~Peter Pan

I love using picture books in the Art Room, they are perfect for introducing artists, skills and connecting with other subject areas. After looking through some of the picture books that I saved to my YouTube playlist and reaching out to a few art teacher groups on FaceBook, I’ve select nine amazing books to share today. Two of my favorite online sources for finding children’s books related to a theme are Children’s Library Lady and Maya Lê – MaiStoryBook on Instagram.

The selected picture books below inclued a brief description of each book along with a link to Amazon where you can purchase the book and a YouTube recording for you to check it out. I’ve also linked a few of the illustrators Instagram accounts and included some lesson ideas that I have used in my classroom.

Click on the link below to jump to the book.

Gratitude Is My SuperPower

by Alicia Ortega

Betsy is concerned that her pet turtle has to carry around his shell instead of run around and play.  Her mother helps her to practice gratitude using a rock to help remind her what be grateful for the things she has instead of what she does not.  This book touches on PYP ATL Creative Thinking skills of considering new perspectives and also Self Management skills of managing emotions.  There are connections as well to the Learner Profile Balanced as they consider emotional balance. 

This would be a fabulous way to introduce a Gratitude journal.  Here is a lesson I created on making a book with pockets.  Students could then create a journal writing to place in each of the pockets.  Great way to connect literacy and writing with art. 


by Written by Elaine Vickers and Illustrated by Samantha Cotterill

I love the illustrations in this book.  Samantha Cotterill has done an amazing job of using a diaramalike setting and photographing them to create the illustrations.  It makes me think about the paper dioramas that I created with my grade 1 students when we were focusing on animal habitats.  Students can reflect on something they are grateful for and then create a scene with paper cut outs similar to the way Samantha Cotterill created the illustrations in the book. 

The character in this story creates a paper chain of all the things she is thankful for and can visually see how much she has because the chain stretches around the room. That would be a fantastic way to demonstrate to students how many things we all have to be thankful for.

Look and Be Grateful

By Tomie DePaola

This simple story is perfect for starting a mantra at the beginning of class.  I also envisioned reading this story and then creating a Zine that students could use to record what they see and be grateful.  They could also create a pair of binoculars from paper tubes to use as special viewfinders.

I am Thankful

by Sherri Wall and Illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown

This is a great book for examples of different ways they can be thankful through a child’s perspective and demonstrates how three different families prepare for holiday traditions. I can imagine that students could write their holiday traditions onto a paper leaf that could be used to make a display.

Our Table

By Peter H. Reynolds

This story is about how one girls family no longer spends time with one another around their table because of technology.  Then she gets them to use the technology to come back together to build a table they can spend time at together again.

An Awesome Book of Thanks

by Dallas Clayton

I like this book because the reader is required to think of before there was nothing and now we have so much, also, I think the illustrations are cute. 

The Thankful Book

by Todd Parr

This book is cute and geared toward PreK.  The illustrations look like a child’s drawing. 

The Gratitude Jar

by Katrina Liu Illustrated by Bella Ansouri

This story would be great for a PSPE / Social, Emotional lesson.  Readers could fill a jar with something they are grateful for.  This could be drawing or physical.  Gratitude Jars.  I was also thinking about a watercolor, like a snowglobe painting of the jar.  G2STP Sustainability Snow Globe (see below.)

Apple Cake: A Gratitude

by Dawn Casey Illustrated by Genivieve Godbout

This rhyming story is all about being grateful for all the things that go into making this apple cake.  Great illustrations.  I was even thinking it might be a great exercise in preparing a food item and connecting how we can be grateful for all the things that enable us to eat the food. 

This would make a fabulous Maths lesson with measurements.

This also reminds me of an art lesson I did with my grade 5 students where we made cupcake paintings similar to the artits Wayne Thiebaud.

This was also a lesson in mindfulness as students were able to frost and decorate a cupcake that I asked a parent to make for the class. After decorating the cupcake the student had to draw the cupcake before being able to eat it. They were to draw a new picture each time they took a bite. They were required to have a minimum of 3 drawings by the end of the class. It was gorgeous! The artwork was fabulous and the students were sooo engaged. A 10 out of 10!

Gracias / Thanks

Written by Pat Mora and Illustrated by John Parra

This book is in both English and Spanish.  I love the illustrations.  They remind me of vintage graphics.

I love the way this book demonstrates gratitude even in the small things like the bees that don’t sting you.

Some other sources for children’s books to share with students are.

Creative Kids Art Lessons – Great Books for the Primary Art Room 

What We do All day – Screen free activities and children’s books for families.

Picture Books About Gratitude  – Reading Middle Grades

Another resource for lessons on gratitude. Gratitude and the Environment PBS 

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