I always like giving books as gifts – even to myself ūüôā They have the power to inspire, connect you to greater meaning in life, create moments of shared fun, warm your heart and so much more.

I have¬†put together a short list of books that I often recommend: classics and new arrivals this year. Some are for you and some are for the children in your life! Happy reading….. (click on the title or image to go to the Amazon listing)

Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart

Interviewing Dr James Doty was a long awaited pleasure and honour for me. Reading his book was inspiring and uplifting. It weaves a personal story of triumph over adversity with a step by step process of transformation anyone can follow. One that comes with a good deal of credibility given his neuroscientific training, spiritual depth and personal warmth. My copy of this is so dog eared  Рand out on permanent loan to friends!

Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence

I am a huge fan of Rick Hanson’s work. I am not alone in this – he has over 655.000 followers on one of his Facebook pages and his workshops sell out internationally.¬†This book is a great option for those of you who want to access the best exercises for self-directed neuroplasticity – rewiring your brain for greater well-being and happiness. I use many of these practices with clients and recommend this book as an essential addition to their bookcase.

Radical Acceptance: Awakening the Love That Heals Fear and Shame

More than any other, this book brings you home to yourself in a deeply soothing and healing way, making it possible to wholeheartedly accept yourself, warts and all. A truly amazing book that is balm for your soul.¬†As Amazon says: “Tara Brach is a clinical psychologist, Buddhist lay priest and popular teacher of Buddhist mindfulness meditation. A charismatic personality and speaker, she gives workshops and retreats at all the top American venues, while continuing her clinical work in her specialities of addiction, anxiety and depression.” She is the personification of warmth and wisdom and her book is a beautiful gift.

Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself

When I first discovered Kristin Neff’s research on self compassion I was truly excited. So many of us are harsh in the way we relate to ourselves and our human failings. The voice inside our head is critical and unforgiving and speaks to us in words we would never dream of using with others! This book is an easy place to start with changing all of that for the better. It has easy to understand explanations and great practices that support a real shift. I recommend this book to parents of children who are self critical too – it’s a keeper.

The Happiness Track: How to Apply the Science of Happiness to Accelerate Your Success

This is the one to buy your work focused friends. Nothing wrong with being goal oriented and working hard to achieve those goals. But this book presents the evidence that happiness leads to success and not the other way around. The book is great for anyone who might be interested to shift their focus slightly and invest in the things that bring joy and contentment now, knowing that it is the fast-track to success, rather than deferring those until after the west is won! Voted one of the 16 Must-Read Business Books For 2016 by Forbes Magazine.

The Places that Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times (Shambhala Classics)

A guide to fearlessness in difficult times. If there is ever a book for the times we are in, this would be it. The ripples of dis-ease since the election have spread far beyond the shores of US soil. This is a fabulous book by a profoundly wise and wonderful teacher and might be just what that special person in your life is yearning for right now.

And now for the children…..

No Matter What

My girls know the words of this book off by heart and we still recite sections of it years after they have (almost) grown out of picture books. I say almost, because the message in this book – that you will always love them, no matter what, is one children of all ages feel deep in their heart as a foundation of safety, security and connection. I would buy this for children of any age as a reassurance of unconditional love – from a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, godparent – for any child in your life.

Time for Bed

Mem Fox is a national treasure here in Australia and this is the first book of hers that I fell in love with when my children were babies. Many children find it difficult to separate peacefully form you and their day when it is time for sleep and this book creates a gentle transition with its sweet characters and soothing rhymes. A great gift for parents or children!

The Jolly Christmas Postman

Our copy of this book is falling apart and many of the sweet little tit bits that slip in and out of the pages are long gone….but still my youngest takes it out and reads it aloud to herself. It was an inspired gift from a teacher friend of ours years ago and since then has become a favourite gift to give other children in my life! This one is one you can enjoy together or your children can while away many a happy hour having their imagination inspired!

The Day the Crayons Quit

For this one, which we love in our house, I am just going to quote Amazon – “Amazon Best Children’s Book of 2013: The Day the Crayons Quit, Drew Daywalt‚Äôs clever story of a box of crayons gone rogue will get the whole family laughing at the letters written by the occupants of the ubiquitous yellow and green box. The combination of text and Oliver Jeffers’ illustrations match the colors’ personalities beautifully as the crayons share their concern, appreciation, or downright frustration: yellow and orange demand to know the true color of the sun, while green–clearly the people pleaser of the bunch–is happy with his workload of crocodiles, trees, and dinosaurs. Peach crayon wants to know why his wrapper was torn off, leaving him naked and in hiding; blue is exhausted and, well, worn out; and pink wants a little more paper time. The result of this letter writing campaign is colorful creativity and after reading this book I will never look at crayons the same way again–nor would I want to. —Seira Wilson

Mindful Games Activity Cards: 55 Fun Ways to Share Mindfulness with Kids and Teens

Susan Kaiser Greenland is THE mindfulness for children expert. There are a few of us around now but Susan started the ball rolling and these cards are based on her new book, just published. This would be a fabulous resource for parents, teachers and anyone who works or cares for children. Definitely on my Christmas shopping list!

Mindful Games Activity Cards: 55 Fun Ways to Share Mindfulness with Kids and Teens

OK this one isn’t technically for children, but it is a fabulous resource to help you support the children in your life to grow up to be resilient, manage their emotions well and thrive! I am interviewing the author for my online program mindfulness4mothers in 2017 and I can’t wait to talk to him about his fabulous book.

BONUS EXTRA RECOMMENDATION:

OK so I am breaking the rules again and mentioning one more book: a classic that many say changed their lives. First published way back in 1958, Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. It has sold over 10 million copies and has been translated into twenty-four languages – a true gift of meaning at a very modest price.

Man’s Search for Meaning

It’s really hard to stop at 12 (as you can see!) and really hard to pick favourites but these are all much loved, much read and much shared choices for you.

May you be well