“You do not find the happy life. YOU MAKE IT.” – Camilla Eyring Kimball
Deadlines, bills, relationships, work, and loss are only a few of the common stressors that we all face in our day-to-day lives. Bustling through our fast-paced culture, we often find ourselves so busy with trying to “fix” external problems that all of a sudden, we recognize that our brains are the biggest mess of them all! Stress and anxiety run rampant through our society, creating negative consequences on our mental health, relationships, and physical health.
But luckily, we have the tools to relieve some of these issues and conveniently, they’re already inside of us! We all have the power to develop positive thinking patterns as a way of managing stress and anxiety in a healthy way. This is a multi-step process that involves deconstructing negative thought-patterns and replacing them with positive ones. Changing your mindset takes hard work and time, but the ability to live a happier and less stressful life will make all the work worth it.
Teaching young children about the importance of instilling positivity within themselves, rather than seeking it from external sources, is an invaluable lesson that will serve them for the rest of their lives. This list of mentor texts features picture books, journals, and other resources that can be used in the classroom or for your own personal development, touching on topics of mindfulness, affirmations, goal-setting, and mental strength. They help reveal the power of positive thinking and set the reader up with tools to help change their life for the better.
DISCOVER 20 MENTOR TEXTS THAT REVEAL THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING!
Positive Thinking and Self Esteem: How You Can Transform Negative Thinking into Self Love with the Right Mindset Habits, Self-Talk, and Daily Affirmations by Mark Jeffers
This two-part book touches on the importance of positive thinking and how to increase your self-esteem. This book contains information on mindful meditation, affirmations, and other daily habits to help readers combat the vicious cycle of negative thinking that traps so many people.
Teacher Tip: Whether reading this book by yourself, or with your class, write down some of the daily affirmations and put them up in places that you can easily see throughout the day, where they will serve as healthy reminders.
Oliver Jeffers has created a user’s guide to living on Earth that is a must-have for the classroom. This book touches on the complexity of Earth’s topography, our place in the vast universe, and the universal theme of humanity. Wit, humor, kindness, and tolerance all combine to help young readers in understanding the complex world inside and around them.
Teacher Tip: Split the class into groups and have each one create a different representation of “where we are”. Groups can create local, global, and universal perspectives that explain “here we are” through illustrations of different people, places, and things.
Happy takes readers on a poetic journey to explore the practice of mindfulness. Inspirational and empowering, this picture book can help soothe fears and anxieties with the help of gentle mindfulness activities.
Teacher Tip: Incorporate the book’s mindfulness activities into your daily routine with your child or class. Most of these activities can be done in under 5 minutes to remind both you and young ones of the importance of practicing mindfulness to improve one’s mental well-being.
Positive affirmations can make a world of difference in improving self-esteem! Our minds often race with negative and spiteful thoughts about ourselves, tearing us down rather than building us up! This picture book is a collection of positive affirmations to help younger kids (aged 2-6) in the practice of being kind to themselves.
Teacher Tip: Get out some craft supplies and have students write down a positive affirmation to carry with them or display around the room as a reminder to repeat it to themselves throughout the day. You can also encourage readers to create their own personal affirmations!
This book compiles quotes and affirmations written by a multitude of esteemed authors from Hay House Publishing. One can simply open this book to any random page for a message of positivity to brighten one’s outlook on life.
Teacher Tip: Each day, ask a different student to suggest a page number for the class to turn to and read. Use the chosen page of positivity to inspire a discussion on how it helps us to look on the bright side of life throughout the day!
This book will help inspire readers to live a more positive life through a combination of simple and effective mantras, exercises, and reflections. Improving one’s self-esteem begins within the self, and these daily doses of positivity can guide readers in an empowering journey of self-help. Drawing on psychology, neuroscience, and other areas of mental expertise, this book encourages its readers to use journaling to assist in the visualization and creation of a better life.
Teacher Tip: With each day’s dose of positivity, set aside time for journaling. This practice of writing will help reinforce positive thinking. If you or your students are more artistically inclined, then draw an interpretation of the quote!
My Strong Mind: A Story About Developing Mental Strength (Social Skills & Mental Health for Kids) by Niels van Hove
My Strong Mind teaches children how to thrive through the development of the 4 C’s of mental strength: Commitment, Control, Confidence, and Challenge. Touching on social skills and techniques, this book follows a sporty and positive girl named Kate as she uses her strong mind to overcome obstacles with positivity. Kate practices positive self-talk, mindfulness, gratitude, and more while facing situations that young readers can directly relate to as a way of learning how to use positivity to tackle life’s challenges.
Teacher Tip: Go to mentaltoughness.online for a plethora of free resources to help students and adults improve their mental strength. Also, check out the second installment, My Strong Mind II, listed below, for more techniques!
My Strong Mind II: The Power of Positive Thinking (Social Skills & Mental Health for Kids) by Niels van Hove
This story is about Jack, a nice boy who utilizes mental strength to help him navigate life’s challenges. In the same format of the first installment of My Strong Mind, Jack faces realistic obstacles of peer pressure, anger, self-control, and more to teach readers his methods of positive problem-solving.
Teacher Tip: Compile techniques from My Strong Mind and My Strong Mind II in a collection of positive problem-solving skills to serve as a resource for your child or students to use throughout the day. Create different sections of the resources and a table of contents to help guide students in finding a quick and healthy way to overcome whatever problem they are facing.
This book of goofy interactive challenges will serve as a great dose of positivity in the classroom! This rhyming text encourages using high fives in a playful and encouraging way to get students moving.
