Reading Aloud: Teaching Kids About Mindfulness

Caverly Morgan, author and founder of the nonprofit Peace in Schools, reads a passage from her new children’s book A Kids Book About Mindfulness.

Image by Pixel-Shot / Adobe Stock

Caverly Morgan was boarding a cross-country flight when she noticed someone in her seat. After sorting out the mix up, she found herself sitting next to Kevin Carroll, author of A Kids Book About Belonging, for the rest of the trip. 

The two of them hit it off like long-lost siblings, Morgan writes in a recent email exchange with Mindful. By the end of the flight, he texted an introduction to Jelani Memory, founder of children’s publisher A Kids Book About and author of A Kids Book About Racism—and that’s how Caverly’s newest book A Kids Book About Mindfulness came to be.

A Mindful Book Reading for Kids

Q&A with Caverly Morgan

Mindful: What inspired you to write a book about mindfulness specifically for kids, and in what ways do you think it was different than writing a book for adults?

Caverly Morgan: I practice listening to life. I’ve already been asked to write a book for adults—and when Jelani invited me to write a book for kids, I said yes to that, too! It’s deeply engaging to write for kids. It pushes me to be clear, concise, and to the point—without dumbing down the material. I believe it’s important to speak to kids like the engaged thinkers that they are. As founder of Peace in Schools, I’ve seen the benefit of connecting with young people in this way firsthand.

Mindful: You use words like super-duper and rad—language that is fun. How did you approach crafting the tone of voice for this book? 

I wrote this book for the 9-year-old in me. I pictured myself. Curious and open—longing for someone to speak with me about things around me that didn’t add up.

CM: I wrote this book for the 9-year-old in me. I pictured myself. Curious and open—longing for someone to speak with me about things around me that didn’t add up. Identity. Pretense. Not knowing who we are, yet longing to know. Presence. Mindfulness. Compassion. I used words that allowed me to connect with this young person within.

Mindful: Do you think this is a tone parents can also use to explore mindfulness with their little ones in everyday life? 

CM: What’s most important is authenticity. Kids long for adults to be real with them. If you are new to mindfulness, explore that authentically with your child. Be willing to admit that you don’t have all the answers. Don’t put on a voice that isn’t real for you. Let yourself access the freedom that young people know so well—the freedom of simply being themselves. The freedom of simply being.

Mindful: How do you envision parents using this book with their children? 

CM: It’s meant to be a conversation starter. Something that prompts inquiry. It’s meant to spark a love of asking important questions, rather than settling for simple answers. My hope is that the process of shared inquiry between adult and child is a process that reflects connection, belonging, and wonder. My hope is that it invites gratitude for the experience of being alive and exploring our experience of reality, together.

Mindfulness for Kids

Mindful: What advice would you give to parents who want to support the development of their child’s own mindfulness practice?

CM: Start and maintain your own. Don’t turn it into a “should” for yourself or your child. Allow yourself to fall in love with the experience of being present. Your love will naturally seep through your interactions with your child. Invite them in. Share your secret of happiness with them through experience. Be contagious with your own knowing of who you truly are. Model living from that knowing. Let your happiness ripple outward.

Mindful: You touch on many important messages: Remember who you are. Thoughts are not facts. We can always choose to be fully present. What main message do you hope kids take away from A Kids Book About Mindfulness? 

CM: I want young people to know that a process of inquiry can be engaging and fun. We are conditioned to bring mindfulness practice into the very internal and societal systems that create struggle—the belief that we need to do more, be more, calm down, control our anger…control ourselves! I want to spark young people to remember the deepest truths of life as an engaged process that leaves our systems of limitation behind.

I want young people to know that a process of inquiry can be engaging and fun.

Mindful: With kids going back to school in a world that is entirely different than it was last September, how can kids use these lessons right now?

CM: More than ever, kids need support in building their capacity to be adaptable, accepting, and resilient. Mindfulness offers a way to access the resilience of our very being. It is a practice of remembrance.

Mindful: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

CM: This book is an invitation to discover, to reconnect with, and to remember the heart of our being. The heart of all beings. This book reminds us that all being is shared being. To know this is peace. To live this is love.

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