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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Great Children's Books for Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving just three weeks away, I thought I'd share some of my favorite children's picture books about this holiday. If y'all haven't guessed by now, I adore children's literature. We own an embarrassing number of picture books, mostly dating from my days as a teacher. I'm hoping this early list will give you a chance to check out one or two of these from your local library. And please add your suggestions... I know we all would appreciate it!

I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Allison Jackson. A most engaging and silly book about Thanksgiving dinner, I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie puts a dizzying spin on the beloved cumulative, rhyming song "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly." A relative's supernatural appetite alternately alarms the adult hosts and delights the giggling children. In the end, her girth increases so much, she joins the Macy's Day Parade... as a gigantic balloon.

Giving Thanks: The 1621 Harvest Feast by Kate Waters. Kate Waters and photographer Russ Kendall, in cooperation with Plimoth Plantation, created this beautiful photo-journal about the first Thanksgiving feast, alternating between the stories of Dancing Moccasins, a 14-year-old Wampanoag boy, and Resolved White, a six-year-old Puritan boy. The two boys feel cautiously curious about each others culture before their two communities come together for the first Thanksgiving meal.

Stone Soup by Marcia Brown. Three hungry soldiers, carrying nothing but an empty pot, come upon a village, hoping that the villagers will provide them with a meal. The villagers, struggling to feed themselves, hide their food instead of sharing with the strangers. And so begins the tale of Stone Soup, where the three travelers trick an entire village into creating a delicious and nourishing soup from one single stone. Although this classic, award-winning picture book in no way references the Thanksgiving holiday, it does illustrate some of the core values of the holiday, including sharing, community and potluck feasts.

Duck for Turkey Day by Jacqueline Jules. This gentle reminder about multicultural traditions during an all-American holiday follows a young Vietnamese girl who feels nervous about telling her classmates that her family ate duck, rather than turkey, for Thanksgiving dinner. A beaming smile appears, however, when she learns that many of her classmates dined on dishes like enchiladas, tofu turkey and lamb.

The Night Before Thanksgiving by Natasha Wing. Based on C. Clement Moore's famous Christmas poem, this whimsical story follows a family through traditional, yet realistic Thanksgiving activities, including watching the Macy's Day Parade on television, polishing silverware, greeting the cousins and asking a million times, "can we eat yet?"

Why We Have Thanksgiving by Margaret Hillert. This is one of my momma's favorite Thanksgiving books because it clearly explains, in an age-appropriate way, how the first Thanksgiving came about and why we continue to celebrate it today. Even young preschoolers will be able to follow this easy-to-read fictional retelling of the journey of the Pilgrims to the New World, their struggles during the first year and the celebration of the first Thanksgiving.

Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message by Chief Jake Swamp. This book is another non-Thanksgiving holiday book that I feel is a good read during late November. The Chief of the Mohawk Nation adapted for children an ancient Iroquois message of thanksgiving that is delivered at the dawn of each new day as well as during special ceremonies. The messages expresses gratitude to Mother Earth; to water, grass, fruits and animals; to the wind and the rain; to the sun, moon and stars; to the Spirit Protectors of the past and present; and to the Great Spirit, giver of all.

This First Thanksgiving Day: A Counting Story by Laura Krauss Melmed. I adore this book not for the text, although it IS short and sweet, but for the gorgeous illustrations. The Tongginator loves looking for the hidden surprises on each page... not only did illustrator Mark Buehner hide a turkey (sometimes living, sometimes roasted) on every page, he also hid a corresponding number of forest animals for each numbered page, culminating in a long and hard search to find a dozen rabbits (and one mouse!) lurking under the tables on page 12. The story follows Wampanoag and Pilgrim friends preparing for and sharing a wonderful Thanksgiving feast.


Love Letters To China said...

I just read my daughter The Night Before Thanksgiving last night. I also read her a really cute one called A Plump And Perky Turkey. I too have an enormous collection of children books. I truly feel you are never wasting money when you purchase a book. It makes my heart sing when I see my 6 year old sitting on her bed reading to herself. The little one is also asking to be read every night before bedtime. It's a beautiful thing!

A Beautiful Mess said...

I might need to get the Duck for Turkey day. We always had a traditional thanksgiving at my paternal grandmother's and my favorite indonesian Thanksgiving dinner at my maternal grandmothers....makes me hungry just thinking about it! My Oma would make a turkey..dried out and just sitting there while we all feasted on rice, spicy beef, satay and curry veggies. I have to admit I remember being quite proud of being different...but then again I'm a little bit of a square peg:)

Beach Mama said...

