Among the many special things about Thanksgiving are that it has always been notable for its message of friendship and inclusion and that it is celebrated by all of the cultures that make up the American melting pot. If your family tradition includes sharing books with the children at your Thanksgiving dinner (and if it doesn't, it might be a good year to start), there are a few books you might want to consider.
We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga is a new picture book that was written by a member of the Cherokee Nation. It looks at how the Cherokee people express gratitude - otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) - throughout the year in their celebrations and ceremonies.
Other good choices for the children at your celebration include:
The Pilgrims' First Thanksgiving by Ann McGovern
(ages 4 and up)
This classic chronicles the struggles of the pilgrims during their first year at Plymouth Colony, their friendship with Native Americans like Squanto, and the first, three-day long Thanksgiving celebration.
Fancy Nancy: Our Thanksgiving Banquet by Jane O’Connor
(ages 4 and up, and older kids can read this on their own)
Fancy Nancy helps her family prepare for a fantastic Thanksgiving meal, with all her usual flair. Comes with stickers!
Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano
(preschool - 3rd grade)
A terrified turkey attempts to disguise himself to avoid becoming Thanksgiving dinner in this silly story, complete with a happy ending.
'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey
(ages 4 and up)
In this zany rewritten version of ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, children on a school field trip to a farm are troubled to learn about the impending fate of the turkeys they meet there. This funny story, full of Pilkey’s trademark humor, is sure to please both kids and parents.
Thanksgiving on Thursday (Magic Tree House #27) by Mary Pope Osborne
(ages 6 and up to read on their own)
Jack and Annie travel back to the first Thanskgiving Day in 1621, where they learn about life in Plymouth.
Little Critter: Just So Thankful by Mercer Mayer
(ages 3 and up)
Although Little Critter is initially jealous of the kid down the street who seems to have everything, he learns that there is much to be thankful for in this charming book
Sarah Morton's Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl, Samuel Eaton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy, and Tapenum's Day: A Wampanoag Indian Boy In Pilgrim Times, by Kate Waters
(ages 4 and up; students in grades 4 and up can read it on their own)
Through a series of photographs taken in a recreated colony, Waters teaches about the lives of the Pilgrims and the Native Americans.