100 books like The Day You Begin

By Jacqueline Woodson, Rafael López (illustrator),

Here are 100 books that The Day You Begin fans have personally recommended if you like The Day You Begin. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Zen Shorts

Whitney Stewart Author Of Mindful Tots: Tummy Ride

From my list on mindfulness for young children.

Who am I?

Whitney Stewart will travel far for a story—trekking in a Himalayan snowstorm with Sir Edmund Hillary, climbing to remote Buddhist monasteries in Tibet, interviewing the Dalai Lama in India, and Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar. She is an award-winning author of nonfiction for children, and a longtime meditation practitioner. When she is not writing or traveling, she teaches mindfulness and self-care to children.

Whitney's book list on mindfulness for young children

Whitney Stewart Why did Whitney love this book?

I adore this picture book and return to it often, to read to myself or to share with children. The story of three children meeting Stillwater, a peaceful panda, is fresh and fun. Stillwater teaches each child through an ancient story. The tone of the book and Muth’s illustrations perfectly reflect the concepts of stillness, self-awareness, self-acceptance, and non-judgment.

Jon Muth says it best when he writes in his author’s note: “’Zen Shorts’ are short meditations—ideas to puzzle over—tools which hone our ability to act with intuition. They have no goal, but they often challenge us to reexamine our habits, desires, concepts, and fears.”

By Jon J. Muth,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Zen Shorts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 2, 3, 4, and 5.

What is this book about?

Meet Stillwater, a GIANT, and very zen, panda bear in
this captivating picture book for little ones that love stories.

When Stillwater, a giant panda, moves into Addy, Michael and Karl's
neighborhood, he tells them the most amazing stories!

To Addy he tells a story about the value of material goods.

To Michael he pushes the boundaries of good and bad.

And to Karl he demonstrates what it means to hold on to frustration.

With graceful art and simple stories that are filled with love
and enlightenment, Jon Muth - and Stillwater the bear - present
three ancient Zen tales…


Book cover of I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness

Deborah Sosin Author Of Charlotte and the Quiet Place

From my list on mindfulness and silence.

Who am I?

Charlotte and the Quiet Place is somewhat autobiographical, as I tend to crave quiet. For many years, I’ve been meditating twice a day for 25 minutes. I relax my mind and body, sometimes silently repeating a word or sound or just breathing rhythmically. I’m almost always more peaceful and energized after meditating. In addition to being a writer, I’m a therapist with a mindfulness specialty. I believe deeply that every child (and adult, too) can tap into their quiet place inside by noticing what’s happening in their mind and body, no matter what’s going on in their lives. We all need this skill—now more than ever!  

Deborah's book list on mindfulness and silence

Deborah Sosin Why did Deborah love this book?

I Am Peace is part of a wonderful series by this well-known team. The series explores topics such as compassion, empathy, resilience, and what it is to be a feeling human being. I Am Peace is about a child (gender not identified) who worries about the past and future and learns how to comfort and ground themselves by noticing the here and now, breathing evenly, and practicing kindness toward themselves and others. The simple, sparse text expresses these rather deep ideas in ways that all children can understand: “I can watch my worries gently pop and disappear. I let things go"; “I can hug a tree and thank it for its beauty and strength.” The back matter features a discussion of mindfulness and a guided meditation.

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…


Book cover of Alphabreaths: The ABCs of Mindful Breathing

Whitney Stewart Author Of Mindful Tots: Tummy Ride

From my list on mindfulness for young children.

Who am I?

Whitney Stewart will travel far for a story—trekking in a Himalayan snowstorm with Sir Edmund Hillary, climbing to remote Buddhist monasteries in Tibet, interviewing the Dalai Lama in India, and Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar. She is an award-winning author of nonfiction for children, and a longtime meditation practitioner. When she is not writing or traveling, she teaches mindfulness and self-care to children.

Whitney's book list on mindfulness for young children

Whitney Stewart Why did Whitney love this book?

Alphabreaths is brilliant. It’s a colorful alphabet book and a mindfulness book in one. Clinical psychologist Christopher Willard teamed up with family therapist Daniel Rechtsschaffen and illustrator Holly Clifton-Brown to create mindful activities from A to Z. Kids will want to try out these breath and mindfulness techniques because they are so simple, and the illustrations so inviting. You can do each one without any prior understanding of mindfulness or breath techniques.

