Wondering what the best kids’ books about gratitude are in 2023?
Whether browsing for a Thanksgiving seasonal read or looking to instill the practice of gratitude in your child’s day-to-day, this list has you covered!
We’ll delve into the best kids’ books about gratitude for:
- Toddlers & Preschoolers
- Kids in lower elementary grade levels (Kindergarten-2nd grade)
- Kids in upper elementary grade levels (3rd-6th grade)
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What is Gratitude?
Gratitude is the practice of choosing to focus on the positives in life and being thankful for them.
“…it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts, and benefits we’ve received…
We recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves… We acknowledge that other people…gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.”Robert Emmons, Gratitude Expert & Researcher
Why Teach Kids Gratitude?
Research shows that individuals who practice gratitude tend to have increased levels of happiness.
Amazingly, this link between gratitude and happiness has been found in children as young as five years old!
Furthermore, one study found that parents who practiced gratitude themselves AND selected gratitude-related activities for their children were more likely to have kids who expressed gratitude and thankfulness.
The Best Kids’ Books About Gratitude
Finding a book that’s a match for your child’s developmental level can make all the difference when striving to spark authentic gratitude!
Best kids’ books about gratitude for toddlers & preschoolers
You Are My Happy by Hoda Kotb (Illustrated by Suzie Mason)
One of the best ways to instill gratitude in young children is modeling it ourselves!
You Are My Happy is a simple story told from a mama/papa bear’s perspective, finding joy in all the small details of day-to-day life with their little one.
It’s a quick read with vibrant colors and illustrations that will engage the youngest of readers.
Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson & Jane Chapman
Bear wants to prepare a big feast, but his cupboard is bare. Luckily, his friends all chip in to make the day special. Bear not only is grateful but realizes he can also contribute in an unexpected way!
Bear Says Thanks is a beautiful picture book with whimsical characters. Although this book doesn’t specifically address the Thanksgiving holiday, it gives off major seasonal vibes!
The Thankful Book by Todd Parr
With Todd Parr’s classic colorful and unique illustrations, The Thankful Book quickly grabs the attention of young readers.
This simple introduction to gratitude helps children identify things to be grateful for in their day-to-day. From our hair to hands to hugs and holidays, readers will realize that gratitude can be found anywhere we look for it!
The Thankful Book is written with some light-hearted kids’ humor that had my 3-year-old belly laughing!
Best kids’ books about gratitude for early elementary students
Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena (Illustrated by Christian Robinson)
CJ spends his Sunday riding the public bus with his Nana. Nana inspires CJ to embrace a spirit of gratitude and look for the positive… even when faced with some of life’s greatest obstacles.
Last Stop on Market Street broaches additional critical subjects with young readers, including empathy, diversity, disabilities, and economic hardship.
The Thank You Letter by Jane Cabrera
Although Jane didn’t receive her top-choice birthday gift, she has a blast writing thank you notes to her friends and family! After mailing her letters, Jane’s gratitude and positive spirit come back to her full circle!
The Thank You Letter is the perfect selection for early elementary students who are learning to write their own thank you notes.
The best part? The Thank You Letter includes 13 simple thank you note examples to inspire future letter writers!
Best books about gratitude for upper elementary students
Don’t Say a Word, Mama by Joe Hayes (Illustrated by Esau Andrade Valencia)
Rosa and Blanca are two sisters who grow up with a deep appreciation for each other as well as for their mother.
The family’s generosity towards one another takes a comedic turn, emphasizing how gratitude and abundant joy often go hand in hand!
Don’t Say a Word, Mama is a bilingual text (English and Spanish) and ideal for delving into topics such as gratitude, kindness, and culture.
Thanks a Million, Poems by Nikki Grimes (Illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera)
Thanks a Million is a rich collection of gratitude-driven poems that delve into a wide range of life challenges (e.g., school struggles, friendship, family matters, grief and loss, homelessness, and disabilities).
Each poem is written from a different child’s perspective with diverse illustrations. Note: Some of the poems in Thanks a Million contain spiritual/religious references.
The Last Thing You Need to Know About Teaching Gratitude
Reading is a profoundly impactful teaching tool for laying a foundation for gratitude in kids!
To take this life lesson a step further, consider supplementing your book selections with engaging follow-up activities.
This way, your child or students can apply their knowledge of gratitude and begin making personal connections to their own lives.
This step is essential for making gratitude a daily practice for kids (so they can reap all of the natural, joyful benefits!)
Gratitude Activities for Kids
Kids’ Gratitude Tree Activity (Printable Template) by Such a Little While
This 8-page print-at-home gratitude tree activity by Such a Little While is a great way to continue your conversation on gratitude!
Such a Little While’s Gratitude Tree Activity for Kids Includes:
- 2 engaging educational handouts to teach the concept of gratitude & its benefits
- 10 creativity-sparking brainstorming prompts
- Task checklist to guide independent study (best for older kids and students proficient in reading and multi-step directions)
- Gratitude tree activity printable template (tree + 18 leaves in 2 different sizes to meet the needs of diverse ages and skillsets)
- Completed gratitude tree activity example (cover page)
- BONUS “thank you” postcard activity! (Perfect for students who finish early or for at-home enrichment!)
A Heartfelt Thank You
‘Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.'”A.A. Milne, author of Winnie the Pooh
Whether you’re a parent, caregiver, loved one, or educator, I’m grateful for YOU taking the time to explore my favorite kids’ books about gratitude!
I invite you to continue your journey with the Such a Little While Circle of Support below to receive exclusive free positive parenting and social/emotional development resources.
You’ve got this!
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