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Pre-K

Charming Picture Books on the Value of Gratitude

by Miranda Rosbach

gratitude-books-prek
Photo credit: Fly View Productions, E+ Collection/Getty Images

When we gather as a family for dinner most nights, we’ve made it a practice (one taken from my childhood) to ask everyone at the table, What are you grateful for today? We do it nearly every day, even during holidays and when we have company over. It causes us to pause and reflect on the good that one day contains. The simple truth is gratitude creates joy. It fosters well-being and makes us kinder people. These 12 books are an excellent starting place to cultivate gratitude with your little ones.

  • A New Day

    by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Dan Santat

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    Being a day of the week is challenging, thankless work — which is why Sunday calls it quits. Determined to explore new passions, she ventures into the unknown, leaving the remaining six days of the week to hold auditions for a replacement. After meeting all kinds of zany days like SuperheroDay, Big Burpday, and Pie Day, a young girl appears and offers Ms. Sunday a genuine compliment. Soon, Sunday feels renewed, energized, and ready to get back on the job. This silly romp is perfect for the entire family.

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  • The Gift Inside the Box

    by Adam Grant and Allison Sweet Grant, illustrated by Diana Schoenbrun

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    A box parachutes from the sky, eager to find an owner. However, each person the box encounters (an art-smeared child, a video gamer, two siblings squabbling, a dog, and a noisy garage band) dissuades the box from staying with anyone. The box takes a break under a tree in a moment of repose, where a young girl finds it. In a unique twist, she gives a gift to the box, and at last, the box has found its home.

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  • Tomorrow I'll Be Brave

    by Jessica Hische

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    This gorgeous, affirming collection of quotes fosters a growth mindset in children. Follow a young rabbit through lavishly rendered pages, with expressive adjectives portrayed in bold typography, reminding readers that gratitude comes through daily intention and action. This beautiful book is ideal for gift giving and special occasions.

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  • The Circles All Around Us

    by Brad Montague, illustrated by Brad and Kristi Montague

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    A young boy sits in a circle with a chalk line around him, alone, like an empty library with one book. So he draws a larger circle to include his family. As he expands his circles to encompass the people he cares about, the boy learns an essential lesson: “It doesn’t mean the circle is easy. It can get harder the more we share. But wonderful things can happen when love is known and felt everywhere.”

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  • My Voice Is a Trumpet

    by Jimmie Allen, illustrated by Cathy Ann Johnson

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    Voices, like fingerprints, are unique. Some are small, while others are mighty. Some have the lessons of life woven into their folds, while others are silent yet strong. Each person has a voice that can ask, learn, and speak up for what is right. Our voices are powerful, and this rhyming text makes that truth clear. It's an affirmation to guide all kids to feel the might and gratitude of speech.

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  • Twinkle Twinkle Little Kid

    by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Molly Idle

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    One night, a young boy named Clyde wishes on a star in the night sky. He then trundles off to bed, hoping his wish will come true. That same night, the star sashays into his room and makes a wish of her own. Startled by the brightness, Clyde wakes up, and the two discuss the secrecy of their respective wishes. Clyde uses several tactics to guess Star’s wish, but in the end, they discover the common hope they had pined for was a friend, which they found in each other.

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  • Thank You, Teacher from The Very Hungry Caterpillar

    by Eric Carle

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    Consider this a love letter to parents for teaching children to be kind to others, care for the planet, and be brave during challenging moments. While the caterpillar (who could represent our children) wanders from page to page, we see it stop to wonder, reach for the stars, and dream about the future. This gorgeous book celebrates the process of children growing into themselves.

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  • Three Little Engines

    by Bob McKinnon, illustrated by Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson

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    On graduation day, three little engines are eager to make their solo trip through the mountain, each ready to prove their strength and capability. With no load to carry, Little Blue Engine makes the trip without difficulty. However, Little Yellow and Little Red engine both struggle to complete their courses. As Little Blue Engine considers her good fortune and relative ease in completing the trip, she assists her friends in the push towards the finish line.

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  • Turtle in a Tree

    by Neesha Hudson

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    Two dogs debate the truth of what they see in a tree. One dog claims to see a turtle; the other says turtles don’t live in trees and that it’s a squirrel. When the truth comes out, it proves each dog both right and wrong. With a lesson in perspective and friendship, this humorous tale reminds readers that everyone experiences situations differently, and that’s okay.

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  • What I Am

    by Divya Srinivasan

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    When a young girl gets asked, “What are you?” she wonders what to say and eventually says nothing. But she is many things: a girl, a daughter, an Amma (mother) to her stuffed animals, a vegetarian, and an artist. Each page juxtaposes the mix of human emotions that coexist within all of us. It’s an ode to the Indian American experience (with a thoughtful author’s note) that resonates with children of all ages. This thought-provoking picture book is a standout of 2021.

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  • Thanks A Lot

    by Raffi, illustrated by Jaime Kim

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    A melodious refrain turns gratitude into everyday practice in this book based on the popular Raffi song. It reminds readers to be thankful for the sun and sky, clouds and pets, and people on the planet. It expresses thanks for “the wonder in me” and the moments that make up a day. Use this simple book throughout the year to help children notice the good in ordinary days.

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  • Thank You, Helpers

    by Patricia Hegarty, illustrated by Michael Emmerson

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    This pandemic-specific book spotlights community workers (doctors, nurses, delivery drivers, grocery clerks, and volunteers) who work tirelessly to keep others healthy and safe. Bouncy rhyme helps children look outside themselves and notice the people who keep the world moving. This book would be splendid to pair with a service project for one of the groups it mentions.

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