When I was a first semester library school student, shy and uncertain if I would ever be able to get up in front of a room full of preschoolers and caregivers with a single book, much less lead silly songs and finger plays, I took up the habit of bringing picture books to my work study at the university archives. At lunch, I sat with my coworkers and presented them with a different book. Their delight at the undeniable charm and humor of many picture books—which, of course, are written to be shared!—helped me build my confidence. One of my first and most memorable successes was Pete The Cat: I Love My White Shoes, by Eric Litwin. Pete’s deadpan face and unshakeable chill, groovy attitude as he faces repeated mishaps appealed to my fellow millennials, and, I later found, also serves as an excellent model for young children dealing with setbacks, disappointments, and changes in plans. “Just keep walking along and singing your song,” Pete says, “because it’s all good.”
I Love My White Shoes is currently available only in print or via Overdrive/Libby, but many other books in the Pete the Cat collection can be instantly downloaded on Hoopla. I especially recommend Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses!
Pete the Cat models resilience and positivity in a fun, playful way. Here are some of my other favorite resilient reads for the preschool crowd:
I Will Be Fierceby Bea Birdsongand Ruby’s Swordby Jacqueline Veissid model methods for turning anxiety and disappointment into opportunities for adventure and discovery using heroic—yet nonviolent—fantasy imagery. I also love that they both feature confident, self-sufficient brown-skinned girl protagonists!
How It Feels To Be A Boatby James Kwanand Happy Right Nowby Julie Berry focus on the emotional awareness portion of the equation, using metaphor and narrative to identify feelings of anger, frustration, and disappointment, to model acknowledging them, and to graciously find contentment in the imperfect moment.
One great way to foster calm, resilience, and emotional awareness is by practicing mindfulness. There are all kinds of fantastic children’s books on Hoopla that take a the somewhat abstract concept and make it concrete with creative imagery, illustrations, and simple exercises. Here’s a short list of children’s mindfulness resources that are meant to reduce headaches and tantrums, encourage self-soothing and emotional awareness, and even help with healthy sleep habits!
Breathe and Be by Kate Coombs Each poem in this short collection explores a different facet of self awareness, peace, and calm. Also available as a video.