As a seasoned educator and National Board Certified Teacher, with over 30 years classroom and coaching expertise, I know that the heart and soul of learning is literacy. Books are the foundation for every ounce of academic success a child will have. Fostering a love of reading can be cathartic for many children as they dive into a world beyond their own experience and escape any stressors.
I have probably done thousands of read-alouds to students during my teaching career. Recently, I wrote a book called Meditation Station (Bala Kids/Shambhala). The idea is to “Stay in the Station” and not get whisked away by our racing train of thoughts. Staying with our breath, and in our body, counters the million distractions and tasks that beg for our attention. We all get pulled in multiple directions by our daily life, so learning how to stay centered in our breath—which is the only thing we always have access to and control over—will help us stay calm in the storm.
Lately, educators and families are equally as concerned with a child’s social emotional learning (SEL) as they are with their academic achievement. In the wake of increased stress—some might even call it a “community trauma”—children need more books that anchor them, in order to counter their anxiety. (Let’s be honest, we as adults need these skills and resources just as much!) I’ve culled a list of recommended titles around meditation, mindfulness, and yoga, that will help parents, caregivers, and teachers build a common language around strategies for grounding little ones. So snuggle up to sooth your child with some of these books for the little Buddha in your life.
Meditation Station by Susan B. Katz, illustrated by Anait Semirdzhyan (Bala Kids)
Share Your Love by Susan B. Katz, illustrated by Jennie Poh (forthcoming from Bala/Shambhala)
Puppy Mind By Andrew Jordan Nance, illustrated by Jim Durk (Parallax Press)
The Lion in Me By Andrew Jordan Nance, illustrated by Jim Durk (Parallax Press)
The Barefoot King By Andrew Jordan Nance, illustrated by Olivia Holden (Bala Kids)
Charlotte and the Quiet Place By Deborah Sosin, illustrated by Sarah Woolley (Plum Blossom)
Alphabreaths and Alphabreaths Too by Dr. Chris Willard and Daniel Rechtschaffen, illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown (Sounds True)
My Magic Breath by Nick Ortner, illustrated by Alison Taylor (Harpercollins)
Breathing Makes it Better by Dr. Chris Willard, illustrated by Wendy O’Leary
Leo Learns How to Meditate by Francesca Hampton and John Ledda
I am Thinking My Life by Allysun Atwater, illustrated by Stevie Lewis
Good Night Yoga, by Mariam Gates illustrated by Sarah Jane Hinder
Sloth Wasn’t Sleepy by Kate Messner, illustrated by Valentina Toro
I am Peace: A book of Mindfulness by Susan Verde, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
The In Between Book by Dr. Chris Willard & Olivia Weisser, illustrated by Alison Oliver
The Breathing Book by Dr. Chris Willard & Olivia Weisser, illustrated by Alison Oliver
Train Your Mind Like a Ninja: 30 Secret Skills for Fun, Focus, and Resilience by Christopher Willard, Mitch Abblett, T. Koei Kuwuhara Sensei, illustrated by Toshiki Nakamura
Growing Up Mindful – Card Deck by Dr. Christopher Willard
Susan B. Katz is a National Board Certified Teacher and bilingual educator with over 30 years classroom expertise. She is the author of over 50 children’s books, including Meditation Station which won an International Book Award and is an Amazon Editor’s Pick. Susan has been practicing meditation for the past 25 years. Aside from writing, she currently leads a team of experts who train teachers across the nation in literacy and topics like SEL and Trauma-Informed Instruction. You can find out more about her books here: https://susankatzbooks.com/ or https://www.amazon.com/Susan-B-Katz/e/B0034EVBLQ