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Books to Help You Feel Thankful

By Kelly Stone, Sarah Lundy, Amy Wright, Ellie Brady and Ana Matute

Now that we are well and truly into the holiday season, things around us are starting to speed up. Whether you’re trying to get all of your work done before the break or rushing to find the perfect presents for your loved ones, it can be an overwhelming time. This week, we want to give you the opportunity to take a step back and recognise the important things in life. With all the hustle and bustle, it’s important to take time to be grateful for what we have, and these are some books that can help.

Far from the Tree by Robin Benway

This poignant YA contemporary novel follows three biological siblings who meet for the first time as teenagers. When 16-year-old Grace gives up her baby for adoption, she decides to seek out her biological family and discovers that she has two half-siblings, a younger sister, Maya, and an older brother, Joaquin. As they get to know one another, it becomes clear that these three teens have each experienced vastly different lives in their adoptive families and foster homes. Filled with heart and intricate nuance, the story explores the bond of both blood and found family, a heartening subject that’s inextricably tied to gratitude and the holiday season.

The Railway Children by E. Nesbit

The Railway Children is a classic children’s novel that encourages gratitude and appreciation. The story begins with three middle-class children who are accustomed to new toys and nice clothes. However, when their father is falsely imprisoned, the children must leave London and move to the countryside. Whilst the change of lifestyle comes as a shock, the characters learn to make the most of their situation. Community and friendship are discovered to be more valuable than what their previous materialistic way of life had to offer. Through the various characters that the children encounter, Nesbit encourages the reader to reflect on their own circumstances and to use their privilege to help those that are less fortunate.

All Along You Were Blooming: Thoughts For Boundless Living by Morgan Harper Nichols

Gratitude comes in many forms, but one thing that makes me feel warm inside and thankful for the everyday is poetry. This collection provides many wonderful words to make you appreciate the small pleasures in life. It is a celebration of hope and serves as a reminder of the wonders of the lives we lead.

In brilliant bite-sized morsels, Nichols makes gratitude blossom. One of my favourite quotes is “Fall in love with the art of living. Fall in love with letting things be. Fall in love with listening.” Her words are a comforting hug that will bring a smile to your face and peace to your mind.

As a bonus, the collection is also stunningly beautiful, with illustrations throughout making it the perfect present for your nearest and dearest this holiday season.

Trumpet by Jackie Kay

Kay’s Trumpet is a sad but vital read, tackling loss and grief when famous trumpeter Joss Moody dies, leaving behind a son and his widow, Millie. When it is made public that Joss was a transgender man, pain and shock infect the text, particularly in the reaction of his son, who shuns his mother upon realising that she knew all along. What sparks gratitude in this text is how deeply Millie loved Joss, despite learning early in their relationship about his secret and how she continues to love and defend him in death. It is a reminder that in all our lives, we have someone who will defend and love us for who we are – and that this type of love conquers all else.

The Shadow Thief by Marc Levy

The Shadow Thief tells the story of a nameless child with a unique gift: he can speak with people’s shadows. Using what the shadows tell him, the child sets out to improve the lives of others. Beginning when he changes schools and experiences love, friendship and sadness, the novel progresses to his life during his degree. Here, the reader is encouraged to realise how, even as the years pass, there is someone or something that stays in our memories, and that this person or thing must be significant. The protagonist also realises this, and, alongside helping others, decides to honour his own dreams. Throughout the novel, Levy reminds us of the significance of holding on to your dreams, as doing so keeps the moment that created them, as well as a part of you, alive.


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