The power of books for our little ones 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 stories with important messages—like, for example, children’s books about gratitude—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, we’ve compiled a list of 20+ children’s 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.
A new book just released this year, Children Who Dance in the Rain is already being hailed for its inspiring messages of gratitude, empathy, and self-transformation. A young girl named Sophie is transported from a daily reality dominated by screens to an eye-opening journey in India. By being immersed in the country’s vibrance and connecting with the children there, she encounters a whole new way of counting her blessings and envisioning how she can help change the world.
Omu is treasured for her well of generosity and mouth-watering stew, and this precious story gives children the opportunity to consider both sides of gratitude–causing it and experiencing it. Centered on Omu’s kindness toward her community, Thank You, Omu! shows young children the power of taking what they’re grateful for one step further, by giving back to others and sparking their gratitude!
If you haven’t encountered Zen Pig before, then giving his lessons on gratitude a try is a must. It’s an innocent and approachable way to begin teaching your child to lead with their heart and invite the compassion living inside of them to guide their actions. Plus, as you can probably infer from the title, it starts to tap them into being zen–and what little one couldn’t use that style of calm sometimes?!
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.
We can see why this book has been the recipient of so many awards—it’s a heartwarming story filled with sincerity that leaves you feeling touched by the magic of the Cherokee Nation. Suitable for toddlers all the way up through early elementary age, you can present your child with the chance to learn the significance of otsaliheliga, the Cherokee expression of gratitude, and the special celebrations and traditions that bring it to life.
With warm illustrations and an easy-to-follow storyline, little ones will love keeping track of the yummy foods Bear’s friends kindly share for the big feast they’re having together. The only problem is that Bear doesn’t have something to contribute! Will saying “thanks” be enough? What else can he do? It’s a charming book that parallels the idea of Thanksgiving—sharing with others what we’re thankful for—without ever giving a direct nod at the holiday, making it a timely read year round.
For all the preschool-age kiddos who are kitty lovers, they will adore this story of Abby the tabby cat. Being pampered all of her life has left her crabby, so she decides to run away. Only upon running away does she realize the wonderful details that defined her life. Not only will this remind your little reader to be thankful for life as they know it, but it won’t make running away seem like such a great idea either!
A lovely little board book for babies and toddlers, this is the perfect introductory story to teach littles about noticing the everyday moments that make them happy—i.e. what fills them with gratitude. What’s extra special is that the author wrote this book to contribute to the well-being of Indigenous children and their families, so by reading these pages you’re supporting a good cause and learning about a new culture, too!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This teachers’ pick on Amazon helps teach young kids gratitude for gifts they receive as well as the benefits of earning rather than entitlement.
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.
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.
Read along as a young boy shows gratitude for everyday things he’s thankful for in both English and Spanish.
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.
A collection of five short stories that sparkle with different cute storylines, while all sharing an essence of teaching the secret sauce of sincere gratitude from a child’s point of view. What’s more, the book includes a handful of engaging activities so that kids can put words into action. For what is gratitude without those fulfilling, generous gestures behind it?