GRATITUDE - THANKFULNESS
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GRATITUDE - THANKFULNESS
Stories, Folktales, Folklore, Fairy Tales, Legends,
Myths, History, Nursery Rhymes, Fantasy & Facts

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Books about Gratitude-Thankfulness - Children
Online links to stories/info - Gratitude-Thankfulness
SOS: Searching Out Stories/Info - Gratitude
Advice, Comments and References from Storytellers,
Teachers and Librarians

 

 


BOOKS ABOUT GRATITUDE - THANKFULNESS - CHILDREN

Book titles are in blue and underlined. Click on them to find out more about the books and how to buy them.
To retell these stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
In performance, always credit your sources.
Alphabetized for your convenience with short descriptions to save you research time.

Biscuit Is Thankful (Biscuit) by Alyssa Sastin Capucilli and Pat Schories. (2003 - Baby-Preschool)
Biscuit is thankful for his bone, his biscuits, and lots more, too. Sweet puppy! Woof!

Let's Be Thankful by P.K. Hallinan. (2005 - Ages 4-8)
Review by a reader: This is a wonderful board book. My 9 month old son loves it and I do too!! It has great art and the author has a way with words. We read it almost everyday! It is also a great present to send as a "thank you" to someone.

 


Little Critter: Just So Thankful (Little Critter) by Mercer Mayer. (2006 - Ages 4-8)
There's a new kid in town who has everything Little Critter wants -- a Super Streak scooter, his own cell phone, and even a limousine! But Little Critter soon realizes that he has something money cannot buy -- a family who loves and adores him.

Most Thankful Thing (The) by Lisa Mccourt and Cyd Moore. (2004 - Ages 4-8)
When a little girl asks her mom what her "most thankful thing ever" is, Mom turns the question into a fun trip down memory lane. Turning the pages of Mom's photo album, they discover many wonderful moments in Mom's life, from summer camp to winning a trophy in a soccer tournament, from singing onstage to her wedding day. But one event in Mom's whole life is the very best ever -- the birth of her precious little girl.

Reach Out And Give (Learning to Get Along) by Cheri J. Meiners and Meredith Johnson (2006 - Ages 4-8)
Even very young children can help to make the world a better place. This book begins with the concept of gratitude, because feeling grateful is a powerful motivator. Words and pictures show children contributing to their community in simple yet meaningful ways. Includes discussion questions, a philanthropy role play, generosity games, and ideas for service projects.

Secret of Saying Thanks (The) by Douglas Wood and Greg Shed. (2005 - Ages 4-8)
If you've not yet discovered the secret of saying thanks, it's waiting for you. The secret can be found in the sunrise that offers promises full for the day ahead, or in the gentle shade of a tree sheltering you from the hot rays of the sun, or on the rock that offers rest from a long walk. Portrays many of the ways in which we can say thanks for the wonders we may take granted in life.

Thanks to You: Wisdom from Mother & Child (Julie Andrews Collection) by Julie Andrews Edwards and Emma Walton Hamilton. (2007 - Baby-Preschool)
Children learn much about the world from their mothers. But what about the unexpected wisdom mothers gain while parenting? Julie Andrews Edwards and her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton share their mutual discoveries and delight in the growth experiences of childhood and motherhood. Accompanied by photographs from the authors' extended family collection.

Thank You, God! (Little Blessings Line) by Kathleen Bostrom and Elena Kucharik. (2002 - Baby-Preschool)
Preschoolers will enjoy pictures of God's creation as they learn to thank him for all he has made. The delightful art and rhyming text keep little ones engaged as they develop grateful hearts.

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ONLINE LINKS TO STORIES AND INFORMATION ABOUT GRATITUDE - THANKFULNESS

Online links are in blue and underlined. Click on them to get more stories and information.
Story and song titles are in quotations.
To retell any stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
Short descriptions included for your convenience and to save you research time.


http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type0156.html#jacobs

"Androcles and the Lion" - a classic fable from Aesop.

http://www.kotoworld.com/folktales.html
From Koto World: Notes on folktales and life.

http://learningtogive.org/materials/folktales/Gratitude.asp
"Gratitude: The Hunter and the Antelope" from Africa (Nupe) - from Learning to Give.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/roma/gft/gft061.htm
"The Dead Man's Gratitude" from Gypsy Folk-Tales: Turkish-Gypsy Stories - from Sacred Texts.

http://www.lessonplanet.com/search?grade=All&keywords=gratitude&rating=3&search_type=related
138 Gratitude lesson plans from Lesson Planet.

http://www.storiestogrowby.com/results.php
Stories concerning gratitude from Whootie Owl.

http://www.wisdomcommons.org/virtue/60-gratitude/parables
"The Golden Touch" (the story of Midas) and "Androcles and the Lion" from Aesop.

http://lesswrong.com/lw/yl/an_african_folktale/
"The Farmer, the Snake and the Heron," an AFrican Folktale (Hausa). From lesswrong.com.

http://www.aaronshep.com/stories/folk.html
"The Magic of Mushkil Gusha: A Tale of Iran." From Aaron Shepard.

http://tinyurl.com/yblsd2w
"The Thankful Ghost" from Rachel the Clever (Google books).

http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/plaisham.html
"The Plaisham" - a folktale from Donegal, Ireland as told by Seumas MacManus from D.L. Ashliman.

