18 Books To Inspire Mindfulness & Meditation for the Whole Family | Summer Reading 2021

Young yogis and meditation masters alike will find messages of calmness and strength in this selection of titles for a range of ages.

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Young yogis and meditation masters alike will find messages of calmness and strength in this selection of titles for a range of ages.


Books To Read & Reflect Upon Together

Y Is for Yet: A Growth Mindset Alphabet by Shannon Anderson. illus. by Jake Souva. Free Spirit. ISBN 9781631985256.

Anderson provides an informative tool to teach social emotional learning. Each page uses a letter of the alphabet to explain a different element of developing a growth mindset. The text is accessible for younger grades, and the content and tone are serious enough to share with upper-elementary students. 

What’s in Your Mind Today? by Louise Bladen. illus by Angela Perrini. Beaming Bks. ISBN 9781506463773.

Everyone has thoughts that can cloud their brain and distract or worry them. But with simple breathing techniques and recognizing that each person has their own troublesome thoughts, it becomes easier to calm down, take a breath, and gain some peace of mind. Full of rhyme and clever poetic devices, this simple yet powerful story offers a great guided meditation for young children.

Here and Now by Julia Denos. illus. by E.B. Goodale. HMH. ISBN 9781328465641.

Using simple language to explain a complex topic, children are shown how to open their senses wide by noting that there are things going on whether they see them happening or not. Child-friendly examples include muscles growing despite the inability to feel them doing so, and broken bones and cuts inconspicuously healing over time.

Meditation Station by Susan B Katz. illus. by Anait Semirdzhyan. Bala Kids. ISBN 9781611807912.

This title challenges children to observe their thoughts as they would a passing freight train. Thoughts, similar to a train, can be noisy and fast. Whether the train cars are filled with favorite things, memories, wishes, or regrets, youngsters are advised to stop and let them pass by while returning their focus to their breath.

Calm Monsters, Kind Monsters: A Sesame Street Guide to Mindfulness by Karen Latchana Kenney. Lerner. ISBN 9781541590007.

Kenney provides a simple, friendly introduction to the practice of mindfulness. Familiar Sesame Street characters and children engage with troublesome feelings of frustration, sadness, loneliness, embarrassment, and worry. Adults will find that this useful compendium offers realistic situations and simple advice for talking with children about feelings.

Zen Happiness by Jon J. Muth. illus. by author. Scholastic. ISBN 9781338346022.

Stillwater the panda and his friends offer suggestions for young readers to achieve happiness and make the world a better place. Each scene depicts the characters immersing themselves in and enjoying the wonders of the natural world.

Kaya's Heart Song by Diwa Tharan Sanders. illus. by Nerina Canzi. Lantana. ISBN 9781911373223.

When Kaya hears her mother singing to herself while meditating, and her mother explains that "happy hearts have their own songs," the young girl sets out to discover her own heart song. Kaya sets out to discover her own heart song. The story has a positive message of mindfulness and imagination. 

Bee Heartful: Spread Loving-Kindness by Frank J Sileo. illus. by Claire Keay. Magination Pr. ISBN 9781433831577.

Psychologist Sileo demonstrates the power of meditation in his follow-up to Bee Still and Bee Calm. Bentley the bee is so honey-sweet, his mantra is to “be happy, be healthy, be safe, be peaceful.” The author includes a two-page note of advice for adults as well as a page of meditation scripts.

Deep Breaths by Carol Thompson. illus. by author. Rodale. ISBN 9781984893970.

Best friends Dolly the Pig and Jack the Rabbit have a disagreement and storm off in anger. Eventually, they take time to reflect on their feelings, and, after some thinking and meditation, cool off and reunite at their favorite tree, practicing their relaxation techniques together.

The Three Little Yogis and the Wolf Who Lost His Breath: A Fairy Tale To Help You Feel Better by Susan Verde. illus. by Jay Fleck. Abrams. ISBN 9781419741036.

The wolf knows his outbursts of anger are futile but still has a compulsion to demolish everything in his sight. He meets three piglet who teach him belly breathing, cooling breath, and other methods that help. Additional breathing exercises and poses are included at the back of the book.

Informational Guides for Older Kids & Teens

The Self-Compassionate Teen: Mindfulness and Compassion Skills To Conquer Your Critical Inner Voice by Karen Bluth. New Harbinger. ISBN 9781684035274.

This self-help manual for teens uses mindfulness exercises to practice the concept of self-compassion. The text breaks it down into three parts: mindfulness (focusing on the present moment), common humanity (realizing that all humans experience the same positive and negative emotions), and self-kindness (being a caring friend to yourself). 

Your Life, Your Way: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Skills To Help Teens Manage Emotions and Build Resilience by Joseph V. Ciarrochi & Louise L. Hayes. illus. by Katharine Hall. New Harbinger. ISBN 9781684034659.

This self-help guide provides step-by-step coping strategies for teens who struggle with social-emotional challenges. Topics include dealing with anxiety and depression, building relationships, managing bullying, creating a healthy online presence, and increasing self-confidence. 

Meditation for Kids: How To Clear Your Head and Calm Your Mind by Laurent Dupeyrat & Johanne Bernard. illus. by Alice Gilles. Bala Kids. ISBN 9781611806205.

This step-by-step guide pays homage to meditation’s Eastern roots, explaining where the practice originated, how it is an important component of Buddhism, and who the Buddha is. The author describes the physical and emotional benefits and lays out various methods, such as sitting meditation, meditation with movement, and meditating on the cycles of nature.

Ikigai for Teens: Finding Your Reason for Being by Héctor García & Francesc Miralles. Scholastic. ISBN 9781338670837.

This young readers edition aims to assist teens in discovering their purpose in life. The text offers a plethora of ideas about discovering one’s ikigai, which is described as the intersection of what you love, what you are good at, what you can be paid for, and what the world needs.

Rewire Your Anxious Brain for Teens: Using CBT, Neuroscience, and Mindfulness To Help You End Anxiety, Panic, and Worry by Debra Kissen & others. ISBN 9781684033768.

This book is designed as a “mind gym,” with 10 chapters filled with exercises for rewiring the brain to move past anxiety and emotional pain, end self-recrimination, defeat procrastination, and be more present, confident, and resilient.

Mindful Me: Mindfulness and Meditation for Kids by Whitney Stewart. illus. by Stacy Peterson. Albert Whitman. ISBN 9780807551448.

A great guide for middle graders looking to incorporate mindfulness into their daily lives. The book presents mindfulness as a means of helping young people manage emotions, stress, anxiety, and concentration.

Mindfulness and Meditation: Handling Life with a Calm and Focused Mind by Whitney Stewart. Twenty-First Century. ISBN 9781541540217.

Stewart, a practitioner of mindfulness and meditation, provides a road map for teens to follow in order to achieve balance in their lives and a proper mind-set for obtaining happiness. The chapter entitled “Anybody Listening? Mindfulness and Social Media” is timely and offers an excellent social media self-assessment.

For Parents & Caregivers

The Emotionally Healthy Child: Helping Your Child Calm, Center, and Make Smarter Choices by Maureen Healy. New World Library. ISBN 9781608685622.

Specializing in holistic health, the author details steps to "stop, calm, and make smarter choices." The focus here is on teaching children to master their emotions and move forward on their own unique paths toward wholeness through developing a healthy mind-set and habits.

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