MU Picked · Books To Teach Thanks

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Written by Heidi Fiedler, a mother and editor creating special picture and chapter books for children.  

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As the holidays approach, I find it reassuring to remind myself this is meant to be a time to think about gratitude and generosity. The rest is what we make of it.  Of course, I hope by modeling heartfelt gratitude and true generosity with family, friends, and myself, my son will adopt these same values without pause—but it never hurts to be a little more explicit too. Below are a collection of books I hope will inspire your family to think about how we can give to others no matter how big or small we might be.

Books give us a common language and shared experiences that make it easier to talk about abstract ideas like generosity and gratitude, so I’ve also included a few questions at the end that might prompt discussions for your family once the reading is done. Enjoy!

 1.   Thanks a Million  This collection of poems is perfect for reading together, whether at bedtime or the dinner table. Nikki Grimes’ reminds readers how to say thank you for what we already have.  2.    An Awesome Book of Thanks  Dallas Clayton is generous with his art and spirit, both in his books and in life. Even the youngest readers will be tickled by this exuberant list of all there is to be thankful for  3.  I Am Thankful  Independent readers can build reading skills and learn positive affirmations with this Positive Power series.  4.  The Gift of Nothing  What do you give someone who has everything? Sometimes the most thoughtful answer is “nothing.” And sometimes it’s love!  5.  Bear Says Thanks  Lighthearted and sweet, Bear ‘s friends come together to throw their own thanksgiving in the forest. This is a fun one to share with little ones.  6.  I Wish You More  Like other Amy Krause Rosenthal wonders, this book celebrates word play, leaves readers with a sense of awe, and wishes readers the joy of friendship, curiosity, laughter, and peace.  7.  I Am Peace  It’s always easier to give when we feel safe and calm. Help kids find their happy place with this guided meditation.  8.  The Giving Tree  This classic book still makes readers cry. The ultimate example of how we can evolve and still give to each other over a lifetime, this is one you’ll be glad is on the family bookshelf.  9.  Life  As much as we might try to shelter them, kids know life isn’t always easy. But there’s always something to be grateful for, even in hard times. This book shines a light on the creatures who find a way to be strong in difficult circumstances and inspire us with their beauty.

1.  Thanks a Million This collection of poems is perfect for reading together, whether at bedtime or the dinner table. Nikki Grimes’ reminds readers how to say thank you for what we already have.

2. An Awesome Book of Thanks Dallas Clayton is generous with his art and spirit, both in his books and in life. Even the youngest readers will be tickled by this exuberant list of all there is to be thankful for

3. I Am Thankful Independent readers can build reading skills and learn positive affirmations with this Positive Power series.

4. The Gift of Nothing What do you give someone who has everything? Sometimes the most thoughtful answer is “nothing.” And sometimes it’s love!

5. Bear Says Thanks Lighthearted and sweet, Bear ‘s friends come together to throw their own thanksgiving in the forest. This is a fun one to share with little ones.

6. I Wish You More Like other Amy Krause Rosenthal wonders, this book celebrates word play, leaves readers with a sense of awe, and wishes readers the joy of friendship, curiosity, laughter, and peace.

7. I Am Peace It’s always easier to give when we feel safe and calm. Help kids find their happy place with this guided meditation.

8. The Giving Tree This classic book still makes readers cry. The ultimate example of how we can evolve and still give to each other over a lifetime, this is one you’ll be glad is on the family bookshelf.

9. Life As much as we might try to shelter them, kids know life isn’t always easy. But there’s always something to be grateful for, even in hard times. This book shines a light on the creatures who find a way to be strong in difficult circumstances and inspire us with their beauty.

Discussion Prompts:

What’s something you’re grateful for?

How do you feel when someone gives you a gift?

How do you feel when you give someone a gift?

What parts of your life already feel like a gift every day?  

How can you be generous with your strengths?

Do you have Thanksgiving traditions with your families?  Books or activities that you would add to this list?  We would love to hear. xo

Featured Image via Indie & Harper