A Very Traditional Thanksgiving Tale

Sharing the Bread by Pat Zietlow Miller is story of a very old-fashioned and traditional Thanksgiving. The story is set at the start of the 19th century and follows a family preparing a Thanksgiving feast. Every member of the family has an important role. Mama fetches the cooking pot. Daddy prepares the fire. Sister prepares the dough for bread. Narrated by the youngest child this story is written in four-line rhyming verse with repetition that makes it easy for young readers to follow.

The illustrations are beautiful and consist of muted and earthy tones. Browns, blues and greens dominate the pages but in a fantastic way, bringing the text to life.

Sharing the Bread highlights the importance of family and collaboration. This book is ideal for readers ages 4-8.

Click here to purchase a copy of Sharing the Bread (affiliate link).

 

 

The Power of Being Little

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The Littlest Pilgrim by Brandi Dougherty is the story about Mini, the smallest Pilgrim in her village. Though she is small, Mini tries to be helpful. Everyone is either too busy to notice her or tells her she is too little to help. She goes from being optimistic to feeling sad that nobody wants her help.

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Mini doesn’t give up! She collects some berries and begins to head home when she sees another girl standing at the edge of the forest who is small like her. Mini reaches out to her and ends up making a new friend.

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The Littlest Pilgrim is a sweet story about not giving up even though others do not believe in you. It’s a story about friendship and remaining optimistic. Great for kids ages 3-6.

Click here to purchase a copy of The Littlest Pilgrim (affiliate link).

Turkey Trouble!

Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano is a humorous picture book about a turkey who is determined not to become the main course of the Thanksgiving dinner. He decides that if he does not look like a turkey, then perhaps Farmer Jake and his family will not recognize him. He disguises himself as a horse. His costume isn’t bad. He looks like a horse… almost. But then Cow recognizes him! Grumbling and sad that he’s been identified, Turkey gets a new idea… to dress up like a cow. He looks like a cow… almost!

Turkey tries costume after costume, but each time he is recognized! When all his plans seem to have failed, Turkey comes across the vegetable garden and just then he has an idea! One that is sure to save his life.


As a vegetarian, I’m particularly entertained by this story, though I feel sorry for Turkey and definitely sense his anxiety and disappointment each time his cover is blown. This is a book that kids are bound to love, laughing at Turkey’s different costumes and guessing what he might dress up as next.

Turkey Trouble is great for kids ages 3-7. Click here to purchase a copy of Turkey Trouble (affiliate link).

 

Giving Thanks

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Bear is feeling lonely in his cave and he wants to prepare a feast for his friends. But, his cupboards are bare. One by one Bear’s forest creature friends arrive each with a delectable contribution to a wonderful meal.  To each friend, bear says thanks.

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Suddenly, Bear feels sad that he doesn’t have any food to contribute. His friends hug him tight and tell him that everything will be okay. In fact, Bear has his stories to share!

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Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson is a story about friendship. This is a wonderful picture book for young readers, ages 3-6 as it teaches the importance of coming together and being grateful for what you have.

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Being Thankful All Year Round

Piglet and Robin Are Thankful by Jason Quinn is a very sweet picture book about being thankful. Though being mindfully thankful is a topic typically reserved for the month of November, this is the perfect story to explore being thankful throughout the year.

Piglet and Robin are best friends. They remind me of Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie in a great way and this series has a similar aged audience. In Piglet and Robin Are Thankful, the duo is armed with paper, a pen and their imaginations as they think about what they are thankful for in their everyday lives. They chat about the importance of sun and rain, which allow them to play outdoors and look at beautiful flowers. Then Piglet says he’s thankful for food.

They keep adding to their list until it feels complete, then they invite you, the reader, to do the same.

Piglet and Robin Are Thankful is a wonderfully thoughtful picture book perfect for kids ages 2-6. The colorful yet simple illustrations by Andrew Gallagher are very kid friendly and accessible. Perfect for emerging readers, they invite a young audience to name familiar objects or to describe what they see.

 I received a complimentary copy of the Piglet and Robin are Thankful e-book in exchange for my honest review.

Click here to purchase a copy of Piglet and Robin Are Thankful (affiliate link).

Not to mention, if you visit the Piglet and Robin Facebook page, there are free coloring pages and activity pages available to be downloaded and printed.

Squanto’s Journey – A Different Perspective on Thanksgiving

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Squanto’s Journey by Joseph Bruchac is a must-have in every 3rd-6th grade classroom library. Written from the point of view of Squanto, it provides the often silenced Native American perspective on interactions with settlers from Europe. Squanto’s Journey shines a light on the harsh treatment of the Native Americans during these initial encounters.

