Being Grateful for All Good Things
10 stories of caring, sharing and giving thanks
As a children’s librarian, the change in season means sharing new books with my friends. When fall comes around, I begin to think about a new school year, giving thanks for all that I have and my friends and family. Discover some of my favorite books on these topics for our littlest to our biggest friends. Be sure to check them out at your local library and ask your librarians for their favorite books on these subjects.
“May We Have Enough to Share”
by Richard Van Camp
This lovely board book is filled with photographs of families. The story talks about all the ways to be grateful for what you have and what surrounds you. Indulge in this perfect introduction for our littlest readers about gratitude and family.
“Bear Says Thanks”
by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman
Bear may live alone in his cave, but he knows he has lots of friends, like raven, wren, hare and many more. When his friends stop by one by one with goodies to share, Bear starts to feel upset that he has nothing to contribute. Each time he thanks his friends, he feels worse and worse. Bear’s friends know that even if he doesn’t have food to share, he has other things, like being a friend and stories. This picture book shows that each friend can contribute something, and it’s always nice to say thanks.
by George Shannon and Laura Dronzek
Rabbit comes across two turnips on his way home during a snowstorm. After eating one, he begins to think about his animal friends who may be having a hard time during winter. He decides to share the other turnip. As the animals gather more food, they share with each other. This picture book is a lovely representation of sharing with those who may be less fortunate. This lesson simply told makes this story enjoyable for even our younger friends.
“1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving”
by Catherine O’Neill Grace
Thanksgiving has many meanings to many people. After celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day in October, I thought it would be helpful to share a Thanksgiving book that honors the true history of native people. This look at the history of America’s first European settlers and Thanksgiving will hopefully give our older readers a new perspective on a beloved holiday. Be prepared for an in-depth and frank discussion after reading this beautifully illustrated book.
“We Chose You”
by Tony and Laura Dungy
Here is another book that may bring about discussion, this time about adoption. In this book, a semiautobiographical work, we see a family explaining the process of adoption to their children. The Dungy couple adopted children and focus on their faith in rearing their children. This book helps to reinforce love for their chosen child and how no family looks the same. This lovely picture book for older children, whether adopted or not, is one they can enjoy reading with family.
“Sad, Sad Bear”
by Kimberly Gee
Bear is feeling very sad. He has to go to day care, where his mom leaves him! He’s feeling sad at being left behind. He’s feeling shy because there are so many new children. Luckily, these feelings don’t last too long. Bear starts to make friends and have fun. When his mom come back to pick him up, he is feeling very glad. This simple introduction to day care or preschool will delight our littlest readers.
“Lola Goes to School”
by Anna McQuinn and Rosalind Beardshaw
Unlike Bear, Lola is ready for school. Lola is excited as she prepares the night before school, gets up early and is ready to go. Lola has so much fun at school that, before she knows it, it’s time to go home. The Lola books are full of colorful illustrations, fun stories and realistic settings that older toddlers will find themselves in. Explore this picture book for kids who are ready for preschool and a new adventure!
“Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids”
edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith
This middle-grade collection of interwoven short stories is a beautiful glimpse into how different native children, and their families, enjoy a powwow. These stories of native children connect through chance meetings, similar themes and embracing one’s culture. One story features a native child who was adopted by white parents who are encouraging him to learn more about his history. In another, we see someone try to make amends for a wrong each individual did to one another. Each story can be read separately, but together, they paint a beautiful picture of a modern-day powwow and native culture.
Sometimes adoption comes about because a child is in a foster home that becomes a forever home. In this middle-grade novel, Lou finds herself taken from her mother and sent to live with her aunt she barely knows. Lou begins to feel torn in two; she wants to be living with her mom again but she also sees that the situation at her aunt’s home is better for her. We don’t know at the end what Lou’s future holds, but we do know she’s surrounded by familial love. This middle-grade novel details the story about a found family.
In this middle-grade graphic novel, and Newbery Award winner, Jordan Banks is enrolled in a new school. It’s not the art school he was hoping for but a prestigious school. Not only is this school far from home, but it also isn’t very diverse. Jordan finds himself as one of a few students of color and torn between his academic life and his home life. Not only does Jordan have to navigate this world of privilege, but he has to find a way to succeed. This well-written and illustrated book touches on racism, friendships and how to stay true to oneself.
This piece first appeared in the November 2021 issue of MetroKids.