According to research, cultivating gratitude is one of the simplest but most powerful paths to a happier, more fulfilled life. Gratitude dispels entitlement and indifference, selfishness and hopelessness. That’s why it’s so important for me to teach my children to have grateful mindsets. One of my favorite ways to teach the value of gratitude is to cuddle up with and read a fun book with them. I teamed up with Miranda Rosbach to share 10 picture books for cultivating grateful mindset.
Tiny Blessings: for Mealtime by Amy Parker: “For food that helps me grow up strong. For the table where we eat, for yummy smells that fill the air, and especially the treats!” This visually inviting modern board book is perfect for tiny fingers to explore again and again.
Autumn Forest: Bedtime Story for Kids about Gratitude by Arnie Lightning: When fall finally comes to the forest all the animals are excited to welcome a new season. They savor the sights and smells of this special time of year, as together they move from Halloween to Thanksgiving Day and into the darker days of winter. A preschool favorite and easy way to teach children to do as Thoreau put it “Live in each season as it passes.”
Give Thank You A Try by James Patterson: Thank you may be a simple statement, but it can often be an expression for everyday things. From smiles, to snow, to clouds shaped like cows, to tickles and teachers and terrible tongue twisters. This newly published picture book features exuberant illustrations from a handful of notable children’s illustrators and is a joy to read a loud.
Judy Moody and Stink: The Wishbone Wish by Megan McDonald: Although this book isn’t technically on the “teaching gratitude” radar, it is a smart chapter book that showcases a particularly endearing sibling relationship. Besides, who can resist cheering on Judy and Stink as they train to win the annual Turkey Trot and walk away with the grand prize of a Thanksgiving Day bird?
Giving Thanks: Poems, Prayers, and Praise Songs of Thanksgiving by Katherine Paterson: As Meister Eckhart once said “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘thank you,’ it will be enough.” So begins this collection of short poems and verse, ranging from gratitude for the natural world, the present moment, the abundance of food we eat, and a richness to all that currently constitutes this life.
Talk Wordy to Me’s picks:
Thankful by Eileen Spinelli: I love the way this lighthearted book illustrates that no matter who we are or what we do, we all have something to be grateful for, and that we are all connected through what we give and take in the world.
All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon: This is one of my all-time favorite picture books. The words and illustrations are magical and teach gratitude for simple family life and the beauty in our daily rituals.
Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende Devlin: I love this vintage book with charming illustrations and a funny tale that teaches us to look past first impressions and judgements to find someone’s true character. Check out Cranberry Christmas too.
The Thank You Book by Mo Willems: We are huge fans of the Elephant and Piggie series over here. This fun book uses the Elephant and Piggie duo’s classic humor to remind us to say thank you to the people who bless our lives.
The Secret of Saying Thanks by Douglas Wood: This book has beautiful illustrations of the world around us and words that remind us to be thankful for things we often take for granted. I love that it portrays thankfulness as a special secret to happiness. It makes kids more excited to use it. It is a bit on the wordy side, but still well-worth the read.