100 books like Zen Shorts

By Jon J. Muth,

Here are 100 books that Zen Shorts fans have personally recommended if you like Zen Shorts. 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 I Am Peace: A Book of Mindfulness

Deborah Sosin Author Of Charlotte and the Quiet Place

From my list on mindfulness and silence.

Why am I passionate about this?

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.

Why am I passionate about this?

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 The Day You Begin

Patrice Gopo Author Of All the Places We Call Home

From my list on celebrating stories of home, identity, and belonging.

Why am I passionate about this?

As the Black American daughter of Jamaican immigrants born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, I love stories that depict the beauty of being multifaceted human beings. Stories steeped in broad understandings of place and home. Stories that encourage us to delight in being the people we are. I also believe our children are natural poets and storytellers. Lyrical picture books filled with rich language and sensory details encourage the thriving of such creativity. In addition to writing All the Places We Call Home, I'm the author of All the Colors We Will See, an essay collection about race, immigration, and belonging. 

Patrice's book list on celebrating stories of home, identity, and belonging

Patrice Gopo Why did Patrice love this book?

The Day You Begin is a lovely, lyrical reminder that we all have unique experiences and moments of not belonging, but we find connections through sharing our stories. Jacqueline Woodson’s repetitive phrase, “There will be times,” paired with the use of a 2nd person narrator, instantly draws us into the story. As a result, we feel part of the story as we think of times when we didn’t fit in or people didn’t understand our experience. So powerful!! I am a huge proponent of the power of sharing personal stories, and I often speak to groups about how sharing stories can serve as a bridge that might connect us. The Day You Begin is a glorious reflection of this truth.

By Jacqueline Woodson, Rafael López (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Day You Begin 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?

There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you.

There are many reasons to feel different. Maybe it's how you look or talk, or where you're from; maybe it's what you eat, or something just as random. It's not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.

Jacqueline Woodson's lyrical text and Rafael Lopez's dazzling art reminds us that we all feel like outsiders sometimes and how brave it is that we go forth anyway. And that sometimes, when…


Book cover of Sweety

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

From my list on animals trying on new identities.

Why am I passionate about this?

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 The Berenstain Bears Honesty Counts

Donna Earnhardt Author Of Being Frank

From my list on honesty.

Why am I passionate about this?

My southern mama raised me to be honest; she always knew the truth and spoke the truth. I soon found out that being honest could clear my name—or get me in trouble. It could draw me closer to my friends—or hurt their feelings. Now that I’m grown and have children of my own, I understand and appreciate my mama’s emphasis on truth-telling from an entirely new angle. And as a writer, honest storytelling helps me write more authentic characters and connect more authentically with my readers. In my personal and professional life, my “honest” upbringing has helped me recognize other truth-tellers—and the not-so-truthful. (I’m eyeballing you, politicians!) 

Donna's book list on honesty

Donna Earnhardt Why did Donna love this book?

I love this book for several reasons, not the least being the feeling of nostalgia I get just from the illustrations. With one look at the Bear family on the cover, I am transported back to hiding under the covers to read after lights out, and the storyline brings back memories of all the summer fun with our church youth group.

The author doesn’t dance around the issue of lying—and that takes me back to my childhood, as well; we did not tap-dance around the truth! As a person of faith, I also appreciate that the text uses some wisdom scripture from Psalms as an anchor. 

By Mike Berenstain,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Berenstain Bears Honesty Counts 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.


Book cover of Bunnybear

Benson Shum Author Of First Night of Howlergarten

From my list on inclusion and being true to yourself.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I was always the outcast. I wasn't the smartest in class. I wasn't the strongest in sports. I was always the shy kid in the back, trying not to make a noise. But when I made a connection with someone or they made the effort to say hi. I treasured our friendship. I love writing and sharing stories where we are talking about inclusion and building empathy toward each other. I hope you will enjoy these books on the list.

Benson's book list on inclusion and being true to yourself

Benson Shum Why did Benson love this book?

It's such a sweet story about being yourself.

Bunnybear looks like a bear on the outside but feels like a bunny on the inside. But soon he questions if his feelings are valid. Then he meets another and finds out that he isn't the only one that feels this way and forms a wonderful friendship with Grizzlybun. The illustrations are adorable!

By Andrea J. Loney, Carmen Saldaña (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Bunnybear 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?

2018 Storytelling World Resource Award Winner - Stories for Young Listeners
2018 Rainbow Book List

Bunnybear is more than a bear.

Although Bunnybear was born a bear, he feels more like a bunny. He prefers bouncing in the thicket to tramping in the forest, and in his heart he's fluffy and tiny, like a rabbit, instead of burly and loud, like a bear. The other bears don’t understand him, and neither do the bunnies. Will Bunnybear ever find a friend who likes him just the way he is?


Book cover of Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear

Karlin Gray Author Of Anne and Her Tower of Giraffes

From my list on picture-book biographies for young animal lovers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write picture-book biographies and my latest book focuses on the first giraffologist, Dr. Anne Innis Dagg. While researching this book, I learned about so many people who have dedicated their lives to studying and protecting animals. Almost always, their love of wildlife began in childhood. So why not inspire young animal lovers today with true stories about people who share their passion for wildlife?

Karlin's book list on picture-book biographies for young animal lovers

Karlin Gray Why did Karlin love this book?

You’ve probably read Winnie the Pooh, either as a child or to a child. But I bet you don’t know about the real bear who inspired one of the most famous characters in children’s literature. Told as an origin story within a bedtime story, this bestselling and award-winning illustrated biography ends with wonderful photos of all the characters: the real Winnie (a girl!), the vet who rescued her, the soldiers who cared for her, the boy who famously befriended her, and the author who immortalized the beloved bear. Best of all, Finding Winnie is a success at proving one of the book’s themes—sometimes the very best stories are true stories.

