When it comes to raising a grateful child, teaching children to say please and thank you is only the beginning. To truly cultivate an attitude of gratitude, kids need to see the principles of gratitude in action in a way that they can understand. This includes mindfulness in their own actions and awareness of the actions and feelings of others. Whether that means nightly discussions of things we observe with love in our neighborhood or actively striving to expand a child’s love of nature, teaching children gratitude has lasting benefits beyond good manners.

Using gratitude to get through the toughest of times gives children resilience; raising kids who are able to appreciate other cultures and points of view fosters compassion. During this season of gratitude, or any day, these children’s books about gratitude aren’t just simply repeating the words thank you. They expand kid’s understanding of what gratitude really is for the little ones and us grown-ups alike. Read on for seven books on gratitude kids are sure to adore.

From celebrating cultures to honoring elders, these books about gratitude for kids will help kids take the big concept of what it means to be truly grateful and understand and apply it in the world around them. 

Children's books about gratitude

we are grateful book

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Franne Lessac

The word otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is used by members of the Cherokee Nation as an expression of gratitude. As you read this wonderfully illustrated book, traveling through a year of gratitude for each season and celebration throughout the year. Children will learn the fundamental principles of what it means to be grateful as well as learning Cherokee words and phrases.

Best for ages: 3 to 8

a kids book about gratitude

A Kids Book About Gratitude by Ben Kanyon

“The less you’re able to see the wonderful and ordinary gifts… the less you can be grateful… ” writes Ben Kanyon in this straightforward book that helps remind kids that while things can and do go wrong, it’s important to remain grateful for the good in our lives. Frankly, we adults could use this reminder a lot too! The colorful text makes it easy for a wide age range to read.

Best for ages: 3 to 10

all are neighbors book

All Are Neighbors by Alexandra Penfold, illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman

Help children celebrate their own communities and teach gratitude for the different people, personalities and places around them with the newest book from “All Are Welcome!” author Alexandra Penfold. A rhyming, joyful book welcoming in a new family on the block, it’s an excellent addition to books teaching children to help cultivate the world they want to live in.

Best for ages: 4 to 8

apple cake book

Apple Cake: A Gratitude by Dawn Casey, illustrated by Genevieve Godbout

With illustration reminiscent of the classic I Can Fly, a little girl thanks all of the things that helped a delicious apple cake come to fruition, from the brambles alongside the road to the cows that give milk. An excellent way to teach mindfulness and graciousness toward nature and the natural world. 

Best for ages: 2 to 6

an ordinary day book

An Ordinary Day by Dr. Anjali Ferguson and Justin Ferguson, illustrated by Gonmuki

Opening up the discussion about different races and cultures is essential to helping children of all backgrounds develop gratitude for a diverse world. And while the term “microaggression” might not mean a lot to a young child, for children of color it is still an absolute reality. In An Ordinary Day,  two boys experience an ordinary day at school: both wake up and eat breakfast, both go to school, and both play together on the playground. And while both children seem to be having the same experience, the book demonstrates powerful microagressions and racial profiling that happen toward children of color at a young age. For example, the child of color is dubbed “aggressive” on the playground, while the other child is praised. Bright illustrations and settings make this a relatable story and a great gift for the Kindergarten or early elementary teacher in your life, too. 

Best for ages: 4 to 8

what the bread says book

What the Bread Says: Baking with Love, History, and Papan by Vanessa Garcia, illustrated by Tim Palin

In addition to appreciating nature and culture, learning to have gratitude for your roots, history and elders is another way to cultivate gratitude in children. Based on the author’s own story, in “What the Bread Says” little Vanessa learns to bake bread from her grandfather and while kneading, mixing and waiting for the dough to rise she learns her family’s history, from Spain to France to Cuba and back again. It’s a beautiful reminder to honor and celebrate our elders and where our families have come from, using baking bread as the template for discovery.

Best for ages: 5 to 7

mateo finds his wow book

Mateo Finds His Wow: A Story of Wonder and Gratitude bu Gabi Garcia, illustrated by Charity Russell

Cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” can be an esoteric concept for young kids, so this book is an excellent way to explain what that means in a way they can understand and apply to their own lives. We all have grumpy days Mateo is having one! After he makes a list of all the things he CAN’T do, something changes, and he begins to appreciate what is in front of him.

Best for ages: 4 to 8