Our Raising Star Readers contributor Ann Angel always has a unique take on selecting books for her Reading Team. Here, Ann talks about books that encourage what she calls “mindfulness moments” — titles that help kids (and adults) slow down and focus during our current “wild” times:
Our house is home to three generations. So husband Jeff and I live with Teddy, a rather rambunctious five-year-old, and his mom. Our daughter — his mom — will tell you Teddy’s full of energy, smart and stubborn, and able to get wound up for no reason other than that he’s five. She’s not wrong.
He’s also sensitive and loving and feels terrible when he is reprimanded for his wild side. To avoid meltdowns and shame when he’s spinning and jumping and rushing to fully experience those last moments before bedtime, our daughter Stevi has developed a plan that includes reading books for kids on yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. I’m always amazed at how quickly Teddy embraces yoga and settles into practice, or to listen to stories of meditation and kindness.
Recently, Teddy decided I needed a yoga lesson, so he pulled out his favorite books and his yoga mat so we could capture mindfulness moments. Mama Stevi served as our camera person.
Teddy’s favorite book for mindfulness proved to be Good Night Yoga, written by Mariam Gates and illustrated by Sarah Jane Hinder. With straightforward illustrations and metaphoric guidance, Teddy was able to teach me to take positions such as “stars sparkle brightly and the moon rises high,” and to pose for “ladybugs settle softly between the butterflies …” These are basic yoga positions that were made especially fun because of the language Gates uses to encourage her readers, and the illustrations that show appropriate poses.
Bedtime Meditations for Kids, written by Cory Cochiolo, is another delightful book that helps slow down our young ones and settle them in for the night. It was clear that Teddy’s favorite activity was “High Five,” a counting activity that walks readers through an exercise to review the day. It ends with high-fiving your own hands.
There are additional books that this family chooses when we’re settling down on a wild day. These include Pat Zietlow Miller’s Be Kind, illustrated by Jen Hill, which helps Teddy slow down and pay attention to the people in his life who might need a helping hand (rumor has it a follow-up book will be out soon). Another choice is Jacqueline Woodson’s The Day You Begin. Delightful illustrations by Rafael López walk readers through a litany of differences that can make young ones feel isolated and alone while encouraging these readers to connect to others.
I’m also looking forward to the March release of JoAnn Early Macken’s Grow. Illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman, this is a book that is simply about living each day with attention and celebrating the way that the world changes and grows, and so do we. My hope is that Teddy can help me sit silently and watch change and growth.
What are your favorite mindfulness books, and how do you unwind with your grandkids or kids when life becomes a spinning, whirling ride?
Bookology is always looking for new Reading Teams to help us celebrate the joys of reading aloud together. Contact Lisa Bullard for further information if you’re interested in participating.