Book Review: The Secret of Saying Thanks

Author: Douglas Wood
Illustrator: Greg Shed
Interest Level: Ages 5 and Up

About This Book: With a gentle, assured tone and graceful phrasing, Wood shares a life lesson sure to inspire: that true happiness lies in giving thanks and appreciating all there is to be thankful for. Addressing readers directly, the author suggests that everyone learns this secret in their own way and own time. "Maybe you'll first find the secret/ in your own home/ sitting around a table with people you love..."; "You might discover the secret at dawn,/ a morning like all other mornings." In this same fashion he creates a descriptive catalogue of many of the simple gifts to be treasured, from a warm hand to hold, to a cool breeze or singing bird. The spiritual notes rung here, and a brief mention of "your bedtime prayer," should prove applicable to a broad readership of many faith traditions. Shed's airy oil paintings depict a girl and her dog exploring and experiencing their outdoor surroundings on a sunny spring day in the country. The skillful play of light and shadow in his work adds depth to the soft-edged portraits. -Publishers Weekly

Why It's On My Bookshelf: After I had taken my first Yoga Calm class, I wanted to find a book to help students find their own inner calm and have positive thinking. Somehow I stumbled upon The Secret of Saying Thanks and I'm so glad I bumped into it. 

Read this little excerpt:
"The heart that gives thanks is a happy one, 
for we cannot feel thankful and unhappy at the same time. 
The more we say thanks, the more we find to be thankful for. 
And the more we find to be thankful for, the happier we become."  

Wow! Aren't those the types of words and thoughts we want filling our kids minds throughout the school day!?! It is so APPARENT to me when their minds are filled with goodness you see the results during their day. I see more smiles, cooperation, and kindness.

I sort of winged an activity and asked students to find a comfortable resting spot. I used the Hoberman Sphere to help students find their breathing. Introducing the concept of gratitude before I read also helped kids focus their thoughts on being thankful. I just knew if I had everyone in front of me sitting "criss cross apple sauce", I would lose them. When we re-gathered to talk about gratitude - there was a really good calm energy in the air. Words revolved around who and what they were thankful for. And they weren't thankful for material stuff, their gratitude was aimed at what really matters in life, each other. If you are looking for a book to help kids meditate, relax, and have positive thinking - try this one. I absolutely love The Secret of Saying Thanks.

A Link to This Book:

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