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Making Time for Mindfulness 12 Books to Celebrate the Season of Caring and Sharing

Warm up from winter’s chill with some holiday reads and reflections this month.

Board/Toddlers

'Peek-a-Boo Santa'
‘Peek-a-Boo Santa’

‘Peek-a-Boo Santa’, ‘Peek-a-Boo Snowman’, and ‘Peek-a-Boo
Reindeer’
by Charles Reasoner
Looking for titles to read with the babies and preschoolers in your life? Author-illustrator Charles Reasoner features indestructible reads which are nevertheless engaging for older siblings. Bright, full-color images and sturdy board pages hold a baby’s attention. Die-cut pages and rhyming text keep older siblings amused. Eschewing the traditional rectangular shape, Reasoner’s playful curvilinear pages combine to mimic a three-dimensional picture, inviting young readers to enter the books and explore their interior scenes in greater detail. Beyond the colorful images and rhymes, Reasoner’s books also boast some subtle touches, such as background character comments and seek-and-find opportunities for older tots.


Reasoner is the author and illustrator of more than 200 works, but the following series are particularly well-suited to bridging the young sibling story-time age gap: “Jack and Jill” nursery rhymes, “Ho! Ho! Ho!” holiday books and his peek-a-boo books. Be sure to check out his holiday selection at your library, including “Peek-a-Boo Elves,” “Peek-a-Boo Reindeer,” and “Peek-a-Boo Snowman.”

Picture Books

'Saturday'
‘Saturday’

‘Saturday’
by Oge Mora
“Saturday” is the story about a mother and daughter who look forward to their special
day every week because it is the only day the mother has off. Their day is stacked with great activities; however, nothing goes as planned. After every disappointment, they pause, close their eyes and breathe. This is a great mindfulness strategy to help them with overcoming setbacks that arise—something which readers may find especially helpful in the time of COVID-19 when so many things are canceled or not as they were before.

'What Is Given from the Heart'
‘What Is Given from the Heart’

‘What Is Given from the Heart’
by Patricia C. McKissack; illustrated by April Harrison
James Otis and his mother have fallen on hard times after his father dies and they lose the farm. However, when another family from their church loses everything in a fire, James’s mother teaches him about giving from the heart even when you think you have nothing. “What Is Given from the Heart” shows families that even during the holiday season, when many are struggling, there are still ways to be generous and look after one another.

Young Readers

'Little Libraries, Big Heroes'
‘Little Libraries, Big Heroes’

‘Little Libraries, Big Heroes’
by Miranda Paul
Do you love libraries so much that you’ve wanted to build your own library in your front yard? Little Free Libraries have been popping up all over the country over the past few years in parks, schools, people’s front yards—everywhere! Learn about Todd Bol, the man who started it all, and how he made his idea a national phenomenon. Maybe you’ll be inspired to find ways to give back to your community with your own little free library.

 

'Birdsong'
‘Birdsong’

‘Birdsong’
by Julie Flett
Katherena moves with her mom to a new place. She feels lonely until she strikes up a friendship with her elderly neighbor, Agnes, who shares Katherena’s passion for art. They spend time together outdoors, until Agnes’ health takes a turn for the worse. How can Katherena cheer up Agnes? When Agnes can no longer enjoy the outdoors, Katherena uses her art to bring the outdoors to Agnes.

Middle Readers

'One Year Wiser: An Illustrated Guide to Mindfulness'
‘One Year Wiser: An Illustrated Guide to Mindfulness’

‘One Year Wiser: An Illustrated Guide to Mindfulness’
by Mike Medaglia
This graphic nonfiction book is written by an artist and Zen Buddhist
practitioner. In plain language, “One Year Wiser” puts words to the challenge of living with unhappiness, fear and anxiety. The book is divided into four sections according to the seasons and features calming illustrations along with simple instructions for achieving mindfulness. This accessible guide will help anyone who is middle-school age or older and is an excellent way to get the new year started on the right path! It is also a great option for a gift since the author also offers a companion journal, coloring book and a collection of illustrated meditations.

'Greenglass House'
‘Greenglass House’

‘Greenglass House’
by Kate Milford
Winter break is finally here and all 12-year-old Milo Pine wants is to spend the holidays alone at home with his adoptive parents. Home is a strange old hotel off the coast where the “regulars” tend to be smugglers, but at this time of year, Milo and his parents can always count on having the place to themselves. That is, until this year. Just as Milo is starting to enjoy some downtime, a series of unexpected guests start showing up, including an outspoken girl named Meddy, who introduces Milo to a role-playing game called Odd Trails. Things are certainly starting to get odd at the hotel, and soon it’s up to Milo and Meddy to solve a mystery, uncover a huge secret and avert almost certain disaster.

Teens

'Aurora Rising'
‘Aurora Rising’

‘Aurora Rising’ and ‘Aurora Burning’
by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
These first two books of the Aurora Cycle series have appeal with a range of teen readers. Teens who prefer quickly paced stories will love all the action; teens who prefer character-driven stories get a wealth of different characters and perspectives. Need a funny read? The quick wit and sarcasm of the characters will keep readers laughing. Both books make a great gift for any teen reader.

'Dash and Lily's Book of Dares'
‘Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares’

‘Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares’
by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Lily leaves a notebook full of puzzles at her favorite bookstore one day, hoping for the perfect guy to come upon it by chance and follow her clues. When Dash finds it, he begins a back-and-forth game with Lily that will change them both forever. This holiday romance is an excellent choice for fans of more lighthearted fare as Dash and Lily chase each other on a scavenger hunt through New York.

About Conni Strittmatter

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