I think as children (and basically as humans in general), it’s easy to be focused one what we want or what we don’t have instead of making gratitude for the things we DO have part of our regular life.
These picture books on gratitude do a lovely job of helping open up a conversation about gratitude, which is especially wonderful during November and going into the holiday season where it’s easy to get a case of the “gimmes.”
best books on gratitude
Thank you, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
This is a classic children’s book, one that I remember reading as a girl. When the author, Patricia was a little girl, she was known as Trisha. When she started school she could draw beautifully, but reading was especially difficult for her. The letters and words on the page would seem all jumbled. Her teacher, Mr. Falker recognized Trisha’s dyslexia and helped her to overcome her reading disability.
Thankful by Elaine Vickers, illustrated by
Every year when the first snow falls, a little girl makes a paper chain with something that she is grateful for written on each link of paper. A wonderful book to help remind us how much there is to be thankful for in life- both the mundane and the amazing.
What Is Given from the Heart by Patricia C. McKissack, illustrated by
After a rough few months for James Otis and his family, he was sitting in church on the Sunday before Valentine’s Day when the reverend announced another family had had lost everything in a fire. The church was collecting anything that could help out this family. James thinks about what he can contribute to this family, even though he himself doesn’t have very much. As long as it comes from the heart, it’s enough.
Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora
Omu can’t wait for her delicious dinner. But when the smell brings in neighbors from all over that want to share her dinner, Omu ends up with none for herself.
Little Bird by Germano Zullo, illustrated by
A man drives his truck to a cliff’s edge to deliver a flock of birds to freedom. All the birds fly out, except for one small bird. The man tries to show the bird how to fly off and join his flock. Soon the bird flies off, and the man drives away, but to his surprise and delight, the bird and his friends return.
Around The Table That Grandad Built by
Written in verse that adds on each other this book tells a story about a family who gathers to share a meal with friends and neighbors around the table that grandad built. Each person contributes something to create a warm and memorable meal.
Apple Cake: A Gratitude by
This sweet story is written in rhyming verse about a child saying thank you for each gift from nature that contributes to the creation of a delicious apple cake. It has beautiful illustrations and a very sweet sentiment that encourages gratitude and it includes a recipe for apple cake at the end of the book!
Children learn about gratitude by exploring the people of their town and learning what each one is thankful for. It lends itself as a great discussion starter and helps illustrate just how much we have to be grateful for.
Otis Gives Thanks by Loren Long
Willa adores her ragdoll, Rosie more than anything in the world. They share picnics and long summer days together, but then when the seasons change, one winter day on a bumpy sleigh ride, Rosie falls into the snow and disappears. Willa is devastated at the loss of Rosie, but then Rosie mysteriously reappears at Grandma’s door. How can Will thank the friend who returned her doll?
Bear Says Thanks by
Bear decides to throw a feast as the perfect way to say thanks to all his friends. But when he looks in his cupboards, they are completely empty. His friends show up one by one, each with a delicious offering of food. A cute story about how much sweeter life is when shared with friends. Check out Bear Stays up For Christmas next!
The Thank You Book by Mo Willems
From everyone’s favorite Gerald and Piggie, they want to say thank you! Piggie wants to thank everyone, but Gerald is worried Piggie will forget someone important!
Thank You, Mr. Panda by
Mr. Panda is the perfect way of teaching the importance of saying “thank you” for every gift, even (and especially) when it isn’t quite what you wanted. Mr. Panda gives presents to all his animal friends, but unfortunately none of them are quite right. Octopus gets six socks and Mouse receives a sweater that is way too big. Lemur knows that it’s the thought that really counts.
Gracias by Pat Mora
A great bilingual book where a young boy tells about what he is grateful for in his everyday life. Gracias!
The Beckoning Cat by
Based on a Japanese folktale, this story is about a poor boy named Yohei. Yohei shares his dinner with a cat that appears on his doorstep. Later when Yohei faces a problem, the cat remembers and brings help.
Under the Lemon Moon by
Rosalinda, a young girl in rural Mexico awakens one night to find a man has taken lemons from her beloved tree. Soon after, the tree begins to wither. Rosalinda’s grandmother tells her about La Anciana, the old one, and she appears to tell Rosalinda to not be angry with the thief. The story ends as Rosalinda gives away her lemons, from her now healthy tree.
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