Raising Mindful Petites

As a former teacher, I spent a lot of time with petites of all ages, from kindergarten to seniors in high school.  Over the years it became clear that an entire generation of kids has been swept up into a fast paced, shorter attention span and instant gratification, screen filled world.  So many petites are bored before they even get into the meat of an activity.

Mindfulness at first glance might seem like something you learned long ago in a yoga class when you were in college.  However, teaching mindfulness to our petites, creates a whole new space for them to slow down, take in their surroundings, think about what they are seeing and process what is happening in the world around them.  This is a very good thing – taking time for yourself to relax, recenter, to be in a calm space is an excellent thing to learn how to do at an early age and can be a wonderful reminder for all of us to slow to and take a moment.  Not to mention it is a great reminder for us as adults, too.

The two books I am sharing today focus on just what we’ve been talking about – mindfulness.

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petite-stag-favoriteA World of Pausabilities: an Excerice in Mindfulness by Frank J. Sileo and illustrations by Jennifer Zivoin (Magination Press, 2017) is a beautifully illustrated story that places emphasis on slowing down, taking deep breathes and noticing the world around you.  This book gives concrete examples of what mindfulness can look like.

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We love the encouraging words and clear ways to practice mindfulness; we love that this book places a focus on slowing down and really paying attention to what you’re doing and being intentional in your actions.

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This book is so much fun to read, on each page I would hear my petites saying “I do that” and “Oh, let’s try that sometime”.  Another aspect of this book that is so much fun is that it rhymes, making it the perfect read aloud for students.

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I love that Jennifer Zivoin created such gorgeous art depicting a diverse group of characters.  I think that this would be a perfect book to share with preschoolers through second graders.

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King Calm Mindful Gorilla in the City by Susan D. Sweet and Brenda S. Miles with illustrations by Bryan Langdo (Magination Press, 2016) is such a fun book about Marvin a gorilla who lives in the city, he is unlike other gorillas, he doesnt want to fight, or stomp around or be destructive.  His great-grandfather on the other hand is more known for his stomping and climbing tall buildings in the city.

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His grandfather doesnt really understand  why Marvin is so calm and so mindful.   When Marvin and his grandfather are in town – Marvin doesnt get crazy with the city spinning all around him, he remains calm and centered.

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Marvin offers words of encouragement to his grandfather to slow down and really taste what he is eating, to notice the world around him beyond just snapping a picture and moving on to the next thing.

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In the end, Marvin and his grandfather venture to the top of a skyscraper in the city (sound familiar?) and his grandfather starts to feel calm, to slow down, to notice everything around him.  We loved that Marvin is the one teaching his grandfather how to be calm and how to take in the special moments.

Bloggers Note: I was given these books from Magination Press in exchange for an honest review.  The thoughts and opinions shared in this post are my own.  Thank you to Magination Press for use of images from A World of Pausabilities and King Calm.

Tales of Adventure & Reading!

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The Storybook Knight by Helen & Thomas Docherty by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (September, 2016) is a book that I have read almost every single night since it showed up on our front porch a few weeks ago.  This book is all about being brave and bold.  About using your mind to solve problems.  Most importantly it’s about sharing a love of reading!

So let’s just dive right into what makes this book one that your petites will beg to have read over and over.  First the illustrations!  They have a classical, familiar feel, almost like Richard Scarry; but with that said it’s completely unique in their own right.  Leo is part of a lovely family who want the best for him.  They encourage him to be a knight, but he doesn’t want to fight.  He wants to sit and read (sounds like an awesome mouse, right?).

Leo decided he will give being a knight a try, so he packs his brand-new shield and sword, sandwiches and lots of books.  When he sets off on his quest he encounters many new creatures; a griffin, troll and dragon!  (Have you ordered this fantastic book yet?)  In his encounters these creatures are used to ordinary knights who fight, but Leo is quite different, instead of using force to get what he wants, he uses his wit and the books he has packed for his journey.

What we love most about Leo is that although these creatures are much bigger than he is, he is brave!  He is bold!  He’s smart!  Leo is everything we want in a hero.  This book is so much fun to read aloud, with the rhyming and fantastic characters, it is so well written you just have to read it aloud.  We love this book and are certain that this book will be a huge hit with your petites!

Teachers and parents I cannot rave about this book enough, you have to check it out for yourselves.  The lovely folks at Sourcebook Jabberwocky have created two really great guides to help you make the most of this fantastic book.

