Try this 6-minute lovingkindness meditation with your family. It was recorded for us by the Barbara Verrochi and Kristin Leigh, co-directors of The Shala Yoga House in Brooklyn. The Shala also holds daily morning meditation practices via Zoom that we highly recommend for beginners and more advanced adults. These sessions are a great way to commit to a mindfulness practice with a wonderful online community.
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Every December a 321 teacher gives her students $1 and tells them they have to come up with create ways to spread as much kindness with $1 as possible (without combining funds). Examples of things students have done: Turned the $1 into 100 pennies and put them near a fountain with a sign to make a holiday wish, buy a poster board and make a sign offering to carry groceries, buy a poster and make a sign collecting money for a homeless man, collecting $40, presenting it to him and hugging him when he hugged her, cut pine branches off a tree, bought a $1 bow and made a wreath leaving it anonymously on a neighbor’s door, another student donated the dollar to a charity, but emailed his parents’ contact list saying that he did it and hoped that would also donate (I think the charity ended up getting $400), the list goes on and on. Why not do a $1 act of kindness every month?
Willard uses the sciences of genetics, behavior, neuroscience, psychology, and social contagions to explain how kindness leads to happiness, and happiness leads to creativity and finding new perspectives and opportunities. (13:35 minutes)
“A sweetness in the images and the text elevates the book from sheer simplicity to usefulness in providing behavioral role models.” —Kirkus Reviews
Amos McGee, an elderly man who works at the zoo, finds time each day for five special friends. With empathy and understanding he gives the elephant, tortoise, penguin, rhinoceros, and owl the attention they need. One morning, Amos wakes up with a bad cold and stays home in bed. His friends wait patiently and then leave the zoo to visit him.
“Peace is an Offering is an exceptional book with beautiful illustrations and a meaningful message that appeals to preschool through second grade level students. The book captivated students’ interests and inspired open-hearted discussions that led to deeper project work. Students readily responded by talking about family, friends, walking away from conflict, acts of kindness, gratitude, and how to maintain a peaceful feeling. We read several books aloud to students, and Peace is an Offering received immediate comments from students about the illustrations and how much they like the book overall. This book should be in every lower grade level classroom.” Makes a mention of 9/11.
More than ever before, our world needs more goodness…more kindness… more caring…more courage…more YOU in it. But, what can one do? Here’s the answer: Throughout your life there’s a voice that only you can hear. It’s a call to make a difference that only you can make. If you never hear it, something magical will be lost. But if you hear it and heed it, your life will become a wonderful romance and adventure. The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give your gift away. The place you are in needs you today. Your spark can become a flame and change everything. Instead of asking, “What can I get from life?” this book challenges and guides you to answer the question, “What can I give?”
Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.
As budding young readers learn about numbers and counting, they are also introduced to accepting different body types, developing social skills and character, and learning what it means to find value in yourself and in others.
Miller explores the topic of kindness through the story of a child pondering how to respond when a friend spills grape juice on herself. In the language of a child’s thoughts, Miller provides examples of kindness (giving, helping, paying attention), and acknowledges that it is not always easy to be kind, especially when others aren’t.
A celebration of the world’s diverse cultures, both our similarities and differences. Fox’s message is that no matter where we come from, within our hearts, “Joys are the same, / and love is the same. / Pain is the same, / and blood is the same.”
“…a beautiful book with a beautiful message…the book shows young children how easy it is to be kind through small acts and in simple ways…” ―R.J. Palacio, author of Wonder
Parable about mercy and empathy that asks readers to look at life from an insect’s point of view
This heartwarming book encourages positive behavior by using the concept of an invisible bucket to show children how easy and rewarding it is to express kindness, appreciation and love by “filling buckets.”
Auggie & Me is a new side to the Wonder story: three new chapters from three different characters: bully Julian, oldest friend Christopher and classmate Charlotte
Used at PS 321 and many schools, the Peace Path is a framework for addressing a myriad of interpersonal conflicts such as feeling left out of a group, having problems sharing or taking turns, physical altercations, or other words or actions that lead to hurt feelings.
“[A] poetic reckoning of the importance of love in a child’s life . . . eloquent and moving.”—People Magazine “Everything that can be called love — from shared joy to comfort in the darkness — is gathered in the pages of this reassuring, refreshingly honest picture book.”—The New York Times Book Review, Editors’ Choice / Staff Picks From the Book Review
“Readers will chime in with the ‘hip, hip hooray’ this cuddly-looking creature earns when he finally embraces and celebrates his differences.” —Kirkus
The girl in this story sees it happening, but she would never do these mean things herself. Then one day something happens that shows her that being a silent bystander isn’t enough. Will she take some steps on her own to help another kid? Could it be as simple as sitting on the bus with the girl no one has befriended (and discovering that she has a great sense of humor)? Resources at the end of the book will help parents and children talk about teasing and bullying and find ways to stop it at school. One child at a time can help change a school.
In this funny yet endearing story, one little boy learns an effective recipes for turning your best enemy into your best friend. Accompanied by charming illustrations, Enemy Pie serves up a sweet lesson in the difficulties and ultimate rewards of making new friends.