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SOS: SEARCHING OUT STORIES AND INFORMATION ABOUT GRATITUDE AND THANKFULNESS
Advice, Comments and References from Storytellers, Teachers and Librarians

(excerpts from Storytell posts plus original research)

Book titles and online links are in blue and underlined. Click on them to get more stories and information.
Story titles are in quotation marks.
To retell any stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
In performance, always credit your sources.
Posts are added chronologically as they are received by Story Lovers World.


1) I am not sure if this is a fit but the first one that came to mind was "Old Joe and the Carpenter," adapted by Pleasant DeSpain. In the end, the two old friends reconcile and are very grateful to the young carpenter for having built a bridge instead of a fence. There is a version in Elisa Pearmain's book Doorways to the Soul: 52 Wisdom Tales from Around the World.

From an amazon.com reader: I stumbled on this book when looking for wisdom stories to use in my own (feeble) attempts at story telling. I wanted something with a spiritual basis, but not just one faith. This book has stories from many places - Buddhist, Hasidic, Middle Eastern, Native American, Sufis, Christian, Desert Fathers, Rumi, Japan, Zen, Burma and Tailand, Africa and China... In her introduction, Pearmain talks about the connection between spirituality and storytelling (my own note: read Psalms or Proverbs aloud if you want to find great stories!) She gives suggestions for personalizing the stories to fit situations, and the use of visualization and journaling. This is a short section, and not key to the book -- the stories are definitely good ones! Each story fits most often on just two pages -- some a tiny bit longer. This is handy for those of us with limited room in the brain. Pearmain gives also some ideas after each story for ways to further explore it (through meditation, visualization, writing, art, etc.), on ways for the teller and listeners to make a personal connection to the story, and a little encouraging bit on sharing the story. This book is an excellent source -- short short stories from all around the world, with stories that have a way of telling the truth in an entertaining way.


2)
"The lion and the mouse"?
"King Solomon and the bee"?
Zlateh the Goat and Other Stories by I. Bashevis Singer or in Stories for Children)

From two masters who need no introduction comes a handsome reprint of the classic Newbery Honor book Zlateh the Goat. With wit and whimsy, Maurice Sendak illustrates seven tales about the legendary village of fools, Chelm, written by Isaac Bashevis Singer. Silly, outrageous, and sometimes poignant, the stories (translated from the Yiddish) reflect the traditions, heroes, and villains of middle European folklore. The devil makes an appearance more than once, as do the ever-so-foolish yet highly revered Elders of Chelm.

In "The Mixed-Up Feet and the Silly Bridegroom," four sisters wake one morning to discover that their feet have become mixed up in the bed they share. A wise Elder advises their mother to whack the bed with a big stick, thus causing each girl to grab her own feet in pain and surprise. When their feet are sorted out, he then recommends, the sisters should be married off as soon as possible, to reduce the possibility of similar mix-ups in the future. Of course, none of them count on the breathtaking stupidity of the first bridegroom.

Another not-so-clever fellow stars in "The First Shlemiel." When this man's wife asks him to do three things for her, he promptly and accidentally proceeds to breach each one of his promises, resulting in a baby with a bump on his head, an escaped rooster, and an emptied pot of jam. Somehow, though, possibly because ignorance is bliss, fools always come out on top in these wonderful stories, making for terrific read-aloud, laugh-aloud fun for the entire family. (All ages) --Emilie Coulter

Stories for Children
This superb collection of stories by Singer brings together both old favorites and tales less familiar to American children...Singer writes with wit and imagination; his tales glow with color, wisdom and a deep appreciation of God and the natural world. . .Perfect for reading aloud or for snuggling up with.


3) Spanish story "The Knights of the Little Fish," which is one of those gratitude stories for the caught fish being offered back to the water but develops into a great wonder tale with dragons and princesses and witches.


4) Cuckoo/Cucu = UN Cuento Folklorico Mexicano.

Bones:
Cuckoo is a colorful bird who sings her sweet song all day, but finally the other animals tire of hearing her. On the night before the birds' annual harvest, a fire breaks out in the field where they gather the seeds to last them through the winter. All night long, Cuckoo picks up the seeds one by one and pushes them down into Mole's tunnel. Though her feathers are scorched black by the flames and her sweet song is diminished by the smoke, Cuckoo has earned the gratitude and respect of the other birds.


