Recommended Books

last updated September 29, 2020

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posted by Catharine Hannay

I'm the founder of and the author of Being You: A Girl's Guide to Mindfulness, a workbook for teen girls on mindfulness, compassion, and self-acceptance. You can see more information at my author site, I've provided downloadable handouts and links to supplemental teaching resources that are gender-neutral and suitable for a wide age range.

  • 'Mindful Teacher Tested' books: educators and counselors from the Mindful Teachers community share the favorite books they used personally or with their students and clients.


If you're looking for children's books:

Sample Passages and Activities

The Teaching Resources page has all of these activities, and many more, organized by type of practice: gratitude, breathing, mindful speech, etc.

The Interviews page includes Q+As with many of these authors, as well as perspectives from other experts on mindfulness and SEL.

If you're looking for books for teens:

If you're looking for books for teachers and books about teaching mindfulness:

If you're looking for books for your personal mindfulness practice:

If you're looking for books about teaching and practicing yoga:

Book Reviews from 2012-2018

From 2012-2018, I reviewed many books about mindfulness and complementary practices. In 2019 I decided to stop doing book reviews because they tend to get far fewer page views than author interviews and sample passages/activities from the books. 

Mindfulness and Self-Care for Educators
The Courage to Teach by Parker J. Palmer: "This book is for teachers who have good days and bad, and whose bad days bring the suffering that comes only from something one loves."
Everybody Present: Mindfulness in Education by Nikolaj and Didde Flor Rotne: Instructions for beginning a personal mindfulness practice and then introducing mindfulness to students.
Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness by Deborah Schoeberlein: A solid introduction to mindfulness practice, designed for teachers to use ourselves and/or with our students.
Mindfulness: How School Leaders Can Reduce Stress and Thrive on the Job by Dr. Caryn M. Wells: Within the practice of mindfulness, leaders can begin to learn another way of being that can change their interaction with the problems they are facing, and in so doing, directly impact their schools.
Never Work Harder Than Your Students  by Robyn Jackson: “Give the right work to the students.  It’s about getting clarity on what is your work and what is their work, and making sure that you do your work and they do theirs.” 
A Path with Heart: The Inner Journey to Teaching Mastery by Pete Reilly:  “Teaching with heart doesn’t mean… that academic performance is overlooked or that we allow ourselves to be manipulated or pushed around. Instead, we’re teachers made up of strong hearts, heroic hearts, hearts that persevere. We let nothing get in the way of what’s best for our students.”
Teaching: The Sacred Art by Jane Vennard: When we gently review a day, a week, or a semester of our teaching with compassion and kindness toward ourselves, we are able to see what we might do differently another time and affirm that we did the best we could, given the situation.”

Teaching Mindfulness and Yoga to Kids
Child's Mind: Mindfulness Practices to Help Our Children Be More Focused, Calm, and Relaxed by Christopher Willard: Advice and instructions for a wide range of mindfulness exercises, along with creative approaches to making everyday experiences more mindful. 
Go Go Yoga for Kids: A Complete Guide to Yoga With Kids by Sara Weis: Advice for parents, classroom teachers, and professional yoga instructors on how to teach different ages of kids (3-6; 7-11; and tweens and teens) a variety of asanas (yoga poses), active movement, yoga games, and partner poses.
Little Flower Yoga for Kids by Jennifer Cohen Harper: "Gentle yoga practices to help kids pay better attention and balance their emotions, while building physical strength and flexibility."
The Mindful Child: How to Help Your Kid Manage Stress and Become Happier, Kinder, and More Compassionate by Susan Kaiser Greenland: Instructions and activities for the most effective ways to teach—and model—mindfulness to kids. 
Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness with Children by Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village Community: Instructions for dozens of mindfulness activities and noncompetitive games, which would be appropriate for classroom use or at home, summer camp, Sunday school, etc.
A Still Quiet Place by Amy Saltzman: An eight-week mindfulness curriculum, with a balance of sitting practice, mindful movement, and compassionate discussion, along with comprehensive guidelines on how to teach mindfulness.
Teach, Breathe, Learn: Mindfulness in and out of the Classroom by Meena Srinivasan: Mindfulness practices for busy teachers, as well as an eight-week mindfulness curriculum for students.

