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I’ve mentioned it in this forum before, but Thanksgiving is a yearly tradition wrought with mixed emotions for me. There are a few things that I just can’t celebrate about Thanksgiving including the historical significance, the seemingly ubiquitous expectation of gluttony, and mostly awkward chit-chat with folks I haven’t seen since last Thanksgiving. Not fun stuff.
But there is also a bit of beauty, both tangible and ideological, about the day. On the visible side, leaves have fallen from trees as cold winds whip through their twiggy canopies—their barrenness a warning of winter’s looming arrival. There’s a certain finality about this scene. To me, it’s a scene of summation; a call for reflection about the prior year. No matter how beleaguered or or overwhelmed I might be at the time, when I pause to consider an entire year of life, I can’t help remembering some really beautiful moments that typically (but not always) drown out the not-so-fantastic bits. I guess that’s why I can’t ditch the day altogether. The heart of Thanksgiving is thanksgiving. It’s not meat, pie, tubular cranberry Jell-O, and sloppy kisses from your weird aunt Esmerelda.
Dear parents and caregivers of kiddos, this year I hope you find time to be appreciative for the good things in your lives. And may you enjoy some of the following books that celebrate thanksgiving as a frame of mind rather than a holiday at the end of November. Until next time, keep reading together!
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
One of the best illustrations of ‘tis better to give than receive. I love this classic for its simplicity, its tenacity through the years, and its lightheartedness. If you’ve never shared this book with your kiddo, now is the perfect time! Enhance your shared reading time by asking your little one, “How do you think the tree/boy feels?”
The Thankful Book by Todd Parr
Aside from being hilarious, this picture book is charmingly poignant. Parr’s simple illustrations capture the imagination and uncomplicated artistry of children. It’s simple enough for a child to treasure and beautiful enough for an adult to appreciate.
Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? by Dr. Seuss
Yes, Duckie, you’re lucky you’re not Herbie Hart who has taken his Throm-dim-bu-lator apart! Dr. Seuss’s classic rhymer helps kids see that their situation might not be quite as bad as could be. Prepare for tongue twisting and verbal gymnastics when you read this fun-but-truthful Seuss classic!
An Awesome Book of Thanks by Dallas Clayton
This book is…well…awesome! The rhyming is well done and the illustrations are quirky yet endearing. I have a feeling you and your family will share this one for years to come.
Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson (illustrated by Jane Chapman)
Bear is left to plan a big dinner for all his friends. The problem is that Bear has nothing to bring to the festivities. What special contribution will Bear provide? Find out in this Thanksgiving-esque picture book.
100 Things That Make Me Happy by Amy Schwartz
Hopefully after reading this book you’ll see that there are way more than 100 things for which to be thankful! This is one of my all-time favorite picture books and I’ll always remember reading it with my son on his first trip to the Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library. I hope your family will love it as much as we do!
Thank You Octopus by Darren Farrell
Octopus is one of those characters you’ll never forget. His book will make you giggle the second (or third!) time through even more than the first. If you dig silly fun (and egg salad antics) this hilarious picture book is certainly for you.
The Thank You Book by Mo Willems
It is with great sadness that I must tell you this title is the last Elephant and Piggie book in the series. As always, hilarity ensues when Piggie decides to say thank you to everyone who is important to her. After 50+ pages of thanking, Gerald is worried that she has left out one extremely important thank you. Is it true? Has Piggie forgotten? Or is she just saving her best for last?
What a Good Kitty by Mercer Mayer
This easy reader adeptly captures the ever-changing personality of felines. For every good thing Kitty does, it seems like she does two naughty things. By the end of the day, the Critter family will be very thankful for their pet and she might just get an extra helping of catnip-flavored yum-yum biscuits for her heroism!
Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel
This easy reader is a timeless collection of five short stories about best friends Frog and Toad. Each story is witty, warm, and endearing to young and old readers alike. Hopefully you’ll find the stories to be perfect bedtime accompaniments and be inspired to say thank you for your own special friendships.