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  • Writer's pictureJill Reed

New Things: self-publishing a children’s book about breathwork and screen time

Part of moving to Costa Rica included a commitment to self-growth and moving out of my comfort zone. I’m not sure I was aware of this being part of the plan, but it came with the experience. Costa Rica works like that.

In my first few months, I was introduced to an amazing breathwork coach who offered a few group sessions, one of which I attended. We became friends.

Let’s Talk About Breathwork

Beyond its role in sustaining our physical existence, conscious and intentional breathing can become a transformative tool for emotional release and catharsis. Breathwork encompasses a range of techniques that emphasize conscious and intentional breathing patterns.

From ancient yogic practices to modern therapeutic modalities, breathwork approaches differ but share a common goal: to harness the power of the breath to stimulate physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

The breath is intimately connected to our emotional state. By consciously altering our breathing patterns, we can gain access to deeply buried emotions, unresolved trauma, and stagnant energy.

As we engage in breathwork, we create a safe space for emotions to surface.

Through intentional breathing, we activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps induce a deep state of relaxation.

By cultivating a focused and conscious breath, we tap into a heightened state of awareness. This expanded consciousness can lead to profound insights, connection with our higher selves, and a deeper understanding of our purpose in life.

Breathwork offers us a powerful tool. Through breathwork, we connect with the essence of who we are, allowing us to experience catharsis, healing, and transformation at a profound level.

This was my experience.

Breathwork in a Children's Book?

My breathwork coach and friend Patricia told me she had an idea for a children’s book. She imagined a curious monkey from Costa Rica who loses her way and slowly finds her purpose and gift when she listens to her heart.

I was intrigued. I’d always wanted to write a book and with her interest in getting back into painting, I thought it could be a good partnership. We collaborated in the most organic way, meeting most weeks in her office and fleshing out our ideas, working through the story.

What was important to both of us was maintaining a dual message - using breathwork to manage emotions and self-regulate; showing the use of technology as a tool, but being mindful in our approach to connection and disconnection.

We wanted to introduce simple and practical breathing exercises to young children in a fun way while also addressing the importance of stepping away and reconnecting with nature and self.

Good Day Seattle

The Self Publishing Process for a Children's Book

I engaged an editor through Reedsy and we went through rounds of feedback and changes. Every move forward brought us deeper into unknown territory but we persevered.

Layout, translations, front and back matter, ISBNs, cover design, digitizing artwork, promotional legwork and photo sessions, all the acres of tech-y stuff.

It was a challenge to bring this book to fruition for two people who didn’t know anything about publishing. We hired a company that basically holds your hand as you bring the book into its final phases and then upload onto various websites.

I have very strong opinions on that, but that’s another post.

We hired people to do layout and design, correct or amend artwork, translate the book into German and Spanish, and build a website.

I can’t tell you how many youtube videos I watched learning how to do thing I’d never anticipated doing because who you hire matters.

With all the effort and research we put into it, we were still thrown curveballs. The company we hired to help us publish had done very few children’s books. Working with them was challenging on multiple levels. They charged us for their mistakes and I would never hire them again.

Jill Reed, Jason Carpenter and Patricia Coester on Inside South Florida
With Jason Carpenter on Inside South Florida

Doing the Promotional Dance

We also hired a company to coordinate PR for us and ended up flying to the US to make multiple appearances on television and podcasts and radio shows.

As we fell into a nice groove and found cadence working together, our live interviews got easier and easier.

Once I figured out that we were indeed the authority on our book, it was a breeze talking about our story and the mission behind Maleku’s Gift. With Patricia’s expertise and my educational background, we created meaningful discussions around children’s health, social emotional learning and the powerful tool of the breath.

I can honestly say that’s been the most compelling part of this process - actually sitting down to chat about what this story means to us and what we hope educators, caregivers, and parents will take away.

The bonus is that through all this promotion and travel, we’ve been introduced to people who want to help carry our mission forward by offering new avenues for us to explore - webinars, online courses, conference opportunities, classroom visits, etc.

I’m so excited about where this is heading.

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