10 Mindfulness Read Alouds for Elementary Teachers

One of my favorite teaching strategies is using picture books to teach SEL skills. Picture books are powerful tools that make social emotional learning topics fun and meaningful. They are also very accessible. Even if you don’t have a robust collection of high quality children’s literature in your classroom library, you likely have access to books through your school library, public library, or on the internet. The best part is that students love listening to and discussing stories about relatable characters and storylines. They learn so much from them! In this post, I share my favorite read alouds for teaching mindfulness.

Most of the books on this list of mindfulness read alouds are part of my Starts With a Story collection. Mindful Mr. Sloth, The Lemonade Hurricane, The Sloth Who Slowed Us Down and The Couch Potato are part of our mindfulness SEL Unit, which includes interactive read aloud lesson plans among tons of other resources for teaching mindfulness. Check out the list of mindfulness read alouds below!

10 Mindfulness Read Alouds

Below are 10 quality mindfulness children’s books for elementary teachers. Your kids will love these read alouds! They are great for teaching mindfulness, as well as many other concepts and skills.

1. Mindful Mr. Sloth by Katy Hudson

The first book on this list of mindfulness read alouds is Mindful Mr. Sloth. Sasha moves, talks, and thinks fast while Mr. Sloth only has one speed- slow. The friendship with Mr. Sloth teaches Sasha to be calm, breathe, and stay present in each moment. This is why it is an excellent mentor text for teaching about mindfulness! My Mindfulness SEL bundle includes an SEL lesson based on this picture book!

Mindful Mr. Sloth book coverThe Lemonade Hurricane book cover

2. The Lemonade Hurricane by Licia Morelli

Emma feels that there is nothing better than going home after school to relax. Her little brother, Henry, feels the opposite! She calls him Lemonade Hurricane as he runs through the house. One day, Emma decides to teach her brother how to be still. Students can join Henry on the mindfulness journey as they learn ways to breathe and to stay present. My Mindfulness SEL bundle includes an SEL lesson based on this picture book!

3. The Sloth Who Slowed Us Down by Margaret Wild

A speedy family came upon a sloth at their doorstep. From rushing through chores to eating fast, this family has a lot to learn from the sloth! Join Amy’s family as they learn to slow down, appreciate each moment, and enjoy each other’s company! My Mindfulness SEL bundle includes an SEL lesson based on this picture book!

The Sloth Who Slowed Us Down book coverThe Couch Potato book cover

4. The Couch Potato by Jory John

The Couch Potato spends all day on the couch, and he doesn’t have to get up for anything. He has gadgets and devices that can do everything for him and he doesn’t have to meet up with friends in person! One day, a new device was delivered to The Couch Potato. When he went to plug it in, the power went out! For the first time, he had nothing to do! The Couch Potato decided to take his dog outside for a walk. The Couch Potato realized how much more there is to life, from the sunset to the birds chirping. This story lends itself to teaching about mindfulness because the Couch Potato was able to slow down and be present in the moment. My Mindfulness SEL bundle includes an SEL lesson based on this picture book!

5. Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds

The fifth on this list of mindfulness read alouds is Creepy Carrots. Jasper eats as many carrots as he can, as often as he can. One day, Jasper notices that the carrots are creepily following them. He sees them hiding in his house! This really scares Jasper, so he hatches a plan to trap the carrots in Crackenhopper Field. In a turn of events, the carrots are happy to be trapped, and it was their plan all along to get Jasper to leave them alone. This book will have students thinking how others feel in certain situations- maybe even their own food! Check out these Creepy Carrots activities!

Creepy Carrots book coverThe Bad Seed activity

6. The Bad Seed Jory John

The main character is a sunflower seed who considers himself to be bad. He does not use his manners and he describes all the ways that he is bad. The people in his community call him the Bad Seed and do not want to be around him. Eventually, he changes his mindset and with some self-talk, he becomes a good seed. This story lends itself to teaching about mindfulness and strategies to turn our behaviors around! Check out these The Bad Seed activities!

7. Penguin Problems by Jory John

Penguins can have lots of challenges, but this character seems to only focus on these problems. He feels it is too cold, it gets dark too early, the ocean is too salty, and his friends squawk way too much! One day, a wise Walrus comes and provides insightful reasons of why Penguin should be grateful for what he has. This story reminds students to be mindful with the practice of gratitude and mindset. Check out these Penguin Problems activities!

Penguin Problems book coverThe Great Eggscape book cover

8. The Great Eggscape by Jory John

Shel lives in a carton full of other eggs. When you have a lot of roommates, you do not get a lot of alone time. That’s why on the weekends when the other eggs leave the carton to go play, Shel stays home alone from some “me time” while the others go out to play. As she relaxes and takes a bubble bath, she is able to focus on herself and her own mental health! Students can discuss the importance of self-care and make connections to Shel with her alone time. Check out these The Great Eggscape activities!

9. The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Paul Galdone

When the goats pass a mean troll, they come upon a big open field. This is a great opportunity for students to practice visualizing to support their mindfulness journeys! Show students the image on the last few pages while encouraging them to think about smells, sounds, and tastes they may experience. Check out these The Three Billy Goats Gruff activities!

The Three Billy Goats Gruff book and activitiesWhat the Road Said book and activity

10. What the Road Said by Cleo Wade

The last book on this list of mindfulness read alouds is What the Road Said. A young girl is walking when she thinks about doing things differently. She wants to make a change, but seems hesitant. The Road tells her to be brave and to be strong. As the girl continues to question these decisions on the path, the Road reminds us that the most important thing is to keep going. This story shares that we are all capable of making the best decisions for ourselves and that it is important to take risks. Check out these What the Road Said activities!

Integrated SEL and Literacy Activities

Below are some integrated SEL and literacy resources for elementary teachers.

SEL Unit

Our Mindfulness Unit, which is available individually or as part of a year-long SEL bundle, includes lessons for the first four books on this list. This unit is packed with lesson plans, teaching resources, games, and activities.Click an image below to either get this individual mindfulness unit or get ALL 30 SEL units!

Mindfulness SEL UnitSocial Emotional Learning Units Bundle
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SEL Book Companions

As I mentioned earlier, I love teaching SEL skills using picture books. That’s why I created the Starts With a Story Collection. High quality children’s literature supports elementary teachers in delivering meaningful and accessible SEL lessons. Many of the read alouds on this list are part of this book companion collection. Check out the book companions below!

The Couch PotatoCreepy Carrots book companionThe Bad SeedPenguin Problems
The Great EggscapeThe Three Billy Goats GruffWhat the Road SaidMindfulness SEL Unit

In closing, we hope you found this list of mindfulness read alouds helpful! If you did, then you may also be interested in these posts:

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