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Giving Thanks: 12 Books to Inspire Gratitude at Any Age

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • November 20, 2020

An Attitude of Gratitude

Even in the best of circumstances, the holidays can often be a tough time for many folks and this year may feel particularly gnarly. What can you do to combat these dark feelings? Recent studies have shown that practicing gratitude on a daily basis can be instrumental in finding joy and strengthening relationships.

A leading expert on the psychology of gratitude, Robert Emmons has found that practicing gratitude actually makes us happier and healthier. In The Little Book of Gratitude, he explains how easy practices—like journaling, meditation, and just saying thank you—can improve health, enhance relationships, and help us feel more connected.

In The Gifts of Imperfection, author and vulnerability researcher Brené Brown outlines ten guideposts for living a wholehearted, authentic life, opening up the door for gratitude, acceptance, and compassion.

Growing Kind and Thoughtful Kids

When we are feeling secure and happy, it is much easier to be generous to others. Raising kind kids means helping them to see and be grateful for their own blessings. Stories like these help us show our young ones that by spreading positive vibes, they get them back tenfold!

The Thank You Book by Mo Willems
Piggie decides to say thank you to everyone who has been a part of his story. As usual, his best friend Gerald has some worries. This sweet ending to the beloved Elephant & Piggie series may leave you needing some tissues.

What is Given From the Heart by Patricia McKissack
From a three-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and Newbery Honor author comes an uplifting and beautifully illustrated story about the value of helping others, even when you feel you don't have a lot to give.

The Thank You Letter by Jane Cabrera
As Grace writes graceful and humorous letters thanking loved ones for her birthday gifts, she finds she doesn't want to stop there. Who else can she thank? Help kids see the joy to be found in an expression of gratitude.

Here We Are: Notes for Living On Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers
The acclaimed author-illustrator brings wit and poignancy to his user's guide to life on Earth. With twin messages that we're never alone here and that we're all in this together, the book espouses a universality that embraces all people.

Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora
One by one, everyone in the neighborhood follows their noses toward the scrumptious scent of Omu's delicious stew. And to each, Omu offers a portion of her meal. Soon the pot is empty. Has she been too generous?

Shifting Your Perspective

The pandemic woes, political strife, and extreme weather of the past year has a lot of us feeling concerned, scared, frustrated, and even angry. Focusing on the positive won't necessarily make any of these problems disappear, but it can help us to lead healthier and more productive lives. Here are five books that may help you find your own silver linings, whether through laughter, empathy, catharsis, or all of the above.

Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh
This author-illustrator made waves with her blog and first graphic memoir, Hyperbole and a Half. Her long-awaited follow-up again brings her hilarious voice and quirky artwork to stories about pets, relationships, and more.

City of Thorns by Ben Rawlence
The Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya has been called many things: a humanitarian crisis, a nursery for terrorists, a dangerous place. But to its half a million residents, it is a last resort. This book weaves together nine of their compelling stories.

Gratitude by Oliver Sacks
"My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved. I have been given much and I have given something in return." The bestselling author—documenting the end of his life—delivers a gorgeous message.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor tobacco farmer working the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine.

The Best of Me by David Sedaris
If laughter is the best medicine then Sedaris must be a cure-all! For more than 25 years, he has brought his singular wit to stories of family, work, travel, love, human nature, and more. Here he assembles a collection of his favorites.

From all of us here at ThriftBooks, we offer our fondest hope that, during this highly unusual season, you can tap into the magic of some wonderful books to find gratitude and joy. These are just a few of the books that have made us feel thankful. What are some of your favorites?

Read more by Ashly Moore Sheldon

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generosity | kindness
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