Gratitude Storytime

Back when I was a children’s librarian doing storytimes every week, holidays were such a nice reprieve from having to decide on an arbitrary topic for the week. My first year when I went to plan a Thanksgiving storytime, I found there weren’t really any Thanksgiving-specific books that I liked or that were of any quality, so instead I put together a storytime about being grateful, which I liked a whole lot more anyway because being grateful is really the point of the holiday, right?

Here are a few of my favs to pull out for storytime leading up to Thanksgiving:

Bear says thankstodd parr thankful book old woman vinegar bottle

Bear Says Thanks
Karma Wilson

This one comes the closest to being a Thanksgiving book. Bear throws a dinner party and each of his woodland friends brings a different dish to share, earning Bear’s gratitude and adding up to quite the feast. The charming illustrations with lots of fun animals and details to point out and the rhyming and repetitive text that is the hallmark of Karma Wilson’s Bear books make this a great one to share around the holiday.

The Thankful Book
Todd Parr

Oh, how I love reading Todd Parr books to toddlers and preschoolers. There is absolutely no plot, just a bunch of statements and colorful drawings that can lead to great comments and conversations. “I am thankful for my hair because it makes me unique” gives everyone a chance to look around at each other’s hair and think about your own hair. “I am thankful for bubble baths because they keep me squeaky clean” – I think we can all agree that bubble baths are awesome! And so on. Todd Parr celebrates the little things that sometimes feel like big things to kids.

The Old Woman Who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle
Margaret Read MacDonald; Nancy Dunaway Fowlkes (illustrator)

This book is too long for preschooler and toddler storytime, but my visiting elementary school classes loved it. It’s about a woman who lives in a vinegar bottle, which she complains about all the time (and honestly, who can blame her?), until a fairy comes to visit. The woman wishes she could live in a cottage, and when her wish is granted, what does she turn around and do? Start complaining again and wishing for an even bigger home! The fairy grants her wishes for far too long and then teaches her a lesson in the end about being grateful for what you have. There’s a great refrain that the old woman repeats: “oh what a pity, what a pity, pity, pity!” that I encourage the kids to do with me in their most dramatic voices and gestures. They would get quite good by the end.

I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving with lots of time off for reading!

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