A friend asked me if I thought gratitude really was something that needed to be taught. That really got me thinking. Is gratitude inherent or not? As a mother, I have certainly felt a need to show my son why it’s important. But would he feel gratitude spontaneously without me teaching him about it?
As with so many things, its probably a bit of both. While gratitude can be an impulsive emotional response, it is also something you can choose to feel and practice.
I’ve gathered together a list of books that help with teaching about gratitude. I’ve been playing with the writing of this post for quite a while, and I’ve realised I’ve been trying to write two posts in one. I aimed to read these books and give you a rundown on them and how they might fit into a gratitude practice with kids. But if I wait til I track them all down and read them,well, let’s just say winter is coming!
So here is Part 1 of the list to get you started, and when I’m done exploring, maybe we can share our thoughts about these books here.
by Olivia Rosewood
Violet the Purple Fairy learns how to make Gratitude Soup by thinking of all the things, people, places, and experiences that she is grateful for, putting them in an imaginary soup pot. She is able to shrink her pot of soup with her imagination, and she keeps the gratitude warm and flowing in her heart all day and all night.
Thanks a Million
by Nikki Grimes
A variety of different poetic forms are used in this charming book about being grateful for everyday things. Each of the sixteen poems centers of experiences familiar to children and shows the joy that comes from being grateful. Accompanied by folksy illustrations that enhance the poetry. An effective book for teaching gratitude.
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
by Grace Lin
Minli has grown up hearing folktales about the Man on the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life’s questions. When her family faces serious problems, she sets off to find the Man on the Moon to change her family’s fortune. Chinese folklore crossed with a fantasy tale.
by Maribeth Boelts
Jeremy wants the fancy shoes that the other kids have, but his grandma can’t afford them. When he finds a used pair just like them at a thrift- shop, he buys them even though they are too small. Before long, his feet hurt terribly and he realizes that he’s been focusing on the one thing he doesn’t have rather than seeing all the wonderful things that he does have–the things that really matter!
The Most Thankful Thing
by Lisa McCourt
When a little girl asks her mom what her “most thankful thing ever” is, Mom turns the question into a fun trip down memory lane. Turning the pages of Mom’s photo album, they discover many wonderful moments in Mom’s life, from summer camp to winning a trophy in a soccer tournament, from singing onstage to her wedding day. But one event in Mom’s whole life is the very best ever — the birth of her precious little girl.