Tis the Season! Picture Books about Giving, Gratitude and Generosity

Mother reading to excited toddler in sunlit playroom

Although children's books don't always have to be used for teachable moments, they can be great conversation starters around abstract and complex topics like gratitude, empathy, and generosity.

What are your favorite picture books about giving? Share your titles in the comments to help grow our list.

Books for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Thank You Bear by Greg Foley (J Picture Book Foley)

Thank You Bear book cover

Out on a walk one day, Bear finds a perfect gift for his friend Mouse. But as he takes his gift to Mouse, his other woodland friends try to talk him out of it.

What will Bear decide to do? This is a wonderful book about random acts of kindness, and following your instincts.

Rabbit's Gift: A Tale from China told by George Shannon (J Folk and Fairy Tales - J 398.2 Shannon)

Rabbit's Gift book cover

Digging in the snow one winter day, little rabbit finds two turnips. As he takes them home, he wonders if his friend Donkey has enough to eat. Taking his extra turnip up to Donkey's hill, Rabbit unknowingly starts a wave a of generosity through the woods.

Rabbit's gift travels from friend to friend as each forest animal makes sure the next has enough to eat.

Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message by Chief Jake Swamp (J Picture Book Swamp)

Giving Thanks book cover

This good morning message comes from the Iroquois or Six Nations - Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, Onondaga, Seneca and Tuscarona, annual Thanksgiving message.

This children's version is a reminder about appreciating our world from the deep blue waters to the twinkling stars in the night sky. It is a reminder to be mindful about our planet all year round.

Books for Kindergarten and Up

A Bike Like Sergio's by Maribeth Boelts (J Picture Book Boelts)

A Bike Like Sergio's book cover

Ruben wants nothing more than a bike like Sergio's. But he knows his family won't be able to afford one for this birthday. When Ruben sees a bill fall out of a purse, he picks it up and puts it in his pocket. When he gets home, he realizes its not a $1 bill, but a $100 dollar bill.

Although Ruben plans to spend this money on a new bike for himself, what happens next highlights the internal struggle and complexities that go into deciding to the right-thing.

A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: A Story about Knitting and Love by Michelle Edwards (J Picture Book Edwards)

A Hat for Mrs. Goldman book cover

Mrs. Goldman taught Sophia how to knit. Sophie makes the pom-poms for all of Mrs. Goldman's hats. One winter, Sophia can't believe that Mrs. Goldman doesn't have any hats! She gave them away to others in need.

So, Sophia finds her knitting needles and practices, knitting day and night to make a very special gift for someone very special in her world.

Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming (J Picture Book Fleming)

Boxes for Katje book cover

After World War II, there is little left to eat in Katje's small Dutch town. One day, the Postman pedals his bicycle to Katje's house to deliver a mysterious box from "The Land of Plenty" - America.

Sent from the Children's Aid Society, the box delights Katje so much that she writes a letter of thanks. The box sparks a story of friendship and sharing as Katje shares the contents of the box with the people in her town of Olst.

It Could Always Be Worse by Margot Zemach (J Picture Book Zemach)

It Could Always be Worse book cover

In a small village, a man lived with his mother, wife and 6 children in a one-room hut. Because they were so over-crowded, they always fought.

One day, the man goes to the Rabbi to ask for help. As he follows the Rabbi's advice, his life goes from bad to worse with increasingly hilarious results.

Your Recommendations

Don't forget to share your recommendation for picture books about giving in the comments.

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