10 Books for Raising Mindful and Conscious Little Ones
in Parenthood on Family
Our house is full of books and no matter how hard I try minimise all the other 'stuff' we have, our bookshelves just keep growing and growing. However I know I owe a lot to the books I have read and I believe reading to and encouraging our children to read is one of the greatest gifts we can give to them as parents.
This list of books may appear to be a mixed bag on the surface but they all touch upon the concept of being consciously aware, be that environmentally or emotionally, or of being mindful of the present moment and the world around us. They are a set of books that really touched my heart and they all include the key themes of kindness, compassion and acceptance in some way. They are in no particular order and I'm sure there are many more I could add to this list, but these are 10 we have really enjoyed reading together recently.
1. Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers
So I'm pretty sure everyone knows about this book and it is easy to see why it's such a favourite. Packed with beautiful illustrations, this book provides young minds with a perfect introduction to life. It goes through what and where Earth is, and summarises what life is all about in just a few pages. It's so simple, yet so remarkably profound. One of those timeless classics that everyone can gain something from, regardless of age. A book where you find something new every time you read it.
2. Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
Now this has just got to be one of the most beautiful books I have ever read, no exaggeration. The story tells us about a boy named Julian, who absoutely loves mermaids, and about how, when using a bit of imagination, he manages to become one. It's a lovely tale about a little boy following his dreams with nuanced themes of acceptance, kindness and the challenging of societal norms. Plus the artwork is just out of this world.
3. Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees
This story tells of a Giraffe named Gerald who would really love to dance like all the other animals, but only gets laughed at when he steps onto the floor. He heads off all alone rather discouraged but ends up creating a magical dance all of his own. The book implies that regardless of who you are, if you really wish to do something then you should not be afraid of failure and trying again. It reinforces the mindset that we should all look for the potential within ourselves and to embrace both failure and those small successes along any journey.
4. Feelings: Inside my Heart and in my Head by Libby Walden and Richard Jones
This is the perfect introductory book to help young children become more mindful of what they are feeling and to help them describe those feelings to others. The book moves through a range of feelings, each one having it's own fitting lyrical verse and beautifully matched illustration. A book I'm sure we will read again and again as Roscoe grows up.
5. On Sudden Hill by Linda Sarah and Benji Davies
This book tells the story of accepting someone new and subtly relates to all the emotions that come with that. It is a story of kindness and how friendships can change and develop over time. It also sends my imagination into overdrive every time I read it.
6. Grandad's Island by Benji Davies
By the same author as above this is another beautifully told story. It deals with the loss of a grandparent in a comforting way without ever referring to actual death. It can be interpreted as much more than that though. It is a tale of togetherness and love, of how it is normal to miss people and how those we hold dear will forever remain near us no matter what.
7. The Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb
Again I am sure this book is known to many already but I couldn't not mention it, it is one of Roscoe's absolute favourites at the moment. It is a beautiful story with wonderfully apt illustrations, and above all else, it really makes me stop to just be in the present moment. It reminds me to appreciate the simple things and our time together.
8. Elmer's Special Day by David McKee
The colours and illustrations in this book are just out of this world, so bright and magical. The story tells of Elmer's day where instead of just inviting elephants to his parade, he makes sure to invite absolutely everyone to the celebrations. It is a tale about inclusivity, kindness and utter fabulousness.
9. The Kiss That Missed by David Melling
This is a rather random addition to the list, we actually picked this book up in a charity shop a few months after Roscoe was born and it's become one of our most loved books on the shelf. It tells of a father who blew his son a bedtime kiss one night, but because he was in such a hurry it missed the little boy and disappered into the night. A tale of adventure and of the touching power of love. It acts as a gentle reminder to slow down, to be present and to reconnect with those around us. An extremely useful sentiment in this fast-paced world.
10. V is for Vegan: The ABCs of Being Kind by Ruby Roth
I would say this is an absolute must have for vegan and vegetarian families. It introduces the idea of a compassionate lifestyle without being too patronising and touches on a multitude of concepts, from identifying the main vegan food groups to animal protection and from social awareness to environmental activism. It is an enchanting book and one I'm sure we will use far into the future to help explain many ethical issues as Roscoe grows up.
Thanks for reading.