Being thankful is a big deal, especially for our elementary school students. In a world where we often get caught up in lots of stuff, it’s super important to teach kids to notice and be happy about the small, good things in their lives. One way to help them learn this important lesson is by reading picture books about gratitude and talking about them. In this blog post, we’ll see how picture books can help teach kids to be thankful, and we’ll show you step by step how to do a fun reading activity to learn about it.
I’m sharing all of these books on video as well! Check out the Picture Books about Gratitude on my Youtube channel.
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Tips for Using Picture Books about Gratitude
Look for stories that have relatable characters and situations that resonate with your students.
Create a list of open-ended questions that will encourage thoughtful discussion. For example:
- What does it mean to be thankful?
- How do you feel when someone is thankful to you?
- Can you think of a time when you felt thankful for something or someone?
Picture Books about Gratitude
Thankful by Eileen Spinelli
Thankful portrays the importance of all the different things we can be grateful for. Through poetic text and simple illustrations, your students will enjoy this one. This book truly highlights all of the little things we can express gratitude towards but in a simple way.
The Thankful Book by Todd Parr
The Thankful Book celebrates all the little things children can give thanks for. From everyday activities like reading and bathtime to big family meals together and special alone time between parent and child, Todd inspires readers to remember all of life’s special moments. The perfect book to treasure and share, around the holidays and throughout the year.
The Thank You Book by Mo Willems
In The Thank You Book, Piggie wants to thank EVERYONE. But Gerald is worried Piggie will forget someone . . . someone important.
Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora
Thank You, Omu! is the story of a generous lady who gives and gives and gives until she finds that she has given out all of her delicious soup, leaving her with no dinner for herself. A beautiful story of selflessness and appreciation but also the importance of community. It’s an excellent portrayal of generosity. I also have an interactive read-aloud for you to use with your students. This is one of my absolute favorites!
Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson
What better way for Bear to say thanks, than to have a big dinner with all his friends!
Bear has come up with the perfect way to say thanks—a nice big dinner! When Bear decides to throw a feast, his friends show up one by one with different platters of delicious food to share. There’s just one problem: Bear’s cupboards are bare! What is he to do?
We are Grateful by Traci Sorrell
We Are Grateful is an #ownvoices book, written by a member of a native nation. The story explains the meaning of the Cherokee word, otsaliheliga. This word is used to express gratitude. The dual-language book takes us through a year of Cherokee celebrations and experiences. It describes how they express gratitude throughout the year.
Thanks a Million by Nikki Grimes
Thanks a Million is a collection of sixteen different poems in different styles, reminding us how wonderful it is to feel thankful. We are reminded of the big and small things that we can be thankful for. Although it’s a little bit different, your students will definitely enjoy this powerful compilation of poems.
We Give Thanks by Cynthia Rylant
Follow two sweet friends as they zip around town talking to all their pals about the things they love. The pair may even have a plan cooking to show everyone their gratitude! With its themes of thankfulness and inclusion, We Give Thanks is the perfect read for Thanksgiving—or for any day of the year.
Grateful: A Song of Giving Thanks by John Bucchino
Grateful is a beautiful song — a loving reminder of the gifts available to us when we approach life with gratitude. It is a song that inspires courage, compassion, and hope.
Thankful by Elaine Vickers
When the first snow falls, a little girl writes down the things she’s thankful for on strips of paper and links them together. As one idea leads to another, her chain grows longer. There’s so much good in her life: a friend, things that are warm, things that are cold, color, things that can be fixed. This beautiful story is a much-needed reminder to observe and honor life’s small joys.
Teaching kids to be thankful using picture books and reading out loud together is a great idea. When you pick a good book, ask good questions, and talk about it with your students, you help them see why being thankful is so important. It’s not just good for them, but it also makes the classroom a happier and kinder place.
Listen on the Podcast
Save this Book List
Be sure to save this pin to your favorite read alouds board on Pinterest! You’ll be able to come back to these books when you are ready to read them aloud with your students.