Most parents teach their kids early on to say “thank you” when given a gift or when someone does something nice for them. But teaching them to be thankful for everyday things they are fortunate to have — a hot meal, warm coat and people who care about them — takes a little more effort. These books can help approach the subject in a fun way.
The Very Fairy Princess: Attitude of Gratitude, by Julie Andrews & Emma Walton Hamilton; illustrated by Christine Davenier
Gerry, a little girl who fancies herself a fairy princess, exudes optimism and cheerfulness in this book written by a mother-daughter team. Gerry is excited to celebrate Gratitude Day at school and prepares to be kind, offer compliments and express appreciation for the people and things in her life. When things don’t go as planned, Gerry is disappointed, but soldiers on: “But it’s Gratitude Day, so I have to focus on the positive.” A touch of sass adds humor to the gentle story: “I have to give MYSELF a compliment, because I think my painting is the BEST I’ve ever done.” Ink-and-colored-pencil drawings realistically capture kids’ attitudes.
The Itsy Bitsy Pilgrim, by Jeffrey Burton; illustrated by Sanja Rescek
Perfect for itsy bitsy hands, this board book’s glossy pages show a mouse family welcoming new friends to their home. The rhymes, set to the rhythm of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” will roll off tykes’ tongues: “The itsy bitsy pilgrim sailed the ocean blue…/On the Mayflower/to a home that’s new!” Bright watercolor illustrations rich in detail are as sweet as the story.
There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey, by Lucille Colandro; illustrated by Jared Lee
Who doesn’t love this series where an old lady swallows everything from a frog to a fiddle? I don’t know why she swallows these things, but it’s fun to read about it. This time, the old woman has an appetite for Thanksgiving Day items. Careful readers might guess that the balloon, boat and wheels that she gobbles might have to do with a parade. Like earlier books, this one features hilarious drawings that match the zaniness of the rhymes.
Giving Thanks: More Than 100 Ways To Say Thank You, by Ellen Surrey
A little boy named Andy asks 10 gratitude questions, starting with “Who would you like to say thank you to?” Andy’s answers to this first question include each of his family members, as well as his teacher, his coach, his teddy bear and his dog. Large blocks spanning two pages each contain a picture and the label of his answers. Some of the questions are thought-provoking, such as “If you could give them a gift, what would you give?” and “If you could share an afternoon with them, what would you do?” Bright and rich opaque colors draw attention to each block of art; observant kids will notice that the 15 people/animals/items shown on the first two pages appear in each of the following answer pages. The tall format of the hardcover book and sturdy pages make it easy for little hands to hold.
Gobble, Gobble, by Roger Priddy
Fluid, jubilant rhymes about Thanksgiving pair with touch-and-feel elements in this board book. Run your hand across the pages to feel the textured faces of animals, the cloth-like slice of pumpkin pie, and the fuzziness of a squirrel’s tail. A short holiday book that’s long on cuteness.
It’s Thanksgiving! by Tessa Kenan
What is Thanksgiving and why do we celebrate it? This paperback book answers these questions in an easy-to-understand way. Some of the pages include discussion prompts, such as “What else might people give thanks for?” and “What other foods might people eat at Thanksgiving?” Photographs of families illustrate the different ways to experience the day, from eating dinner to volunteering at a food kitchen to playing a game of backyard football.
Thankfulness To Color: Gratitude To Live And Color By, by Zoe Ingram
After dinner, get out the crayons and create a work of art with the kids. The pen-and-ink drawings feature flowers, birds, fall harvest vegetables, leaves and more. Many pages feature quotes, from the simple “be kind,” “be thoughtful” and “be thankful” to quotes from famous people including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, William Shakespeare and John F. Kennedy. Some pages contain intricate drawings, but most have designs large enough for children to be able to color. A calming and joyful way to end a bustling day.
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