by Oliver Sacks
I am thankful for living. “Gratitude” by Oliver Sacks is short; only four essays Sacks wrote after he knew he was dying of cancer. A book about dying may seem an odd recommendation for living, but this book is profoundly moving, beautifully written, and imparts wisdom and grace. Gratitude will make you cry, but it also will make you appreciate living.
“The Book of Delights”
by Ross Gay
I am thankful for small delights. 2020 is tough, and my soul is jagged and raw - Ross Gay’s Book of Delights is the balm. The book is 365 short essays reflecting on the small things in life that, once noticed, give delight. Even in tough times, find time to appreciate the sweet and joyful in everyday occurrences.
by Robin Wall Kimmerer
I am thankful for our earth. I admit I tend to find myself disconnected from the natural world. I fall into the mistake of thinking of sustainability as intellectual debate. It’s not. “Braiding Sweetgrass” is a collection of related essays aimed at refocusing our relationship with the earth, asking us to honor, respect, and be thankful for what the earth provides. Written poetically through the lens of indigenous culture, “Braiding Sweetgrass” is a powerful blend of science, history, and passed down wisdom.
“Modern Comfort Food”
by Ina Garten
I am thankful for food. The Barefoot Contessa does it again. A beautifully photographed cookbook filled with modern takes on favorite comfort foods. Recipes like Truffle Mac & Cheese and Chocolate-dipped Brown Sugar Shortbread - come on, what more is there to say… oh, you want cocktails, she covers those too!
“Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life”
by Karen Armstrong
I am thankful for compassion. Right now, I need daily reminders to show compassion and not to get wrapped in anger. With that in mind, I decided to reread one of my favorite books - “Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life.” Karen Armstrong weaves threads from all major religious faiths and shows how the concept of compassion, known as The Golden Rule, is present and foremost in diverse traditions. This is not a quick self-help read. The book is meant to be digested slowly and practiced daily, especially today.
by Tally Rye
I am thankful for health. I want to be fit, but I am so over the diet culture. Tally Rye reminded me that getting healthy doesn’t mean restrictive diets, tedious training, or hating the body you have. “Train Happy” is a fresh and practical approach to health and fitness. As a bonus, I love that it features diverse models of all shapes and sizes.
“Thank You, Omu!”
by Oge Mora (ages 4 and up)
I am thankful for giving. This book is a great way to show kids how giving can be as rewarding as receiving. The story reads like a folktale with an older woman making stew and sharing with all of her neighbors. The story touches on themes of generosity, community, and kindness. The illustrations are bold and help convey the power of the story.
“My Heart Fills with Happiness”
by Monique Gray Smith (ages 4 and up)
I am thankful for happiness. “My Heart Fills with Happiness” is a beautifully illustrated picture book. Gray Smith is Cree, Lakota, and Scottish and wrote this book to support Indigenous children’s wellness, but the book speaks to everyone. I like that the book almost begs for interaction with the reader. What an engaging way for a child to learn to appreciate the small things that fill our hearts with happiness?