Upper Elementary to Middle School Books

Theme: Thanks

Anne Frank: The Diary of A Young Girl - (ISBN: 978-0553296983)

by Anne Frank

When a German family gives their 13-year-old-daughter a diary for her birthday, little do they know it will evolve into one of the greatest pieces of adolescent literature ever written. Soon after the birthday, the family is forced into hiding above a warehouse in Holland, and Anne tells the story of her burgeoning adolescence and the fear with which the family and the other members of the hideaway live every day. Through her observations of the annoyances of living with sometimes incompatible companions and her beginning romance with Peter, the portrait of Anne that emerges shows a compassionate and intelligent teen whose life was soon snuffed out when the family was captured and moved to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Do you keep a diary? Think of how interesting it will be to read twenty or more years from now.

Blue Willow - (ISBN: 978-0140309249)

by Doris Gates

Although her life has become difficult after the dust bowl swept through, Janey has a blue willow plate that she has saved from her old life. It symbolizes all she had to be thankful for previously, and she holds it up as the hope that she will somehow get her family on the road to recovery. Do you have any important objects in your household that are worth much more than their monetary value due to their importance for your family?

Do Re Mi: If You Can Read Music, Thank Guido d'Arezzo - (ISBN: 978-0618465729 )

by Susan Roth

This fictionalized biography of the man who finalized the musical notation system we use today contains collage-type illustrations and whimsical faces who wonder at the new system. Musicians before the 11th century used to memorize music to perform it and to pass it on to the next generation, so not only did d’Arezzo begin a new system, he also had to persuade the skeptics around him to try it!

Thanks to Nicki - (ISBN: 978-1593692902)

by Ann Howard Creel

Nicki has mixed feelings about parting with the service dog she has been training throughout the summer. She is excited to see her old friend Becca back at school, but she has a new friend, and she wonders if they will get along. She knows she is fortunate, but she has a bit of stress as the school year begins. Try to handle the nervousness you feel about a new school year by remembering the friends and teachers who have helped you and enriched your life.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon - (ISBN: 978-0316038638)

by Grace Lin

Minli leaves behind her father’s folktales and their poor man’s hut to find the answers to real questions that trouble her, like how she can help her family become better off. On her journey to talk to the wise Man on the Moon, she finds a lot to be grateful for, including new friends, guides, and even a helpful dragon. Think of the teacher or family member who helped you the most when you had very important questions to ask.

Your Move - (ISBN: 978-0152001810)

by Eve Bunting

James and his brother Isaac feel fortunate to be allowed to join the K-Bones, but when they find the group is a gang involved in thievery and possibly weapons, James must find a way to tell the other cohorts no thanks in a graceful and safe way. What have you really wished for only to find it could be dangerous or harmful?

Thank You For My Bed - (ISBN: 978-1894838665)

by Doretta Groenendyk

The Giving Tree - (ISBN: 978-0060586751)

by Shel Silverstein

Activities for this Theme

Enjoy listening to songs that share an appreciation for those around you by choosing from the ones shared on this list. 

Start keeping a diary that includes things you are thankful for. Use the 55 prompts in this article to get started. 

Watch this animated film that tells Anne Frank's story using realistic images and settings.