5) The Stonecutter: A Japanese Folk Tale (Picture Puffin). This tale of ancient India is a beautifully illustrated story of a stonecutter who learns to be grateful for the life he has.


6) The Tongue-Cut Sparrow. A Japanese folktale in which a sparrow teaches a mean-spirited old woman to appreciate the many gifts in her life. The poor, selfish, greedy old woman cannot be content. In a fit of anger, she cuts out the tongue of her husband's only treasure - a sweetly singing sparrow. The sparrow teachers her a lesson in living contentedly and humbly with what she has.

Bones:
This Japanese folktale tells the story of a kind old man and his greedy wife. In a fit of anger the cruel woman cuts out the tongue of a sparrow the old man loves. He journeys to the sparrow's house to apologize, stopping along the way to help others, and is honored by the tongue-cut sparrow, who gives him a treasure chest. When the churlish woman makes the same journey out of greed, she gets her comeuppance from a horrible snake and a huge toad from whom she barely escapes with her life. Akabaa Hans Christian Andersen Medalist makes use of traditional Japanese techniques in his spare drawings, and Newbery winner Paterson provides a translation sprinkled with Japanese phrases that will charm storytellers young and old. Ages 4-8. (1987)


7)
"Arap Sang and the Cranes, an African tale" is told by Humphrey Harman in the book Imagine That!, edited by Sara and Stephen Corrin. The story goes that when giving a gift or blessing you should always think how that affects the person receiving. (1986)


8) "Saying Thank You With a Blessing" in Sidrah Stories: A Torah Companion by Steven M. Rosman

Bones:

Natan is making his way home to Beersheba after fighting against the Romans. He is out of water and food, and still has a long way to go in the searing desert. He sees a tree. is it a mirage? No, it is an apple tree. He throws himself under the tree's shade and falls asleep. Upon awakening, he eats many apples. "Apple tree, you may not know it, but you have saved my life. What can I do to show my gratitude?" Natan has nothing...Eventually he thinks: "Who says I have nothing to give you?" Everyone has something to give, no matter how poor he is. A blessing! A blessing is a gift everyone has to give. After some rumination: My blessing is for all trees planted from your seeds to grow up as wonderful and as giving as you. The notes to the story say that this blessing is also called Birkat Kohanim, the "Priestly Blessing," because originally it was bestowed upon the people by Aaron and his sons.


9) "The Gift," submitted by Tom Weakley in the Storyteller Magazine Summer/Fall1995 issue.

Bones:
Once far away, but not so long ago, lived a woman in a house made of mud with a roof of straw. The woman had been befriended by an American Peace Corps worker when her husband died and wanted to present her with a gift on her birthday to repay the kindness. She had nothing to give but her skill, so she started crocheting with any bits of thread she could find--from the roadside, leftovers from the neighbor's projects, etc. When the small mat was finished the woman began her 5km walk through the bush to find her friend and deliver the gift. The day was steamy hot and the ground burned her feet like hot concrete. She ran out of water when she was only halfway there and the wind chapped her lips. Finally she stumbled to the door of her friend, who brought her quickly in, gave her a cool drink and wrapped her feet in a wet towel. As the American woman heard the tale of the gift and the determination it took to deliver. She cried with gratitude and wonder. As the sun started to set, the two women went to the well to refill the water skin and then the American woman offered to get the mule cart to take the woman home. The woman stopper her, saying, "I hope you won't be offended, but please understand that the walk is part of the gift." And then she was gone.

Weakley says the story was adapted from a poem by Ruth Harms Calkin and he has no record of where he first read it. He used it with folks who are used to giving their money to charitable works to help them remember.


10) The new New World Over Story Book, the story book: an illustrated anthology for Jewish youth / edited by Ezekiel Schloss and Morris Epstein. (1968).


11) The first The World Over Story Book, An Illustrated Anthology for Jewish Youth. An illustrated anthology for Jewish youth / edited by Norman Belth. (1952)


12)
A Treasury of Jewish Folklore: stories, traditions, legends, humor, wisdom and folk songs of the Jewish people, edited by Nathan Ausubel.
This classic collection of more than 800 traditions, legends, parables, and songs, with a glossary of Yiddish and Hebrew words, has remained a favorite gift-giving item and a family treasure for decades. 12 pieces of sheet music.


13) One of my favorites is : "A Synagogue for Stevie" by Sylvia Rothchild, found in More World Over Stories - An Illustrated Anthology for Jewish Youth, 1968.


