Great books about gratitude

Gratitude has always been recognized as an important attitude. Over 2000 years ago, the Greek philosopher Cicero argued that gratitude is “not only the greatest, but also the parent of all other virtues.” His claim that all other virtues are rooted in gratitude makes gratitude an essential characteristic for us to lead happy and productive lives. Recently, research has shown that this greatest foundational virtue is also hugely beneficial to our own health. Gratitude has many health benefits, including improved sleep, better relationships, healthier attitudes, and even improved grades. Gratitude is not just a virtue, it’s also a tonic! If gratitude is so significant, why is it so easy for us to forget to be grateful until Thanksgiving rolls around? I don’t really have an answer for that (I struggle with the same problem), but I do know that one thing that may help us remember to be grateful more often is reading books that emphasize gratitude. Here’s a list of some great (and grateful) books to read with your family this Thanksgiving season and all year long! For more information about each book, click on the pictures. And be sure to let us know what your favorite books about gratitude are!

The Thankful Book, written and illustrated by Todd Parr: Do you remember to be grateful for the little things all around you? This picture book will remind you and your family to appreciate even the smallest joys in life.

Don’t Say a Word, Mama!, written by Joe Hayes and illustrated by Esau Andrade Valencia: Rosa and Blanca both want to share their harvests with Mama, but what do you too when you receive too many chilies? This charming bilingual picture book (English and Español) shows how families lovingly give and receive from each other.

The Secret of Saying Thanks, written by Douglas Wood and illustrated by Greg Shed: This peaceful picture book explores how being grateful for the small things helps us to be happier. The connection between gratitude and happiness is clearly shown in this lovely book.

The Giving Tree, written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein: While the boy in this story doesn’t show any gratitude for the tree who gives up everything for him, this beloved book is a great reminder to us to look at the sacrifices that others have made for us.

Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott: When the March family falls on hard times during the American Civil War, they learn to value character and family relationships more than temporal goods. What could be more appropriate for Thanksgiving than this American classic?

The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery: This novella is more appropriate for older children and adults, but its emphasis on the importance of looking beyond the self and appreciating the help of others are powerful reminders of how gratitude can expand our lives.

For a list of books geared more specifically to the Thanksgiving holiday itself, click here.