"Our verdict: Get it." - Kirkus Reviews
A child ponders ... who is her best, most loyal friend? Is it her constant companion, Then, who regales her with extravagant stories of their shared past and imagined future? Or is it precious, patient Now, with whom she sensitively explores each new moment that unfolds?
My Old Friend, Then explores mindfulness the same way that kids approach life: with curiosity, humor, and unspoiled sincerity. Pairing accessible, relatable language with vivid, quirky illustrations, this book invites readers to share in a young girl's journey as she grapples with the trappings--and delights in the boundless potential--of her own brilliant mind.
"Davis-Gibbon's creative personifications of the past and present here will enable readers to reflect on how 'Then' and 'Now' impact their own lives. The protagonist's constructive realizations underscore the importance of integrating our past and present selves. Daigle's lively illustrations depict Then and Now throughout the girl's life. Settings, evocatively portrayed, include outdoor locations with sun-dappled skies, mountains, and waters with splashes of color and texture.
A philosophical, kid-friendly take on the rewards of being present."
- Kirkus Reviews
"We often think of mindfulness as being child-like, but the truth is that children spend a lot of time thinking about the future and learning from the past. Through the familiar metaphor of friendship, this alluring picture book reminds readers that the present is just as important as the past and future, and has just as much to teach us. Simple language helps make this complex message accessible to young readers, and the soft, dreamy watercolor and pencil illustrations glow with color and magic.
Overall, My Old Friend, Then is a gentle, lovely introduction to mindfulness for young readers using familiar concepts and beautiful artwork."
- The Children's Book Review
"Davis-Gibbon has created a story that truly respects young readers ability to experience wisdom. This is not another over-simplified how to book to get kids to be more mindful. This is a beautifully illustrated, nuanced tale, that captures the felt-sense of presence itself. I have had the good fortune to read it to several kids in my practice, and it has generated interesting feelings, conversations, and ideas. Is there anything better than being in the moment with another person who is having insight about being in the moment?"
-Kate Reynolds, Director of the Santa Fe Center for Mindfulness
"I just loved this book! I work as an elementary school counselor, and have been seeking ways to improve the mindfulness of my students. This story provides a way for students to concretely think about what it means to be mindful--truly living in the moment--rather than focusing on the past or future. In the midst of so many changes, I have seen students experiencing anxiety and fear of the future, as well as fixating on things that happened in the past. My Old Friend, Then demonstrates the importance of both acknowledging the past and looking forward to the future while also focusing on the thoughts and feelings of the here and now. The illustrations are beautiful and engaging, and I appreciated the variety of art techniques and styles of expression. I am looking forward to purchasing the hardback copy of this book to keep in my office at school."
-Mikayla Rolfs, Goodreads
"As a teacher of young children who embraces a mindful curriculum, My Old Friend, Then by Katherine Davis-Gibbon is a sparkling gem. Children (and adults) will absorb its beautiful message without feeling 'explained.' My children were completely enthralled by both illustrator Allie Daigle's beautiful imagery and Katherine's simple yet thought provoking words, gently engaging them to investigate, discover, and personally relate. To sum up with a quote from one four year old, "Oh, that's so cool!"
-Jeanette Buck, Goodreads
"As a clinical social worker working with children, I recommend this book for children and families. I find it to be particularly helpful to children struggling with anxiety and/or difficult stories about themselves, though any child and family can benefit from this delightful story."
-Jaime Bardacke, Goodreads
"This is a beautifully written and illustrated book about a child becoming aware of the inner workings of her mind, and the pitfalls of being engaged in the past and the future, at the expense of the present. It is territory rarely explored in a children's book, yet it is as important as learning about sharing, empathy, honesty, or any other virtue valued by parents ....
The story is delightful, thoughtful, whimsical, and sensitive. A book to be read again and again, with its theme to be gleaned anew each time by child and parent alike."
- Goodreads Review