For example, in 1614 Squanto and several other Natives were invited aboard a ship under the guise of sharing a feast, when in reality they were captured and taken to Spain where they were to be sold as slaves. Squanto was brave and determined to return back to his homeland. With the Friar’s help, he made his way to England. There he worked hard to master the English language, realizing that he could be of great value if he could serve as a translator between the English and the Native Americans.

Squanto’s Journey portrays the tensions between the Natives and the settlers. It teaches of the violence between the groups as well as an underlying distrust. It reveals that huge numbers of Natives were wiped out by sicknesses brought on by the settlers.

Despite all of this, the Natives played an integral role in the survival of the Pilgrims during this time. Throughout the story, Squanto remains optimistic that the Native Americans and settlers will be able to share the land peacefully.

Squanto’s Journey is an important picture book because it provides the point of view of an important figure in the history of the United States. It is a great way to introduce different perspectives and engage students in an open dialogue the real impact the settlers had on the Native Americans and their land. This picture book is ideal for children ages 7-12.

Click here to purchase a copy of Squanto’s Journey (affiliate link).

Capturing the Spirit of Thanksgiving

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How Many Days to America: A Thanksgiving Story by Eve Bunting can be considered realistic fiction or historical fiction. This picture book illustrates the challenges faced by a family that immigrates to the United States in search of freedom. The specifics of the setting, the times and the characters’ names are intentionally vague. The hardships faced by this family are representative of the experiences of so many who leave their homes, belongings and everything they have known behind in search of a better tomorrow.

The illustrations, by Beth Peck, echo the sentiment created by the text. The air is full of anxiety and worry, shown by characters blurred by fog. The ocean and the sky form a bluish-grey blanket of sadness and fear.

The story is filled with similes, metaphors, and personification to help the reader better understand the emotional setting. The family deals with many challenges, from encountering thieves, to running low on food and water, to being turned away from the first island they happen upon.

When the family finally arrives in America, the are welcomed. It is Thanksgiving Day and they participate in a traditional feast. Though their journey didn’t take place at the same time as the first Thanksgiving, this story reminds us of what America represented to the Pilgrims, freedom from religious persecution. And in the many years since America has been a symbol of hope for a better future.

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How Many Days to America: A Thanksgiving Story 
is great for upper elementary aged kids, (8-11).

Click here to purchase a copy of How Many Days to America: A Thanksgiving Story (affiliate link).

 

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The Thanksgiving Bowl by Virginia Kroll is a sweet story about the deeper meaning of Thanksgiving, taking a moment to appreciate what you have. Thanksgiving at Grandma Grace’s house includes a special tradition, anonymously jotting down one thing you are thankful for and placing it in the bowl. After dinner, each slip is read and the family guesses who it belongs to. At the end of the meal, the Thanksgiving bowl falls to the ground and rolls away.

In December, the bowl provides a scared mouse shelter from a hungry barn owl. In January, it becomes a hat for a snowman. In February, two curious otters climb into the bowl and sled downhill and into the water. The Thanksgiving bowl travels from place to place providing different people and creatures with a creative solution to a problem they are encountering at the moment. Luckily, the Thanksgiving bowl is found and returned to Grandma Grace’s just in time for the following year’s Thanksgiving meal!

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The Thanksgiving Bowl is a great picture book for kids ages 5-8.

Click here to purchase a copy of The Thanksgiving Bowl.

 

All About Thanksgiving

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Gail Gibbons is a non-fiction guru. Her informational texts for kids are the perfect introduction to this genre. She skillfully integrates illustrations and text, to teach the reader about a topic. The headings make her books easy to navigate.

Thanksgiving Is… is a wonderful introductory book to this American holiday. It begins by explaining the origin of different harvest celebrations then provides the history of the Pilgrims and their journey to the Americas. Thanksgiving Is… makes quick reference to the Native Americans who helped the Pilgrims survive in this new land, but does not delve into the treatment of the Native Americans or the tension between these groups of people. It moves on to modern day Thanksgiving, which means feasts and desserts, friends and family, and sharing.

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Thanksgiving Is… is great for young children, ages 3-6.

Click here to purchase a copy of Thanksgiving Is… (affiliate link).

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Let’s Celebrate Thanksgiving by Peter and Connie Roop is another fantastic informational text about Thanksgiving. It follows a questions an answer text structure, each heading poses a question that is answered in the paragraphs that follow. Fun facts and riddles are interspersed throughout the book to engage the reader. This book does a great job predicting the questions kids may have about Thanksgiving and teaching about the topic.

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Like many Thanksgiving-themed books, Let’s Celebrate Thanksgiving also omits the difficult relationship between the Native Americans and the settlers. This book is great for kids ages 7-9.

Click here to purchase a copy of Let’s Celebrate Thanksgiving (affiliate link).