Activity PackEducator Guide

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I also feel compelled to tell you that this is not Helen and Thomas Docherty’s first book, for that you will have to check out The Snatchabook!  Snatchabook is a delightful story (that also can be purchased through your kiddos Scholastic Book account), it is all about the love of books!  One night a darling bunny, Eliza Brown is reading her stories and all of a sudden they disappear!  It is a perfect mystery for petites.  All of the books in Burrow Down and very suspiciously disappearing; Eliza Brown decides she’s had enough and is up for the challenge of figuring out just what is going on.  Eliza sets a magnificent trap for the book thief and patiently waits….until she discovers just who has been stealing all of the books in Burrow Down…the Snatchabook!  This story is so much fun.  It is a fantastic read aloud.

Books for Back to School: Start the week of right! – Part 1

One of the things I have missed the most about being on leave from teaching is that first week of school. It is so incredibly exciting. I love seeing all of the kids on the first day of school, with their new backpacks smiling faces ready for whatever the year is going to bring them.   So I wanted to share some picture books that I think would be perfect to share with students those first few days of school.

How Full is Your Bucket

How Full is Your Bucket: For Kids by Tom Rath, Mary Reckmeyer and illustrated by Maurie J. Manning (2009, Gallup Press). This book holds a special place in my heart because one of my best teacher friends and I would make our way around to each classroom reading this story and then doing some amazingly fun brainstorming with kids about how they could work all year to fill each other’s buckets. This is such a fun story to read, not to mention you can make a great chart for your wall to remind kids about being kind to one another.

Grade Levels – Kindergarten to Fifth Grade

Big Plans

Big Plans by Bob Shea and illustrations by Lane Smith, (2008, Disney Hyperion).  This is a fantastic story of a young boy, who although stuck in timeout, has BIG PLANS!  He has a fantastic imagination.  This story is filled with imagination.  This would be a perfect read aloud with older grades to start thinking about goals setting.

Grade Level – Kindergarten – Fifth Grade 

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What if Everybody Did That? by Ellen Javernick with ilustrations by Coleen M. Madden (2010, Two Lions). This book is all about consequences and making good choices. This book is a cautionary tale about breaking the rules, even if it seems like a silly rule. Each time the boy breaks one of the rules, an adult responds with “What if everybody did that”? This causes the boy to realize that there are consequences for his actions and that he needs to turn it around.

Grade Levels – Kindergarten to Second Grade

Back to School Rules

Back-To-School Rules by Laurie B. Friedman art by Teresa Murfin (2011, Carolrhoda Books).  A book about a little boy named, Percy.  Percy struggles to follow the rules, he knows what they are but doesn’t always make the best choices.  This would be a great read aloud for developing classroom rules.

Grade Levels – Kindergarten – Fourth Grade

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, by Dr. Seuss (1990, Random House).  This book is a classic that is loved by all ages of children.  I think it would be perfect to use to set goals with older students and discuss where they are at the beginning of the year and then revisit the same goals at the end of the year.  Not to mention there are some really amazing bulletin board ideas.

Grade Levels – All Ages

First Day Jitters

First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg and art by Julie Love (2000, Charlesbridge).   Another lovely book all about first day jitters of starting at a new school.  I love that this book is relatable and will help kids learn empathy and compassion for their classmates who may be having their first day in a new school.  I love this because you can explore the plot lines with older students and spend more time discussing feelings with younger students.

Grade Levels – Kindergarten to Fourth Grade

Going Places

Going Places by Peter and Paul Reynolds, (2014, Atheneum Books for Young Readers).  This is a book that we have read many times before, it is a great story about working together.  I think that this is especially important for young students to be reminded about what working together can look like.  A great story about teamwork.

Grade Levels – Kindergarten – Third Grade

Chu's First Day of School

Chu’s First Day of School by Neil Gaiman and Alex Rex ( 2014, Harper Collins) is the perfect book to discuss all the emotions and concerns that go along with the first days of school.  We love Chu at this house and think your students and kids will too.  Also, there are some really fun activities to do after you finish reading to keep the conversations flowing.

Before Reading | Talking Points During Reading | After Reading Activitites

Grade Levels – Kindergarten to Second Grade

I am currently putting together part 2, so  if you have a favorite story you love to read tell me about it and I will include it on the next list!

-Erin