My favorite pages include: “Question Breath. As you breathe in, ask yourself how you are feeling. As you breathe out, answer.”

“Superhero Breathe. Breathe in and imagine you are a superhero. Breathe out and imagine how you will help someone.”

“Wish Breath. Breathe in and make a happy wish for yourself. Breathe out and send a happy wish to someone else.”

I’m crazy about Clifton-Brown’s illustrations. Her characters express innocence, wonder, and serenity. Her palette is soft yet…

By Christopher Willard, Daniel Rechtschaffen, Holly Clifton-Brown (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Alphabreaths as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Alphabreaths, children will learn their ABCs and the basics of mindfulness through playful breathing exercises. Breaths like Mountain Breath and Redwood Breath will connect them with nature, while breaths like Heart Breath and Wish Breath will help them remember to fill their heart with gratitude and send good wishes to others.

Simple, playful, and with delightful illustrations, Alphabreaths is the perfect introduction to mindfulness and breath awareness.


Book cover of Sweety

Phaea Crede Author Of Jet the Cat (Is Not a Cat)

From my list on animals trying on new identities.

Who am I?

I’ve always identified as a weirdo and felt misunderstood, which led to lots of wasted time “trying to fit in.” As an adult, I’ve learned to love myself for exactly who I am, but it took a lot of work and self-reflecting. Looking back, I realize there were actually many kids who felt the same way as me and we just never managed to connect with each other! Finding people who “get you” is an important task—but I truly believe self-love and self-acceptance is the greatest goal for all humans. I hope my books speak to the “weirdos” and non-weirdos a like, and encourages all readers to love themselves just the way they are.

Phaea's book list on animals trying on new identities

Phaea Crede Why did Phaea love this book?

Sweety is a naked mole rat who is just…different. She’s into “weird” things, is sometimes too intense and loud, and wants desperately to find a friend. Basically, Sweety is me. I am Sweety. And I know that other kids who feel like they don’t fit in will love watching Sweety love herself and ultimately find the perfect friend. 

By Andrea Zuill,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Sweety as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An Indie Next List Top 10 Pick!

From the author of WOLF CAMP comes the story of a charming, mushroom-loving, headgear-wearing, totally awkward naked mole rat who is looking for like-minded peeps.

Sweety is awkward, even for a naked mole rat. She has protruding front teeth, thick glasses, and some very unusual hobbies, including interpretive dance and fungus identification. She's intense and passionate--and her peers don't always get her. But surely there are other mushroom lovers out there? As Sweety sets out to find them, she comes to realize--with a little help from her cool Aunt Ruth-- that being Sweety…


Book cover of I Can Do Hard Things: Mindful Affirmations for Kids

Karla Clark Author Of Three Ways to Be Brave: A Trio of Stories

From my list on children’s books about bravery.

Who am I?

The best parts of my life have come when I was brave: getting married, having children, embarking on a career. The worst parts of my life have been mitigated by being brave: losing friends and relatives, dealing with illness and disability among family members. A huge part of raising my son who has autism was helping him to be brave. I've always admired brave people. Not daring or reckless, but truly brave. I've found that all the great stories include an element of bravery! I wrote my picture book as a way to help young children navigate the path to courage and resilience. I’m also the co-founder of National Be Brave Day.

Karla's book list on children’s books about bravery

Karla Clark Why did Karla love this book?

Some books are pretty straightforward: this is one of them. I like it because it covers a lot of ground and includes lots of diverse kids. Sometimes you want a sweet story, and sometimes you want something more practical. I love that this book gives concrete examples about being brave, strong, and resilient. My son has autism, and when he was small he preferred concept books to stories. This would have been perfect for him—as he took things very literally. It’s a best-seller and comes in a Spanish version.

By Gabi Garcia, Charity Russell (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked I Can Do Hard Things as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

What kids tell themselves matters!  It becomes their inner voice. It can help them connect with their power within.

Mindful affirmations can help children tune out the streams of messages they get about how they should be in the world so they can listen to their own inner voice. Children can learn to tap into their inner strength and find the encouragement they need.

I Can Do Hard Things reflects the beautiful diversity and connection in our world. A wonderful addition to your home or school library.


Book cover of The Pigeon Has to Go to School

Ethlie Ann Vare Author Of WOOF!

