Published on July 9th, 2014 | by Bright Kids Books0
Top 7 books that encourage kids to be thankful – age 3-5
Showing gratitude encourages health, positivity and happiness in adults – and children. For us, it’s never really too early for kids to learn about showing gratitude and being thankful. With this in mind, these are our Top 7 books that encourage kids to be thankful for ages 3-5 years old.
by William Steig
In 1970, William Steig won the Caldecott Medal for Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. In this donkey’s tale, Steig imbues his characteristically simple illustrations of animals sporting human garb with evocative, irresistible, and heartbreakingly vivid emotions. The text is straightforward and the dialogue remarkably touching. Children will feel deeply for Sylvester and his parents, all wishing for the (seemingly) impossible – that the family will one day be reunited. Sylvester’s sweet story is one that endures, reminding us all that sometimes what we have is all we really need. A moving story based around gratitude and being thankful for young listeners.
by Jon Muth
Another Caldecott Honor Book (2005), this beautifully illustrated book introduces readers to a Zen approach to the world – wrapped in a story about three siblings and their new neighbor, a panda. One by one, the children visit Stillwater (the panda), enjoying his company and listening to him tell a brief tale that illustrates a Zen principle. Each time, there is a link between the conversation shared by Stillwater and his visitor and the story he tells. The tales invite the children to consider the world and their perceptions from a different angle. Richly toned and nicely detailed watercolors depict the “real world” scenes, while those accompanying the Zen lessons employ black lines and strokes on pastel pages to create an interesting blend of Western realism and more evocative Japanese naturalism. Taken simply as a picture book, Zen Shorts is interesting and visually lovely. As an introduction to Zen, it is a real treat, employing familiar imagery to prod children to approach life and its circumstances in profoundly “un-Western” ways. One of the most endearing books that encourage kids to be thankful for young children.
by Mary Hoffman
Grace loves stories, whether she hears them, reads them, or makes them up. Possessed with a marvelous imagination as well as a strong flair for the dramatic, she acts the stories out, always giving herself the most exciting parts. Thus, it is natural when her teacher announces a classroom production of Peter Pan , that Grace wants to play the lead. One classmate says she can’t because she’s a girl and another says she can’t because she’s black. When a saddened Grace relates the days events to her mother and grandmother, they tell her she can be anything she wants to, if she puts her mind to it. Inspired by her family’s support, her own indomitable spirit, and an excursion to a weekend ballet starring a lovely Trinidadian dancer, Grace shines during her audition, leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind as to who will play Peter Pan. Gorgeous watercolor illustrations portraying a determined, talented child and her warm family enhance an excellent text and positive message of self-affirmation. Grace is an amazing girl and this is an amazing book.
by Jonathan London
A simple prayer of appreciation for being alive and at one with nature. As a father and son take a hike through the countryside on a sunny fall day, the young narrator explains, “Dad believes that the things of nature are a gift. And that in return, we must give something back. We must give thanks.” The man expresses his gratitude for various animals, insects, and trees, as well as for Grandfather Sun and Grandmother Moon. Though the youngster claims it feels strange to offer praise in this way, his father explains that it soon becomes a habit “that makes you feel good.” As evening moves in and the two head home, the boy ventures a quiet “Thank you, stars.” Large, colorful, oil-on-linen illustrations beautifully depict the various objects described in the text. A wonderful example of books that encourage kids to be thankful.
by D.B. Johnson
When Henry and his friend agree to go to Fitchburg to see the country, they each choose very different methods of travel, based on their very different approaches to life. This charming little story illustrates through minimal text and fantastically stylized paintings the concepts Henry David Thoreau spent his life trying out. While Henry (the storybook Henry is a bear) collects flowers to press, strolls on stone walls, finds bird nests, and gathers blackberries, his friend toils and sweats to earn enough money for the train fare to Fitchburg.
With subtle nods at Thoreau and his real-life pals Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne, D.B. Johnson cleverly introduces young readers to these important historical figures. No moralizing here, just a gentle, humorous look at the different paths each person may choose in life.
by Chief Jake Swamp
The flat planes and saturated colors of Printup’s highly stylized acrylic paintings form a handsome backdrop to this ancient Iroquois message of giving thanks, adapted for children by a chief of the Mohawk nation. A salute to Mother Earth and all her beauty, the “good morning message” is traditionally delivered at the beginning of each day and at special ceremonies. Its simple, timeless language bears witness to the Native American reverence for the natural world and sense of unity with all living things (“We give thanks to green grasses that feel so good against our bare feet, for the cool beauty you bring to Mother Earth’s floor”). The gifts of the earth (“good foods… our life sustainers”) are richly depicted in paintings of wildlife and bountiful harvests.
by Dallas Clayton
Inspired by the idea of being thankful for all that you have, An Awesome Book of Thanks! is a beautifully written, fantastically illustrated walk through a world of magical unicorns, robotic dinosaurs, and all of life’s simple moments, great and small. Crafted for children ages 0-1000, this timeless story is sure to be an instant classic, at home in the hands of anyone looking for the perfect reminder of just how beautiful life can be.
While geared toward young children (0-10) and the parents of young children it is also a book for the masses and spans age groups, gender, geographical, racial, and religious boundaries. The book conveys, in pictures and simple yet beautiful language, all the ways one can be thankful, and all the different things in life to be thankful for. Dallas Clayton has crafted a simply awesome children’s book – and probably our pick of books that encourage kids to be thankful. Truly awesome!