Mindfulness is a lifelong skill that can help reduce stress and increase self-awareness. This is why it is so important to teach to kids. I use children’s books about mindfulness as a gateway for opening up discussions in the learning environment. Whether you are a teacher, counselor, or parent, using books to help illustrate a topic is a great way for kids to learn. As you are reading, ask questions and engage the reader. Keep reading below for books that teach Mindfulness to kids.
I often cover mindfulness in my lessons, I use this Executive Functioning Passport activity that covers self-awareness and this superhero-themed Social Emotional Learning Curriculum: Responsible Decision Making that includes a mindfulness activity to encourage reflection. I also love having a calm corner for students to utilize, check out this blog post for tips on How to set up a Calm Corner in your Classroom. Here is a list of some of the awesome Mindfulness books out there that I use to help teach this topic to students.
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I AM PEACE
Title of Book and Author: I Am Peace by Susan Verde
A short summary of the book: In I Am Peace, a young boy tries to settle the anxious thoughts in his mind. When his mind clears, he begins letting things go, sharing kindness with others, and watching the clouds roll by. Once he practices these mindfulness techniques, he feels peaceful. In turn, the young boy is able to share his peace with others.
Why I like the book: Susan Verde uses beautiful, descriptive language (“The thoughts in my head are like rushing water and I feel like a boat with no anchor”) to describe feeling anxious or overwhelmed. The story shares great recommendations for how to feel at peace, like using your five senses, spending time in nature, and taking a deep breath. This heartwarming book is sure to resonate with your students.
The moral of the story: When we are feeling overwhelmed, it’s important to pause and take a moment to recenter ourselves.
Topics covered: Staying Calm; Peace; Kindness
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): I am Peace on Amazon
MOP RIDES THE WAVES OF LIFE
Title of Book and Author: Mop Rides the Waves of Life: A Story of Mindfulness and Surfing by Jaimal Yogis
A short summary of the book: Mop – aptly named after his mop-like hair – loves to surf. One day at school, his classmate, Toby, says that Mop plays foursquare like a baby. Mop responds by pushing Toby into the sandbox, unable to control his anger. That is just the start of Mop’s bad week, a week that includes getting made fun of, doing unpleasant chores, and even running out of cereal.
After school, Mop’s mom takes him surfing and reminds him that he needs to learn to “surf life.” Surfing life starts with breathing and noticing your emotions. When a bad wave comes your way, she explains, it’s important to learn how to ride it. If there’s a good wave, smile and enjoy it!
Why I like the book: I love that this book uses “good” and “bad” waves as a metaphor to teach students about positive and negative emotions. With simple language that is perfect for preschool or kindergarten students, Mop Rides the Waves of Life teaches a valuable lesson about overcoming difficult circumstances in life.
The moral of the story: Waves – or difficult situations – may come our way, but we must learn how to ride those waves and let them pass. Ride the good waves and let the bad ones pass by.
Topics covered: Mindfulness; Dealing with Anger
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): Mop rides the Waves of life on Amazon
LISTENING WITH MY HEART
Title of Book and Author: Listening with my Heart by Gabi Garcia
A short summary of the book: Esperanza is nervous about her role in the upcoming class play. When she finds a heart-shaped rock on the ground, her mom remarks that it might be a sign. Perhaps, Esperanza thinks, the rock can teach her an important lesson about listening with her heart. At school, she befriends a new student named Bao, who teaches her the meaning of listening with your heart. When it’s time for the play, Esperanza, unfortunately, forgets her lines. When she takes out her rock, she sees that it’s cracked, which is exactly how she feels.
Throughout the book, Esperanza learns that listening with her heart isn’t just about giving kindness to others; it’s about giving kindness to herself, too. When she gets home, she does her favorite things – cuddling with her mom, hugging her cat, and riding her bike.
Why I like the book: Listening with my Heart is an uplifting story about one girl’s journey to discovering the meaning of self-compassion. Often, we forget about how self-care and self-compassion can cultivate mindfulness. When we treat ourselves kindly, we can feel more at peace.
The moral of the story: Mindfulness includes treating ourselves with self-compassion and self-care.
Topics covered: Kindness; Self-compassion; Self-care
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): Listening with my Heart on Amazon
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE PRESENT?
Title of Book and Author: What Does It Mean to Be Present? by Rana DiOrio
A short summary of the book: What does it mean to be present? Rana DiOrio poses this question in her feel-good book about living in the present moment. DiOrio encourages readers to focus on what’s happening now, appreciate what we have, and treat every new experience as an opportunity.
Why I like the book: DiOrio gives tangible ways that students can be more present in their lives, with their friends, and with their families. This book is an excellent way to introduce being present – a concept that most adults learn later in life – to young students.
The moral of the story: When we live in the present moment, life becomes fuller and better.
Topics covered: Being Present; Mindfulness
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): What does it mean to be present? on Amazon
Title of Book and Author: Puppy Mind by Andrew Jordan Nance
A short summary of the book: Do you have a puppy mind? A puppy mind can make you lose your focus or remind you of bad memories. Just like a puppy, your mind can pull you in all different directions. Have no fear! There are ways to calm your puppy mind, like taking three slow breaths. Calming your puppy mind, Andrew Jordan Nance explains, is a lot like training a rambunctious puppy.
