The power of books for our children can never be understated. Books are catalysts and conduits to learning about a world different from our own and also in understanding our own identities in society. As parents, we want to bring the world to our child’s fingertips, and books are precisely the channel that can unlock all the complexities and magnificence of life.
Books can help littles ones learn about appreciating the Earth or encourage them to explore a world outside of the four walls they live in. If we want them to learn another language, we can introduce them to bilingual books to expand their language development. If we want to encourage representation in children’s literature, we can add diverse picks to our little one’s bookshelves.
We’re not just raising tiny humans; our hope is to raise tiny good humans. We want to instill in them respect, kindness, responsibility, and empathy. Verbally discussing these virtues with our kids may not always help them understand the underlying message. This is where unlocking the power of reading can be inspiring and impactful for our children. Books have a unique way of conveying life lessons that our littles can comprehend and appreciate.
To encourage acts of kindness and sentiments of thankfulness, I’ve compiled a list of 15 books about gratitude for a variety of ages. By starting early, our children can develop a philosophy that is rooted in appreciation. It’s never too late (or early!) to start learning these life lessons.
Thank You Bear
Written in a beautifully illustrated board book format ideal for little hands, this heartwarming tale of Bear and his friends will captivate the hearts and minds of your little ones. Your child will go on a quest to uncover what's in Bear’s box. The surprise at the end will leave your child feeling all the warm fuzzies.
All the World
Life is made up of small things, and this Caldecott Honor story affirms the great importance of even the smallest things throughout one family's day.
Bear Says Thank You
Learning the importance of “thank you” and “please” is a valuable early lesson we can give to our kids. This board book follows Little Bear as he embarks on a new project that requires the help of Mama Bear. He discovers how important it is to demonstrate gratitude for his Mama along the way.
The Thank You Book
Part of the Elephant and Piggie series, The Thank You Book is about best friends Gerald and Piggie. Piggie wants to show gratitude to those around her by saying “thank you.” However, Gerald is worried that she might forget a special someone. You have to read to the end to discover if Piggie remembers to thank all the right people.
This is a great book for early readers too!
Part of the Ninja Life Hacks series, Grateful Ninja is on a Five-Day Gratitude Challenge to be thankful for the simple things in life. Along his journey, he learns to open his heart and express appreciation, which are valuable characteristics to possess throughout his whole life.
The Thank You Letter
Words of appreciation and gratitude matter. Grace learns that firsthand when she decides to write “thank you” letters to the guests from her party who demonstrated kindness to her. She soon discovers that expressing gratitude spreads joy and positivity to everyone around her.
The Thank You Book
Beautifully illustrated and poetically written, this story encourages little ones to develop a pattern of gratitude and appreciation. There is always something—big or small—to be grateful for, and this book encourages children to embrace gratitude in a fun and accessible way.
Thank You, Thank You, Thank You
Life is a gift worthy of gratitude. From the smallest ant to the largest cloud, all elements of life deserve a “thank you.” This touching story reminds your child of the impact appreciation and positivity can have in their lives.
Gratitude is My Superpower
Books from this Superpower series are inspiring and educational. This one follows Little Betsy as she learns the value of gratitude and appreciation. She learns this lesson through the magic of her stone, but when she forgets to use it, she realizes the source and power of her gratitude has always been within her.
When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree
This teachers' pick on Amazon helps teach young kids gratitude for gifts they receive as well as the benefits of earning rather than entitlement.
Last Stop on Market Street
In this award-winning children's book, young CJ plays the comparison game while riding the bus home from church with his grandmother, asking questions along the way. In turn, his grandma teaches him valuable lessons about gratitude and kindness.
A Kids Book About Gratitude
Editor-favorite series A Kids Book About explores what it means to be grateful not just for the big things, but for the small things too.
Bear Says Thanks
When Bear decides to throw a dinner party for all of his friends to say "thanks," he's delighted when they start showing up one by one with a dish to share. But Bear quickly realizes his cupboards are bare, so he must problem solve in order to share his special gift with his friends.
Gracias / Thanks
Read along as a young boy shows gratitude for everyday things he's thankful for in both English and Spanish.
Around the Table That Grandad Built
A spin on the classic nursery rhyme This Is the House That Jack Built, a family gathers around the table made up of meaningful items from their family history.
This article was originally published in 2021 and has been updated for timeliness.