Mindfulness for Adolescents
The Autism Playbook for Teens by Irene McHenry and Carol Moog: Mindfulness-based activities to help kids with autism recognize and regulate their feelings and behavior. 
Compassionate Critical Thinking: How Mindfulness, Creativity, Empathy, and Socratic Questioning Can Transform Teaching by Ira Rabois: In this instructional approach, the teacher's role is to foster a safe, supportive community for youth not only to increase their knowledge but also to develop the wisdom that will help them live a meaningful life. 
A Mindfulness-Based Approach to Working with High-Risk Adolescents by Sam Himelstein: Dr. Himelstein urges therapists to think of mindfulness not as a "technique" but as "a more holistic approach to working with other human beings." This includes teaching mindfulness formally and informally, as well as "the application of mindfulness for therapists themselves to develop personally and professionally."
Mindfulness for Teen Anger Mark Purcell & Jason Murphy: "So many anger management strategies fail because all the attention is on making you change what you do… but to change what is happening on the outside, we need to look deeply at what is happening on the inside."
Mindfulness for Teen Anxiety by Christopher Willard: Mindfulness practices to help teens deal with common stressors like test anxiety, dating, peer pressure, and tension with siblings.
The Mindful Teen by Dzung Vo: Adolescent-friendly versions of all the classic mindfulness practices, including breathing, body scan, mindful eating, and mindful movement.  
Mindfulness-Based Substance Abuse Treatment for Adolescents by Sam Himelstein and Stephen Saul: Rather than lecturing kids about why they shouldn't do drugs, they're "encouraged to contemplate why they actually use the drugs that they do" and are taught techniques for dealing with cravings and peer pressure.
What Works with Teens by Britt Rathbone and Julie Baron: How to work effectively with adolescents whose brains are still developing, who haven't yet learned to handle strong emotions, and who may push away our attempts to help them. 

Mindfulness for Adults
Awaken Your Senses by Brent Bill and Beth Booram: By engaging our senses, we'll be more physically present and feel closer to God as we become “alive to the beauty and suffering in life, to all its possibilities and cries for healing.”
Buddha Standard Time by Surya Das: “It’s not time that we lack in our rushed lives, but focus.” Traditional Buddhist teachings can help us face the challenge of remaining present and focused in our increasingly fast-paced, frenzily-scheduled world.
Good Citizens by Thich Nhat Hanh: A mindfulness practice can help us to stay grounded rather than ground down, fired up rather than burnt out, “strong enough to handle the deep pain within ourselves and the world.”
How to Train a Wild Elephant by Jan Chozen Bays: Fifty-three short chapters giving a specific focus for the coming week, such as “a media fast,” “mindful driving,” or “leave things better than you found them.”  
In This Moment byKirk Strosahl and Patricia Robinson: Recent research about the neuroplasticity of the brain; "brain training" exercises to increase our skillfulness in the five facets of mindfulness. 
Mindful Compassion by Paul Gilbert and Choden: “Mindful compassion… is about seeking the truth of how we create suffering within our own minds and how we can create suffering in the social systems we are part of.  With this wisdom about suffering we can set out to alleviate and prevent it.”  
Mindful Discipline: A Loving Approach to Setting Limits and Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by Shauna Shapiro and Chris White: Suggestions for mindfully dealing with typical parenting challenges, along with fourteen Mindful Awareness Practices, some of which are specifically designed for parents.
Myths of Being Human: Four Paths to Connect with What Matters by Brandi Lust: an eight-week training program on mindfulness, gratitude, growth, and connection. It can be used as a self-directed program, the core text for a facilitated group, or as a supplement to an existing mindfulness class.
The Practicing Happiness Workbook by Ruth Baer:  A series of mindfulness skills we can practice in order to give greater meaning and purpose to our lives, enjoy positive situations more fully, and effectively cope with unpleasant situations.
Sit. Walk. Don't Talk. How I Survived a Silent Meditation Retreat by Jennifer Howd: Howd's no-holds-barred account of her own experience helps dispel some of the popular misconceptions about meditation and gives potential retreatants a realistic sense of what to expect.
True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart by Tara Brach:  "A courageous engagement with the reality of our experience" will free us "to live fully what is here, and to respond wisely."
Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff: Techniques for being gentler with ourselves and for correcting behavior without shaming.  
Yoga Sparks by Carol Krucoff: 108 “micropractices” that focus on the four main aspects of yoga: posture, breathing, meditation, and ethical behavior.

Complementary Practices and Perspectives
Aging as a Spiritual Practice by Lewis Richmond: Becoming mindful of our own aging process forces us to pay attention to our mortality and our disappointments, but it can also be an opportunity to pay attention to our accomplishments and to prioritize how we want to spend the remainder of our lives. 
Deepening Engagement by Diane Millis: "Regardless of who we are or what we do for a living, each of us has opportunities to listen, lead, and contribute to shaping a better future."
The Qigong Workbook for Anxiety by Kam Chuen Lam: Gentle exercises for relaxed breathing, improved posture, and reduced muscle tension. 
Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain: "Our culture rightly admires risk-takers, but we need our 'heed-takers' more than ever...The next generation of quiet kids can and should be raised to know their own strength." 
The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt: The goal of The Righteous Mind is to "change the way a diverse group of readers—liberal and conservative, secular and religious—think about morality, politics, religion, and each other.”
Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life by Irwin Kula: Those times when we feel most overwhelmed and confused by “the too-muchness of life” can be our greatest opportunities for wisdom and innovation.
Zen Gifts to Christians by Robert Kennedy: Each “gift” of Zen (for example, Self-Mastery) is connected to Christian teachings as well as a variety of western cultural references. receives no financial benefit from books ordered through links on this site.