As a parent and a teacher I am aware of the varying levels of stress and anxiety among young people today. Sometimes, I have even been caught in the storm of anger and anxiety over a homework assignment or things not going your way. Helping young people calm down when they are having a melt down can be challenging. I have to remind myself during these times, “Be the calm, not the storm.”
For my son and daughter, books have become a great tool to help teach and communicate all different messages from making friends to showing compassion. As a gift this past holiday season my sister, a yoga enthusiast, thoughtfully gave us three books about yoga and meditation which have become family favorites. All of the books compiled below have taught us to stay calm, and breathe. Some of these books offer addition strategies to help us during stressful moments.
Below is a list of the top ten children’s books that have helped our family manage anxiety and anger, and at the same time, promote peace.
Peaceful Piggy Mediation by Kerry Lee MacClean is a book for young people about meditation. The pictures and words teach readers the beginnings of meditation. The book offers meditation as a vehicle to have a positive outlook on life, even when things aren’t going your way.
Who doesn’t love Babar? This books tells the story of a yogi visiting Babar and teaching yoga to all the elephants in Celesteville. The books offers an illustrated step-by-step guide of fifteen different yoga poses.
Taeeun Yoo writes and illustrates this fun book showing young people how to mimic animals in all different yoga poses from snakes to butterflies. A good introduction to yoga for young ones.
When Sophie’s sister grabs her stuffed gorilla and Sophie accidently knocks over her blocks, she get really, really angry. Molly Bang’s story acknowledges feelings of anger with vivid pictures and thoughtful text to help young people work through angry thoughts.
Cheri Meiners has created a great series of books for pre-school age children (we have them all). This book in particular focuses on using our words to talk through our feelings when we are frustrated or angry.
Anger is personified in Gail Silver’s book as a red, hairy creature. This book teaches about not getting carried away by our feelings of anger and strong emotions.
Kali’s Song celebrates differences in all of us and the power of music and art over violence. This books celebrates the natural world and honors art as an amazing form of expression.
I think that most elementary schools use How Full is Your Bucket and Have You Filled Your Bucket Today? to promote positive behavior and kindness. A great book that teaches character education.
Zen Ties plays on words. The main story is about compassion and friendship. Stillwater, a panda bear and main character, teaches children to be kind to others and has a calming presence throughout the story.
Todd Parr is a wonderful author and illustrator with direct stories and every one can relate to. In The Peace Book offers a simple message for readers young and old.