The best picture books for social/emotional learning and well being

Who am I?

I am a lover of yoga, nature, writing and all things that feed the soul. I have been practicing yoga most of my life and have been teaching yoga for almost 20 years. I have studied Yoga for Children, Yoga Safety, and I am a Certified Yoga Instructor. Over the years I have taught yoga to thousands of children and watched their delight, while building focus, balance, courage, and self-awareness. In addition, I write for children and adults. I am the author of several picture books including, The Yoga Game by the Sea and The Yoga Game in the Garden, chosen by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s – “Best Books for Kids and Teens.” 


I wrote...

When I Feel: Easy Yoga for Big Feelings

By Kathy Beliveau, Julie McLaughlin (illustrator), Jesse Holland (photographer)

Book cover of When I Feel: Easy Yoga for Big Feelings

What is my book about?

“Sometimes I feel angry, so I become the sea. I breathe in deep, an ocean breath and breathe out peacefully.”

Feelings come and go and while we can’t always choose how we feel – with a little awareness, we can choose the way we manage our feelings. When I Feel: Easy Yoga for Big Feelings encourages children to recognize, acknowledge and manage emotions using simple and effective yoga practices. The rhythmic text and repetition engage young readers and support early literacy skills while the photographs layered with illustrations show readers each pose and breathing practice in a fun and playful way.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Peaceful Piggy Meditation

Kathy Beliveau Why did I love this book?

Peaceful Piggy Meditation addresses everyday challenges (like feeling rushed, having a rotten day, or even losing a pet) in a gentle and honest manner, helping readers discover powerful ways to slow down and find a peaceful place inside. I have read this charming book to hundreds of yoga students...children and adults. All ages can relate to “Peaceful Piggy” and always it leaves people inspired and smiling. 

By Kerry Lee MacLean,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Peaceful Piggy Meditation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

The Coalition of Visionary Resources Children's Book of the Year Winner

What can you do when you're mad, sad, or anxious? Find a quiet spot, sit, and breathe. When you meditate every day, your mind stays happy, and even bad days are a little easier.

Sometimes life seems like it's all about hurrying―so many places to go! And sometimes it's hard when things don't go your way―it can make a piggy angry and sad. So how do young piggies find a peaceful place in a frustrating world? They meditate! They find a quiet spot, a special place with a few…


Book cover of I Like Myself!

Kathy Beliveau Why did I love this book?

This rhyming picture book is full of frolic and fun as it follows a child’s celebration of self. “I like myself! I’m glad I’m me. There’s no one else I’d rather be.” In a world constantly trying to make us into something or someone else, I Like Myself! carries a powerful message and reminder to celebrate who we are. This is a book I could read over and over with a message we all need to hear again and again.

By Karen Beaumont, David Catrow (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked I Like Myself! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?



High on energy and imagination, this ode to self-esteem encourages kids to appreciate everything about themselves—inside and out. Messy hair? Beaver breath? So what! Here's a little girl who knows what really matters.      At once silly and serious, Karen Beaumont's joyous rhyming text and David Catrow's wild illustrations unite in a book that is sassy, soulful . . . and straight from the heart. The sturdy board book is just right for little hands.


Book cover of Crocs Don't Do Yoga

Kathy Beliveau Why did I love this book?

Connie the Croc from Constance Creek is a snappy croc with a short fuse who doesn’t know what to do with her temper . . . until some of the critters around Constance Creek suggest yoga and meditation. This hilarious book effectively demonstrates how little things can sometimes trigger huge outbursts and how simple yoga practices can just as quickly restore calm. This delightful book grabbed me by my funny bone and never let go! 

By Michelle Wilson, Catherine Surovova (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Crocs Don't Do Yoga as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Crocs don't do yoga... or do they?
Connie is one snappy crocodile. Any small setback can send the croc into a frenzy, forcing all the creatures on Constant Creek to take cover.
Then an unlikely friend suggests yoga to help stay calm...but Connie will need some encouragement.
Will she be brave enough to give it a try?


Book cover of Breathe Like a Bear

Kathy Beliveau Why did I love this book?

Breathe Like a Bear offers many “mindful moments” to help kids feel more focused and calm. As a mother, a yoga teacher, and as someone who has worked as an education assistant and preschool teacher, I have learned over and over that every child (and every person) is different and I appreciate the variety of practices and imagination offered in this book. There’s something for everyone here!

By Kira Willey, Anni Betts (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Breathe Like a Bear as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Breathe Like a Bear is a beautifully illustrated collection of movements and breathing exercises designed to teach kids techniques for managing their bodies, breath, and emotions. Best of all, they can be performed anywhere: in the backseat of a car, at home, or even at a child's deskat school. Based on Kira Willey's Parents'Choice GOLD Award-winning CD, Mindful Moments for Kids, this is the first book of its kind and is the perfect tool to help children and parents develop a fun and consistent mindfulness practice.


Book cover of I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness

Kathy Beliveau Why did I love this book?

Many little people (and big people) will be able to see themselves in this book and will relate to the feeling of being thrown off balance by worries. With simple illustrations and analogies, this book quietly presents a lifeline of ideas to help us steady ourselves and to help us feel more grounded and at peace. 

By Susan Verde, Peter H. Reynolds (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked I Am Peace as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the world feels chaotic, find peace within through an accessible mindfulness practice from the bestselling picture-book dream team that brought us I Am Yoga. Express emotions through direct speech. Find empathy through imagination. Connect with the earth. Wonder at the beauty of the natural world. Breathe, taste, smell, touch, and be present.

Perfect for the classroom or for bedtime, Susan Verde's gentle, concrete narration and Peter H. Reynolds's expressive watercolor illustrations bring the tenets of mindfulness to a kid-friendly level. Featuring an author's note about the importance of mindfulness and a guided meditation for children, I Am Peace will…


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Book cover of Sweet Dreams, Boone

Susan Grant Author Of The Bottle House

New book alert!

Who am I?

I am a Bible college graduate whose faith has always been a practical matter. Because I learned to find the “so what” of the Bible, when I became a teacher of the Bible in the public schools of Rowan County, North Carolina, my elective courses had waiting lists for students to get in to. As I now teach in Maine, I found I could continue to share a practical Christian faith through my writing. The books I have listed here do the very thing that I seek in my own writing.

Susan's book list on authentically illustrating genuine Christian faith

What is my book about?

Boone is a sad and lonely little dog. He doesn’t like to be left alone when Mom goes to work.

To help him feel better, Mom buys him a special basket for his bed. When he sleeps, he dreams of a long-ago time and meets a man who is sad and lonely too, until he meets Jesus.

Sweet Dreams, Boone

By Susan Grant, Kelly Artieri (illustrator),

What is this book about?

Boone is a sad and lonely little dog. He doesn’t like to be left alone when Mom goes to work. To help him feel better, Mom buys him a special basket for his bed. When he sleeps, he dreams of a long-ago time and meets a man who is sad and lonely too, until he meets Jesus.


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