The Thankful Book, 21 Days of Gratitude

Teaching Gratitude to Kids with Thanksgiving Books

I am thankful to be part of the 21 Days of Gratitude Challenge. It’s a great time to reflect and be thankful for the little things in life. This holiday season, we are thankful for books. They entertain us, teach us and take us new places. We are also thankful for our good health, electricity during Hurricane Sandy, our cozy bed and bedtime stories. (And that soccer season is over! That’s a selfish one for me and my husband!).

The Thankful Book, 21 Days of Gratitude



Thanksgiving Books for Kids and Being Thankful

Todd Parr has a natural talent for taking a subject that might be difficult to articulate to a child and making it a comfortable and colorful conversation. I remember when my oldest started Kindergarten and her classmate had two moms which prompted a multitude of questions. One of the moms, of the two mom family, suggested Todd Parr’s book It’s OK to Be Different. We bought a copy and found that it also spoke to us.

Being thankful — gratitude for what we have — is a life lesson that I have to keep reminding myself about and Thanksgiving is a lovely holiday for taking time to be appreciative. We should do it more often, but we start our Thanksgiving dinner by going around the table stating a few things we are thankful for.

I should write them down, because, over the years, the kids come up with very funny examples. In fact, The Thankful Book sounds like Todd Parr is channeling an inner child or secreting recording kids at the dinner table giving thanks.


The Thankful Book by Todd Parr

We each chose a page from The Thankful Book that we are thankful for. I am thankful to Todd Parr for this picture book and all his books which help kids feel good about themselves.

I am thankful for the fall because I like to jump in the leaves. (my son)

I am thankful for the library because it is filled with endless adventures. (me)

I am thankful for colors because they make me want to paint. (Grasshopper and Sensei)

I am thankful for walks because they are special times for just you and me. (Wally, our dog)

I am thankful for my friends because they make me smile. (PickyKidPix)

I am thankful for holidays because they bring my family together. (My husband)


Books for Kids on The First Thanksgiving

The Very First Thanksgiving Day by Rhonda Gowler Greene, illustrated by Susan Gaber

This is the food, gathered and blessed,

the corn and sweet berries, and wild turkey dressed,

shared on the very first Thanksgiving Day. 

Join author Rhonda Gowler Greene and illustrator Susan Gaber on a journey back to the very first Thanksgiving Day, when two societies came together to feast and honor the earth’s bounty in peace.

Our very first Thanksgiving in the United States was about gratitude for a good harvest made possible by the generosity of new friends, the kind Wampanoag Native Americans that taught the early settlers how to survive in a harsh and unfamiliar climate.

My favorite part of this book is the end when the little girls, one Native American and the other a Pilgrim, swap dolls.

What else do you think people at the first Thanksgiving were thankful for? Is that true of you and your family?

 …If you Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 by Ann McGovern

What kind of ship was the Mayflower? How did the Pilgrims feel when they saw land? What was the first building in Plymouth? In lively question-and-answer style, this fact-filled book answers all sorts of questions about the Pilgrims’ journey on the Mayflower and their first year in America.

Boys and girls will find out why the Pilgrims left England to live in America, what they took with them on board the Mayflower, and the hardships they endured. They’ll learn what the Mayflower Compact was, how the Pilgrims made a peace treaty with the Indians, and how these brave settlers managed to survive in their new land.

Ms McGovern has carefully researched the Pilgrims’ journey and their first year in America. Her portrayal is full of fascinating detail about their everyday life. Young readers will be intrigued to discover that Pilgrim boys and girls slept on corn husk mattresses they made themselves, and that most of the houses had only one chair — which was reserved for the man of the house!

Were the people on the ship friends? Some people were. Some people weren’t.

The sailors hated the Pilgrims. And the Pilgrims didn’t like the sailors.

The sailors made fun of the Pilgrims who got seasick. They called them “glib-gabbety puke stockings.” One sailor said he wanted to throw half the Pilgrims into the sea.

The sailors hated the Pilgrims’ prayers and holy songs. The Pilgrims didn’t like the sailors’ bad language.

But at the end of the voyage, the sailors had to admit that the Pilgrims had plenty of courage.

And the Pilgrims were thankful that the sailors got them safely to the New World.

For those kids who want realistic details on what it was like to sail on the Mayflower, Ann McGovern paints a vivid portrait of life on board and the challenges and personality conflicts that existed.

It makes Thanksgiving even more meaningful to realize how difficult the journey they had and the constant animosity they faced both from their own country and in the New World.

The Pilgrims had much to be thankful for on their first harvest. Did you realize the sailors and pilgrims would not get along? Who do you think was kinder to the Pilgrims: the sailors or the Wampanoags?

Is it easy being “different?” It made the Pilgrims want to leave their home and chance their lives in a long and dangerous voyage.

If you had a Pilgrim at your Thanksgiving dinner table today, what do you think he or she would be thankful for in our time?

Thanksgiving on Thursday (Magic Tree House series) by Mary Pope Osborne

It’s a time for giving thanks  . . . when the Magic Tree House whisks Jack and Annie back to 1621 on the first Thanksgiving Day. The Pilgrims ask them to help get things ready. But whether it’s cooking or clamming, Jack and Annie don’t know how to do anything the Pilgrim way. Will they ruin the holiday forever? Or will the feast go on?

The Magic Tree House makes history come alive and this time Jack and Annie are in the New World in time for the first Thanksgiving. Do you think this experience will make them grateful for their own Thanksgiving? Why?

