Mindfulness Books for Younger Readers

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Mindfulness Books for Younger Readers

It can be hard to slow down and live in the moment in our fast-paced society. So many things around us are competing for our attention.  Meditation and mindfulness are great tools that can help us appreciate the present more fully. While books for adults on this topic are widespread, there seem to be less for younger readers, but this is still a useful practice for them too. So, below is a list of books geared towards younger readers.

My Magic Breath: Finding Calm through Mindful Breathing by Nick Ortner and Alison Taylor
“Do you have magic breath?” This book is as interactive as Herve Tullet’s celebrated Mix it Up, using colorful, responsive illustrations to talk about how important breath is to managing our thoughts and emotions. This book would work well as a before nighttime nudge to unwind the busyness of brains before bed.

The Sound of Silence by Katrina Goldsaito, Illustrated by Julia Kuo
This beautiful book takes a closer look at ma, or silence and its importance in Japanese culture. An interesting author’s note at the back discusses the author’s experiences with ma, and her family interactions with a Japanese composer who prized silence in his compositions. Inside the story, Yoshio searches through Tokyo for silence. Can he find it in the crowded Tokyo streets, the bamboo groves, by the bullet trains or on the tatami mats at home? This thoughtful book is a great introduction to younger readers to find the sounds of silence around them and why it’s important.

Breathe Like a Bear by Kira Willey
This book is divided into sections of different activities centered around being calm, gathering energy, gaining focus and other topics. Using the power of imagination, each simple activity asks the reader to imagine animals, colors or count to employ the breath and slow down. The colorful illustrations make this book a joy to flip through and younger readers will enjoy imagining they are a tree or envisioning their favorite color blossoming inside them.

Now by Antoinette Portis
This book focuses on appreciating and creating gratitude for the experience in each moment. In quick sentences with thoughtful illustrations, it asks the reader to think about what they experience in each moment that can be valued. A leaf, a breeze, a cloud, digging a hole, a song--- all relatable events for younger readers. The uncluttered illustrations contribute to the overall calming effect of the book.

Puppy Mind by Andrew Jordan Nance, illustrated by Jim Durk
It can be difficult explaining how the mind can wander to younger readers and this book is a great analogy to accomplish that. Recasting the mind as a puppy, the story illustrates how our minds can jump from the future to the past and drag us with it. While the focus is mostly on what a “puppy mind” does with only one suggestion on how to reign it in, it’s still an enjoyable book with a useful message.

I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness by Susan Verde, illustrated by Peter Reynolds 
Peter Reynold’s colorful illustrations gently guide the reader through the process of clearing out their mind to focus on the present moment. The pictures present a creative interpretation of this process that will engage young readers’ imaginations, while helping them focus.

Calm Mindfulness for kids: activities to help you learn to live in the moment by Wynne Kinder M. Ed.
This book is full of unique and engaging activities to help notice the process of breathing and change focus. Actions such as tracing the hand while breathing or making a “breathing buddy,” help bring the process of mindfulness into a more tangible state. While some of the activities are more common, like making a glitter jar, others such as, “kindness bubbles,” are more unique to this book and well worth a look.

Henry is Kind: A story of Mindfulness by Linda Ryden
If you’re more interested in a story about mindfulness, this book could be helpful. Henry’s class decides to do a project focusing on kindness. Each person will bring an example of how they’ve been kind to others. Henry is frustrated though, he can’t think of any ways that he’s been kind. It will take some help from his classmates to realize he’s already been kind in many ways that others have noticed. Through this amusing story, young readers can learn how kindness exists in their lives, and find new ways to invite it in each moment.

Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and their parents) by Eline Snel
This book focuses on more in depth exercises for younger readers to manage their feelings and learn to focus on the present moment. While a lot of the sections in this book are for adults to help kids, there is an attached CD with audio segments to lead them through exercises. See this book if you’re looking for a more detailed analysis of practices of mindfulness for younger readers.

Mindful Monkey, Happy Panda by Lauren Alderfer, illustrated by Kerry Lee MacLean
The message in this book is simple, but potent. Pay attention to what you’re doing. It explains this through a simple but effective story between Monkey and Panda. A useful and quick story for younger readers to learn about living in the moment, something that’s difficult for adults and children.