From Pragmatic Mom: 14 Picture Books to Teach Gratitude
We all want our kids to be grow up to be happy. It turns out that gratitude is the surest path to happiness. These 14 picture books all have a different take on gratitude and thankfulness. What are you favorite books on this topic?
14 Picture Books to Teach Gratitude
Penguin Problems by Jory John, illustrated by Lane Smith
Mortimer, the little penguin is the opposite of grateful as he starts his morning.
“It’s way too early. My beak is cold. It’s too bright out here. I’m hungry. It snowed some more last night, and I don’t even like snow.”
As he hunts for food, he is also being hunted. He has so many problems (and complaints). Finally, a walrus sets him straight with some zen thoughts, challenging him to appreciate what he has both in his community and the natural beauty that surrounds him.
Do walruses understand penguins? They do seem to understand gratitude! Kids will enjoy this hilarious picture book about looking at things from a different perspective. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
The Quiltmaker’s Gift by
A greedy king is unhappy despite his piles of treasures and he thinks a quilt from the magical quiltmaker will fulfill him. She only gives her quilts to the poor and needy and agrees to make him a quilt on one condition:
“Make presents of everything you own, she said, “and then I’ll make a quilt for you. With each gift that you give, I’ll sew in another piece. When at last all your things are gone, your quilt will be finished.”
“I can’t do that!” cried the king. I love all my wonderful, beautiful things.”
“But if they don’t make you happy,” the woman replied, “what good are they?”
The king can not part with his treasures so he punishes her instead. With each attempt, she foils him with sewing projects that help an animal, who helps her in turn. Finally, the king decides to give away his things. Slowly he learns that giving away his treasures actually fills him with happiness.
This is a wonderful classic about how true happiness comes from giving to others in need. It belongs on every bookshelf! [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts, illustrated by Noah Z. Jones
It’s hard to be grateful for donated velcro shoes with a cartoon animal on them when all the other boys have cool black and white shoes with two white stripes. Jeremy wants those shoes so badly, but his grandma can only spend on “needs” not “wants,” and he needs new snow boots. When Jeremy finds his dream shoes in a thrift store, he buys them even though they are too small.
He notices that Antonio’s shoes are falling apart, and his foot is smaller than his. What should he do? This picture book covers themes of poverty, gratitude, friendship, and generosity. It’s a must read for all kids! [picture book, ages 4 and up]