Have you been wanting to integrate mindfulness into your curriculum, but just don’t know how or don’t have time?
Today, I would love to share with you ten mindfulness books for kids that encourage readers to think about why it’s important to live in the present moment and how to apply mindfulness to our lives. Sharing stories is a fabulous way to introduce this topic in a fun, relaxed way that increases literacy and stimulates discussion.
What is mindfulness, though? Mindfulness is being intentional about living in the present moment, without judgment, but with curiosity. The grandfather of mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn, defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”
Next you might ask, why should I add mindfulness to my already-busy schedule? Integrating mindfulness in your classroom will help both you and your students alleviate stress and anxiety. It’ll help you all to focus on the lesson at hand and push aside worries about the past and future. Living in the present moment will also help build a stronger class community and foster a stronger bond between the children and you. You’ll be more in tune with yourselves and each other.
And remember—this is not an overnight fix. Cultivating mindfulness is a lifelong journey that ultimately starts with us, the grownups. Starting our own mindfulness and/or meditation practice is essential to being able to confidently bring the benefits of this ancient practice to our children.
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10 Mindfulness Books for Kids to Add to Your Curriculum
Below, you’ll find ten picture books about mindfulness and some suggested activities. You could read the first five books and do the short activities in the first half of the school year (either weekly or bi-weekly) and then share the second five books in the second half of the school year.
You could literally carve out fifteen minutes on a Friday to read the book and do a short activity. There are a few suggested ideas below, but feel free to come up with your own ideas depending on the needs and ages of your students. If you’re looking for more books, see below for an extended list. Also, don’t forget to download the handy printout below.
Sloth at the Zoom
by Helaine Becker and Orbie
This is an upbeat, engaging story of a sloth who gets delivered to the “zoom,” instead of the zoo. She’s surprised to find the animals are all dashing around quickly. It takes finding a slow friend like her for all the animals to stop and take notice.
Activity: Use this book at the beginning of the year to introduce Morning Meeting or a time when the class all comes together to share, learn, and listen to each other. Empathize that coming together as a class is an important time to slow down, connect, and get to know each other.
The Lemonade Hurricane: A Story of Mindfulness and Meditation
by Licia Morelli and Jennifer Morris
Emma lives a quieter life, while her brother Henry is always on the run (like a hurricane). Emma shows her brother some mindfulness practices to help him slow down and live in the present moment. Another beautifully illustrated book, it’s perfect for siblings who have different temperaments.
Activity: Talk about if you are more like Emma or Henry. Make a chart comparing Emma’s and Henry’s characters. Why does Emma want Henry to be still?
Charlotte and the Quiet Place
by Deborah Sosin and Sara Woolley
This beautiful storybook follows Charlotte as she tries to find a quiet place in the noisy city. Her dog helps her escape to a quite spot in her local park, where she takes a moment to listen to her own breath and her mind can slow down. Then she can bring that sense of peace anywhere she goes.
Activity: Talk about your quiet places. Go outside to a quiet place or to the gymnasium and teach mindful breathing as they place one hand on their bellies and another on their chests. Return to the classroom or somewhere with noise and distractions and try the mindful breathing again, practicing staying focused.
Today, We Have No Plans
by Jane Godwin and Anna Walker
This is a delightful book that follows the weekly routine of a family. During the week, they have super-busy schedules, but Sunday is their day to unwind, relax, and do nothing. The children are free to explore their creative pursuits, stay in their pajamas all day, or play outside. This is a lovely book to share the importance of slowing down.
Activity: Talk about what their weekly schedules look like and what they do for “down time.” Pick out a daily or weekly time when you have “no plans” or “do nothing” in your classroom–even if it’s only for a few minutes.
The Sloth Who Slowed Us Down
by Margaret Wild and Vivienne To
Amy has a super-speedy family. One day, she brings home a sloth that helps them to learn to live more slowly and enjoy the small miracles in life. Beautifully illustrated, it has a simple message that children will love.
Note: I purchased in Australia, under an alternate title, The Sloth Who Came to Stay.
Activity: Take one activity that you do each day in class, like eating snack, and take a moment of silence while you’re doing it to start to practice doing it slowly. If you’re practicing mindful eating, ask the students to feel the sensations of the food in their mouths and take a moment to really savor the tastes.
Be Where Your Feet Are!
by Julia Cook and Jon Davis
This funny rhyming book follows a boy who is scatterbrained and failing to keep up with all his schoolwork. His mom encourages him to be mindful and live in the present moment. Julia Cook has written several engaging books about social issues.
Activity: Make posters that say “Be Where Your Feet Are!” and post around the classroom (or school). Remind each other to live in the present moment and be intentional about slowing down. Take two minutes of silence after recess to practice “being where your feet are.”
I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness
by Susan Verde and Peter H. Reynolds
The simple, beautifully illustrated book shares the benefits of living mindfully. It gives you space to be kind to others, to connect with nature, and ultimately to bring peace into the world. This is just a stunning book to share with children.
Activity: What does “peace” mean to you? Make a web of ideas together as a class, and then everyone can create their own mini-posters with “Peace” in the middle and decorate them however they would like, based on how they think of peace in the world. They could also write their own “I am…” books inspired by this one.
Mia’s Mountain Hike
by Giselle Shardlow and Lauren Hughes Join Mia and her aunt as they hike a mountain in Western Canada. Be a bald eagle, black bear, and bridge over a rushing river. Discover the forest, explore movement, and practice being mindful in nature. This forest yoga book includes a list of kids yoga poses and a parent-teacher guide.
Activity: Why does Auntie Lisa say that it’s important to take it easy once in a while? Talk about their busy schedules and how they can carve out time to slow down. Take time to go outside and record what sounds they hear and what colors they see. Draw pictures and share with the class.
