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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

King Calm Cover.jpg

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.


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.


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.


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.


Books About Moving Away

Moving can be really stressful and upsetting for petites.  Recently I was asked about what books I would recommend for a petite who was struggling with the loss of their friend who moved far away.  Here are some recommendations of books that we think are not only fabulous stories, but stories that could really help a petite who is missing their friend.  These are the stories that are perfect for petites who are moving or staying behind.

Before I LeaveBefore I Leave by Jessixa Bagley (Roaring Brook Press, 2016) is a beautiful story about two friends Aaron and Zelda, who are going to be separated by a move. This story touches on all the feels and emotions that happen when a little one is going through the transition of moving. This book is filled with sweet illustrations that help petites to think about how they might feel. This book has less than 100 words and I believe that this is what makes this book so incredibly special.  I love that Jessixa talks about the worry of moving and not being able to see your friends as much as you like, but also helps to resolve that worry by showing Zelda reading letters from her dear friend and holding close the memories that they had together.


A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle (Simon Spotlight, 2014) is a great story about a hermit crab who outgrows his shell, he finds new sea creatures to help him with this transition.   Eventually he will outgrow this shell and need to make new friends again.  What we love about this book, like all Carle books are the illustrations, they are gorgeous and vibrant.   One other aspect of this book is that it has opportunities to learn about new sea creatures as well as do some counting along the way.



Yard SaleYard Sale by Eve Bunting and Lauren Castillo (Candlewick, 2015) is a gorgeously illustrated book about big changes for one petite.  Her family is moving from their home into an apartment and she needs to get rid of a lot of her things in order to fit everything into their new home.  I think that this book speaks to so many families who have had to downsize and move to new home, but why I am so excited about this book is the message that home is who you choose to live with not where you live.

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-8-33-05-pmJuna’s Jar
 by Jane Bahk and Felicia Hoshino (Lee & Low Books, 2015), is the perfect addition to your petites shelf. It is about a young girl named Juna, her family has a large jar of kimchi in their fridge and when the kimchi is all gone she sometimes get to keep the jar.  Juna is also a girl who loves adventures especially ones with her best friend Hector.  Sadly, one day Juna goes to get Hector and learns that he has moved from his grandmother’s house to a new house far away. Juna is devastated that she didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye.  Her older brother, Minho, tries to cheer her up by buying her a fish to put into her special jar.  As Juna goes on these magical adventures inspired by whatever is in her special jar, she searches in her dreams for her dear friend Hector.  One night she is able to check in on Hector and realizes that he is happy and that he too has a special jar.  The story ends just as you hoped it would with Juna wishing of what to put into her jar when she unexpectedly meets a new friend and we can only assume the adventures continue.  We love how relatable this book is, many children live in apartments and many live with extended family of some sort, this book honors that.
screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-8-40-35-pmA Year With Marmalade by Alison Reynolds and Health McKenzie (Little Simon, 2013) is a story of two friends, Ella and Maddy.  They do everything together, but one day Maddy tells Ella that she is moving away and asks her to care for her cat Marmalade. What is so wonderful about this book is that it discusses how Ella tries to carry on and do things that were fun before and now they just aren’t as fun.  This is something that all petites who have had a friend move away will understand, that it just doesn’t feel the same, nor should it.  That missing a friend is okay.   It is a really sweet story, in the end Maddy returns and the friends are together again.
Half a World AwayHalf a World Away by Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood. (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2007)  Is a wonderful book for petites who have friends or family who live very far away.  Amy and Louie are the best of friends. They build towers as high as the sky, they look for magical creatures in clouds, and they always greet one another with their special call.  But then Amy’s family moves across the ocean and they have to find ways to be friends from such a far distance.  This book doesn’t have a “happy ending” of friends being united, but more so a realistic ending of what sometimes happens when friends move away.  This book discusses what might be the same in a long distance friendship and what can sometimes be a struggle.
A Kiss GoodbyeA Kiss Goodbye by Audrey Penn and Barbara L. Gibson (Tanglewood, 2007) which may look familiar because it is part of one of the most loved series for petites The Kissing Hand.  In this story you will read about Chester raccoon who is moving away from his friends because the trees in his forest are being cut down, so his family packs up in search of a new home.  This book is relatable because many children do not look forward to moving, to new friends or new adventures and that is the same for Chester.  What is fantastic is that there is always a bright side and the new tree Chester moves to isn’t so bad and he even makes a new friend.
screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-2-02-01-pmHerman’s Letter by Tom Percival (Bloomsbury USA Childrens, 2014)  What do you do when your best friend in the whole wide world has to move far away?  Well, you write lots and lots of letters.   Sometimes it can be hard to write letters when your friend who moved away seems to be having a lot more fun than you are.  This is a fantastic story of Herman the bear and Henry the raccoon and how they navigate their long distance friendship.  This book has really fun lift the flaps and makes it all the more enjoyable to read with your petites.
If I’ve missed any books that you think would be a perfect addition to this list, please tell me about them in the comments below.