By Lindsay Mattick, Sophie Blackall (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?



A #1 New York Times Bestseller and Winner of the Caldecott Medal about the remarkable true story of the bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh.
In 1914, Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian on his way to tend horses in World War I, followed his heart and rescued a baby bear. He named her Winnie, after his hometown of Winnipeg, and he took the bear to war.

Harry Colebourn's real-life great-granddaughter tells the true story of a remarkable friendship and an even more remarkable journey--from the fields of Canada to a convoy across the ocean to an army base in England...

And finally to…


Book cover of Children Make Terrible Pets

Judy Lea Author Of Please Don't Go in the Dryer!

From my list on laugh out loud children’s books about pets.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a semi-retired music teacher and grandmother of two. When my kids were little, we would devour books like they were delicious candy, reading our favourites over and over again. I still love reading out loud, using various inflections, accents, and voices for the different characters. I’ve read hundreds of children’s books and the ones I enjoy most have a great message, are fun to read out loud, and also make me laugh. And they must have beautiful, colourful illustrations! My first book is a spoken word piece from my WCMA-nominated CD, Too Much Work To Do. It’s been asking me to dream it into a book for years! 

Judy's book list on laugh out loud children’s books about pets

Judy Lea Why did Judy love this book?

Lucy, the bear, is practicing her twirls in the forest when she notices she is being watched, by a boy who squeaks! Lucy thinks he is “the cutest thing in the world!” and begs her mother to let her keep him. Her mother tells her that “children make terrible pets!” but eventually relents. Lucy and Squeak do everything together but the boy is practically impossible to potty-train, ruins the furniture, makes terrible messes, and then…he disappears! When Lucy finally finds him, she realizes that some creatures make terrible pets. Then again, perhaps a…? 

Peter Brown’s colour drawings are cute and funny; this book definitely made me laugh out loud. What an interesting change of perspective about humans and pets! 

I liked the surprise ending too.

By Peter Brown,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Children Make Terrible Pets as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this fresh and funny picture book, Lucy, a young bear, discovers a lost boy in the woods and she thinks she's found the most adorable, cutest pet ever. She brings him home, and begs her mom to keep him, even though her mom tells her that 'children make terrible pets.' She names him Squeaker and the two go through a humorous sequence of events: playing, napping, litterbox training (okay, maybe that's not fun!) and all other sorts of shenanigans. But then Squeaker suddenly goes missing. Lucy is heartbroken and looks for him everywhere. Finally, she finds him back with…


Book cover of You Will Be My Friend!

Anne Marie Pace Author Of Groundhug Day

From my list on picture books about navigating friendship.

Why am I passionate about this?

I expect that the folks at Shepherd.com approached me as a picture book author, since I’m the author of eleven picture books, including the four books of the Vampirina Ballerina series, which were adapted into the Disney Junior hit series Vampirina. But my thoughts and ideas about friendship and community really stem from once having been a child myself and from being a parent of four children, each of whom approached the roller coaster ride of childhood friendship in their unique ways. I was always happy to help them find answers in a book, even when those answers involved more, and deeper, questions.

Anne's book list on picture books about navigating friendship

Anne Marie Pace Why did Anne love this book?

Lucy Bear is determined to make a friend, but it turns out to be a harder task than she anticipated. Her efforts startle, bother, annoy, and anger the other forest animals. She’s ready to give up but in the end, she finds a perfect friend—perfect for her, that is, and isn’t that what really matters? I adore Peter Brown’s colorful, jocular illustrations and the way the answer to Lucy’s desire is presented not in the text, but in the art. For a bonus friendship lesson, check out Brown’s bio on the dust jacket.

By Peter Brown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked You Will Be My Friend! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Today is the day the exuberant Lucy is going to make a new friend! But she finds it's harder than she had thought--she accidentally ruins the giraffe's breakfast and is much too big for the frogs' pond. Just when she's about to give up, an unexpected friend finds her, and loves her just the way she is.

This heartwarming story offers a unique and humor-filled spin on the all-important themes of persistence and friendship.


Book cover of National Geographic Readers: All about Bears

Terry Pierce Author Of Eat Up, Bear!

From my list on bear books toddlers can sink their teeth into.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the author of 25 children’s books, and I recently moved to a small mountain town that has come to co-exist with wild black bears by learning how to properly store and dispose of our food (rather than the alternative, which was to eliminate the bears!). Ever since I’ve lived there, I’ve been fascinated by human-bear interactions, having a few of my own now! When Yosemite Conservancy put out a call for children’s stories, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about—how people can help keep bears safe and wild through proper food storage. I’m a huge advocate for bears and all wildlife!

Terry's book list on bear books toddlers can sink their teeth into

Terry Pierce Why did Terry love this book?

What I love about Nat Geo’s All About Bears Pre-Reader is that it’s the perfect “next bear book” after a board book (those books typically written for toddlers). Because the book is a pre-reader, the text is simple enough for a 2-3-year-old to understand. In true Nat Geo style, the text is simple, and the book’s design and the photographs are excellent. It really is a terrific book for very young children who want to learn more about bears.

By National Kids,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked National Geographic Readers 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?

Take a tour around the world to meet all kinds of bears in this delightful pre-reader.

Kids love bears and in this book they'll be introduced to them all: Grizzly, polar, sun, sloth, black, and brown. Great full-colour photos reveal details about how and where they live.

Perfect for beginning and young readers, National Geographic Pre-readers include simple, expert-vetted text and large, engaging photos on every page. A vocabulary tree at the beginning of the book introduces kids to key words in concept groups, helping kids make connections between words. Plus, a wrap-up activity gives kids a chance to use…


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