Amos the mouse and Boris the whale: a devoted pair of friends with nothing at all in common, except good hearts and a willingness to help their fellow mammal.
Ideal for sparking conversations about tolerance, the need for compromise, and fear of the unknown.
This gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish. Any parent, teacher, or counselor looking for material that sensitively addresses the needs of quieter children will find The Invisible Boy a valuable and important resource.
Shows kids how easy it is to develop empathy toward those around them. Empathy is the ability to notice what other people feel. Empathy leads to the social skills and personal relationships which make our lives rich and beautiful, and it is something we can help our children learn.
A fresh and original twist on the common issue of bullying. Kids will relate, and parents and teachers will appreciate the story’s deft handling of conflict resolution, which happens without adult intervention.
Chloe and her friends won’t play with the new girl, Maya. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her friends, they reject her. Eventually Maya stops coming to school. When Chloe’s teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship, and thinks about how much better it could have been if she’d shown a little kindness toward Maya.
A great middle school book on bullying. Jensen is a little overweight and spends a lot of time fantasizing about becoming an astronaut (even though he’s failing math). He’s an ordinary kid who tries too hard to belong. Kids sniff out that neediness and then it’s open season. Jensen triumphs not because he loses weight, or becomes an athlete or a brilliant student. He finds his own place in the Middle School Jungle, through maturity of thought, while staying his own dreamy self.
A boldly illustrated picture book read-aloud about how everyone gets sad—ninjas, wrestlers, knights, superheroes, everyone . . . even daddies have emotions!
In every spiritual tradition, we find teachings on the virtues and qualities that we most want to pass on to our kids—such as generosity, kindness, honesty, determination, and patience. Today, a growing body of research from neuroscience and social psychology supports these teachings, offering insights into cultivating these virtues in ourselves and in our families. Raising Resilience is a practical guide for parents and educators of children from preschool through adolescence, detailing ten universal principles for happy families and thriving children.
Growing Up Mindful helps parents, educators, and counselors learn how to embody and share the skills of mindfulness that will empower our children with resilience throughout their lives. With more than 75 accessible exercises and practices, along with adaptations for the individual needs of a wide range of children and teens
Children learn both their ABCs and the basics of mindfulness through playful exercises and vivid illustrations. Each letter of the alphabet teaches a simple mindfulness or compassion-based practice.
A meditation therapist’s case for deep relaxation in terms pitched straight at kids with suggestions like visualizing the quieting of one’s mind as the settling of particles in a muddied jar of water.
Louis is a verb! He has a lot of trouble focusing and he is always doing something, but the problem is usually it’s the wrong something. Louis mom teaches him how to focus by showing him a few hands on ideas that anyone can try. A must have book for all who struggle with paying attention!
Each day, there are so many things to think about. Getting ready for school, turning in homework, taking a math test, band solo tryouts, soccer practice…and it is a long way from your head to your feet. Be Where Your Feet Are! reinforces the concepts of mindfulness and being present in a fun way children will remember, and shows what can happen when we learn to appreciate the world—and people—around us.
Simple mindfulness practices to help your child deal with anxiety, improve concentration, and handle difficult emotions
A Handful of Quiet presents one of the best known and most innovative meditation practices developed by Thich Nhat Hanh as part of the Plum Village community’s practice with children. Pebble meditation is a playful and fun activity that parents and educators can do with their children to introduce them to meditation. It is designed to involve children in a hands-on and creative way that touches on their interconnection with nature. Practicing pebble meditation can help relieve stress, increase concentration, nourish gratitude, and can help children deal with difficult emotions.
Written in a highly accessible style that doesn’t rely on lot of jargon or difficult vocabulary requiring breaks for explanation, Thich Nhat Hanh emphasizes the importance of the present moment through vivid metaphors, original allegories, and colorful stories. Young readers will learn about handling anger, living in the present moment, and “interbeing” — the interconnectedness of all things. Thich Nhat Hanh offers various practices that children can do on their own or with others that will help them to transform anger and unhappiness and reconnect to the wonders of nature and the joy of living in the present moment.
Fun, engaging activities that teach kids and parents the basics of mindfulness. Breathing exercises, visualizations and focus-based meditation.
Mindfulness practices for children and adults
A story for anyone, at any age, who has ever had a problem that they wished would go away. It’s a story to inspire you to look closely at that problem and to find out why it’s here. Because you might discover something amazing about your problem…and yourself.
Twelve-year-old Marshall wants to be a superhero, but his powers always go wrong. He can shoot lasers from his eyes, but they either miss the target or cause more damage. And when you have severe motion sickness, flying is no fun. Marshall and others like him are referred to as “defectives.” But when the villainous Man With No Name tries to destroy the city again, Marshall and The Night Owl, a retired crime fighter, must team up to work with the powers they have, redeem themselves, and save the day.
Part of the American Girl Smart Girl’s Guide series, this book is written by a social worker and does a great job at teaching self-respect, confidence, and respect for others. Perfect for boys too.