Top 10 Tuesday – Ten Books about Paying Attention and Noticing the World

top 10

I’m excited to join the Top Ten Tuesday posts, a meme created by The Broke and Bookish and inspired by my bookish-teacher-blogger friend, Carrie Gelson – There’s A Book for That. (I realize that I am breaking rules as I am not following the Top 10 posted categories and instead creating my own!)

In the hurriedness of our lives, we often don’t hold on to small moments or pay attention to what’s important.  Recently,  I have noticed this theme emerging in new picture books – books about pausing, noticing and appreciating the world around us.  With many children (and adults!) highly dependent on technology, these books can be gentle reminders to look up from our screens and pay attention.  Here is my top 10 list of books about paying attention…


1. The Man and the Violin – Kathy Stinson

This award winning book is based on the true story of world renowned violinist Joshua Bell’s “experiment” in Washington D.C. subway station.  Dressed in street clothes, he played his priceless violin while 1000 of commuters rushed by and only 7 people stopped to listen.  This is the story of a little boy who stopped and noticed.


2. Wait – Antoinette Portis

A gentle reminder that sometimes it is more important to wait and see the world through the eyes of a curious child.  Wonderful wordless book.


3. Last Stop on Market Street – Matt De La Pena

An encouraging grandma helps a young boy see the beauty and fun in the world around them.  Love the Ezra Jack Keats-like illustrations and the lovely intergenerational theme.


4. Sidewalk Flowers – Jon Arno Lawson

While on a walk, a dad focuses on his cellphone while a young girl pays attention and gives back in small ways.  Subtle message within this gorgeous and poignant wordless picture book.


5. Breathe – Scott Magoon

Sparse text, lyrical and gentle words, gorgeous illustrations.   We follow a baby whale on an underwater adventure as he pays attention, notices and BREATHES.  Perfect quiet story time read for K-1 students to introduce the idea of intention and mindfulness. 

6. The Listening Walk – Paul Showers

Shhhhhh…. We’re going on a listening walk. Do not talk. Do not hurry. Get ready to fill your ears with a world of wonderful and surprising sounds.  Not only is this book excellent for teaching children to pay attention to their surroundings but is one of my favorite books for visualizing through our senses and introducing onomatopoeias.


7. Blackout – John Rocco

When the power goes out, a family takes the time to enjoy each other’s company and notice the world in the dark.  Gorgeous illustrations.


8. What Does It Mean to Be Present?  – Rana DiOrio

An excellent introduction to mindfulness – and a gentle reminder to focus on the present moment. 

9. Take the Time – Mindfulness for Kids – Maud Roegiers

A quiet, soothing book that encourages children to slow down and take the time to observe the world around them.


10. Step Gently Out – Helen Frost

Poetic text and stunning photographs – this book inspires us readers to look more closely at the world around them with a focus on nature and insects.  Would be an inspiring read before a class nature walk.

What are your favorite books about noticing and paying attention to the world?


Filed under Mindfulness, New Books, Paying attention, Top 10 Tuesday, wordless

3 responses to “Top 10 Tuesday – Ten Books about Paying Attention and Noticing the World

  1. Beautiful list. I know them all except for Wait-still need to read & see that one. Thanks Adrienne.

    • Hi Linda! I must tell you that your comment about how Wait reminded you of The Man and the Violin inspired me to do this list! So thank you! Wait is worth waiting for! It is lovely! Have a great week!

  2. I love, love, love this list! It has one of my very favourites – The Man with the Violin. And yes, Sidewalk Flowers matches it perfectly! I also love Blackout. I like your rule breaking but there are some great themes coming up. Next week is Ten Authors you read the most from – would love to see who you would include!

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