Thanksgiving is about more than a plate of turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes – it’s about expressing gratitude. And if reading books can help children develop empathy, thanking reading can certainly help them develop an attitude of gratitude. (Evgeniya Grande, Shutterstock)
Estimated reading time: 5-6 minutes
TURKEY CITY – Thanksgiving is about more than a plate of turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes – it’s about expressing gratitude. And if reading books can help children develop empathy, thanking reading can certainly help them develop an attitude of gratitude.
There are plenty of children’s books that beautifully illustrate the meaning of Thanksgiving, and we’ve put together some of them for you to enjoy this holiday season. So between stuffing yourself with turkey and preparing pie, put on your fat pants and enjoy reading these amazing picture books with your kids.
“Thank you, Omu!” By Oge Mora
Omu makes a thick, red stew for dinner and she looks forward to a delicious meal. She decides to read a book while her soup simmers on the stove, and while it is boiling, the smell floats down the street and intoxicates many passers-by. While Omu reads her book, she is constantly interrupted by people who want to try her mouth-watering stew. She shares with everyone who knocks on her door; but when it’s her turn to eat, her stew is completely gone. But don’t worry, the story has a happy ending with a lesson in giving back.
‘Thankful’ by Elaine Vickers
This heartwarming book takes us through a grateful journey with a little girl who makes a paper chain of the things she has been grateful for over the past year. When she has a hard time thinking about all the things she has experienced that year, she starts looking at things right in front of her. As the wheels spin in her mind, she discovers many things to be grateful for, big and small, such as: stars and candles to be desired, color, wind and sand (but not at the same time), a cloth on her. the forehead when she feels sick, the warm place under the duvet where someone has slept and much more. This book is a good reminder that we have many, many things to be thankful for, even if it’s hard to think about them.
‘Thanksgiving in the Woods’ by Phyllis Alsdurf
This book is written from a child’s perspective and paints a perfect picture of what it is like to anticipate and experience a traditional holiday as a child. The idea of eating Thanksgiving dinner in the woods will make you envy that it is not your own tradition when you pour over the beautiful illustrations in this book and admire the atmospheric descriptions of their forest party.
‘Elmore’ by Holly Hobbie
The porcupine Elmore is lonely. He wants to make friends, but the other animals in the forest think he’s too “plug” to hang out with. This understandably makes Elmore sad, and he tumbles around for a while before carrying out an ingenious idea to exploit his hedgehog for good. As he learns the lesson of giving to others, he attracts the friends he desires. This is a great story to teach children to give instead of just expecting to receive.
‘Apple Cake’ by Dawn Casey
Reading about food is almost as much fun as eating the food itself, and this book proves it perfectly. Every page of this sweet story expresses gratitude for the many “behind-the-scenes” people and things that are part of a delicious apple pie. It is a great example for both children and adults to recognize the domino effect of all the little things in life that affect another. Plus, the book is characterized by an actual apple pie recipe, which would be so much fun to make with kids.
‘A Turkey for Thanksgiving’ by Eve Bunting
Mrs. Moose wants a turkey for Thanksgiving, and Mr. Moose does not want to disappoint her. So, as any good man would do, Mr. Moose embarks on a quest to find a turkey for his wife. Some friends join him on the ultimate successful hunt … but the ending will surprise you in a completely captivating way. Your kids will love the pictures, the characters, and the conclusion of this sweet story.
‘The Letter of Thanks’ by Jane Cabrera
It’s Grace’s birthday and she has a big wish list. After enjoying her party and opening her presents, she decides to write thank you letters to everyone who gave gifts to her … which inspires her to write thank you letters to everyone she can think of. She even writes a letter to the sky for being so blue. This is an adorable book to inspire children to think of all the people and pets that make their lives a little brighter. Plus, reading it would perfectly create a thank-you letter writing activity for afterwards.
‘The Very Stuffed Turkey’ by Katharine Kenah
Turkey has a problem: It’s Thanksgiving Day, and he’s committed to too many friends’ Thanksgiving parties. He is in doubt about being able to eat all the food that will be prepared, but his fear of disappointing his friends outweighs his culinary dilemma. As he goes from house to house and eats different kinds of dishes, he gets more and more satiated until he finally falls over! This is a fun read to get your kids excited about Thanksgiving dinner.
‘The Blessings Jar’ by Colleen Coble
As Punky feels the gnaws and does not think they will disappear, her Grammy gives her a great adventure: making a blessing jar. A blessing jar is a visual way to remember all the blessings Punky experiences during the day. Punky’s Day with its Grammy is a reminder of the joy that the simple pleasures of life bring – especially the joy of creating memories with loved ones.
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