Marcus Tullius Cicero, the ancient Roman philospher and orater once said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”
Parents know all too well how hard it is to teach a child the importance of being thankful. As with most parenting lessons, sometimes the ones that are best learned come from outside sources. What better place to turn to for help than a book?
Here are some great ones to help you accomplish the monumental task of shaping our future generation.
1. Being Thankful by Mercer Mayer
Mercer Mayer is an iconic figure in children’s literature known for lovable characters, illustrations, and valuable moral themes. Since his start, Mayer has published over 300 titles and won numerous awards. This book tells the story of Little Critter, who learns how to be grateful for what he has, told in Mayer’s usual flair.
2. Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman
Karma Wilson is by far one of my favorite children’s authors. Her illustrations and creative poetry/prose hybrid adds a lyrical element to every life lesson. Bear Says Thanks is part of a series based on “Bear,” with each Bear book engaging enough for even the very young children to enjoy.
3. Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? by Dr. Seuss
There’s no doubt that wacky Seuss will find a unique way to present the theme of gratitude. If you’re a Seuss fan, you’ll love reading this over and over with your child. Who could be better than “the Dr.” to make being thankful fun?
4. Splat Says Thank You by Rob Scotton
The cover says it all — another adorably illustrated book with a lovable character. Splat the Cat is also part of a series. Bonus moral lesson for this one: Splat goes above and beyond a simple “thank you,” teaching kids that manners are good, but being truly grateful is the attitude to strive for.
5. It Could Always Be Worse by Margot Zemach
This award winning Yiddish folk tale teaches children (and adults!) that no matter how bad things may seem, things could always be worse. Told with humor and wit, it’s a must-read for children everywhere.
6. Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message by Chief Jake Swamp Illustrated by Erwin Printup, Jr.
This Reading Rainbow gem gives an authentic look at the First Nation’s people’s message of gratitude — an upstate New York and Canadian Iriquios (or Six Nations) tradition that is still spoken at ceremonial gatherings.
Sometimes, just being reminded of how awesome our world is can make one feel thankful. This book takes readers, young and old, through the wonders of life — unicorns, robots, dinosaurs, and some of life’s greatest moments.
8. The Things I’m Grateful For Bundle (4 Books in 1): Cute Short Stories About Gratitude and Fun Activities (Happy Kids) by Arnie Lightning
Including activities, fun mazes, and over 20 short stories, The Things I’m Grateful For Bundle will engage your young reader and help them learn important lessons on gratitude.
9. Gratitude: A Journal by
Designed for the older child (where cute illustrations and games might not help), Gratitude: A Journal provides a more self-directed approach and is filled with inspiring quotes, prompts, and journal space.
10. 101 Ways to Say Thank You, Kids and Teens: All-Occasion Thank-You Note Templates, Social Media Etiquette & Gratitude Guide by Kelly Browne
This book helps children and teens put what they’ve learned about thankfulness into practice. It provides tips on how to say thank you, templates for thank you cards, and notes of gratitude for a plethora of occasions.
There are so many more books out there for your kiddos to learn about one of the most important virtues — and one that seems to be falling out of fashion, at that. Hopefully this list will help you guide your child on a journey of gratitude through fun and reading!
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Featured image via Sunny With a Chance of Armageddon