Cat.
When BAD things do happen,
We take a BIG breath in
And when we breathe out,
We let it out with a MEOWWW!
This way, we are always in control
No matter which way our emotions go.
Mindful Cats always know,
we will all feel sad and we will all feel mad.
But, Mindful Cats have the power to choose --
When to make sadness snooze
and not to let anger loose.
Invite Happy and Glad out to play
That is what a Mindful Cat would say!
Mindful Cats can face all things bad
and say out loud, I am stronger than that!
If we put on our finest thinking caps,
we can all be Mindful Cats!
So, tonight, when you go to bed,
Clear ALL the thoughts from your head,
Take one BIG breath in,
Let it out with a MEOWWW
Say out loud, “I am a Mindful Cat!”
Say goodbye to Sad and Mad,
Say goodnight to Happy and Glad,
So, tomorrow, when we start a new day
A Mindful Cat is here to stay.

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

I created this text in order to provide a story for children to relate to their emotions early on and open up the conversation for parents to teach their children about mindfulness. I am very passionate about the early education for children to understand their emotions and learn how to deal with them.

Share your suggested book title

The Mindful Cat (may also follow with a series of various 'Mindful Animals')

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

This book provides caregivers with ways to support language development because of the rhythm and repetitiveness of words throughout the story. I included a section in the text that is similar to a chorus or refrain in a song so that children would be able to recognize a pattern and be able to participate themselves. Several 'emotion' keywords are also repeated so children can begin to pick up on the sound and integrity of the word itself, while also learning the definition of each. Although the majority of the book is written with very simple words that have minimal syllables, I included a couple "challenge" words to provide a teaching moment for the parents. Further, I also intend to create an end page that will serve as a glossary for the "challenge" words as well as more examples of mindfulness in terms of the word mindful and what it means to be mindful for a child. My hope is to introduce this word and concept early on so children may begin to be in tune with it as they grow.

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

The main character of my book is a city cat that lives in a confined apartment in New York City. At times, this is how our minds can feel -- trapped in a hustling and bustling city. For those who do live in urban settings, this is both a reality and our mentality. The primary purpose of my story is to reflect this angst that we sometimes feel and channel that energy into a practice of mindfulness. I believe that creating this space for children early on will provide better context for how to manage emotions and observe their environment on a daily basis. This is very similar to how the cat in my book reacts to his surroundings and comes to a realization that being mindful is the best choice.

Location: Country


Location: State or Department

New York

Location: City


Website URL (optional question)

Tell us more about you / your team

My name is Amy Cheung and I am a first time children's book author. I was born in Hong Kong and raised in Atlanta, GA. My interests include literature, dance, photography, and traversing our ever expansive world. I currently live in Brooklyn and am a Studio Manager for the Creative Arts Studio. There I manage the day-to-day programs in the multidisciplinary arts of dance, drama, music, and art for children ages 5-13 in a community setting. Since managing the studio, I have had the opportunity to observe how children learn and connect with the creative space. Working there has also furthered my inspiration for writing this children's book. The illustrator I am working with is a good friend of mine that I have known for over 10 years and she is currently a story artist at Pixar. Her name is Paula Assadourian. We are both extremely passionate about making an impact for the younger generation and are so unbelievably excited to be working on our first children's book together!

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)

  • Someone in my network (word of mouth)

What best describes you? (optional question)

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


Join the conversation:

Photo of Deepali Kulkarni

Hi Amy,

I really appreciate and respect what you are doing here. This is such a sweet but grounded manuscript. The illustrations are equally lovely. I hope no matter what happens in this competition you get this book published somewhere. I will be one of the first to purchase it.

Commendations aside, I did have a question about happiness and gladness in this piece. Like Virginia, I liked when you said "invite happy and glad out to play" but was confused when you said, "Say goodnight to happy and glad." Must we say goodnight or can we snuggle up with those emotions instead?



Photo of Amy Cheung

Deepali Kulkarni Thanks for reading! The idea is to set aside all thoughts and emotions before they go to bed, good and bad, so when they wake up in the morning they have a clear mind. :-)

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