dsc00824.jpgOnce upon a time there was a little boy named David. David had a very nice family, and he lived in a very nice house. David had a fun little sister, named Sally and a wonderful dog named Rusty. He had nice toys to play with and he went to the very best school. There was just one thing that David did not have, he did know how to be happy. Nothing seemed to make David smile, no matter what his mother, father, sister and even Rusty did, David was always unhappy.

One day David was sitting on his swing in the backyard feeling sad. A little girl walked right into his yard and walked up to him and said, “Hi, my name is Sandy, have you seen the Thankful Coat around here?” David thought for a moment and said, “A Thankful Coat, I never heard of anything called a Thankful Coat.  No, I haven’t seen one around here. What exactly does one look like anyway?”

“Well”, said the little girl. “It is the most wonderful coat in the whole world. It makes you feel happy when you wear it.” David asked, “What color is it?” “Oh, it is the color of the rainbow”, said Sandy. “Come on, let’s look together to see if we can find it and then you’ll know what one looks like!”

So Sandy and David looked everywhere.
They looked behind the house.
They looked behind the bushes.
They looked all over the backyard.
They looked and looked and looked.

Suddenly, they heard such a commotion. All the birds, bees, bunnies, squirrels, butterflies, chipmunks, and even David’s dog Rusty were gathered around a large oak tree. There it was hung on one single branch of the oak tree…a beautiful coat. It was the color of a rainbow, just like Sandy had told him. The animals made beautiful sounds that sounded just like lovely music.

“See David, here it is the Thankful Coat”, said Sandy. “Come on, let me put it on you and you’ll see it will make you feel happy.” So, David held out his arms while Sandy slid the coat over his shoulders and then he put one arm in one sleeve and then the other. David said, “Gee this coat feels nice, and I feel better, Sandy.” David felt very thankful all of a sudden.

David was thankful for the beautiful blue sky.
David was thankful for his new friend Sandy.
David was thankful for his fun dog Rusty.
David was thankful for his family.
David just felt very thankful.

The more thankful David became, the happier he felt. The happier he became the bigger his smile grew. David’s smile grew bigger, and bigger and bigger. Happy Thoughts popped up everywhere in David’s mind. David had found the secret to happiness, to wear the Thankful Coat.

David was especially thankful to Sandy. “Sandy, thank you so much for this coat, I feel happy for the very first time in a very long time.” Sandy looked at David and said “I must leave now David, so that I can bring this coat to other unhappy children.” “What?” David said in disbelief. “How can you take this coat away, Sandy, I don’t want to go back to being unhappy.”

Sandy started to smile and said, “Why David now that you know the secret to happiness is being thankful, you can make your own Thankful Coat to wear every day. Your Thankful Coat can be an imaginary one and you can make it any color you would like it to be. Every day when you get up you put on your imaginary coat and start to think of all the things that you are thankful for and you will be happy.

David thought for a minute and he said, “I think my thankful coat would be blue with gold buttons.” Sandy said, “Now isn’t that fun?” Tomorrow morning you will get up out of bed and put on your imaginary Thankful Coat and think about all the things that you have to be thankful for, and you will be as happy as you are this very minute.” Sandy hugged David and said, “Goodbye, David I am so glad that you have the secret to being happy now.” David said, “Sandy I am so glad that you found the Thankful Coat and that you taught me how to make one of my own.” After Sandy left, David got out some paper, pencils and crayons. He drew a picture of a coat and colored it blue and made the buttons gold. He hung the picture in his room.

The next morning David got out of bed, he looked over at his drawing hung on the wall, and he put on his imaginary Thankful Coat. To his happy surprise he started to feel happy. The more thankful he became the happier he felt. David’s smile got bigger, and bigger and bigger. David’s life became full of happiness and he remained happy for the rest of his thankful days.

What color would you make your Thankful Coat?” What color would you make the buttons?” Go get your crayons and some paper, draw your own Thankful Coat and color it with your special colors. Every morning when you wake up, put on your imaginary Thankful Coat and begin to think about all the things that you have to be thankful for, and just like David you will have the secret of happiness.

The Beginning…



  1. 1

    The Thankful Coat was actually written to encourage children to be mindful. To teach them to be thankful not as a command but rather a fun meditation. My own mother taught me this principal when I was a little girl. When troubling thoughts would make me unhappy she would say “Karen, think about Christmas”. The Thankful Coat is something that I put on whenever I am feeling a bit blue myself. I have never met Sandy, but I have worn the Thankful Coat through adversity. The fun part of the story is that every time I read it to my girls it was a gentle reminder to me to count my blessings as well.

  2. 2
    teric Says:

    How very sweet. So much meaning and done so wonderfully!

  3. 3
    Kathleen Says:

    A very good object lesson, Karen. We really need to be thankful in all things, for that is a key to our well-being and being a good influence on others.
    I especially liked that David drew his picture of his thankful coat, and that you encourage the children to draw their own imaginery coats. Maybe that would help me, too!

  4. 4
    Susan Says:

    Hi Karen,

    I love that story. You could make a coloring book to go with it too!

    Thank you for the reminder!

    Love, Susan

  5. 5
    Lynne Says:


    This is a lovely story and I agree with Susan, it would make a great coloring book! Each page can be a different kind of coat. Maybe like a paper doll book where you would be able to rip out each coat. Maybe even a different coat each day.

    Love ya,

  6. 6
    Elaine Bidstrup Says:

    I will use this story with my blind primary age students next week, just before Thanksgiving. Instead of coloring our Thankful Coats, I will have several ‘coats’ cut from different types of fabric which students may glue to a piece of paper. I will also have an assortment of buttons for them to glue on.
    So many times my students my students are pitied or looked down upon. This will help them look at their own ‘gifts’ and what they can be thankful for.

  7. 7
    Amy Says:

    I am so glad I found this story to share this Thanksgiving with my children. What a wonderful and true message about gratitude. I would love to share this with others on my blog. Thank you for sharing your talents and gift for writing.

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