20 Children’s Books Showing What It Means to Be Thankful

20 Children's Books Showing What It Means to Be Thankful Pinterest

20 Children's Books Showing
What It Means to Be Thankful

Expressing a sense of gratitude and thankfulness makes people happier and healthier. It helps us look at our lives in terms of what is around us and not just material things. Below is a wonderful selection of books illustrating what it means to be thankful. They would be perfect to share around Thanksgiving, but should also be read all year round. 

These thankful books will leave you and your students with a sense of appreciation for the small things in life that make us feel happy and special.

At the end of the list of books you will find a list of thankful and gratitude discussion questions.

Gratitude and Thankful Books

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Around the Table That Grandad Built by Melanie Heuiser Hill

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.

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 Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

The Giving Tree tells of the unconditional love of a tree and the selfishness of a boy. Over the course of the boy’s life, he asks the tree to help him and she gives him everything she has. “She loved a little boy very much – even more than she loved herself.” It is only as an old man he feels gratitude and thankfulness towards the tree.

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña

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.

The Table Where Rich People Sit by Byrd Baylor

Mountain Girl’s impoverished family help 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 she first thought.

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

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 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 spread 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 received hundreds of notes, cards and letters all responding to her thoughtful letters.

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 appropriate. Lemur tries to make Mr Panda feel better, saying “It’s the thought that counts.” Mr Panda reminds him of this saying 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.
Thankful by Eileen Spinelli

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.

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.

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 exploring wats 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. Jeremy successfully searches a second-hand shop for a pair of ‘those shoes’. There is one problem, they are too small. After some thought, 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 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.

Willa and the Bear by Philomena O’Neill

Willia loves her rag doll, 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. Willa finds a way to thank this mysterious knight in shining armour.

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. For a year she dutifully follows the instructions to take care of the tree and she is rewarded with lemons! She sets up a lemonade stand and is able to buy what she really wants, with her own money.

Thankful Book Discussion Questions

  1. I am thankful for ______ becasue _______.
  2. Did you thank someone today? Why?
  3. What acts of kindness have been important to you? Why?
  4. What places fo you feel grateful for? Why?
  5. Tell me about one thoughtful action you showed someone.
  6. What’s the best things that’s happened today? Tell me why.
  7. What made you smile today?
  8. Tell me about the most beautiful thing you saw today.
  9. How do you family and friends show they care for you?
  10. Who can you always rely on?

I would love to know about your favourite thankful books to promote a grateful attitude in your classroom. Do you do any activities promoting gratitude. Let me know in the comments below. 

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