Why I like the book: From the start, your students will love the adorable puppy in this book! We can all relate to feeling distracted. For some of our students, especially those with Attention Deficit Disorders, a “puppy mind” can prevent them from reaching their full potential at school. Puppy Mind can open up a conversation with your students about attention and distractions.
The moral of the story: To calm your puppy mind, practice taking deep breaths. When we calm the distractions in our minds, we can feel happier and become more productive.
Topics covered: Distractions; Attention
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): Puppy Mind on Amazon
FIND YOUR CALM
Title of Book and Author: Find Your Calm: A Mindful Approach To Relieve Anxiety And Grow Your Bravery by Gabi Garcia
A short summary of the book: For the book’s main character, anxiety is present in her daily life. Anxiety often feels overwhelming and downright scary. The young girl’s father explains that feeling anxious is normal. We feel anxiety to protect ourselves from danger, even if the danger isn’t actually there. That’s why it’s important to find a way to stay calm.
The young girl begins finding different ways to feel safe, like a familiar smile, color, or nature. She also practices breathing to calm down and begins noticing how anxiety makes her feel. As she “finds her calm,” she feels braver. Although anxiety may come and go, this book highlights how there is always a way to feel calm.
Why I like the book: Gabi Garcia uses simple language to explain anxiety to children in her book Find Your Calm. The book expertly explains how sometimes we can feel calm on our own, but other times we need to rely on other people, like a trusted adult. At the end of the book, Garcia shares techniques for staying calm that teachers can practice with their students.
The moral of the story: Feeling anxious is a part of everyday life. Although we can’t control when or why we feel anxious, we can control how we respond to anxiety.
Topics covered: Anxiety; Worrying; Feeling Calm
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): Find your Calm on Amazon
A HANDFUL OF QUIET
Title of Book and Author: A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles by Thich Nhat Hanh
A short summary of the book: During a retreat in Santa Barbara, Tich Nhat Hanh developed a meditation technique specifically designed for children and their families. This simple practice involves using four pebbles to focus children’s energy and help them connect with nature. Hanh hopes that children can eventually do this practice on their own.
Why I like the book: A Handful of Quiet is a great hands-on activity to do with your students. Not only is the technique easy, but it would also be a fun lesson for outdoor learning.
The moral of the story: Finding peace does not have to be complicated. We can find peace by using simple objects, like pebbles.
Topics covered: Meditation; Peace; Nature
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): A Handful of Quiet on Amazon
MY MAGIC BREATH
Title of Book and Author: My Magic Breath: Finding Calm Through Mindful Breathing by Nick Ortner
A short summary of the book: Nick Ortner introduces the “magic breath” to us. The magic breath has special powers: it can help us clear our minds when we’re feeling overwhelmed. Taking a deep breath can help us get rid of bad thoughts and clear the way for happy thoughts. The author leads students through the book, having them practice using their newfound magic breath.
Why I like the book: Throughout the book, lines like “Let’s practice together!” make this story interactive and will keep your students engaged. Students will be able to feel the difference after this guided read-aloud.
The moral of the story: Deep breathing can improve our moods, especially when we are feeling sad or angry.
Topics covered: Breathing; Finding Calm
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): My Magic Breath on Amazon
BREATHE LIKE A BEAR
Title of Book and Author: Breathe Like a Bear: 30 Mindful Moments for Kids to Feel Calm and Focused Anytime, Anywhere by Kira Willey
A short summary of the book: With 30 guided breathing and meditation techniques, Breathe Like a Bear gives children effective ways to feel calm and connected. This book is an easy way to bring mindfulness to your classroom, with no prep work!
Why I like the book: Breathe Like a Bear encourages children to use their imagination with these step-by-step mindfulness practices and guided meditations. I love that the book emphasizes a connection with nature, too. This book would be great to use during morning meetings or as a whole-class activity before dismissal.
The moral of the story: There are many different ways to practice mindfulness. The more we practice, the more we will feel focused and calm.
Topics covered: Breathing; Meditation
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): Breathe like a Bear on Amazon
Title of Book and Author: Bee Calm: The Buzz on Yoga by Frank J. Sileo
A short summary of the book: Bentley Bee is a happy bee who decides to go on an adventure. Along the way, he meets animals who introduce him to different yoga poses. Bentley Bee becomes more and more curious until, finally, his curiosity gets the best of him. With the help of a friendly ant, he tries the tree pose and learns about how yoga can help him feel calm.
Why I like the book: Bee Calm’s rhyming and beautiful illustrations will help you introduce yoga to your students. With pictures demonstrating the different poses, this book gives you the tools to easily teach yoga poses to your students.
The moral of the story: Yoga is a relaxing and fun way to exercise the body and mind.
Topics covered: Yoga; Finding Peace; Finding Calm
Where can I purchase this book (affiliate link): Bee Calm on Amazon
Pair your favorite children’s books about perseverance with these engaging activities to make the perfect classroom lesson. Check out this blog post I wrote about FREE Mindfulness resources to help incorporate being mindful in your classroom and home.