From my list on reads I wish were around when I was a kid.

Who am I?

I’m a Boomer. I was expected to read books about well-behaved children (Fun with Dick and Jane, 1940) or happy animals (The Poky Little Puppy, 1942), or going to bed quietly (Goodnight Moon, 1947). Why do you think my cohort has so much love for Dr. Seuss? The Cat in the Hat (1957) was a brat, and kids love a brat. The rhymes were smart, and kids need smart. Today, I get to read books to my grandkids that have edge, and books that don’t talk down to them. They deserve it, they won’t settle for less, and it’s a hell of a lot more fun for me.

Ethlie's book list on reads I wish were around when I was a kid

Ethlie Ann Vare Why did Ethlie love this book?

Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus is the better known in this series of funny, adorably illustrated books, but I think Pigeon Has to Go to School really gets to the heart of why Pigeon is so beloved by kids: He embodies kid-ness.

He’s defiant and bratty and scared and anxious and excited and impatient and distractible and everything else that is lovable and crazy-making about your daughter/son/grandchild.

An easy read for young kids and fun to read to them.

By Mo Willems,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Pigeon Has to Go to School as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

Mo Willems' Pigeon is BACK in a hilarious story perfect for those about to start school or nursery.

"There is no such thing as a bad Mo Willems book" The Times

The Pigeon is about to get SCHOOLED. Do YOU think he should go?

Why does the Pigeon have to go to school? He already knows everything! Well ... almost everything. And what if he doesn't like it? What if the teacher doesn't like him? I mean, what if he learns TOO MUCH!?!


Book cover of A Family Is a Family Is a Family

Jessica Sinarski Author Of Riley the Brave Makes It to School: A Story with Tips and Tricks for Tough Transitions

From my list on back to school.

Who am I?

My super-power is making brain science accessible and entertaining for children and adults alike. I am living this out as an author, mental health counselor, and the founder of BraveBrains. In addition to training parents and professionals, I have the joy of sharing my passion and expertise through podcast appearances, blogs, and articles. The lightbulb moments are my favorite, and I'm committed to helping people bring what they learn back home in practical ways. I write picture books because the magic of reading and re-reading stories light up the brain in a powerful way. But don’t worry…I always include some goodies for the adults in the back of the book.

Jessica's book list on back to school

Jessica Sinarski Why did Jessica love this book?

Many kids secretly fear the questions that come up at the beginning of the school year about their family. If you are living in foster care or have been going through something difficult in your home life, talking about family can be challenging. This playfully illustrated story helps create a safe space for all different kinds of families. Great for reading at home with your child or with the whole class to nurture a welcoming environment.

By Sara O’Leary, Qin Leng (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Family Is a Family Is a Family as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

When a teacher asks the children in her class to think about what makes their families special, the answers are all different in many ways but the same in the one way that matters most of all.

One child is worried that her family is just too different to explain, but listens as her classmates talk about what makes their families special. One is raised by a grandmother, and another has two dads. One is full of stepsiblings, and another has a new baby.

As one by one, her classmates describe who they live with and who loves them family…


Book cover of The Magical Yet

Tasha Eizinger Author Of The Little Shot: Courage

From my list on how to live courageously.

Who am I?

Ever since I can remember, I have observed people. I was curious about why people are the way they are, and why do some people have fulfilling lives while others don’t. Something I have learned over the years is meaningful actions require courage first. This world certainly needs people who will live courageously in their day-to-day lives by being authentic, speaking up, being kind, lending a hand, and becoming the best versions of ourselves. When we set the example, it gives others hope that they can also be courageous. I hope you choose to live courageously!

Tasha's book list on how to live courageously

Tasha Eizinger Why did Tasha love this book?

We talk a lot about our word choices and mindset in my home. When my older daughter was learning something new, she would say, “I can’t do this!” We talked about how she was learning, and she’s capable of learning. Her kindergarten teacher then taught my daughter “you don’t know how… yet!” Yet is a power-packed word because it radiates hope which leads to courageous action. This book exemplifies the power of yet so well that I had to share with you. The ending sweetly reminds us that our yet goes with us.

By Angela DiTerlizzi, Lorena Alvarez (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Magical Yet as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, and 5.

What is this book about?

A rollicking, rhyming, and inspirational picture book for fans of Oh, the Places You'll Go! andevery child who is frustrated by what they can't do...YET!

