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

Kathy Beliveau Author Of When I Feel: Easy Yoga for Big Feelings
By Kathy Beliveau

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.

The books I picked & why

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Peaceful Piggy Meditation

By Kerry Lee MacLean,

Book cover of Peaceful Piggy Meditation

Why 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. 

I Like Myself!

By Karen Beaumont, David Catrow (illustrator),

Book cover of I Like Myself!

Why 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.

Crocs Don't Do Yoga

By Michelle Wilson, Catherine Surovova (illustrator),

Book cover of Crocs Don't Do Yoga

Why 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! 

Breathe Like a Bear

By Kira Willey, Anni Betts (illustrator),

Book cover of Breathe Like a Bear

Why 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!

I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness

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

Book cover of I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness

Why 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. 

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