Mentor Texts for Teaching Gratitude

In this day and age, it often seems that gratitude and feeling grateful is a bit of a lost art! Kids and adults alike could benefit from focusing on being grateful for the things they have.

If you are planning to teach about gratitude in your classroom, consider using a mentor text. Picture books are a great way to get kids thinking and talking about gratitude.

Take a look at the list below to see some of the best mentor texts for teaching gratitude.

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1. The Most Thankful Thing

When a little girl asks her mother what her “most thankful thing ever” is, it turns into a great opportunity to check out her mom’s photo album and reminisce about some of the wonderful moments in her life. Of course, nothing beats the best moment of all… the day her sweet little girl was born!

2. The Secret of Saying Thanks

This book is all about the many wonders in nature that many of us take for granted. The beautiful illustrations and inspirational text are great reminders to take a moment to be grateful for these seemingly small gifts.

3. The Giving Tree

This popular book has been around for a long time and with good reason. It will definitely tug at your students’ heartstrings (and yours, too!) and get them thinking about how important it is to be grateful for what you are given.

4. The Quilt Maker’s Gift

This book takes a look at the age-old question, can material things make you truly happy? A greedy King searching for happiness meets a quiltmaker who creates the most beautiful quilts, only to give them away. Will the King be able to learn anything from this wise old woman?

5. Beatrice’s Goat

Based on a true story, this tale outlines the big changes that come after a poor family receives one seemingly small gift.  Beatrice desperately wanted to go to school, but her family did not have enough money. The gift of the goat has a dramatic impact and finally provides Beatrice the chance to go to school.

6. Those Shoes

Jeremy desperately wants the “cool” shoes that everyone else has, but because they are a “want” and not a “need,” he has to accept that his grandma can’t afford them. Jeremy thinks his dream comes true one day, but this leads to him having to make a difficult decision.

7. Thankful

This sweet story is full of reminders to appreciate the small blessings that we take for granted each day. From the firefighters who work to keep our communities safe, to the gardeners who grow our food, we all have so much to be thankful for!

8. Too Much Noise

This book is based on a Yiddish folktale from Ukraine. The main character of this story, Peter, feels that his house is just too noisy! He seeks help from the village wise man, who advises him to bring more and more farm animals into the house! Eventually, Peter learns to be grateful for his peaceful home just the way it is.

9. Thanks a Million

This collection of poems shares the thankful feelings that a child has for his teacher, a mother for her daughter, a young girl for the author of her favorite book, and more. Each poem has a different mood and feel and will get your students thinking about the things they are grateful for in their own lives. 


10. One is a Feast for a Mouse

This fun story is perfect to read around Thanksgiving time and explores the real meaning of being thankful. When a little mouse tries to gather way more Thanksgiving leftovers than he really needs, things get a little hectic! Luckily, he gets another chance to realize that he should be grateful for what he already has.


Check out my Character Education: Gratitude unit for an entire month’s worth of lessons and ideas to get your students in a more grateful mindset.

Character Education Gratitude - SEL Gratitude Activities in Print and Digital


If you like the Gratitude unit above, you might want to check out my Character Education Bundle, which includes Character Education lessons for the entire year.

Character Education Bundle in Print and Digital


Interested in learning even more about using mentor texts and teaching character education? Check out these posts for some valuable info!

5 Steps to Incorporating Character Education in the Classroom

Mentor Texts for Teaching Kindness

5 Reasons to Use Mentor Texts With Big Kids


Here’s another blog post you might enjoy:

How to Teach Gratitude in the Classroom 


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