Thank you for the book suggestions! I tried finding some Thnaksgiving books at our local, small library and came up with only Clifford and Franklin books. I may have to make a trek to the bookstore.

happygeek said...

Hey, and if you read stone soup, then you could make it. MY son's K class did this and it looked like so much fun that I'm going to do it with the boys pretty soon.
American Thanksgiving is so much more interesting than ours. Y'all even got books about it.

a Tonggu Momma said...

We do make it! Tonggu Grammy made Stone Soup with her class every year, so I just copied her. We love doing it... I was disappointed that the Tongginator's kindergarten class isn't this month.

Aus said...

Great choices - I'd add "The Littlest Pilgrim" - don't know the author off hand - but the story of a child who want's to help but keeps getting told she's 'too young to help go do something else' and who eventually goes to pick the last fall berries...only to meet a Native American girl about her own age and becomes friens with her. Always liked that one!

hugs - aus and co.

Wanda said...

Stone Soup - one of my top five children's of all time (well....since I've been into children's book).

I get shivers it's so good. Thanks for the other suggestions. We can't enough books here. (One day I must count them for fun.)

Sharie said...

Thanks for the suggestions. I can't think of a single Thanksgiving book that we have...time to add to the collection:)

Jean said...

I am with you on this one! I LOVE CHILDREN'S books! (and amazon loves me!)

I am definitely going to order a few of these!! I think we have the old lady that swallowed the pie- cute!!

I just have to know this- are your books all organized... in one spot... can you find a certain book, if you need too? You school teachers are so organized!

Not me. If I would have been a school teacher would I have been organized? Or would I have just been a frustrated school teacher? Hmmm?

Thanks for the great ideas!! I really need to build this holiday u[ since there is no candy involved. It popularity has plummeted with out candy!

Blue said...

"Giving Thanks" by Jake Swamp leads you to my neck of the woods, TM! That's the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne, in my county and about 20 min. away from me. I'm not familiar with the book (although I'll now seek it out at the library -- it's out of stock at Amazon), but as I was reading the title, I said, "Swamp... hmmm.. that's a common Mohawk last name... oh, hey! It really is!" You can read more about former sub-chief Swamp at: http://www.treeofpeacesociety.info/id1.html. You can learn more about the Nation at the tribe's website: http://www.srmt-nsn.gov/his.htm.

The Hickels said...

I love "A Turkey for Thanksgiving" by Eve Bunting.

As a former elementary school teacher, I, too, have that embarrassing stash of children's book for I, too, adore good children's literature. It's hard to find good books in my children's book orders that we don't already own, but the one I mentioned above was a great book order find a few years ago.

Jboo said...

Thanks for the tips! Will look for those at the library.


Natasha Wing said...

Thanks for recommending my book, The Night Before Thanksgiving. Many of the scenes were inspired by my own Thanksgivings visiting my grandparents and cousins in Massachusetts.

Saint Louis Family Robinson said...

TM - Love ya! Book reviews - my favorite! And just in time: I'm signed up as the Parent Reader this month for Josie's class! Next click is: Amazon.com.

Thanks! And I hope you're planning on a Christmas/Winter Book Review posting too ;-)

mommy24treasures said...

thank you so much for all the wonderful ideas, I need to drag stone soup out this week! Its my copy from the book of the month club when I was young;)

Annie said...

The books look great!! We have the last one and love it!!

Cindy said...

just bought the Night before Thanksgiving for my sister's second grade class! and also we are saving The old lady that swallowed a pie for closer to Thnaksgiving week~~~ going to do that have pumpkin pies for desserts! yum yum!
I worked for 11 years as an assistent children's librarain and these picks of books are great ones too!
and oh! hiding the turkey is so much FUN as well!
you will love these I promise!

Cindy said...

just bought the Night before Thanksgiving for my sister's second grade class! and also we are saving The old lady that swallowed a pie for closer to Thnaksgiving week~~~ going to do that have pumpkin pies for desserts! yum yum!
I worked for 11 years as an assistent children's librarain and these picks of books are great ones too!
and oh! hiding the turkey is so much FUN as well!
you will love these I promise!

CC said...

What? Where'd you find this SLEW of books???????? It's too late for me to get most of these from the library now :( :(

Stephanie Page said...

I'm not sure if you knew this or not but in the book This First Thanksgiving Day there is also a hidden dinosaur. You can find him on the cover hiding in the corn stalks. We have found one on every page except on the corn page and the basket weaving page. You can also find a cat on the front cover hiding in the bush. Have not found him in the book but he may be there as well. Mark Buehner has illustrated some other books such as What Snowmen Do At Night. They actually give a list of what to find in that book. I found your blog searching the internet to find a cheat sheet for what to find and where it is. This book has been driving us crazy for 2 weeks with this darn dinosaur :)

a Tonggu Momma said...