Teacher Tip: In classes of young kids, you can use celebratory high-fives as an incentive for speaking and acting in positive ways.
Enna grows past telling herself “I can’t do that” when she has a dream about all of the possible versions of herself that she can become through patience, dedication, and knowledge. By adapting a growth mindset, Enna learns to say, “I can’t do that YET!” This book inspires readers to think positively in a way that empowers them to dream big and try new things!
Teacher Tip: Ask your child or students about something they want to do, like be an artist or fly a plane. Have them use craft utensils to illustrate their dream and caption it with the inspiring anecdote, “I can’t do that… YET!” Hang these up in the classroom or home space to remind students to work toward making those dreams a reality.
Many people don’t discover the importance of positive self-talk until adulthood, making the unlearning of lifelong negative thought patterns more difficult. This book teaches children how to support and encourage themselves through positive and mindful affirmations, instilling this concept of self-love in young readers to use throughout their lives. I Can Do Hard Things reflects the diversity of our world throughout the text, and it is also available in Spanish as Yo Puedo Hacer Cosas Dificiles: Afirmaciones Conscientes Para Niños.
Teacher Tip: Teachers and parents can access free resources to accompany the reading at http://bit.ly/gabigarciabooks!
This is a story about a richly diverse school that offers every student space to feel included and recognized. The children share their cultures with one another, celebrating and learning about the diversity on planet Earth. Readers can learn about the importance of being kind to one another, inspiring a positive recognition of each other’s differences.
Teacher Tip: The book jacket has a wonderful poster on the backside that you can laminate and hang up around the house or in your classroom to remind children about the book’s message of positivity and diversity.
Mindset matters! Romy has different voices in her head: one that doubts and one that encourages. Her mother’s wise words help Romy understand that she has a choice as to which voice she listens to, and that this choice matters a lot in determining her happiness. This picture book teaches readers how to transition from “I can’t” to a growth mindset of, “I can’t YET!” to inspire positive changes in their lives.
Teacher Tip: Allow students to get creative by providing them with paper and coloring supplies. Instruct them to divide their papers into two sections, hamburger-style. On one side, the students should illustrate something that they’ve told themselves they “can’t do”, and on the other, have them draw that thing through an “I can’t do that YET!” attitude, drawing the steps they will need to take in order to turn their dream into a future reality.
3-Minute Morning Journal: Intentions & Reflections for a Powerful Life created by the CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
This 3-minute daily journal supplies users with quotes and guiding prompts to inspire short journal entries that will help individuals focus on achievable, daily tasks to help them work toward intimidating, long-term goals. By breaking down big overarching goals, everyday living becomes a little easier!
Teacher Tip: If using this for yourself, try replacing morning screen-time with this short daily routine of reflection to inspire growth and positive change in your life. Any of these quotes and prompts may be brought into the classroom to inspire discussion or a journal activity for students.
365 Days of Positive Thinking: A motivational quote-a-day to increase productivity and bring positive thinking into your life by Jenny Kellett
These daily pages can help inspire motivation, positivity, and better mental health within readers. These quotes are easily digestible by any reader, making it a great resource for the home or classroom.
Teacher tip: Hang up quotes that move and inspire around the room to spread the wealth of positivity!
A Mindful Year: 365 Ways to Find Connection and the Sacred in Everyday Life by Dr. Aria Campbell-Danesh and Seth J. Gillihan, Ph.D.
Written by two psychology experts, A Mindful Year contains 365 daily reflections that help individuals to reconnect with the present moment. Being present (also known as mindful) allows your brain to take a break from the constant bustle of life that we so easily get caught up in. This book provides readers with gentle encouragement to incorporate quiet moments in their day-to-day lives to ground themselves in compassion and stillness.
Teacher Tip: Mindfulness is an invaluable tool to teach young children. These moments of mindfulness would be incredibly useful in a rowdy classroom. Or, use this book when your students are coming back from recess to reconnect them and settle them!
Young David resents making mistakes so much that he gives up trying. Out of frustration and anger, David wishes for a world without failures, but it’s not exactly what he expected it would be like. Without making mistakes, the world wouldn’t have growth, innovations, or learning! This text teaches children that making mistakes is okay!
Teacher Tip: Open a discussion with the class about times when they felt like David did about making mistakes. Did those mistakes teach us something that we’re glad we know now?
Throughout life we may hear a lot of mean things said about us by others or by ourselves! This book handles negative self-talk and bullying in a way that teaches children the importance of cultivating confidence and how wonderful the world could be if we all loved ourselves for who we are.
Teacher Tip: Have your students reflect on things that they don’t like about themselves. Work with them to create positive affirmations to encourage changing their mindsets from criticizing to loving themselves.
An artist uses spots, splotches, and mistakes to transform her piece in magical and unexpected ways, taking readers through her process. This book illuminates the misconceptions around making mistakes, and how sometimes, these mistakes can end up creating brilliant ideas!
Teacher Tip: Provide students with a phrase like “Mistakes are helpful because…” or “A mistake is beautiful because…” and ask them to finish the sentence with a positive perspective on how making mistakes benefit us all.
Positive Mindset Journal for Special Education Teachers: A Year of Happy Thoughts, Inspirational Quotes, and Reflections for a More Rewarding Special Education Teaching Experience by Grace Stevens
This journal, made by a teacher for Special Education teachers, encourages overwhelmed and burned-out Special Ed. teachers to develop “healthy habits” of thinking to improve the quality of their days and lives. There are quotes, spaces for journaling, prompts, engaging activities, and more to help out anyone who works with children who have special needs.