Each of us, from the day we're born, is accompanied by a special companion—the Yet. Can't tie your shoes? Yet! Can't ride a bike? Yet! Can't play the bassoon? Don't worry, Yet is there to help you out.

The Magical Yet is the perfect tool for parents and educators to turn a negative into a positive when helping children cope with the inevitable difficult learning moments we all face. Whether a child or an adult,…


Book cover of So Much!

Charlotte Watson Sherman Author Of Brown Sugar Babe

From my list on life-affirming books for Black children.

Who am I?

Several months before the Covid-19 pandemic upended the world as we knew it, my life was turned upside-down by reports of suicide rates and attempted suicides doubling for Black children. In fact, during late Fall 2019, Congress established an Emergency Task Force on Youth Suicide and Mental Health. I’d already been reading accounts of Black children ending their lives on social media, and as a writer, decided to leave a legacy of books that helped armor Black children with love as they navigated spaces that would not always welcome their brilliance and beauty. I wanted to help encourage them to embrace life’s joys and to love themselves, always.

Charlotte's book list on life-affirming books for Black children

Charlotte Watson Sherman Why did Charlotte love this book?

Trish Cooke uses cumulative storytelling to show just how much a baby is loved when extended family members – Auntie and Uncle and Nannie and Gran-Gran and cousins – come to visit. This story is such fun to read, and was enjoyed many, many times with the young ones in my life. Young and old can bask in this baby’s utter adoration and vicariously experience so much love.

By Trish Cooke, Helen Oxenbury (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked So Much! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

A special 25th anniversary edition of a modern classic, this is a tender, exuberant celebration of modern family life.

Mum and baby are home alone when - DING DONG! - Auntie and then Uncle and Nannie and Gran-Gran and the cousins come to visit. And they all want to hug and kiss and squeeze and eat the baby right up ... because everybody loves the baby SO MUCH!

A special 25th anniversary edition of a multiple award-winning story, So Much is a celebration of family life. Helen Oxenbury's characteristically warm, funny illustrations, paired with Trish Cooke's rhythmic, cumulative story capture…


Book cover of Thinking Like a Lawyer: A Framework for Teaching Critical Thinking to All Students

Sara Blanchard and Misasha Suzuki Graham Author Of Dear White Women: Let's Get (Un)Comfortable Talking about Racism

From my list on for kids (and parents) on anti-racism.

Who am I?

We are two biracial (Japanese and White) mothers with very mixed-race children, who believe that when we learn about our nation’s history and look more deeply at our personal experiences with race and identity, we gain the power to effect personal and systemic change. Some of that starts with the books that we read to, and with, our kids. We discuss these topics and more on our weekly award-winning podcast, Dear White Women. We hope that you love the books on this list as much as we do!

Sara's book list on for kids (and parents) on anti-racism

Sara Blanchard and Misasha Suzuki Graham Why did Sara love this book?

At first glance, you might not see why we think it’s a book for parents that addresses anti-racism. But digging deeper, you’ll see that one of the things we advocate for is developing the skills for introspection - to ask ourselves the tough questions, to challenge our own beliefs and assumptions, and think critically about the information that constantly surrounds us. Those skills are a fundamental part of our own anti-racism practices. Unfortunately, critical thinking is not a skill that’s been well taught, or evenly taught, throughout the schools in our country - so it’s important for each of us to help ourselves, and our children, learn this most foundational skill to succeed in the 21st century.

By Colin Seale,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thinking Like a Lawyer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Critical thinking is the essential tool for ensuring that students fulfill their promise. But, in reality, critical thinking is still a luxury good, and students with the greatest potential are too often challenged the least. Thinking Like a Lawyer:

Introduces a powerful but practical framework to close the critical thinking gap. Gives teachers the tools and knowledge to teach critical thinking to all students. Helps students adopt the skills, habits, and mindsets of lawyers. Empowers students to tackle 21st-century problems. Teaches students how to compete in a rapidly changing global marketplace.

Colin Seale, a teacher-turned-attorney-turned-education-innovator and founder of thinkLaw, uses…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in immigrants, prejudices, and school?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about immigrants, prejudices, and school.

Immigrants Explore 158 books about immigrants
Prejudices Explore 28 books about prejudices
School Explore 247 books about school