Use These Books to Teach Gratitude to Children

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There’s no better time than now to teach gratitude to our children and to emphasize how to be thankful for what you have. 

Due to the pandemic happening all over the world, things aren’t as accessible as they used to be. I know at my house my children have had to try different brands of foods than normal, miss out on time with friends, and wait longer than normal for deliveries since shipping takes longer. At times, it feels like there are more complaints than usual! But I also want my kids to know that families all around us are struggling. I try to model for them often how lucky we are. This is where teaching gratitude comes in.

I find that with young children when introducing a new social/emotional topic, it’s helpful to do so with a book that’s engaging and age-appropriate. I’ve rounded up my favorite books to teach gratitude that I use to help instill gratitude in my children. 

I use the following books to teach gratitude. They are in order by grade level from younger readers to older grades!

Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson 

I adore the bear books and I love that Bear decides to have his friends over for dinner. It’s a fun celebration of family and friendships. This is a great read aloud for younger readers! I think children in grades  PreK/K will enjoy it most!

The Berenstain Bears Count Their Blessings By Stan Berenstain, Jan Berenstain

The Berenstain Bear stories are classic children’s books for teaching different lessons. I love the message in this book! You can have a great conversation about why a loving home and family are of greater value than material things. I think children in grades K-2 will enjoy this!

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Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena 

I love how grandparents and grandchildren have a special relationship. In this story, every time the young boy points out something he sees as a lack, his grandmother shows him the beauty and joy around them. Children in grades PreK/K – 2 would enjoy this story!

Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? by Dr. Seuss

This is a fun story to get children thinking about how good they have it! We all have our ups and downs, but things are pretty good. When I read this story to my children we talk about how silly some of the pages are and how we are grateful that we don’t live that way. This is a great read for children in grades PreK/K – 2!

Thanks a Million by Nikki Grimes

This is a book of poetry that helps us to see the beauty and joy in feeling thankful and the power of saying thank you. I think this would be a great book for children in grades 3-5.

The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown

I love that this book teaches children to see the wonder around them and appreciate the simple things in life, and to know that even the smallest things are important. I think this book can be appropriate for all elementary levels. I’ve used it with early readers and in a 4th-grade class as well! 

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

This book is a great opportunity to help children see the value of great friends, a loving family, and a supportive school environment. There was also a companion movie made for this book and would be a great opportunity to do a Book vs. Movie unit study. This is a great story for children in grades 3-7.

I Am Malala (Young Readers Edition) by Malala Yousafzai with Patricia McCormick. 

Malala was just a young girl when she decided to stand up for the right to be educated. This is a powerful and uplifting story and will help children to see that even one person can make big changes. 

Teaching thankfulness and gratitude takes thoughtful conversations and time. I love how these books help get those conversations started! When you teach gratitude, an even better tool for getting the conversation going is a hands-on activity! When your kids work on a hands-on activity, the lesson makes even more powerful connections in his/her brain. 

Check out my companion activity to teach kids gratitude that pairs perfectly with The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown. I designed it to help your child see the value and beauty in simple things. Click here to download this companion activity for FREE!

When you and your child(ren) complete the activity, I’d love to see the finished product and hear your thoughts! Post a picture on Instagram and tag me @readingtutorashley!

About the Author Ashley DiMercurio