Jumpstart’s Book Recommendations for Thanksgiving

Jumpstart's Book & Activity Recommendations for Thanksgiving

As we spend time in this season of gratitude, invite your child to reflect on people or things they are thankful for. Gratitude, or sharing appreciation, helps children develop their social-emotional learning through the use of mental state vocabulary.

Try some of these activities to practice gratitude:


Gratitude Paper Chain: Cut 3-inch strips of colored paper and help your child write down things they are thankful for. Try using prompts such as, “I am thankful for these things that are green…, I am thankful for these things that are warm…, I am thankful for these things that are soft…” When they are finished, use a glue stick to help them attach the ends of a strip to create a link. Continue looping another strip through to build a longer chain.

Thankfulness Wreath: Using a piece of paper, cut a circle for a wreath. Together, cut out leaves from colored paper. Write down the names of people your child wishes to express gratitude for, for example a family member, a friend, or community helpers. As your child shares the names of people, ask them what each person says or does that your child appreciates. Extend the activity by asking your child, “What are things you do or say to others that show your appreciation?” Glue each leaf onto the ring.

Quilt of Appreciation: Provide a square of colored paper to friends and/or family members. Ask everyone to write or draw something they are thankful for and let people decorate their square. When finished, piece the squares together by gluing or taping the edges to another square so it looks like a quilt. Go around and let everyone share about their square.


Read books about gratitude and appreciation:


  • We are Grateful/Ostalihalega, written by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frane Lessac
  • Thank You, Omu*, written and illustrated by Oge Mora
  • When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree, written by Jamie L.B. Deenihan, illustrated by Lorraine Rocha
  • Thank You, Neighbor! written and illustrated by Ruth Chan
  • Sallie Bee Writes a Thank-You Note, written by Courtney Sheinmel and Susan Verde, illustrated by Heather Ross


*previous Read for the Record selection


For over 29 years, Jumpstart has been fueled by the core belief that providing high-quality educational opportunities to all young children prepares them for academic and economic success later in life. Jumpstart advances equitable learning outcomes for young children by recruiting and supporting caring adults to deliver high-quality programming and drive systems change through teaching, advocacy, and leadership. Jumpstart has trained more than 60,000 college students and community volunteers, preparing over 140,000 children for kindergarten success. Jumpstart’s program is replicated across the country in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Learn more at jstart.org.  

Together, we can help all children build the key language and literacy skills they need to take on the world.

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