I went a little nuts ordering Thanksgiving books this year, but I figured we were due for a little bit of a reading break from the ancient world! Naturally I checked out our tried-and-true old favorites, but I also found some great new books. If you’re headed to the library in the next day or two you might find a few of these, or buy them Friday when they go on sale. 🙂
This Is the Feast is my favorite of this year’s haul of books, due to great rhythym and excellent vocabulary, and recurrent theme of thankfulness. While I don’t think the pictures are any great shakes, they are just fine and seasonally appropriate. Most of all, I appreciate the vocabulary, since reading to small kids is one of the best ways to build their vocabularies, and reading unusual words in a context that makes their meanings clear is something I always look for as a hallmark of a good childrens book.
A Pioneer Thanksgiving: A Story of Harvest Celebrations in 1841 is a denser book, and could either be used as a chapter-type read-aloud or for kids who are reading independently. I’m not good at pegging reading levels, but I would say that this one is between Hannah and Jack’s current levels: a super fast easy read for Hannah, and a bit of a stretch for Jack.
One thing I really like about this book is that each section has an activity suggestion, such as making bread or weaving a basket out of yarn on a pipe cleaner frame.
The Peterkins’ Thanksgiving is a funny story of a fabulous family and their adventures and misadventures at Thanksgiving. The book is based on a longer book, The Peterkin Papers, which I have been meaning to read out loud to the kids ever since we so enjoyed The Peterkin’s Christmas last year.
Sarah Gives Thanks is the story of the woman who lobbied legislators and several presidents for Thanksgiving to be a national holiday. It’s an inspiring story of a mother of five who was widowed and became a writer to earn money to care for her family, wound up editor of Goodey Ladies Book (then the most read magazine in the US), and had a lasting impact on her country. In addition to the great story, we really enjoyed the fabulous illustrations!
Over the River: A Turkey’s Tale offers an animal-based version of the popular “over the river and through the woods” song with cute and colorful pictures. The text is just the lyrics with which you are doubtless familiar, but the pictures are detailed and tell a story of their own. I’d recommend this for younger kids especially.
Thanksgiving on Plymouth Plantation is a very interesting book, based on the unique premise of a grandmother and grandchildren who go back in time to observe the first Thanksgiving. While they are there, the family observes how Pilgrims and Indians lived, ate, worked, played, and worshipped. The book offers a good level of detail, and includes both text and dialog that could be read together or abridged for younger readers as you see fit.
Squanto’s Journey boasts simply gorgeous illustrations, and deserves a mention for the pictures alone. It’s an interesting telling of the Thanksgiving story from the Native American perspective, and does so in a different way than you might have seen in other books. If you’re interested in the history of Thanksgiving, this is a good point of view to consider.
An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving is a Louisa May Alcott story, beautifully illustrated by James Bernardin. It’s interesting to learn how people in different areas and time periods celebrated Thanksgiving.
Gus, the Pilgrim Turkey is a kind of funny story of a turkey who inadvertently becomes a pilgrim to escape the oven. It gains a mention for it’s twist on explaining the word pilgrim, as well as for it’s glorification of tuxedos and inclusion of penguins. What, doesn’t every good Thanksgiving story include penguins?
One is a Feast for Mouse is a very funny and unique story with great illustrations. A cautionary tale of sorts, it uses an engaging story to expose the dangers of being greedy and laud the virtues of being grateful for what one has.
This is the first year I checked out multiple chapter books for Hannah to read independently. She’s reading a blue streak and finishing 1-3 books per day, so there is no way I can keep up and preview everything. This causes me some nervousness, since I was the same way and read some utterly inappropriate books when I was young as a result. However, life goes on and while most of the books I get for her are recommended by people I trust, in the case of Thanksgiving themed books I just decided to wing it. Anyway, the first one was Who Stole Grandma’s Million-Dollar Pumpkin Pie? Hannah reports that this is a mystery book, and she liked it.
Junie B., First Grader: Turkeys We Have Loved and Eaten (and Other Thankful Stuff) was too easy for Hannah and didn’t even last her one quiet time, but sometimes it’s fun to read some easy books. She says to tell you that it’s SUPER funny.
The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple: A Journey to the New World is written in a diary format, and appears to contain lots of history. Hannah hasn’t started it yet, but she has read a few others in the Dear America series and enjoyed them, so I assume she will like this one as well.
Turkey Trouble on the National Mall is also a mystery, and Hannah enjoyed it. The reading level of this book is more like what Jack can handle, but it’s a lot longer than the easy chapter books he usually reads, so I haven’t decided if I should suggest it for him. So far he has enjoyed reading a few of the longer books from our favorites list, like Silly Tilly’s Thanksgiving, and also Amelia Bedelia Talks Turkey.
We are still in line for more Thanksgiving books at the library, so if those come in I might update this post later, if only so I can link to it next year at an earlier date!
What Thanksgiving books are you and your family enjoying this year? If you know of any good chapter books on Thanksgiving themes, I would love it if you would share them in the comments so I can get a jump on them for next year!
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