14)
"Learn How to Write on the Sand" in the book The Man Who Counted: A Collection of Mathematical Adventures by Malba Tahan. (Mussa reacts to Nagib's good deeds by writing praises in stone and writing faults in the sand.) (1993; first published 1949)

Review:

A delightful little book that combines the joys of mathematical recreation with some fine storytelling. It follows the Arabian adventures of a man with remarkable mathematical skills, which he uses to settle conflict and give wise advice. The tales of his travels involve the solving of mathematical puzzles and sharing insights from the minds of some of history's great mathematicians. In reading it, you can almost smell the spices and feel the desert wind. You just don't find this kind of atmosphere in books about mathematics.


15)
"How Animals Got Their Beautiful Colors" from the Zulu people in South Africa. This was long ago when all the animals were the same color -sort of dingy gray. Hyena is very mean to Tortoise - and Tortoise is rescued from his plight by some other animals. In gratitude Tortoise paints the some other animals -giraffe, zebra, etc. When Hyena sees the other animals, he bullies Tortoise into painting him. The other animals hold Hyena as Tortoise hacks away at Hyena's hair and spill splotches of paint all over him. That's why Hyena is such a messy looking animal.


16)
Parrot teaches boastful Paca a lesson by setting up a race with the apparently slow beetle in "How the Brazilian Beetle Got Its Gorgeous Coat." Modern versions on tape Gratitude of the Crane and Other Folktales from Around the World and in Heather Forest's collection of Wisdom Tales from Around the World (World Storytelling).

From amazon.com about Wisdom Tales
This collection of fifty metaphorical folktales and parables is selected with a global perspective and retold by a professional storyteller. Included are tales from diverse story traditions such as Sufi, Zen, Taoist, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, African, and Native American. Comprised of ancient plots both poignant and comical, this anthology contains simple truths, common sense, and the promise that we can benefit from past generations' experience.


17) What is your favorite story about gratitude?
I am looking for a short story for all ages. I am thinking about "The Gift" (see #9 above) and "Learn How to Write in the Sand." (see #14 above). I don't want a story which shows what happens to someone who is ungrateful. I want something that will increase our understanding of gratitude: what it is, what it consists of, the nature of it.

Mary Grace K. 3/19/10

Response:

a) Take a look at this site:
Generosity of Spirit: Myths and Folktales by Character Education Trait. From Learning to Give.org.
http://learningtogive.org/resources/folktales/trait.asp

A story came to mind, but it features both ingratitude and gratitude. One of my favorites to tell is "The Best Wish." There is a version in one of Dan Keding's books, Stories of Hope and Spirit. If you don't have the book you can find the story here: http://tinyurl.com/yd84kwt

Karen C. 3/19/10


18) Additional reading list of books on Gratitude:

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Mom: 101 Stories of Gratitude, Love and Good Times by Jack Canfield. (2010)
Amazon: A mother's job is never done, but in this great gift book she gets the praise she deserves. Children from 8 to 80 share their words of gratitude and appreciation in this new collection of stories for moms. Daughters and sons relate tales of love and learning, celebrating moms, their wisdom, and all that they do. These stories of special memories, loving and hard lessons, unforgettable moments, laughter and tears, and support and encouragement will bring any mom joy, inspiration, and amusement.

Count Your Blessings! (BOZ Series) by Mark Bernthal. (2007 - Baby-Preschool)
Amazon: Preschoolers learn to recognize and understand the numbers one through ten. BOZ shows them how these numbers work in the world God has created. Children will tap their feet to the sing-song rhyme as they learn more than just counting.


Growing Grateful Kids: Teaching Them to Appreciate an Extraordinary God in Ordinary Places by Susia Larson. (2010)
Amazon: With simple language, interesting anecdotes, and biblical applications, Susie Larson helps readers understand that although teaching perspective and gratitude to our children is critical, it is not difficult.

Most Thankful Thing (The) by Cyd Moore. (2004 - Ages 4-8)
Amazon: When a little girl asks her mom what her "most thankful thing ever" is, Mom turns the question into a fun trip down memory lane. Turning the pages of Mom's photo album, they discover many wonderful moments in Mom's life, from summer camp to winning a trophy in a soccer tournament, from singing onstage to her wedding day. But one event in Mom's whole life is the very best ever -- the birth of her precious little girl.

Reach Out and Give (Learning to Get Along) by Cheri J. Meiners. (2006 - Ages 9-12)
Amazon: Even very young children can help to make the world a better place. This book begins with the concept of gratitude, because feeling grateful is a powerful motivator. Words and pictures show children contributing to their community in simple yet meaningful ways. Includes discussion questions, a philanthropy role play, generosity games, and ideas for service projects.

Thanksgiving Is for Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland. (2000 - Ages 4-8)
Amazon: Sure, Thanksgiving is about pilgrims and history-and turkey, of course!-but most importantly, it's a holiday all about everything that we are thankful for. Cheerful, colorful illustrations accompany the simple text in this celebration of family, friends, and the holiday that brings them all together.


Created 2002; last update 3/20/10

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