Thanksgiving children’s books are great because children often need to be reminded of the importance of kindness and gratitude, especially as the holidays approach and their focus is on getting instead of giving. Fortunately, Thanksgiving provides us with an opportunity to emphasize giving thanks and acts of gratitude. With an extra day or so to spend together as a family, it’s a wonderful time to read Thanksgiving books to children and choose books that help them appreciate the value of generosity and thankfulness.
So to kick off the season of giving, sharing and gratefully receiving both material gifts and the gifts of friendship, family, and love, here are five great children’s Thanksgiving books on kindness and gratitude.
Have You Filled a Bucket Today?
This wonderful selection shares a wealth of happiness, kindness, appreciation, and love on every page. The core message is to remind our children to respect one another. I have personally used this book in my classroom, as it emphasizes the importance of making others feel good and “filling their bucket”. It also shows children how doing or saying unkind things can also take away from someone’s bucket and teaches them not to do so.
Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks
The Thanksgiving holiday should help us remember what we are thankful for every day. Sutherland’s book helps children take stock of all they have to be grateful for, from the shoes on their feet to their parents, to their favorite book. At the end, it asks readers to make their own gratitude list.
Andy and the Lion
Based on the tale of Androcles and the lion, this fable — with great illustrations — is one of the all-time favorite Thanksgiving children’s books and one of the best Thanksgiving books for kids. The message of the power of gratitude is spread all across the pages, as Andy comes to the aid of the lion and the lion helps him in return. This book is a great tool for reminding our children about the power of helping others without expecting anything in return.
The Thankful Book
This is a great read to remind children of the little things we should be thankful for. The message is simple; for example, the book teaches us how we should be thankful for our hair, our uniqueness, a garden, our hearing, and our sight — all things we take for granted every day. The book also serves to remind children of those less fortunate than them, and ways we can all be kinder to people in need.
Please Say Please! Penguin’s Guide to Manners
This book leads kids through a variety of scenarios that show what kind of behavior is acceptable and what is not. It offers lessons in how to be polite and respectful in other people’s homes, and how to be thankful for a simple meal. Please Say Please! is a great teaching tool, as it also shows examples of inappropriate behavior, then asks the reader to explain why the behavior is wrong and how to change it.
There’s no reason to wait until the holidays to share these great Thanksgiving children’s books about kindness and gratitude. Their messages are timely all year long, and offer important reminders to children — and we adults — to be thankful for what we’ve got.