October 30, 2015

Books to Teach Gratitude

Thanksgiving is a great time of year to help children focus on gratitude and teach them how to live a life full of it.

Great list of books to read with your kids! Perfect for teaching about living with gratitude.

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It's easy to get caught up at this time of year on getting more stuff, especially as Christmas approaches. How can we help kids be happy with what they already have? The books I'm sharing are a great way to start discussions with your kids about living a life full of gratitude. People who are able to live this way are happier than those who are always looking at what they lack. And while these books are more about the feeling of gratitude than specifically about the Thanksgiving holiday, they are still very appropriate at this time of year, or any time of year!

The Quiltmaker's Gift by Jeff Brumbeau
A greedy king learns true happiness thanks to a gifted Quiltmaker.
This is a longer picture book, so give yourself time to read it aloud, but it's a great message and really resonates with kids. 

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
Sylvester finds a magic pebble but accidentally turns himself into a rock. A great story about what really matters in life.
This is a family favorite. I have read this book aloud at least a hundred times to my kids yet I still tear up at the end EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback
Joseph has an overcoat that is getting old and worn. What should he do with it?
A great story about making do with what you have. 

The Stonecutter: A Japanese Folk Tale by Gerald McDermott
This is a favorite of mine. A man becomes greedier and greedier only to find in the end that what he had in the beginning was enough. 

Hey, Al by Arthur Yorinks
Al is not happy, so when a mysterious bird invites him to an exotic island in the sky he goes with him, not realizing the dangers in paradise.
A nice story about finding joy in your current life.

The Table Where Rich People Sit by Byrd Baylor
A young girl is jealous of her rich friends but eventually is able to see the richness in the world around her.

Chapter books:
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
Minli sets off on a quest to find out how she can change her poor family's fortune and discovers much about what brings happiness in life.
LOVE THIS BOOK! You should read it aloud to your kids. They will love it too, and it's a great book about living with gratitude.

Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter
You've most likely seen the movie, but the book is even better! (isn't it always?) I wish I could get my kids to play the glad game at times . . .

The next three books are all on the same theme and based on the same tale - be grateful for how things are now because they could always be worse:

It Could Always Be Worse: A Yiddish Folk Tale by Margot Zemach
The original tale of a poor man living in a small house with a large family. He asks the Rabbi for help and things go from bad to worse, but in the end finds peace.

Too Much Noise  by Ann McGovern
The too full house becomes a too noisy house in this telling of the tale. 

"Could Be Worse!" by James Stevenson
A grandfather helps his grandkids see that life could always be worse. This book is not really related to the first two, but is a more humorous take on the phrase.

What would you add to this list? 

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Great list of books to read with your kids! Perfect for teaching about living with gratitude.

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