We are grateful for the following books which have delighted, informed and enchanted us with their bold and loving invitations to children (of all ages) to live a wholehearted and grateful life.
Last Stop on Market Street (2015)
by Matt De La Peña (Author), Christian Robinson (Illustrator)
Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them. (Ages 3 – 5)
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Sidewalk Flowers (2015)
by JonArno Lawson (Author), Sydney Smith (Illustrator)
In this wordless picture book, a little girl collects wildflowers while her distracted father pays her little attention. Each flower becomes a gift, and whether the gift is noticed or ignored, both giver and recipient are transformed by their encounter. “Written” by award-winning poet JonArno Lawson and brought to life by illustrator Sydney Smith, Sidewalk Flowers is an ode to the importance of small things, small people, and small gestures.
Look and Be Grateful (2015)
by Tomie dePaula
In this meditative and joyful book, a young boy awakens with the dawn, opens his eyes and looks closely at his world. He admires all that surrounds him, large and small, from the radiant sun to a tiny, but exquisite, lady bug. “Today is today, and it is a gift,” writes Tomie dePaola. Simply told, penned in graceful hand-lettering and illustrated with jewel-like paintings, this inspiring picture book encourages each one of us to be thankful.
An Awesome Book of Thanks (2010)
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. 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. (Ages 4 and up)
The Secret of Saying Thanks (2005)
by Douglas Wood and Greg Shed
This gentle, powerful book with luminous illustrations shows how a grateful attitude towards everyday events like the sun’s rising or discovery of a stone lies at the core of happiness. (Ages 3-8)
A Handful of Quiet (2012)
by Thich Nhat Hanh and Wietske Vriezen
A Handful of Quiet utilizes the child’s imagination and invites them to enter meditation with joy and delight. I highly recommend this little jewel of a book. (Ages 5 and up)
Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message (2002)
by Chief Jake Swamp and Erwin Printup, Jr.
A traditional Iroquois celebration of the beauty and spirit of Mother Earth, as told by a contemporary Mohawk chief. (Ages 5 – 11)
Giving Thanks (2011)
by Jonathan London and Gregory Manchess
This litany of appreciation for being alive and at one with nature arises from a father and son’s walk through the countryside on a sunny fall day. (Ages 4-8)
Catie the Copycat (2010)
by Juliana Howard and Sophia Heymans
Sometimes all it takes to be happy is to be exactly who who you are. The author’s singular granddaughter illustrated this book. (Ages 4-8)
Luka’s Quilt (1994)
by Georgia Guback
In this Hawaiian tale, a granddaughter and grandmother have a disagreement about the design of a quilt, and both wind up feeling hurt and disappointed. In the end they find a compromise that makes them more aware of what they love about each other. (Ages 4-8)
Full, Full, Full of Love (2008)
by Trish Cooke (Author) and Paul Howard (Illustrator)
A boy visits his grandmother as she is making a big dinner for the family, and he is so happy to have all his many family members gather for the feast. (Ages 4-8)
How Kind! (2004)
by Mary Murphy
The animals on the farm prove that one good turn deserves another as each of them does something kind for the next animal. This simply-told tale shows that “what goes around, comes around.” (Ages 4-8)
Do Something (2010)
by Nancy Lublin, Vanessa Martir, and Julia Steers
This handbook for young activists helps you pinpoint your “thing”—a cause that fires you up. Then come the tools that show you how to get it done, whether by making a poster, raising money, sending around a petition, or enlisting friends. (Ages 9-12)
Grateful: A Song of Giving Thanks (2003)
by John Bucchino (Author) and Anna-Lisa Hakkarainen (Illustrator)
In this exquisite picture book and accompanying CD recorded by Art Garfunkel, Anna-Lisa Hakkarainen’s radiant paintings bring John Bucchino’s words to life. A joyous celebration of the beauty of the seasons, the wonders of nature, and the blessings of faith, here is a gift to be treasured by children and adults of all ages.
Call Me Tree Call Me Tree: Llámame árbol (English and Spanish Edition) (2014)
by Maya Christina Gonzalez
This bilingual story is an anthem to the innate strength and individuality of children and trees. As a tree is nurtured so is a child. Both begin as seeds striving for expression as they break free and reach for the sky: “I dream/I am reaching/Dreaming and reaching/Reaching and dreaming.” The children depicted reflect the diversity of humanity, just as the different species of trees reflect the natural world of which they are an essential part.
When the Anger Ogre Visits (2015)
by Andree Salom (Author) and Ivette Salom (Illustrator)
When the Anger Ogre Visits gives children symbolic and concrete guidance about how to deal with anger as a natural part of their inner lives. Rather than squelching anger or pushing it away, the book invites children to sit with and observe anger, removing its overwhelming aspects. This playfully illustrated story, written in memorable rhyme, centers on discovering and using internal resources and portrays anger as manageable.
Old Turtle (2007)
by Douglas Wood (Author) and Cheng-Khee Chee (Illustrator)
A graceful fable, with elegant, dreamlike watercolors by illustrator Cheng-Khee Chee, Douglas Wood’s modern-day classic makes a hushed but strong environmental statement, as well as a plea for universal acceptance. (Ages 5 and older)
The Giving Book: Open the Door to a Lifetime of Giving (2004)
by Ellen Sabin
The greatest gift we can give our children is a tender heart and one full of compassion for others. Giving is a joy. This book takes an old concept and involves the children in the giving process, teaching them firsthand the benefits to giving. (Ages 6 – 11)
Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome (2015)
by Robby Novak (Author), Brad Montague (Author)
“This is LIFE, people! You’ve got air coming through your nose! You’ve got a heartbeat! That means it’s time to do something!” announces Kid President in his book, Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome. From YouTube sensation (75 million views and counting!) to Hub Network summer series star, Kid President—ten-year-old Robby Novak—and his videos have inspired millions to dance more, to celebrate life, and to throw spontaneous parades. (Ages 8 and up)
A is for activist (2013)
by Innosanto Nagara
The alliteration, rhyming, and vibrant illustrations make this book exciting for children, while the issues it brings up resonate with their parents’ values of community, equality, and justice. This engaging little book carries huge messages as it inspires hope for the future, and calls children to action while teaching them a love for books. (Ages 3 – 7)
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