Picture Books to Encourage Mindfulness and Calm
Books about mindfulness can be powerful tools for supporting children’s overall mental health and wellbeing. When chosen with intention, they can help facilitate incredibly impactful conversations with kids and even help them develop new mindsets and practices.
We have compiled a list of books encouraging living in the present and being mindful of individual feelings, behaviors and experiences. We hope that all of these books help nurture more emotionally resilient children with healthier senses of self. You can shop for all these books on our Bookshop page.
The Mindfulness Moments for Kids Series | Author: Kira Wiley | Illustrator: Anni Betts | Publisher: Rodale Kids
The Mindfulness Moments for Kids Series includes board books and picture books for children of all ages. Unlike a lot of picture books that are turned into board books, the board books in this series are completely age-appropriate. They simply break down more detailed content from the picture books into smaller chunks that are easily accessible for even the youngest readers. We especially love Bunny Breaths and Hot Cocoa Calm. Both picture books, Breathe Like a Bear and Peaceful Like a Panda, include more than 30 mindfulness activities that can be done with kids anytime and anywhere. Once children get the hang of the exercises, they can be powerful tools for helping them regulate their bodies, breaths and emotions.
Listening With My Heart & Listening to My Body | Author: Gabi Garcia | Illustrator: Ying Hui Tan | Publisher: Skinned Knee Publishing
Both of these books are incredible tools for anyone working with and raising children. In Listening With My Heart, children learn the power of self-compassion and how it is tied to our well-being and emotional resiliency. Listening to My Body encourages children to notice and name their feelings and the bodily sensations that go with them.
Gabi Garcia is also the author of numerous other books we love that help us nurture more mindful, self-aware and compassionate kids. We especially love that all of her books can be purchased in Spanish. Don’t miss: Find Your Calm, Mateo Finds His Wow, I Can Do Hard Things and The Friend I Need.
Her website is a wonderful and free resource that includes posters, discussion guides and activity guides corresponding to each book.
Finding Om | Author: Rashmi Bismark | Illustrator: Morgan Huff | Publisher: Mango & Marigold Press
This is a beautiful intergenerational story about an Indian-African child named Anu and her beloved Appuppa, or grandpa. He teaches her about the mantra OM that can be used for centering and calming during meditation. At first, Anu struggles to maintain her focus and keep her mind from wandering, but soon, she learns that OM can remind her to focus again on the sounds, feelings and sensations she’s experiencing instead.
The author of this book is a physician with a mindfulness-based, integrative approach to health. They have also collaborated to create a super helpful curriculum guide. Download it here for free.
Mindful Mr. Sloth | Author/Illustrator: Katy Hudson | Publisher: Capstone Press
In this book, Sasha is always looking for the next thing to do, and moving quickly from one experience to the next. When she discovers and then forms an unlikely friendship with a sloth, she learns a really important lesson. Mr. Sloth helps her see that there are two ways to have fun - fast and slow. This is a sweet and relatable book that teaches kids about the beauty of slowing down and appreciating the little things. Katy Hudson is also the author of one of our favorite winter read aloud books, A Loud Winter’s Nap, and the very popular book, Too Many Carrots. Her text and illustrations are always full of fun dialogue and whimsy!
The Rabbit Listened | Author/Illustrator: Cori Doerrfeld | Publisher: Dial Books
The Rabbit Listened has been a favorite of ours for several years. Too often, kids are taught that there’s a right and wrong way to process pain, and they’re encouraged to follow an adult's lead when it comes to navigating through it. In this book, children will feel validated for expressing their emotions and feeling okay about not being ready to say or do anything at first. They will learn the value of showing up, taking cues and just being present for the people we love. Sometimes, a listening ear and peace and quiet is all someone needs to begin to heal.
You may enjoy these free coloring pages from the illustrator.
Here and Now | Author: Julia Denos | Illustrator: E.B. Goodale | Publisher: Clarion Books
This intentional book grounds readers in the moment - reminding them of the amazing things that are happening each and every second and connecting us all. It’s the perfect book to read aloud and reflect on the power of being present. The gorgeous and thoughtful illustrations and text are sure to make it a favorite tool for embracing mindfulness and calm. Julia Denos has a few free resources to go with this book that you can access here.
All Around Us | Author: Xelena Gonzalez | Illustrator: Adriana M. Garcia | Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press
All Around Us is another favorite intergenerational story about a child and his grandfather. Grandfather explains how circles are all around us - both physically and metaphorically representing the cyclical and interconnected nature of life. Together, they share family traditions and explore the importance of being good stewards to the earth and each other. The breathtaking illustrations and peaceful text make this book a wonderful one to share and contemplate again and again.
Peace is an Offering/La Paz es una ofrenda | Author: Annette Le Box | Illustrator: Stephanie Graegin | Publisher: Dial Books
This is a sweet, bilingual book that follows a group of children finding the everyday joys and feelings of peace in their community. While it shows children experiencing hardship and loss, it also reminds them to look for and appreciate the simple joys that are part of the everyday rhythm of life - “peace is a joining, not a pulling apart. It’s the courage to bear a wounded heart.” The book also includes questions and prompts to help guide your discussion with children.
What I Like Most | Author: Mary Murphy | Illustrator: Zhu Cheng-Liang | Publisher: Candlewick
This is the sweetest lyrical story about an Asian-American girl and all the observations she makes about what she likes throughout her day. It is an especially tender reminder of how meaningful the simple things can be when you’re spending time with someone you love - in this story, it’s her mother. This book can help children explore the meaning of gratitude, and how giving thanks and appreciation may help you be more mindful of all the good around you. This book is sure to tug on your heart.
Hurry Up! A Book About Slowing Down | Author: Kate Dopirak | Illustrator: Christopher Silas Neal | Publisher: Beach Lane Books
Hurry Up! A Book About Slowing Down is another great book to read aloud that children will relate to. The main character is rushing through one activity to the next until they’re confronted with the word, STOP! Suddenly, they’re slowing down to appreciate what’s going on around them, and discovering the beauty and peace of everyday happenings.
Rain Before Rainbows | Author: Smriti Prasadam-Halls | Illustrator: David Litchfield | Publisher: Candlewick
Rain Before Rainbows is a book that’s about navigating grief and moving forward with hope and promise. The captivating illustrations and simple text will draw in any reader who has ever struggled through challenging life experiences. This is not as obvious of a pick for a list about mindfulness, even still, we think it’s a powerful lesson for anyone to learn that life ebbs and flows in an unpredictable way, and that so often, darkness leads to light. It can feel liberating to be mindful that change is often right around the corner.
More Books to Encourage Mindfulness in Kids:
I am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness | Author: Susan Verde | Illustrator: Peter H. Reynolds | Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers *Check out the author reading this book aloud here!
My Magic Breath: Finding Calm Through Mindful Breathing | Author: Nick Ortner and Alison Taylor | Illustrator: Michelle Polizzi | Publisher: HarperCollins
Alphabreaths: the ABCs of Mindful Breathing | Author: Christopher Willard | Illustrator: Daniel Rechtschaffen | Publisher: Sounds True
Happy: A Beginner’s Book of Mindfulness | Author: Nicola Edwards | Illustrator: Katie Hickey | Publisher: Rodale Kids
You’re Missing It! | Authors: Brady Smith & Tiffany Thiessen | Illustrator: Brady Smith | Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books *note: this is a great one for reminding us all of the power of unplugging!