Books for Gratitude and Thanksgiving

“Begin each day with a grateful heart.”


Here are some books that center around the theme of Gratitude and at the bottom of this post you will find our favorite Thanksgiving books. We have included as many YouTube read aloud links as we could, to help you access these wonderful stories.

Books for Teaching Gratitude

In a world that often focuses on all of the bad going on, this book focuses on all of the good people who are doing good things every day.  This book looks at the people we encounter everyday and why we should be grateful for all of the good things that they do.  This book is wonderful for ages 3 and up!

From the publisher: “A colorful picture book that will warm the hearts of children and adults alike, each of its pages contain endearing examples and vibrant illustrations to inspire children to grow into grateful, caring, and giving people. It provides a wonderful way to calm children before sleep, ease their fears, and help them develop an appreciation for good work.”

This is one of my favorite stories!  The little boy is not happy about having to make the long weekly journey on the bus with his grandmother and spends his time looking out the window thinking about all of the things that he doesn’t have.  Grandma helps him to see all that he does have and in the end he is grateful that they made the long journey to help others! Great for ages 5 and up

From the publisher: “Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them. This energetic ride through a bustling city highlights the wonderful perspective only grandparent and grandchild can share, and comes to life through Matt de la Pena’s vibrant text and Christian Robinson’s radiant illustrations.”

We are Grateful, Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell is a beautiful book about the Cherokee nation and the gratitude that they have throughout every season.  It starts with autumn and ends with summer and throughout each season you learn new Cherokee words and all of the gifts and blessings they experience.  There is even a Cherokee alphabet on the back page.  This book would be great for ages 4 and up.

Grateful, A Song of Giving Thanks by John Bucchino.  This beautiful book illustrated by Lilsa Hakkarainen is a song about all of the things we have in our lives to be grateful for, we just have to open our eyes to see them.  This book comes with a CD of the song being sung by Art Garfunkel.  This book would be great for children of all ages.

From the Publisher: “Once in a while, a perfect union of words and music creates a transcendent song that soars from the heart and speaks to every soul…Grateful is such an anthem—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. In this exquisite picture book and accompanying CD recorded by Art Garfunkel, Anna-Lisa Hakkarainen’s radiant paintings bring John Bucchino’s words to life. A joyous celebration of the beauty of the seasons, the wonders of nature, and the blessings of faith, here is a gift to be treasured by children and adults of all ages.”

The Thankful Book by Todd Parr is a simple and fun way to explain the concept of gratitude to very young children.  They will LOVE the bright and fun pictures in this book and the concrete examples of what to be grateful for will have them saying, “ME TOO”.  I recommend this book to children ages 0-7.

From the Publisher: “Todd Parr’s bestselling books have taught kids about unconditional love, respecting the earth, facing fears, and more, all with his signature blend of playfulness and sensitivity. Now, The Thankful Book celebrates all the little things children can give thanks for. From everyday activities like reading and bath time 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.”

This sweet poem book would be great for children 6 and up.  This book has a variety of poems and sweet illustrations that all focus around gratitude.

From the publisher: “What makes you thankful? In sixteen extraordinary poems that range in form from a haiku to a rebus to a riddle, Nikki Grimes reminds us how wonderful it is to feel thankful, and how powerful a simple “thank you” can be.

This book is the perfect way to explain the concept of gratitude to young children.  It is done as a poem and in simple language that young children can understand.  The pictures are adorable and this would be great for anyone over the age of 3 years old.

From the publisher: “Thankful, written by beloved children’s author Eileen Spinelli and illustrated by Archie Preston, combines charming rhymes and whimsical illustrations to convey the importance of being thankful for everyday blessings. Like the gardener thankful for every green sprout, and the firefighter, for putting the fire out, children are encouraged to be thankful for the many blessings they find in their lives. Spinelli exhibits her endearing gift for storytelling with this engaging poem, reminding children how blessed and special they are. Meant to be read aloud, this heartwarming board book will be a treasured keepsake for parents and children alike.”

