Inspiring Young Readers

posted on 03 Sep 2020

Taking Time by Jo Loring-Fisher

We live in a world where parents seem to be obsessed with providing a constant stream of physical activity, creative recreational opportunities and sensory stimulation for their children from the moment they get up to the minute they go to bed. It feels as if they are terrified of the prospect of their children being left for even a moment with their own thoughts or a slow, event-free time of their own. They clearly think that doing that would  constitutes some sort of monstrous or cruel abuse.

When W.H. Davies wrote ‘What is this life if, full of care/ We have no time to stand and stare’ it seems we thought of this as being something that only applies to us over-harassed adults and not to children. So, thank goodness for Jo Loring-Fisher and her gentle, slow-paced book of childhood contemplation, Taking Time which goes a long way to redressing the balance.

With a text based around a very simple poem about experiencing and savouring the experience of just being in the world around you, Loring-Fisher shows us children from around the world living in the present moment. Here are the pleasures of collecting tree blossom, hugging your pet dog or stroking your cat and hearing it purr with pleasure. Nature is a constant source of wonder that allows a child to begin to understand their place on the planet and in the vast universe – and simply marvel at the truth of that. Being together with other children and with your family can be a moment of inner calm and not always one to stir you into wild excitement.

I personally don’t much like the word ‘mindfulness’ because I find it vague and unnecessary but this book certainly will appeal to those who think the notion of quiet thoughtfulness is an important one to prioritise. The gentle colours of the beautiful illustrations underline the concept of calm and spaciousness and there are no jarring clashes or harsh sharp lines – you can almost feel yourself being lured into a quiet bubble of your own contemplation.

Some books are for children to share with parents or maybe teachers but this one is for the individual child to experience on their own – taking their time with the illustrations and moving at their own pace. They will find that the beautiful production values of the book itself – a hallmark of most Lantana publications – will help them appreciate having the book in their hands and want to spend time with it.

The book is available from September and you can order it from your local independent bookshop or maybe directly from Lantana’s own website.

Terry Potter

September 2020