Book Nook: Thanksgiving Picks

Thanksgiving is my husband’s favorite holiday: it’s all inclusive; it’s not about “getting stuff” and there are always lots of wonderful things to eat! If you want to try and impart a little more detailed information to your children about the meaning behind this uniquely American holiday, try these titles:

For infant to 3-years-old

  • Bear Says ThanksBear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2012. Bear is back and he is feeling bored and unappreciative.  When his friends arrive, he realizes how much there is to be thankful for.  Another great addition to this series.
  • 10 Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston, illustrated by Richard F. Deas.  Cartwheel Publishing, 2004.  Silly, fun, bright and bold.  Destined to capture your little one’s attention and make you smile as well!
  • Thank You, Thanksgiving by David Milgrim. Clarion Books, 2003. This book has bright, colorful and simple pictures accompanied by a few words. The main character says “thank you” for a variety of the things she sees and appreciates in her life.
  • Thanksgiving Is For Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland, illustrated by Sonja Lamut. Grosset & Dunlap, 2000. “I am thankful for my dad and mom. They love me when I’m good … and even when I’m not so good.” This book goes through different scenarios as a way to describe Thanksgiving and why we should feel thankful.

For 4 to 7-years-old

  • P is for Pilgrim: A Thanksgiving Alphabet by Carol Crane, illustrated by Helle Urban.  Sleeping Bear Press, 2011.  From the lives of our early settlers, who established the foundations for American freedoms and ideals, to today’s celebrations, “P is for Pilgrim” colorfully examines the history and lore of Thanksgiving.  The artwork is warm and inviting.
  • The Very Best Pumpkin by Mark Kimball Moulton, illustrated by Karen Hillard Good.  Simon & Schuster, 2010.  A story of friendship, the growing cycle and being thankful for the abundance of the harvest.  Sweet story.
  • The Secret of Saying Thanks by Douglas Wood, illustrated by Greg Shed.  Simon & Schuster, 2005.  A girl cultivates a grateful heart by saying thank you to all she encounters.  The illustrations are beautiful and so is the sentiment.  For all ages.
  • The Thanksgiving Door written and illustrated by Debby Atwell.  Sandpiper 2006.  Unique angle as an elderly couple goes looking for Thanksgiving dinner and finds it in the cafe of an immigrant family from Russia. The family’s “Thanksgiving Door” proves welcoming, and the folk art illustrations showcase the Russian traditions from their culture.
  • This is the Feast by Diane Z. Shore, illustrated by Megan Lloyd.  HarperCollins 2008.  This colorful book highlights the entire story of Thanksgiving, from the Pilgrims arriving via the Mayflower to their survival struggles and eventual feast with the Indians.  While the text is done in fun rhyme, the illustrations also complement the text in kid-pleasing fashion.
  • This Is The Turkey by Abby Levine, illustrated by Paige Billin-Frye. Scholastic, 2005. This book, done in rhyme, uses humor to describe a family’s Thanksgiving feast. There is a lot of attention on the food, until the turkey goes flying into the fish tank, and the family discovers there’s more to Thanksgiving than just the meal. Cute book.
  • Giving Thanks by Jonathan London, illustrated by Gregory Manchess.  Candlewick 2005.  Your kids will love the impressionistic oil paintings that serve as fall illustrations in this book. Plus, the message is one of appreciating the beauty of nature and being grateful for the “small” wonders in life.
  • An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott, illustrated by James Bernardin. HarperCollins. This updated story (written by a classic author of childhood literature) describes a family’s Thanksgiving when the children are left to do the cooking. The results are surprising and some of the old fashioned terms may spark some questions.

For 8 to 10-years-old

  • The Peterkins’ Thanksgiving by Elizabeth Spurr and illustrated by Wendy Halperin. Atheneum. What happens when your Thanksgiving feast gets stuck on a dumbwaiter between floors? The Peterkins’ family learns a little about patience and the pleasure of good company while they wait for their holiday dinner.

Submitted by Springfield Moms Series Editor Julie Kaiser.

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