As parents, we tirelessly work to instill a sense of gratitude within our children and in today’s culture of more and better, it’s easy to overlook the many small blessings in our everyday. So as we turn our attention on giving thanks this week, let us not forget the power and importance of expressing gratitude all year long. Children’s books are fantastic resources when talking to kids about the importance of giving. Whether we choose to incorporate books about generosity into our daily reading rotation, or serve others as way of giving thanks, let’s continue inspiring grateful young hearts at home today and every day and in every way. Here are a few books to get you started.
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
If you’re looking for a children’s book that teaches generosity or unselfishness, most people will point you right to The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein’s lovely story of a tree that will do anything for the boy it loves — and for good reason. This classic is always a good place to start.
An Awesome Book of Thanks! by Dallas Clayton
A delightfully quirky list of things we ought to be thankful for, from the simple to the extraordinary. It teaches children how beautiful life can be when we give thanks. Your child will love the whimsical childlike artwork of magical unicorns, robotic dinosaurs, aerobic alligators combined with heartwarming prose is sure to make this book a family favorite.
It’s Mine! by Leo Lionni
Lionni is the master of picture books with simple, inspiring messages that never feel preachy. And a lesson on sharing is the first one kids need on their way to generosity. In this one, three selfish frogs spend their days arguing with the same refrain: “It’s mine!” T
hen a bad storm (and a big brown toad) teach them that sharing is indeed more rewarding than trying to lay claim to everything for ourselves.
The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell
Mooch the cat decides to give his pal Earl the gift of nothing. But there’s an important message in this picture book about knowing how to recognize when you have enough — and Earl, in fact, has everything he needs. Turns out a gift of nothing — save friendship — is just right, and often giving our friendship is everything.
Look and Be Grateful by Tomie dePaola
A young boy awakens with the dawn, opens his eyes and looks closely at his world. He admires all that surrounds him, large and small, from the radiant sun to a tiny, but exquisite ladybug. “Today is today, and it is a gift.” We are encouraged to be thankful and to express gratitude for each unique day.
We could add several more to this list, what are some of your favorite books about being grateful?