8 Gratitude Picture Books and Stories for Upper Elementary Students

8 Gratitude Picture Books and Stories for Upper Elementary Students

When it comes to gratitude, there is no better way to bring it into your classroom than with some picture book read-alouds!

As the calendar flips to November, you probably pull Thanksgiving-themed books from the shelf and prepare to read them aloud as part of your Thanksgiving lesson plans. I do that, too!

Recently, I have been making sure that read-alouds and lessons about gratitude have an equal place in my classroom right alongside traditional Thanksgiving read-alouds each November.

Bringing gratitude and kindness into the classroom is an important part of how I set up my classroom community, build relationships, and help my own students make a difference in the world. While we discuss these important topics all year long, November is the perfect time to make them the focus in our classroom environment.

The following list includes 8 of my favorite books that are perfect to teach students about gratitude, the season of giving, and to celebrate the Thanksgiving season

Be sure to grab the free printables to use with these books at the end of the post.

Gratitude is My Superpower written by Alicia Ortego

gratitude activities for kids

This sweet story follows a young girl as she learns the meaning of gratitude. Once she has her gratitude stone she begins to appreciate everything she has, and not focus on what she does not have. With easily relatable examples of gratitude in action, students will understand the true meaning of being thankful. Grab some smooth stones and give each of your students a gratitide stone, or take them outside and have them find one of their own!

Grow Grateful written by Sage Foster Lasser

gratitude read aloud for kids

Grow Grateful is a powerful book about gratitude that can be read at any time during the year, as it is not holiday or season specific. this book follows Kiko, the main character as she "grows grateful" throughout the story. She learned to focus on the small things and not focus on the scary things or things she felt she was missing. Students will easily relate to Kiko! This is a great introduction to what being grateful means.

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves written by Julia Rawlinson

fletcher and the falling leaves

This one is perfect for the autumn season as Fletcher, the main character works hard throughout the book to protect the tree from losing its leaves. While the word gratitude never comes up in this story, it is definitely a theme to discuss with students. Fletcher tries to catch and return all the leaves that fell from the tree to his friend the tree. The gratitude that Fletcher has for the tree comes through and is a focus of this read aloud and students can reflect on how they are grateful for their own friendships.

Thank You, Omu written by Oge Mora

Thank you omu activities for kids

I love this book for any time of the year, but with its themes of giving, community, kindness, and gratitude, it is just perfect for November.  This story follows the day of Omu, a beloved community member who spends the day cooking stew. The reader meets different characters who pop in for a bowl of Omu's stew. Just when it is time for Omu to sit down and enjoy her stew, she realizes that there is none left because she gave it all away! The community members come together to do something special just for Omu! Your students will love to predict what the community will do. This is a must read in your upper elementary classroom!

Knots on a Counting Rope written by Bill Martin Jr.

Knots on a counting rope activities for kids

This story is perfect for November, especially because this one read-aloud will help you celebrate Indigenous Peoples Month and gratitude at the same time. This story follows Boy, as he listens to the story of the day he was born from his grandfather. As the story goes on, your readers will need to use their inferring skills to figure out that Boy is blind. Once that is inferred, discussion begins about being grateful for the things we take for granted like vision. Definitely a must-add to your library collection! Bonus, you can revisit and repurpose this read aloud for lessons on questioning and inferring as readers!

A Chair for My Mother written by Vera B. Williams

A chair for my mother activities

This sweet story follows a small family after their home is burned down, causing them to lose everything. They work together to save their pennies to be able to afford a comfortable chair for Mama to sit on after a long day of work. With the themes of family, community, kindness, and gratitude this is a must-read for November.

The Scarecrow written by Beth Ferry

The Scarecrow book activities for kids

This is one of my favorite read alouds for the fall season and just perfect to tie into discussions and lessons about gratitude. This book follows the scarecrow and his budding relationship with an unlikely friend...a baby crow. The scarecrow protects and cares for the young bird, growing a deep relationship with it until it leaves and migrates for the winter. One spring day when the bird returns, the scarecrow is happier than ever. This book is perfect to discuss appreciation and gratitude for friends. A fun follow up activity is to have your students write a letter or note of gratitude to a classmate!

The Giving Snowman written by Julia Zheng

being grateful read aloud for kids

Get ready for winter while discussing gratitude and kindness with this read aloud! This sweet story tells about Snowman who gives away literally everything he has to help others,like his hat, carrot nose, and stick arms. After the snowman has given everything away and melts, the rest of the characters work together to rebuild him. This book pairs perfectly with Thank You, Omu as they both have similar themes and storylines.

Grab the free coordinating gratitude activities to use with these books!

When it comes to bringing gratitude into your classroom, start with a book! Students will love the ideas they hear from these books and from discussions, you have about these characters and before long you will see a difference in your students!

Looking for more meaningful Thanksgiving and gratitude activities for your students, like these I wish PoemsTake a look here

gratitude writing activities for kids

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8 Gratitude Picture Books and Stories for Upper Elementary Students

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