Mindful Reading For Kids: The Three Questions by Jon Muth



“When is the best time to do things?”

“Who is the most important one?”

“What is the right thing to do?”

The answers to these three questions have the power to keep us grounded during some of the most trying and happy times in our life.

In Jon Muth’s book The Three Questions, these questions are subtly addressed through the story of a boy’s journey to seek the answers to these questions for himself. Muth’s story is based on Leo Tolstoy’s short story,  “The Three Questions”, which itself was a parable about a king seeking the same answers. Muth adapts Tolstoy’s story into a relatable, beautifully illustrated gem of a book for children.

The story begins with Nikolai, who wants to be the best person he can be,  posing the three questions to his friends, the heron, monkey and dog. Each have their own perspective with a twist, that leaves Nikolai unsatiated. Nikolai continues his quest for enlightenment by visiting his turtle friend, Leo. Through a series of events where Nikolai lends his help, Leo teaches Nikolai that the answer to his questions lie within himself.

“When is the best time to do things?”- Now.

“Who is the most important one?”-The one you are with.

“What is the right thing to do?”- Do good for the one you are with.

This book was first published in 2002 and was in part inspired by the works of Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Zen Master. One of Hanh teachings is that “The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention.” As the mindfulness movement is growing and being implemented in our homes and schools, Jon Muth’s The Three Questions is a compelling but delicate book parents and educators can use as a tool to help teach children about how to be mindful.




Raising Successful Children

“There is no parent more vulnerable to the excesses of overparenting than an unhappy parent. One of the most important things we do for our children is to present them with a version of adult life that is appealing and worth striving for.”

-Madeline Levine, Ph.D.

This quote is from The New York Times Op-Ed from August 5, 2012 titled “Raising Successful Children.” This article is worth saving for reference when you feel the need to recalibrate your parenting compass, which you’re allowed to do as often as needed!

Madeline Levine is a psychologist and educator with decades of experience working with children and families. She has authored several books, including New York Times Bestsellers The Price of Privilege and Teach Your Children Well. Sometimes, as parents and caregivers, we need guidance and fresh inspiration, especially in this ever competitive and changing environment. Our kids are growing up very differently than we did!Dr. Levine’s insights are refreshing, eye-opening and helpful. If you have a moment, please visit her website http://madelinelevine.com/.

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