Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Suggests: Books on Gratitude

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Kiy Turk
How do you introduce or encourage the intangible quality of gratitude to children? The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library offers books suggestions that can help.

This time of year always reminds us of the value and reward found in gratitude or thankfulness. How do you introduce and encourage this intangible quality in young children? With a book, of course! The following four picture books, from your favorite library, explore being grateful in a variety of ways. 


Thank You Bees written and illustrated by Toni Yuly (Ages 2-5) 

“Say Thank You,” is a phrase oft repeated by parents. By the end of this picture book, you and your child will have practiced saying "Thank you" many times! Creating connections helps give meaning and context to the world and to stories. Toni Yuly starts making those connections for children through examples in nature, from bees to honey, sheep to wool. The bright and simple collage illustrations will hold a child's interest, just as the repeated pattern of the story will engage them with the text. The simple and repetitive sentences also make this an excellent book to read bilingually and introduce your child to a second language.  


The Thank You Book by Mary Lyn Ray; Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin (Ages 3-7)

What does gratitude feel like? This picture book adds a deeper meaning and context to the polite phrase of “thank you” by highlighting the connection between emotions, the child, and the world. Mary Lyn Ray creates vignettes of moments, illustrated by adorable and diverse people and animals, that evoke positive emotions. A reminder to be grateful for the things, big and small, tangible and intangible, that make you happy. Both the detailed illustrations and the lyrical text will inspire conversation between you and your child.  


Thank You, Omu! written and illustrated by Oge Mora (Ages 4-8) 

Appreciating every member of the community for who and what they are is what makes a community stronger. This delightful story about a woman who shares a delicious pot of homemade stew with her entire community, until none is left for her to eat, evokes this sense of appreciation. The story comes full circle, as everyone whom she helped returns to give something back to Omu. The warm collage illustrations engage the senses and invite you into this rich community, just as the repetitive text connects the reader to the story. We can be grateful to Oge Mora for creating this book demonstrating the power of community, sharing, and positive connections. 


The Thank You Letter  written and illustrated by Jane Cabrera (Ages 4-8) 

Communicating gratitude can occur in many different formats. Jane Cabrera’s 2019 offering reminds us of the power and impact of writing letters. After her birthday party is over, Grace starts writing thank you letters, even for the gifts that were not exactly what she wanted. She has so much fun writing the letters, that she writes thank you notes to others in her community, even the sky! The bold and colorful illustrations feature a diverse community, and the overall joyful tone of the story makes this a fun, sentimental, gentle reminder of manners.