When the leaves begin turning into amazing jewel-toned colors and thoughts turn to spending time with family around a table laden with delicious foods, many parents start thinking about how they can remind their children to be thankful and show gratitude to others. Unfortunately, teaching the youngest members of society how to be gracious and thankful for their blessings isn't a lesson that can be taught once or twice a year. Yes, the Thanksgiving season is always a wonderful opportunity to remind children about why the holiday is celebrated and to recognize the reasons to be grateful, but teaching thankfulness and gratitude can happen at any time of the year.
The following seven books written for children are just a few of the many kids' books about gratitude and thankfulness that keep their focus on the true source of blessings. Christian parents may also want to check out their church's library or neighborhood Christian bookstore for other options. Some of the titles included here focus on the Thanksgiving holiday while others focus on the attitudes of being thankful and gracious.
"The Most Thankful Thing" by Lisa McCourt and Cyd Moore (Cartwheel, 2004) A conversation between a mom and her young daughter reminds readers there are everyday things to be thankful for. This book is available in paperback and hardcover forms.
"God Talks With Me About Thankfulness" by Agnes de Bezenac and Salem de Bezenac (iCharacter org, 2013) The story of a boy who must go to school even though it is his birthday, this book is available on Kindle or in paperback. As he goes through his day, God reminds Jack of all the reasons he has to be grateful.
"Thanksgiving Graces" by Mark Moulton (Ideals, 2011) Available as a hardcover or paperback book, this is the story of one boy's concerns as more and more people show up at his home to share the holiday meal. His grandmother helps him understand the true meaning of the celebration.
"I'm Thankful Each Day" by P.K. Hallinan (Ideals Childrens Books, 2001) A great story for those just beginning to enjoy books on their own, this book can be found as a board book, in hardcover or in paperback. The everyday reasons like the seashore are reasons for gratitude.
"Thanksgiving: What Makes It Special?" by Harold Myra and Jane Kurisu (Thomas Nelson, 2002) Available as a hardcover book or to be read on Kindle, this story focuses a family's discussion about the first Thanksgiving as they prepare for their own meal.
"Giving Thanks: Poems, Prayers, and Praise Songs of Thanksgiving" by Katherine Paterson and Pamela Dalton (Chronicle Books, 2013) A collection of over 50 poems, songs and prayers is edited by the author of "Bridge to Terabithia" and "Jacob Have I Loved" with illustrations of cut-paper. This book is available as a hardcover or on Kindle.
"Off to Plymouth Rock" by Dandi Daley Mackall and Gene Barretta (Thomas Nelson, 2004) This story about the circumstances surrounding the first Thanksgiving is available in hardcover and board book format, as well as Kindle.
'The Most Thankful Thing'
From the writing and illustrating team that created the favorite children's book "I Love You, Stinky-Face," comes a charming story of a mother and daughter talking about past experiences for which they are thankful.
'God Talks with Me about Thankfulness'
Jack doesn't think it's fair that he should have to go to school on his birthday. But as he takes his concerns to God, he is reminded of all the reasons he has to be thankful.
As more and more people arrive to share the Thanksgiving meal, a boy wonders if they will have enough for everyone. His grandmother helps him to understand the true meaning of the holiday and reassures him that everyone will get as much as they need.
'I'm Thankful Each Day'
Written especially for the youngest members of the family, this board book helps little ones understand that God has provided them with food, flowers, pets and more.
'Thanksgiving: What Makes it Special?'
Focusing on the first Thanksgiving, this story explores just how grateful the Plymouth settlers where for God's care and guidance as they struggled to survive in a new land.
While this book of poems, prayers and praise songs includes the words of other faiths besides Christianity, it could be used to show that all people recognize the need for gratitude and thankfulness.
'Off to Plymouth Rock'
A picture book that demonstrates the struggles of those who made their way to a new home and the guidance they were offered by those already living there.