Tapenum’s Day: A Wampanoag Indian Boy In Pilgrim Times by Kate Waters

Chosen to become a special warrior prince in 1627, Tapenum prepares himself for the great honor by hunting, fishing, and sharing a day with friends and family, in a story that is complemented by photographs of Plymouth Plantation. [ages 4 and up]

Imagine what it would be like to be a Wampanoag Indian boy meeting Pilgrims for the first time! Why do you think he is willing to help strangers? What would have happened to the Pilgrims if the Wampanoags did not help them? Would you have helped strangers if you were a Wampanoag meeting Pilgrims for the first time?

The Children of the Morning Light: Wampanoag Tales as Told By Manitonquat by Mary F. Arquette

Eleven stories based on the oral traditions of the Wampanoag tribe of southern Massachusetts recount the origins of the world, the ancient history of the Wampanoag, and the ways in which the spirit Maushop aided the early humans.

Spiritual beliefs guide our behavior and these Native American stories help to explain why the Wampanoags were willing to help the Pilgrims. What beliefs guide the way you treat people?


Click on image to view at Amazon or go here to purchase at Barnes and Noble.


Inspired by Family Magazine

November 1st -21st

1 Becky Spence Shares her awesome ABC of Thanksgiving with free printables for the little ones.

and Zina Harrington from Let’s Lasso the Moon: Starting a Gratitude Journal

2 Deborah J Stewart Thankful from a Grandmothers perspective

3 Jennifer Farr

4 Stacy Teet

and Jennifer Fischer

5 Catherine Collins

6 Heather Ruppel

and Mia Wenjen

7 Gina Kimmel

and Kelly Innes

8 Megan Sheakoski ,

and Genny Upton

9 Melissa Klinker

and Adrienne Weeks

10 Kylie Gardner

11 Frances Diaz-Evans

12 Trisha Stanley

13 Carolyn Elbert

14 Susan Case, Kindergarten & Preschool for Parents & Teachers:

and Deirdre Smith

15 Jen Goode

Deborah Flora

16 Marnie Craycroft

and Britany Morazan

17 Ness Hoffmann

and Deborah Flora-

18 Adele Crozier

19 Kendall Soto,

and Kristina Buskirk

20 Angelique Felix – The Magic Of Play

and Leanna Guillen Mora

21 Margarita Woodley

and Deb Chitwood

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. My daughter likes The Magic Treehouse Books. I like books really well-that’s a fun thing to be thankful for!

    Glad your electricity stayed on for you during the storm.
    deborah recently posted…Another Week of Family and FarmMy Profile

    • Hi Deborah,
      It seems like there is a perfect book for every occasion and for any lesson that you’d want your child to learn. I was thankful to get The Thankful Book from a publisher in time for Thanksgiving. It’s such a simple but essential message for myself and my kids this time of year!

  2. Jeanette from Artchoo

    I love Todd Parr. This is a really nice post- It feels good to reflect on what we are grateful for in between the candy craze of Halloween and the frantic insanity of Christmas.
    Jeanette from Artchoo recently posted…Teenagers Make Art: Ella DigregorioMy Profile

    • Hi Jeanette,
      It is going to be a frenzy of stuff for kids with a focus on what they want. I’d like them to step back for a second and realize how fortunate they are and that there are lots of kids who are not as lucky as they are and that they are in a position to help. They do love to help and have great ideas. It’s that “Donate” part of Spend/Save/Donate that we are working on (though we need to work on “Save” too!).

      But I think being thankful is a good way to start, for my kids at least.

  3. Love all the book ideas! I never heard of Todd Parr, I will definitely have to check him out.

    Thanks for joining in the fun.

    mari recently posted…Sweet Potato Chipotle Soup w/ QuinoaMy Profile

  4. I am also grateful for THANKSgiving. It helps me to point out to my children that we must first be thankful for all that we have instead of always asking for more.

    Posted by Kelly Maher

    From my LinkedIn Group MOPS International
    Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Giving Back With My Kids for Operation Christmas ChildMy Profile

  5. Yes, you are right that the first word in Thanksgiving is THANKS! (Not GIVING!).
    Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Giving Back With My Kids for Operation Christmas ChildMy Profile

  6. Beth Arnold

    I used to be the Marketing Director at a toy company that produced toys from ToddWorld by Todd Parr. I LOVED his books. I think they are a great addition to the list. The characters were a little quirky, but really fun!
    Beth Arnold recently posted…Friday Fun! FREE Recylcing Coloring PageMy Profile

    • Hi Beth,
      I used to watch hours and hours of ToddWorld with my kids when they were little. It was quirky but also it was great instruction on socialization, getting along with kids and solving conflicts. And we loved the talking dog! I’ve never met Todd Parr but he must be such a kind man!

  7. What a great list of books! I LOVE Todd Parr and It’s Ok to be Different is probably one of my all time favorite books. My favorite page is “It’s okay to say no to bad things.” Thanks for sharing this great list!
    The Iowa Farmer’s Wife recently posted…21 Days of Gratitude: Teaching Gratitude by GivingMy Profile

    • Hi The Iowa Farmer’s Wife,
      You are so welcome! We love Todd Parr too. His books have such great messages and the colorful cartoons are so fun! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  8. Ann

    Hey, thanks for the list! I am just putting together a library list for this week!
    Ann recently posted…Butterfly TreeMy Profile

  9. We love Todd Parr books, too, especially the feelings book! What a great way to teach youg children about giving and being thankful, through books. Love it!
    Lisa Nolan recently posted…Hugs, High Fives, and the Grace of Children {Sunday Parenting Party, More Than Mommies Mixer, Montesssori Monday}My Profile

    • Hi Lisa,
      Thanks so much! We are trying though it’s a battle to remember to be grateful for what we have in this frenetic paced world we live in! I’m grateful to 21 Days of Continuous Gratitude for forcing me to think about it!

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