Thankful Picture Books

With pies to be baked, potatoes to be mashed, hand print turkeys and paper pilgrims to be taped up and travel plans to be negotiated, Thanksgiving hustle can drown out the quieter meaning of the holiday – the opportunity to reflect on gratitude. Carve out some time with a child to explore the subject of thankfulness with one of these picture books.

Thankful by Eileen Spinelli. Rhyming text celebrates community members who are thankful for the daily blessings of their work: “The waitress is thankful for comfortable shoes/ the local reporter for interesting news…”

Look and Be Grateful by Tomie DePaola. Gratitude as the practice of being present and appreciating small moments is the theme of this book, as a boy takes time to wonder at marvels from the sun to a ladybug.

Thank You and Good Night by Patrick McDonnell. The cartoonist of Mutts comic fame brings his amusing critter sketches to the service of this gentle bedtime story about three friends who end their first sleepover with thankful thoughts.

The Thankful Book by Todd Parr. Each page spread begins “I am thankful for…” and lists something serious or silly. This is a simple book for bringing awareness to the meaning of the word “thankful.”

Thank You, Bear by Greg Foley. Bear is excited when he finds an empty box and can’t wait to show Mouse. But naysayers dampen his enthusiasm- until Mouse appears and agrees that it’s just perfect.

Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson. Bear is lonely in his cave and wishes he could make dinner for his friends- but his cupboards are bare. Then his animal friends start showing up with food and soon a feast has been gathered.

Ten Thank-You Letters by Daniel Kirk. Pig is writing a thank you letter to Grandma when Rabbit stops by. Rabbit decides to write a few thank you letters too. But what will happen when Pig finds that Rabbit has used his last envelope and stamp?

Splat Says Thank You! by Rob Scotton. Splat the Cat sets out to cheer up his sick friend, Seymour, by presenting him with a friendship book of all the things Seymour has done that Splat appreciates.

The calm that settles as a picture book is opened and read aloud can be an oasis of peace amid holiday hoopla. And we can all be grateful for that.

-Suzanne Summers LaPierre, Kings Park Library

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