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  • Writer's pictureMelinda Cropsey

Cultivating An Attitude of Gratitude

“Our work as adults does not consist in teaching,
but in helping the infant mind in its work of development.” 1
  • Maria Montessori

In honor of the 50th Earth Day this week, consider planting a Gratitude Tree! (May each leaf and bud represent something for which you are grateful!)

This week’s Breadcrumbs Recommended SEL Reading List is dedicated to those books which help young children cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude!   

Young children are naturally curious, inquisitive and appreciative.  Helping them to recognize, acknowledge and celebrate those people, places and things for which they are grateful, is an all-important task!  You are helping them to develop and hardwire a positive mindset! 

A groundbreaking 2003 study found that those who focused on positives (the “gratitude group”) were more joyful, excited, energetic, enthusiastic, determined, strong, interested and attentive than their counterparts. 2  Other studies have found correlations between increased gratitude and reduced symptoms of depression, anxiety and physical pain.3   In fact, a 2010 review of gratitude research concluded that “(g)ratitude is strongly related to well-being, however defined.”4  

What follows is my Gratitude-Go-To List!  Recognizing, highlighting, celebrating and expanding your list of those things for which you are grateful EACH DAY is a practice which offers boundless benefits!  (If your favorite is not on the list PLEASE, reach out to me and share, so that I may do the same!) 

1.  Bucchino, John  (1996). Grateful: A Song of Thanks,  HarperCollins, New York, NY.

“Some nights I lie awake counting gifts instead of sheep.”

2.  Clark, M.H. (2018).  Tiny, Perfect Things,  Compendium, Inc., Seattle, WA.

“The world is full of wonders, no matter where we go.”

3.  Clayton, Dallas (2010).  An Awesome Book of Thanks, Two Lions, New York, NY.

“Thank you with kisses and thank you with hugs

From the part of my heart that is so full of love.”

4. dePaola, Tomie (2015).  Look and Be Grateful,  Holiday House Publishing, Inc.

“Have gratitude.  Today is today, and it is a gift.”

5.  Hallinan, P.K. (1981). I’m Thankful Each Day, Ideals Children’s Books, Nashville, TN.

“I am thankful for raindrops and soft summer showers.”

6.  Marcero, Deborah (2020).  In a Jar, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, Random House, LLC, NY, NY.

“The collected things hard to hold, 

like rainbows, the sound of the ocean, and the wind just before the snow falls.”

7.  Murphy, Mary (1997).  I Like it When,  Red Wagon Books, Harcourt, Inc.

“I like it when you hug me tight.”

8.  Parr, Todd (2012). The Thankful Book, Little, Brown and Company, NY, NY.

“Every day I try to think about the things I’m thankful for.”

9.  Spinelli, Eileen  (2015).  Thankful, Zonderkidz, Grand Rapids, MI.  

“The dancer is thankful.  She loves the beat that stirs her heart and hips and feet.”

Works cited:

  1.  Montessori, Maria (1995).  The Absorbent Mind, Henry Holt & Company, New York, NY, p. 27

  2. Emmons RA, McCullough ME. (2003).  Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life. J Pers Soc Psychol.;84:377–389.


  4. Wood AM, Froh JJ, Geraghty AW. (2010).  Gratitude and Well-Being: A Review and Theoretical Integration. Clin Psychol Rev. Nov;30(7):890-905.


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