Books to Foster Thankfulness and Gratitude Year-Round

It’s Thanksgiving month here in the United States, which means many of us are spending time with our loved ones, reflecting on what we are thankful for and recognizing our gratitude. As you follow me more, you’ll learn quickly that I LOVE a good themed bookshelf, whether for a holiday or something we have going on in our lives (when we get ready for a week at the beach we read beach stories, and when we realized my oldest was terrified of dinosaurs we spent some time with dino books!).

I usually check out books for our themed shelves from the library, because I prefer to spend my money on books that we can enjoy year-round, not just for specific holidays. If you’re like me, and you want Thanksgiving books that can be read year-round, then this is the post for you, as it’s full of wonderful books on gratitude and being thankful that can be read any time of year! All ages below are publisher recommendations, and all links are Amazon Affiliate links. Thank you for considering making a purchase through my links!

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Our Favorite Books to Foster Thankfulness and Gratitude Year-Round

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Look and Be Grateful by Tomie dePaola— Short, sweet, and directly to the point, dePaola writes, “For today is today. Be grateful for everything you see… Today is today, and it is a gift.” This one is perfect for even the youngest readers! Ages 0-3.

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My Heart Fills with Happiness by Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Julie Flett — Beatifully illustrated and gently written, Smith and Flett have done an amazing job helping children find their commonalities with other children from different cultures, as their descriptions of what makes the child’s heart full with happiness are pretty universal. I’ve linked to the board book here, but I just ordered the paperback bilingual book, written in both English and Cree. I’ll definitely update about that one once we receive it! Ages 1-3.

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The Thank You Book by Mary Lyn Ray, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin — Stephanie Graegin has shown up a lot lately in my recommendations (see Super Manny Stands Up and The Heartwood Hotel), and her illustrations here are just as delightful as Ray’s reminders of all we have to say “thank you” for. You’ll love snuggling with your little (or not so little) ones and thinking of all you can be thankful for, too! Ages 2-8.

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Apple Cake: A Gratitude by Dawn Casey, illustrated by Genevieve Godbout — New in 2019, this super simple narrative comes to life through Godbout’s warm illustrations. The main character, we learn, is gathering ingredients to make cake, but along the way she stops to say “thank you” to everyone and everything that helps these ingredients to be. And, Casey includes a recipe for apple cake at the end, so if you’re looking to diversify your Thanksgiving desserts, be sure to check that out! Ages 3-5.

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You Hold Me Up by Monique Gray Smith, illustrated by Danielle Daniel — This book stands out from the others on this list in that “thank you” or “thankful” or “thanks” aren’t mentioned anywhere in the story. However, I think this is a powerful reminder of being grateful for all that our loved ones, whether friends or family, do for us. Ages 3-7.

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We Are Grateful: Ostaliheliga by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frané Lessac — A wonderful own voices book that teaches readers how the members of the Cherokee Nation express and celebrate gratitude year-round. Sorell also provides readers with Cherokee vocabulary, meanings, and pronunciation, as well as an Author’s Note and information about the Cherokee syllabary, created by Sequoyah in the early 1800s. Ages 3-7.

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The THANKFUL Book by Todd Parr — Using his traditional brightly-colored illustrations, Parr depicts a diverse group of children each thankful for something different. This book gives children wonderful reminders for different things people can be thankful for! (Be aware– my girls’ favorite pages is the one that talks about being thankful for underwear because you can wear it on your head…!). Ages 4-6.

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Thankful by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Archie Preston — Spinelli walks children through a day of creativity and play, reminding the reader what many real people (doctors, artists, clowns, queens…) can be thankful for… And ends with a very sweet parent-child moment! Ages 4-7.

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Gracias Thanks by Pat Mora, illustrated by John Parra — Written fully in both Spanish and English, Gracias Thanks shows a young book giving thanks, in an appropriately child-like manner, to so much around him that it’s hard not to catch his attitude of gratitude. I mean, when it comes down to it, we should ALL thank the bees that don’t sting us! Ages 4-8.

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Thanks a Million by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera — This collection of poetry in a variety of forms reminds the reader how good it can feel to say thanks, to be told thank you, and to feel thankful for something. Ages 4-8.

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Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora — This is a wonderful story of sharing and community (and the collage illustrations are stunning!). Omu (pronounced AH-moo) makes a delicious-smelling stew and shares little by little with grateful neighbors until it’s all gone. You’ll have to read and see how the gratitude her friends and neighbors felt from her generosity comes back to her! Ages 4-8.

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Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes, illustrated by Doris Barrette — Thanksgiving is only explicitly mentioned on the first and last page. Otherwise, Makes addresses everyday moments of gratitude for things such as playdates, swings, and slides. Ages 4-8.

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Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message by Chief Jake Swamp, illustrated by Erwin Printup, Jr. — A beautiful message of thanks to Mother Earth traditionally said by Mohawk children each morning, wonderful reminders of all that we have to be thankful for in nature every day. Ages 5-11.


For more Thanksgiving fun, see this post about holiday-specific Thanksgiving books!


What are your favorite Thanksgiving books to read year-round? I’m always looking to build my collection on thankfulness and gratitude, so comment below!

7 thoughts on “Books to Foster Thankfulness and Gratitude Year-Round

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