When a sixth grader in the three-part teen meditation series I recently did at the library said I had to read Buddha at Bedtime, it just had to be done. Em (not his name) told me he meditated every single day because meditation recharged his batteries–he had also developed various strategies that he ought to write down.
Buddha at Bedtime is suggested for three to six-year olds but some older children may enjoy and benefit from the book, like Em. The vividly illustrated book with thick, glossy paper to withstand multiple readings, has 20 stories based on the Jataka tales (part of Buddhist literature). The Scottish author, Dharmachari Nagaraja, a guest presenter on BBC Radio 2 and ordained into the Western Buddhist Order, starts with a short introduction to Buddha and Buddhism. He suggests ways to use the book–each story ends with a short insight (many might see it as a moral).
The book is an invitation to relax at the end of the day, snuggle up, and enjoy a good story that deals with multiple issues in children’s lives in a positive way. The stories have a universal message and can help open up conversations about what may be happening in a child’s life. There are three age-appropriate meditations at the end–two of which, the Rainbow and Breathing Meditations, are remarkably similar to two meditations in Swami Satyananda’s book Yoga Education for Children (first edition 1985).