Books & Beyond

Giving Thanks

By Youth Services
October 14, 2022

Here is a list of books to share with children to cultivate gratitude. We’ve included picture books about sharing a special meal with family and friends and some books by indigenous authors as nice options for Thanksgiving. You’ll also find books celebrating everyday gratitude, and some titles for older children.

Be sure to visit Anna’s post, Growing Gratitude, for ideas about sharing thankfulness as a family.

Indigenous Authors

We are Grateful by Traci Sorell (Cherokee Nation)
Journey through the year with a contemporary Cherokee family as they celebrate and give thanks.

May We Have Enough To Share by Richard Van Camp.
Simple text and beautiful photographs express gratitude for the family, love, and nature.

When We Are Kind by Monique Gray Smith
Explore how it feels to give and receive simple acts of everyday kindness.

A Day with Yayah by Nicola Campbell (Interior Salish), illustrated by Julie Flett (Cree-Metis)
Nikki spends the day with her grandmother foraging for edible wild plants.  At the end of the day, they prepare a meal and give thanks.

Sharing a Meal

We Give Thanks by Cynthia Rylant; illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier
A rabbit and a frog zip around giving thanks for all they are grateful for, before cooking up a way to show friends their gratitude.

Around the Table that Grandad Built by Malanie Heuiser Hill; illustrated by Jaime Kim
A family gathers with friends to share a meal around a special table that is brimming with food, flowers, and warmth. 

The Blue Table by Chris Raschka
Set entirely around a blue table, a family prepares turkey, potatoes, corn, and pie; a second family joins in sharing the meal and giving thanks.

Before We Eat by Pat Brisson; illustrated by Mary Azarian.
Before we eat, many people work very hard planting grain, catching fish, tending farm animals and vegetables to get food to our tables.

Our Table by Peter Reynolds.

Violet’s family has been drifting apart, and with nobody to gather around it, the table grows smaller and smaller. Can Violet remind her family of the warmth of time spent together, and gather around the table once more?

Everyday Gratitude

Thank You Omu! by Oge Mora
When her wonderful stew attracts the attention of hungry neighbors, Omu generously shares portion after portion before discovering that she has nothing left to eat herself, a dilemma that culminates in a heartwarming community surprise.

Thankfulby Eileen Spinelli
Combines rhymes and whimsical illustrations to convey the importance of being thankful for everyday blessings.

Gracias – Thanks by Pat Mora; illustrated by John Parra.
A young boy shares some of the everyday things for which he is thankful.

The Most Beautiful Thing by Kao Kalia Yang; illustrated by Khoa Le.
Drawn from Kao Kalia Yang’s childhood experiences as a Hmong refugee, offers a window into the life of a family with little money and a great deal of love.

Apple Cake: A Gratitude by Dawn Casey; illustrated by Genevieve Godbout.
Join a young girl for a walk through the countryside to gather ingredients for a delicious cake.

Books for Older Kids

Thanku: Poems of Gratitude edited by Mianda Paul; illustrated by Marlena Myles.
This poetry anthology explores a wide range of ways to be grateful with poems by a diverse group of contributors.

The One Thing You’d Save by Linda Sue Park; illustrated by Robert Sae-Heng.
If your house were on fire, what one thing would you save? Park explores different answers to this provocative question in linked poems that capture the diverse voices of a middle school class.

100 Ways to be Thankful by Lisa M. Gerry
100 creative ways to express gratitude for all that’s good in your life with this powerful little book, packed with positive thoughts, practical ideas, and take-action prompts.

Giving Thanks: More than 100 Ways to say Thank You by Ellen Surrey.
Join one boy as he thinks about the people in his life he’d like to thank, the many reasons to be grateful, and the different ways of showing affection and gratitude to the people we love.