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Children's Thanksgiving Books

I think Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! It’s a time for family, good food, and remembering what really matters. It’s spending time and playing games together, too. And of course the football games after dinner. After everyone pitches in to help with the dishes.

I didn’t realize that I had so many children’s Thanksgiving books on my shelf until I decided to list them on my blog this week. There’s not room for all of them, but here are a few of my favorites.

THANKS FOR THANKSGIVING, by Julie Markes, illustrated by Doris Barrette, HarperCollins 2004. Wonderful rhythm and rhyme carry you through the many things that a child is thankful for. The illustrations are from a child’s view, and the colors and detail give richness to the book as a whole. This book captured my heart, and I actually paid full price for it when I saw it.

THIS FIRST THANKSGIVING DAY, by Laura Krauss Melmed, illustrated by Mark Buehner, Harper Trophy 2001. A countdown book to Thanksgiving dinner, each scene shows a piece of an earlier time as pilgrims and Indians prepare for a special feast. It ends on a note of harmony and friendship as all join together in a prayer of thanks for all that they have that first Thanksgiving day. Once again the rich fall colors and detail add so much to the story.

‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE THANKSGIVING, by author/illustrator Dav Pilkey, Scholastic 1990. A humorous story about 8 children on a field trip to a turkey farm who befriend 8 turkeys, doomed to be the main course for Thanksgiving dinner. A rescue plan is carried out and everyone enjoys a delicious vegetarian meal on Thanksgiving Day. The illustrations add to the humor, especially as the children waddle away ‘stuffed with turkey.’

THANKSGIVING IS HERE! By Diane Goode, author/illustrator, Scholastic 2003. This book celebrates family as each time the doorbell rings, more and more relatives join in. The celebration continues after dinner and on through dessert. At the end of the day everyone leaves to go home, but not to worry, because “we’ll be back!” The illustrations show a large loving family, happily enjoying being together at the holiday.

THANKSGIVING DAY AT OUR HOUSE, by Nancy White Carlstrom, illustrated by R. W. Alley, Scholastic 1999. A great collection of Thanksgiving poems starting with The Day Before, and ending with Goodnight Prayer. You’re sure to connect with the poems here, as well as with the illustrations which picture children and family the way we really are.

THIS IS THE TURKEY, by Abby Levine, illustrated by Paige Billin-Frye, albert Whitman & Co 2000. A good read-aloud with fun repetition throughout. When the turkey slips from the pan and ends up in the fish tank, the reader wonders if dinner is ruined. Grandma reassures them “…we have all we need because everyone’s here.” And Grandpa adds “No turkey? No problem! I’m hungry—let’s eat!” Illustrations compliment and add to this fun Thanksgiving story.

A few other books are:
SILLY TILLY’S THANKSGIVING DINNER, by Lillian Hoban, HarperTrophy 1991.
MINNIE AND MOO AND THE THANKSGIVING TREE, by author/illustrator Denys Cazet, DK Publishing, Inc 2000
TURKEY RIDDLES, by Katy Hall and Lisa Eisenberg, illustrated by Kristin Sorra, Puffin Books 2002

Happy Thanksgiving to All! Save room for the pie!  Read More 
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