Children’s Books about Gratitude and Thankfulness

Children’s Books about Gratitude and Thankfulness

Expressing a sense of gratitude and thankfulness makes us happier and healthier by appreciating what is around us. These children’s books about gratitude will inspire your students to appreciate the small things in life.

Children’s Books about Gratitude and Thankfulness

Expressing a Sense of Gratitude and Thanksgiving

Expressing a sense of gratitude and thankfulness makes us happier and healthier; playing a role in our overall wellbeing. It helps us look at our lives in terms of what is around us and not just material things.

Gratitude is more than saying thank you. It is about being thankful for the things we care about – family members, friends, nature and acts of kindness. Showing gratitude shows that you value and understand the recipient of your appreciation and thanks.

Characteristics of an Appreciative and Grateful Mindset

  • Recognition of what people do
  • Naturally express a happier and positive mindset
  • Communicates appreciation to others spontaneously
  • Recognises what is happening around them
  • Appreciates the little things and not just material objects
  • Values the people in their life who are supportive
  • Has resilience to face difficulties
  • Understands life is not always fair

Key Benefits of an Appreciative and Grateful Mindset

  • Increased happiness and a positive mindset
  • Creation of positive relationships
  • Inspiring others to be grateful
  • Engaging with people and surroundings naturally
  • Increasing imagination and creativity, academically and personally

Questions for Children’s Books about Gratitude

Here are a few questions to ask your students before, during and after reading children’s books about gratitude and thanksgiving.

  • I am thankful for ______ because _______.
  • Did you thank someone today? Why?
  • What acts of kindness have been important to you? Why?
  • What places/people do you feel grateful for? Why?
  • Tell me about one thoughtful action you showed someone.
  • What is the best thing that has happened today? Tell me why.
  • What made you smile today?
  • Tell me about the most beautiful thing you saw today.
  • How do your family and friends show they care for you?
  • How do you show your family and friends you care for them?
  • Who can you always rely on?

Children’s Books about Gratitude and Thankfulness

Gratefulness is an abstract concept for children, but reading children's books about gratitude and highlighting great examples makes it easier to understand. Book characters model how your students can show gratitude in their own life.

Around the Table That Grandad Built by Melanie Heuiser Hill

A family share a diverse meal with their family and friends in this cumulative story. They all contribute to the Thanksgiving dinner around a very special table. Use to discuss gratitude, family and sharing.

Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson

As Bear sits lonely and bored in his cave he thinks about inviting his friends over but his cupboards are empty. While considering what to do next his friends drop by with food. Embarrassed, Bear admits he has no food to offer, but his friends want nothing more than his company.

The Beckoning Cat by Koko Nishizuka

The Beckoning Cat is a Japanese symbol of luck that welcomes visitors into shops and restaurants. A boy shows kindness to a stray cat, and in return the cat attracts customers to the family business, helping them care for the sick father. Read to discuss harmony, balance, appreciation and gratitude.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Over the course of a boy’s life, he asks a tree to help him and she gives him everything she has. It is only on reflection, as an old man, he feels gratitude and thankfulness towards the tree.

Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers

Travel over mountains and oceans, space and constellations, and the animals and people who populate the Earth. The handwritten facts throughout the book are a gentle plea to care for the planet and each other.

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña

A grumpy CJ and his nana ride a city bus full of wonderful characters. He wonders aloud why he doesn’t have the things his friends do and why they have to volunteer at the soup kitchen every week. His nana’s straightforward and positive responses help CJ see and appreciate what he has and what he can give.

Little Bird by Germano Zullo

A man sets free a flock of bird from his truck but one remains. He cares for the bird and then ecourages the bird to fly back to its family. As the man returns to his van, the flock of birds fly back to thank the driver. Read for discussions on kindness, freedom, gratitude and making friends.

The Table Where Rich People Sit by Byrd Baylor

Mountain Girl’s impoverished family help her see she has many things to be thankful for. Being able to sleep under the stars, smell the coming rain, see the sky throughout the day and watch a cactus bloom. She begins to understand that money is not as important she first thought. Use for discussions on poverty, materialism, inferring and thankfulness. This is one of several books about thanksgiving on this list

The Thank You Book by Mary Lyn Ray

Explore different ways we can all show gratitude and thankfulness on a daily basis. The poetic text celebrates the powerful impact of gratitude.