Loving these suggestions and tips, y'all. Thanks so much... keep em coming.

Cindy said...

hello again

there is this cutest book i am going to read this afternoon or Friday called: It's good to give! it's at school too go figure!
the author I can't remember but it is almost too little for 2nd graders, it is about giving coins, and everyone bring their coins to the teacher and the WHOLE class gives to an organization
Darn what is that author's name??
I will see quickly if I can google it for you~~ be good to use even during Christmas!
thank goodness i only work 1/2 day!
i will check on this quickly!

Cindy said...

cindy again,

darn amazon did not have that on line it figures maybe i can e-mail you back tonight!!

there is a beautiful book though called the thanksgiving feast! just beautiful, if not this year maybe next for you to purchase

an idea or so your child will love the old lady who swalled a pie, and too for snacks( if they are allowed those)
have a pumpin pie treats, i have done this over and over! yum yum!! oh you will be the BOMB i promise
and stone soup let them actually make IT! clean a rcok until it is rock-scrubbed let every child then added the vegggies promise again you will be the hit parent class room mom!
I have done this 1000 times!
that first book i just mentioned has the most beautiful pics ever! try yo get it by next year!
i know books a million has it!
any other suggestions about christmas just email me at cindylou3039@yahoo.com i worked 11 years as children's library asst cordinator~~ story time was so MUCH fun!!
there is one called one little two little three little indians 4 little 5 litlle 6 little indians and on and on and on then it goes oninto the same thing with saying 1 little 2 little ......wampanoags and it is so so cute for now or next year! honestly e-mail if you need help i don't always read your stream but would love to help if i could be of any!

Cindy said...

I promises if I had "any' sense left today I would e-mail you back, very little I have left, but for what it's worth here's you many great finds!
May have to buy some, and the Library will have most, and when all else fails, you will have to order such AS I have for years!
Believe me Scholastic loves me and does books a million.

"The Giving Tree" -It gives apples love warmth and a friend to sit under too great find! Used it during Johny appleseed but it can be used as well now too!

"It's Thanksgiving!" all about thanksgibing the we celebrate, today

"The First Thanksgiving!" the way thanksgiving was celebrated on that first Thanksgiving Day!
Great Find!

Reddy Freddy Thanksgiving!
and also Reddy Fredddy has some serie books too!
Good bargains!

I'm a turkey-- cute cute for Kindergarten!

Night before Thankkgiving
Night before Christmas
Biggest Christmas tree Ever
Who will Guide My Sleigh tonight??
Who will help santa this year??
Katie Jolly'Christmas

The night before New Year Eve
Ready Freddy Set snow!

The Feast- this should be read this week it is a beautiful book k-2ndgrade

It's good to give a Coin!

All your Holiday books Naturally! the Classics!

No room at the inn a good home book! have to order probably

The true Story of Christmas.
probably have to order!

The true Story of the Candy Cane
I bought this at the Christian Book Store!
and EVEN this can be told in a way that it can be used it school it is a Bibical story but it can be told for public illustrated on google for schools too

Believe it or not?? "There was an old lady who Swallowed some SNOW!"

new release I have it upstairs! a spin off of the others the fly the pie the bat.

Now I left my catalouge at school!
Dumb huh??

Just google these out and the authors will pop up!

Have a great Thanksgiving and a very Merry Christmas too!
Cindy hope these were a help wished I had known a little earlier!
Hurry go to the Library in the AM!

Cindy said...

After the holiday I can reccommend a million more!

Every classs needs to do the Diary of a worm and have gummie worms in the cupcakes! it's a winner I promise!

If you give a CAT a cupcake ( cupcake time
If you give a Moose a Muffin
A pig a party
A mouse a cookie! All these are by Laura Numeroff I know this for Kohl's cares for kids have these on Sale in TN right now!

I highly reccommend all these too!

We use all these in after school delight really a cooking program more of an hour of fun time

Who has NOT done Green eggs and Ham???

Cindy said...

Hello my email address is just what my blog is cindylou3039@yahoo.com

If you just type that in and click on my name you will get me PROMISE!!!

I sure hope i was of a little help and sooooo wished I just had known so much earlier about THANKSGIVING TOO!

I would have gotten you a list before a fews days ago

if need me feel free to e-mail me!

Cindy said...

if al else fail Donna T knows how to E-mail me!

hugs for now!
ps don't you just love the book of JAMES! (SIGH!!!)
he does put us in our place what are we to expect though, he was Jesus's 1/2 brother

nice to meet you as well too!