AT THE LIBRARY: Books can offer lessons in gratitutde – Crow River Media

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Cloudy and windy. Areas of blowing snow. Temps nearly steady in the mid 30s. Winds NNW at 20 to 30 mph..
Cloudy. Low 26F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph.
Updated: November 12, 2021 @ 12:55 pm

November is a great month for teaching gratitude to children as well as reflecting on our own as adults. Many people reflect through mindfulness activities such as art, journals, and conversations. Teaching an abstract concept like gratitude to children can often be difficult; however, the benefits of learning gratitude are well worth it.
Learning to be grateful is not only good manners and showing kindness to others. It also has long lasting physical and mental health benefits for all ages of people. Several studies have shown that being grateful and showing gratitude can help people to improve their self-esteem, have better relationships with others, improve their overall psychological health, and even improve their overall physical health with better sleep and fewer aches and pains.
Some ideas to try when teaching gratitude to children include creating a thankful/gratitude jar or making a gratitude tree; going for a walk to reflect and talk about the things you are thankful for; and writing letters to each other or to others whom you are thankful for. For example, you can write a thank-you letter to a community helper, family member or friend. Reading books about thankfulness is another great way to share the concept of gratitude. Read aloud a picture book or chapter book with your child. You can also read the same title as your older children independently and have discussions about the book, like a small book club.
Children’s books are a great resource when teaching social and emotional concepts like gratitude, generosity, and appreciation as they provide a story and illustrations children can identify with. Many of these children’s books can also provide conversation starters for parents. Talking about the book characters and their feelings is less intimidating for children and it helps them to learn to be more empathic. The Litchfield Public Library has a nice assortment of fiction and nonfiction books for children and teens that can be used to help teach gratitude this season. Some of the books that can be found at the Litchfield Public Library include:
“Bear Says Thanks” by Karma Wilson, “Giving Thanks” by Jonathan London, and “Thank You, Omu!” by Oge Mora are great picture books for all ages about being thankful. “Crenshaw” by Katherine Applegate, “White Bird” by R.J. Palacio, and “When You Trap a Tiger” by Tae Keller are wonderful chapter books that teach gratitude and empathy.
“Frankly in Love” by David Yoon and “If I Stay” by Gayle Forman are great recommended titles about finding gratitude in hard times for teens.
Thank you! And until next time, happy reading!
— Rachelle Golde is children’s librarian at Litchfield Public Library.
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