Reading serves so many purposes and some of them are about in depth learning and personal connection to an issue or topic. The following books each provide an opportunity with children (or grandchildren) of any age to learn about and work on cultivating gratitude. The books are arranged from the earliest listeners to more advanced readers.
This board book is good for the littlest in our family. In this heavily picture based book for ages 0 and up, Bink keeps looking for a bigger berry – until she finds one so big it rolls away. She learns to be grateful for what she has, especially her friends.
This sweet book is targeted to toddlers and early readers. The story follows Piggie as she tries to thank everyone – but Gerald the Elephant worries that she will forget someone very important. This book’s emotive illustrations also serve the opportunity to discuss managing emotions and how our actions affect others.
This book was written in the 30’s originally and is a great option for readers to learn the idea of reciprocity – or as the book refers to it, a tale of kindness remembered or the power of gratitude. Andy helps the lion when a thorn gets stuck in his paw, and the lion later remembers his friend Andy in the midst of a crisis.
For a more spiritual take on gratitude, this book features a variety of pieces that can be read all at once, or taken in bit by bit as the situation arises. These meditations are good for all ages and can be the starting point for discussions and reflections with your child. Alternatively, children can be invited to select a passage that is meaningful to them to share at the dinner table.
This compilation of stories, poems, and songs from well-known personalities highlights themes of friendship, giving, thankfulness, and love. Your older child can read this book as it speaks to them, picking from Hilary Duff, Tiger Woods, or Deepak Chopra, to name a few contributors. As an added perk, royalties from this book are donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – an opportunity for a more sophisticated discussion about choices, giving back, or collective versus individual actions, for example.
In our family we often talk about our roses and thorns (and rosebuds) of the day around our dinner table, including with friends. Less than one week ago, when eating dinner with another family of close friends who we hadn’t seen in a long time, it was wonderful and inspiring to hear what all of the children shared. They were each grateful in their own words for coming together again and just being together and so honest and empathetic about their thorns, often mentioning another person’s illness or injury in the family. We are all learning from each other—especially adults with our children.
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