Books to Cultivate Gratitude

Monday, November 13, 2017

Thanksgiving is an especially rich season of the year. It's a time for slowing down, spending more time indoors, and taking stock of what matters most in our lives. One of the ways we cultivate gratitude in our home year round is to talk about one thing we are grateful for each night at family dinner. This is a tradition I inherited from my mother and one I've gladly continued with my own little family. These five books are a great way to involve kids in developing the practice of expressing gratitude on a daily basis. I've teamed up with Kim Christenson of Talk Wordy to Me to share 10 books that cultivate gratitude.

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 life.

Talk Wordy To Me's picks: 

Thankful by Eileen Spinelli -

Like the gardener,
Thankful for every green sprout,
And the fireman,
For putting the fire out,
There are everyday blessings,
You don’t need to look far,
To know at a glance,
How special you are.

This might be my favorite Thanksgiving book out there. I love the way it illustrates that no matter who we are or what we do, we all have something to be grateful for.

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.

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 the 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.

Hop over to Instagram if you'd like a chance to win all five of these books. And be sure to check out Kim's inspiring roundups over at Talk Wordy to Me.

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