Growing Up Grateful: 7 Books to Help Your Kids Learn Gratitude


Books are a fantastic way to teach your children about core values and morals. Reading to your children from a young age, as well as helping them learn to read recreationally, can reap lifelong rewards. Fortunately, there are many great children’s books about gratitude!

Check out a few of our favorites:

Giving Thanks with Max

In this book by Todd and Jackie Courtney, Max the mouse teaches the “power of gratitude” by showing the reader how he is thankful for everything in his life. All of the Max Rhymes books are written and illustrated to not only help children learn to read, but also to help them develop in areas like the expression of gratitude and happiness. Just like prior generations remember traditional nursery rhymes, future generations will remember these positive thoughts at the subconscious level as they grow older.

The Giving Tree

Since it was first published fifty years ago, Shel Silverstein’s engaging picture book for readers of all ages has offered a touching interpretation of the gift of giving and another’s capacity to love in return. The book is about a lifelong relationship between a selfless tree and an initially selfish child, who grows to realize that he has both friendship and unconditional love for which to be eternally grateful.

An Awesome Book of Thanks!

Inspired by the idea of being thankful for all that you have, “An Awesome Book of Thanks!” is beautifully written and fantastically illustrated by Dallas Clayton. It takes readers of all ages on a walk through a world of magical unicorns, robotic dinosaurs, and all of life’s simple moments, great and small. This timeless story is sure to be an instant classic and is perfect for anyone looking for a reminder of just how beautiful life can be.

Grateful: A Song of Giving Thanks

This picture book and accompanying CD are a joyous celebration of the beauty of the seasons, the wonders of nature and the blessings of faith, to be treasured by children and adults of all ages. It teaches kids to wonder at the world we live in and to be grateful for our everyday blessings.

Have You Filled a Bucket Today?: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids

This guide to daily happiness is not just for kids. We all need reminders of the benefits of positive thinking and behavior. It’s an important lesson for children and adults alike that showing kindness and appreciation of others goes a long way to making this world a happier place for everyone, including ourselves. The author, Carol McCloud, uses a simple metaphor of an “invisible bucket” that we each carry around. Kind words and actions “fill” others’ buckets and make them feel good, while unkind words and actions take away from them. When you’re a “bucket filler,” you make the world a better place to be. This 32-page picture book is perfect for children, parents, grandparents, teachers, and people that want to teach empathy, nurture kindness and create a positive environment in their home, classroom, workplace, and community.

Additionally, this book can be a tremendous resource when working with kids who are overcoming any adverse childhood experiences or trauma. It can help give children a voice and the words to say when they feel like their own bucket is being emptied while teaching them to show and practice gratitude to the people in their lives.

The Blankful Heart

Written in Dr. Seuss-style rhyme, “The Blankful Heart” by Mr. Meus is a fun and touching tale of how the big-bellied Billy Babble cures his heart of its blanks. The Babbles in Babbleland have way too much stuff, and once Billy Babble, the richest of them all, begins to feel like something is missing, he sets out on a quest to fill his empty heart. The moral of this quirky story is, “A grateful heart is a happy heart.”

The Thankful Book

“The Thankful Book” celebrates all the little things for which children can give thanks. From everyday activities like reading and bathtime to big family meals together and special alone time between parent and child, author Todd Parr inspires readers to appreciate all of life’s special moments. The fun cartoons and inspirational phrases will encourage your young child to celebrate the things that make their heart feel most grateful.

As with any value in our lives, gratitude must be practiced. As we teach our children the importance of feeling thankful for the good things in our lives, we must also help them practice expressing that gratitude.

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