Justine and Joey at the Zoo
by Giselle Shardlow and Valerie Bouthyette
Join Justine and her brother, Joey, as they experience all the zoo has to offer. Kids will engage with this book as they watch the characters feed a giraffe, pose like a lion, and eat ice cream! This zoo yoga book includes a list of 14 kids yoga poses and a parent-teacher guide.
Activity: Talk about Jon Kabat-Zinn’s quote from the book: “Wherever you go, be there.” Can they describe a time when their bodies are somewhere, but their minds are elsewhere? Make mini-posters with that quote and post them around the classroom as a reminder to live in the present moment. Also, talk about how our behavior affects the animals near us, like in the book. If you have an animal in your room, use it as an example to show the importance of being peaceful around animals.
My Magic Breath: Finding Calm Through Mindful Breathing
by Nick Ortner, Alison Taylor, and Michelle Polizzi
This colorful book helps children see how their breath can guide them through their feelings—whether to celebrate happy thoughts or push through sad thoughts.
Activity: Try “blow painting” by dropping blobs of paint on thick paper and using straws to blow the paint around the page. Think about how the various colors might represent your colorful thoughts. If you’re not up for painting, try blowing cotton balls or Ping-Pong balls instead.
Other Mindfulness Books for Kids
If you’re looking for more mindfulness books to read with your students, check out these titles, as well:
What Does It Mean to Be Present?
by Rana Diorio and Eliza Wheeler
This beautifully illustrated book shows us all the ways to be present. The examples are all ones that children can relate to and be inspired by.
by Andrew Jordan Nance and Jim Durk
This is a playful story about a boy who imagines that his mind is a like a puppy, wandering and exploring all the time. He learns to calm his puppy mind by taking a few deep breaths.
Henry is Kind: A Story of Mindfulness
by Linda Ryden and Shearry Malone
The teacher leads a heartfulness meditation in her class, which then sparks a kindness project. At first, Henry doesn’t think he’s been kind to anyone, until his class helps him see otherwise.
Bee Still: An Invitation to Meditation
by Frank Sileo and Claire Keay
This rhyming book is a kid-friendly introduction to meditation through the story of a bee that practices meditation to focus, stay calm, and soothe difficult feelings. The bee then teaches all its animal friends to meditate, too.
A World of Pausabilities: An Exercise in Mindfulness
by Frank Sileo and Jennifer Zivoin
A sweet, rhyming book reminding us of the little moments in life where we can take a pause to be mindful and live in the present moment. It’s a great reminder that mindfulness is fun and easy.
Mindful Monkey, Happy Panda
by Lauren Alderfer and Kerry Lee MacLean
Panda describes to his friend Monkey that happiness comes from being in the present moment and not thinking about other things.
Ziji: The Puppy Who Learned to Meditate
by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche and Torey Hayden
The story follows an active puppy who learns to meditate from his owner’s friend, so that he can learn to calm his body and mind.
This simple book encourages young children to think about what they hear when their world is silent. This would be a great book to use a springboard to discussing the benefits of meditation and mindfulness.
by Antoinette Portis
The little girl shows you all her favorite things, because those are the things that are directly in front of her. It’s a wonderful reminder to live in the present moment and appreciate life as it happens moment by moment. It’s a simple, but powerful message.
Peaceful Piggy Meditation
by Kerry Lee MacLean
This bright and colorful book describes the how and why of meditation through fun, playful piggy characters.
Mind Bubbles: Exploring Mindfulness with Kids
by Heather Krantz and Lisa May
This book uses the idea that our thoughts and feelings are like mind bubbles that come and go and that we can use our breath to notice the mind bubbles and allow them to be there—ultimately making us feel more calm.
Do you have any other mindfulness books for kids to share? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Mindfulness and Movement Room at Literacy Night
My daughter’s school just hosted its first Literacy Night. My friend and I offered to run a “Mindfulness and Movement Room,” and I wanted to share some photos in case you might be interested in a similar offering, as well.
We used the mindfulness books from above, put them into four categories, and created posters for each grouping. When the children came into the room, they chose a book to read at a table. Then they read the associated poster prompt and wrote their ideas on a sticky note to add to the poster.
We had these books:
- The Lemonade Hurricane
- Today We Have No Plans
- Charlotte and the Quiet Place
And the poster said, “No plans today? Let’s… Be… Do… Go… Play.”
We had these books:
- Bee Still
- My Magic Breath
- Breathing Make It Better
And the poster said, “My breath is magic because…”
We had these books:
- Sloth at the Zoom
- The Sloth Who Came to Stay
- Be Where Your Feet Are
And the poster said, “How do you slow down?”
We had these books and several yoga card decks:
- Claire’s Camping Adventure
- Mia’s Mountain Hike
- Justine and Joey at the Zoo
The room was a huge hit! And at the end of the night, we had four posters full of colorful sticky notes with ideas from children in kindergarten through to fifth grade. The school hung the posters up around the school as reminders of how to be mindful.
Let us know if you try it out!
CHECK OUT OUR MINDFULNESS CARDS FOR KIDS
EXPLORE 25 UNIQUE WAYS TO HELP CHILDREN SLOW DOWN!
Help the children in your life slow down by practicing these simple and effective mindfulness exercises. This mindfulness deck is divided into four categories that you can chose from: breath, movement, sensory, and guided imagery.
Download these 60 digital cards to bring simple mindfulness practices to your home, classroom, or studio. Includes an index card, mindfulness activity tips, 25 Mindfulness cards with illustrations, and 25 corresponding description cards. The kids are multicultural from various countries.
Instantly download, print, and practice.
Age group: Ages 4+. Printing Instructions
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