The Best Progressive Spirituality Books For Little Kids

The other day, my friend Lisa reached out to ask if I had any favorite spirituality books for little kids.

I was so glad she asked! Got all theology-nerd excited to share. It was a timely reminder to revisit several of my favorites, and to reread them with my own little guy.

I have a Lot Of Opinions about what we teach our kids about God, how we introduce them to the world of spirituality, and the ways in which a lot of traditional religions are body-negating.

(Hey, 3-year-olds: you are not broken, you are not bad, your body is wonderful, and you do not need to be fixed!!

But that's another rant, for another day.)

In other words, I'm pretty damn picky about the spiritual books I'll read to my kid. So if you're looking for a few progressive, diverse, body-loving, peace-loving, world-affirming books for introducing your little ones to an ecumenical sense of spirituality, I'd start with these.

When my first goddaughter was born nine years ago, I wandered into Grace Cathedral's little shop to find some intelligent children's books. The simple, bright, ecumenical board books I found that day are still at the top of my list. I've given these to all of the small children in my life. We've dropped worn copies out of the stroller, and reordered them, and left them on the porch in the rain, and they still hold up. They are multicultural, nondenominational, and nonsectarian, endorsed and beloved by Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, and yogis alike.

I'm going to link to Amazon for ease, but please buy these from your local cathedral or synagogue shop or indie bookstore first if you're able.


By Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso

This one is my absolute FAVORITE. I use it in my yoga philosophy workshops to illustrate the ways in which our different traditions' words for God all overlap in the spirit of oneness. Get it.

By Rabbi Lawrence and Karen Kushner

This one is beautiful, and hits the mark in all my favorite Buddhist transcendentalist ecofeminist ways.

By Rabbi Lawrence and Karen Kushner

Same story here. So good.

By Rabbi Lawrence and Karen Kushner

Your hands are God's hands. You can help the old lady down the street. You can share with a friend. That's all God in action. Boom.

By Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso

Art! Music! Dance! It's all God.

By Rana DiOrio

We discovered this author a few months ago, and are really loving her stuff. Check this one out. It does a great job communicating a sometimes-difficult-to-describe concept.

By Rana DiOrio

Thanks to Erica H. for recommending this one! I really love it, too.

By Sanjay Patel 

Sanjay Patel is an Emeryville guy who worked (still works?) at Pixar, so I've always been partial to his work, because it reminds me of all the people I've loved from teaching up the street in Oakland over the years. This is a gem; perfectly-striking visuals to keep the kiddos interested, with a fun postmodern animation aesthetic, and tons of fascinating dish on the Hindu gods and goddesses. You can hop from story to story, talking about the ways in which each deity represents different archtypal aspects of ourselves. (In more down-to-earth terms, of course.) Kids will get a kick out of Ganesha, an elephant-headed god who loves sweets and hangs out with a teeny weeny mouse.

By Innosanto Nagara 

Finally, I know this one isn't as explicitly "spiritual," but any parent looking for progressive children's books needs to have this one in their home library! We stumbled upon this book a few years ago at Powell's in Portland, and I have been obsessed since day one. Not only is it brilliant and rhythmic and cool, it includes a great hide-and-seek cat game that keeps the kiddos interested while you're schooling them on Zapatistas and Malcolm X.

“Reading it is almost like reading Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, but for two-year olds—full of pictures and rhymes and a little cat to find on every page that will delight the curious toddler and parents alike.”—Occupy Wall Street 

A is for Activist is an ABC board book written and illustrated for the next generation of progressives: families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and everything else that activists believe in and fight for.

There's a quick start. Love to hear your favorites, too!


Rachel Meyer is a Boston-based writer and yoga teacher. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, On Being, Yoga Journal, Tricycle, Yoga International, HuffPost, and more. You can find her at or @rachelmeyeryoga.


Toni said…
We're still reading them, 9 years later
Serrah Miles said…
I'm readying my kid to read the Bible and your recommendations are quite good! Hope my kid will have fun reading these.
Stylo A Bille said…
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