The Thank You Book by Mo Willems

In their last book. Piggie is determined to thank all the important people in her life. A sceptical Gerald is certain she will forget someone very important – him! At first, he is hopeful and then visibly upset when Piggie does forgets him. She realises her error she apologises for her mistake only for Gerald to prompt her to thank someone else… the reader!

The Thank You Letter by Jane Cabrera

Grace spreads gratitude throughout her community by writing thoughtful and humorous letters. She thanks everyone who has made a difference in her life no matter how big or small. In return, Grace receives hundreds of notes, cards and letters all responding to her thoughtful letters. Read to discuss appreciation, letter writing, thankfulness and kindness.

Thank You, Mr Panda by Steve Antony

Mr Panda is handing out presents to his friends. But, they don’t say thank you, complaining that the gifts are not quite right. Lemur tries to make Mr Panda feel better, saying “It’s the thought that counts.” Mr Panda reminds him of this when he gives Lemur, who does say thank you, a pair of extra large doughnut designed underpants.

Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora

Omu shares her delicious stew with everyone in the neighbourhood. They follow the amazing smell for a portion of Omu’s meal. Soon the pot is empty and her generosity means she has no stew left for herself. But the community show their gratitude by sharing their food with her. Read to discuss community, kindness, gratitude, generousity and sharing.

Thankful by Eileen Spinelli

Poetic text portraying the importance of being thankful for the blessings in our lives. Like the gardener's thankful for every green sprout and the artist is thankful for colour and light. Use to discuss gratitude and thankfulness.

The Thankful Book by Todd Parr

Todd Parr celebrates all the things children can be thankful for, like reading, music, kisses, play time, bathtime and family time. Read to discuss appreciation, gratitude and being reflective.

Thanks A Million by Nikki Grimes

A collection of sixteen different styles of poems remind us all how wonderful it feels to be thankful and how powerful it is to say thank you.

Thanku: Poems of Gratitude by Miranda Paul

A poetry anthology explores what it is to be grateful for the people and nature around us. The poems are composed by diverse contributors including Joseph Bruchac, Margarita Engle, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Naomi Shihab Nye, Charles Waters, and Jane Yolen.

Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts

Jeremy is mortified when his old shoes fall apart and the school counsellor provides an unstylish replacement pair. He successfully searches a second-hand shop for a pair of ‘those shoes’, but they are too small. After some reflection, he passes the sneakers to a young child who Jeremy realises needs them more than him.

Under the Lemon Moon by Edith Hope Fine

In rural Mexico, Rosalinda wakes to find a Night Man has taken lemons from her much loved lemon tree. She discovers the man selling her lemons, but realises he had a need to do this. With this new understanding she gives away her lemons, including to the Night Man. He tells her to plant the lemon seeds while the lemon moon is in the sky.

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell

Members of the Cherokee Nation community use the word ‘Otsaliheliga’ to express their gratitude. We Are Grateful follows a year of Cherokee celebrations and the gratitude they express.

What Is Given from the Heart by Patricia C. McKissack

When a family loses everything in a fire, the community come together to help. James wonders how he can contribute as he doesn’t think he has anything worth giving. He makes the daughter, Sarah, a book all about her. She is so delighted with this precious gift she presses it to her heart.

When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree by Jamie L.B. Deenihan

A young girl is disappointed to receive a lemon tree from her Grandma for her birthday rather than the new robot she really wanted. She dutifully follows the instructions to take care of the tree and is rewarded with lemons! She sets up a lemonade stand and is able to buy what she really wants, with her own money.

Willa and the Bear by Philomena O’Neill

Willia loves her ragdoll, made by her Grandma, more than anything else. When she loses the doll in the snow Willa is inconsolable. A bear leaves the doll on Grandma’s doorstep and Willa finds a way to thank this mysterious knight in shining armour.

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What Next?

Below are a couple of videos about gratitude you may want to use. I also found this article from PBS parents Beyond “Thank You:” Helping Your Five-Year-Old Understand and Express Gratitude that you could share with parents.

I would love to know the children's books about thanksgiving and gratitude books you use to promote a thankful attitude in your classroom. Do you do any activities promoting gratitude?

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Children’s Books about Gratitude and Thankfulness

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