Firenze’s Light by Jessica Callaco is a new favorite of mine.  This is the sweet story of a little firefly named Firenze, who does not like the fact that she is a firefly.  Her friends don’t light up the way she does and she wants to be more like they are.  Throughout the story, she discovers the gift of being yourself and learns to be grateful for all that makes her unique.  I’d recommend this beautifully illustrated book for ages 3 and up.

From the Publisher: Follow Firenze, a feisty firefly, as she discovers the power of her light in this fun and encouraging story of friendship and self-appreciation. Firenze’s friends love her light, but Firenze doesn’t think it’s so great. How can she when it’s nearly impossible to play a good game of hide-and-seek?!! When Firenze’s light and a new friend’s artwork unexpectedly combine, she must decide whether she will keep her light hidden or find the courage to let it shine.

This book involves another tale of Bear and his friends.  This time Bear decides he wants to thank his friends with a feast but realizes he doesn’t have food to offer.  Bears friends arrive one by one and each bring a food to share.  Soon there is a feast for all but Bear feels very badly that he has nothing to share!  This is a story of friendship and gratitude and perfect for ages three and up.

From the Publisher: “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?
     Karma Wilson’s playful text and Jane Chapman’s charming illustrations bring to life this celebration of family and friendship. Young readers will delight in discovering the special gift Bear has to share.”

Tomie dePaola is a favorite in this house and this sweet and simple book about gratitude is perfect for young children (or older children who need to be reminded to look for the blessings all around them.

From the Publisher: “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,” writes Tomie dePaola in this meditative and joyful book. Simply and beautifully told, and illustrated with jewel-like paintings, this picture book encourages each one of us to be thankful.”

Our Favorite Thanksgiving Stories

Here are some of our FAVORITE Thanksgiving books.  These books are about gratitude, family, friendship and tradition. Click on the picture of the book to be taken to Amazon for more information. Enjoy!

This is a sweet book for children ages 4 and up.  Mrs. Moose wants a Turkey for Thanksgiving and Mr. Moose is determined to go out and find one.  Along the way  Mr. Moose meets up with all of their Thanksgiving guests and they join him to find a turkey.   This book is about friendship and gratitude and is a wonderful tale for Thanksgiving.

From the Publisher: “Mr. and Mrs. Moose invite all their animal friends for Thanksgiving dinner and the only one missing is Turkey. When they set out to find him, Turkey is quaking with fear because he doesn’t realize that his hosts want him at their table, not on it.

This is a sweet book of a family preparing for their Thanksgiving feast.  While they prepare, they give thanks for the many blessings in their life.  The book is told in rhyme from the perspective of the little boy and it is a great story for children ages 5 and up.

From the Publisher: “Little P.K. spends Thanksgiving Day playing with his friends and taking stock of just how much they all mean to him. From breakfast with his family, to playing football with his pals, to spending time with relatives and neighbors, this is a day to count his blessings, and “mostly I’m thankful for all of my friends!” Bright and colorful illustrations make this seasonal book pop off the shelves.”

This fun Thanksgiving tale has the turkey running for his life through the barnyard.  This fun tale about friendship and gratitude is sure to delight ages 2 and up.

From the Publisher: “With Thanksgiving only one day away, can Turkey find a place to hide from the farmer who’s looking for a plump bird for his family feast?
Maybe he can hide with the pigs . . . or the ducks . . . or the horses . . .Uh-oh! Here comes the farmer! Run, Turkey, run!”

I have LOVED this book for years. One of the teachers I use to work with had her Kindergartners and 1st graders put on a play based on this book.  This funny and silly book is about friendship and giving thanks.  This is one of my favorites and perfect for children ages 3 and up.

From the Publisher: “On the night before Thanksgiving, a group of children visit a turkey farm and meet Farmer Mack Nuggett and his coop of cockerels: Ollie, Stanley, Larry, Moe, Wally, Beaver, Shemp, and Groucho. The children and turkeys giggle and gobble, and everything is gravy. As the trip comes to an end, the children leave the farm with full hearts — and bulging bellies — reminding people and poultry alike that there is much to be thankful for.”