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Wouldn’t it be nice if all kids came with their very own personal manual? The kind of manual that is filled with personalized, troubleshooting ideas for the days when things feel a bit tougher than usual. Well, as we all know, they do not come with such a guidebook. Caregivers and their children must find their way together, weathering the emotional storms that are covertly inviting us to look for hidden rainbows.
What if we told you that the following books listed here are like mini manuals for helping us raise happy, calm, and resilient kids? It is the truth! These books are like finding a little pot of gold at the end of the rainbow … they are wonderful choices for helping children (not to mention adults) understand that they hold the power within themselves to maneuver their way through the inevitable ups and downs of life.
Take a breath. Inhale. Exhale. Read your way to a calmer day …
Written by Mariam Gates
Illustrated by Sarah Jane Hinder
Our breath is our own special superpower—the answer to finding our calm—but it can feel tricky to master in a minute of mayhem. Unless you have a copy of Breathe with Me, that is! This lushly illustrated picture book is filled with delightful breathing practices that will have kids readily inhaling and exhaling … feeling calmer in no time. Practice them all or pick a favorite. Either way, readers of this excellent book will be equipped with just the right tool for easing a worrying or stormy moment. Since we already talked about rainbows above, you’ll be happy to know that one of the breathing practices is Rainbow Breath.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Sounds True | January 1, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1683640301
Written by Susan Verde
Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
I Am Human: A Book of Empathy is an insightful exploration of empathy, perfect for young readers (and older readers).
It’s human to feel sad. It’s human to make mistakes. It’s human to be fearful. It’s powerful to know that we can make impactful choices, we can say sorry, we can dream big, and we can find our way when we move forward. That’s exactly what readers will get to take away from this enlightening picture book. When we make connections through empathy, we can build strong and happy relationships with others and ourselves.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Harry N. Abrams | October 2, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1419731655
Written and Illustrated by Ed Vere
If one of the keys to raising resilient children is imparting the message of staying true to ourselves, How to Be a Lion is a great way to showcase this. Leonard and Marianne, a lion and a duck, are unlikely friends. Leonard is taunted by a pack of bullying lions because he doesn’t conform to the thought that there is only “one way to be a lion.” Leonard finds his voice, stands up to the bullies, and imparts the message that there is more than one way to be a lion. This tale is both gentle and empowering—a winning combination for such a book.
Ages 2-5 | Publisher: Doubleday Books for Young Readers | June 26, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0525578055
Written by Matthew Burgess
Illustrated by Fiona Woodcock
This picture book takes on grouchiness in a fun way! What do you do when you’re feeling an unshakable kind of grouchiness? How do you move from grumpy to happy? Some people will try to change the subject on you, while others will try to feed you food. What about the hugger that tries to hug you before you are ready. SPACE PLEASE! A favorite song, maybe? A little dance?
Sometimes (more often than not), it’s just as simple as feeling the feels and then letting them settle. Besides, you could likely feel grumpy and happy and grumpy and then happy again all in one day. Could the path to happiness be accepting grouchiness and allowing it to pass? The illustrations delightfully capture some sibling rivalry—in combination with hand-cut rubber stamps, stencils, and pencil line work, the use of children’s blow pens has been used for a splattering and satisfying curmudgeonly effect.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers | March 12, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0399556623
Written by Mariam Gates
Illustrated by Margarita Surnaite
Ok, so we know that Breathe with Me (above) is a must have! But what if your little one is ready to take their breath to the next level? Mediate with Me is a great introductory guide that takes kids, step-by-step, on a fun journey of mediation and mindfulness—wonderfully calming mood boosters that get kids in-touch with their bodies and feelings.
“Breathe in, and fill your whole body. Breathe out, and relax your whole body.”
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Dial Books | August 29, 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-0399186615
Header image from Breathe with Me (Sounds True, 2019). The article 5 Books For Raising Happy, Calm, and Resilient Kids was curated by The Children’s Book Review and sponsored by Sounds True. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with Emotional Intelligence, Happiness, Mariam Gates, Mental Health, Picture Books, Sarah Jane Hinder, Social-Emotional, and Sounds True.
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