I have to say, Canadians do Thanksgiving right.
They pitch it into mid-October, right at the golden peak of all things autumnal, before it has a chance to be swallowed up in Halloween and cast aside by Christmas.
Here in the States, Halloween has pushed its candy corn and costumes in by September, and then in one magical swoosh on October 31, every store transforms into December holiday-making.
That bit in the middle where we are grateful hardly has a chance for its stomach to settle before Black
Friday Thursday-night shopping crashes in summoning us to all the things we want rather than reminding us of all we have.
Thanksgiving-oriented children’s literature is likewise a bit more sparse than shelves dedicated to other holidays. Today, though, I’ve got some titles glowing with gratitude, plus links to other recommended Thanksgiving-ish reads from past years.
The Thank You Book, written by Mary Lyn Ray, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
published in 2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
An utterly charming, endearing survey of the many instances in our lives when Thank you is just the right response.
It’s a perfect collaboration between two of children’s literature’s finest, a sweet morsel to share with children as young as 2 that will invoke peace, contentment, and appreciation for the array of small good things in our world.
Look and Be Grateful, written and illustrated by Tomie DePaola
published in 2015 by Holiday House
Tomie DePaola offers us a restrained, meditative, psalm-like call to awareness and gratitude…
…boldly, simply illustrated in his iconic style. “Open your eyes, and see.” A wise summons for all of us. Ages 2 and up.
Thank You, Omu!, written and illustrated by Oge Mora
published in 2018 by Little, Brown and Company
This robust account of generosity, community, welcome, and gratitude is grounded in the Nigerian Igbo culture, bringing a delicious multicultural twist to your thankfulness.
Omu has been cooking a fragrant pot of tasty red stew in her apartment, looking forward to a scrumptious dinner later on. The aromas of her cooking, though, draw one passer-by after another, and as Omu ladles out portions for all who ask, her own dinner dwindles to nothing.
Discover the joy of giving and the bounty of community in this gem, with ages 4 and up.
We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, written by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frané Lessac
published in 2018 by Charlesbridge
Follow a family from the Cherokee Nation through one full year and learn about their beautiful cultural emphasis on gratitude. You’ll also catch a glimpse of some annual celebrations and traditions unique to the Cherokee.
I featured this gem some weeks ago in my posts on Indigenous Peoples. It’s a vibrant exploration of a more holistic, all-encompassing attitude of appreciation. Share it with ages 4 and up.
All for Pie, Pie for All, written by David Martin, illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev
published in 2006 by Candlewick Press
Finally, a delightful, lighthearted tale of one apple pie, three unique families inhabiting one household, and the joys of sharing and community.
Surprises abound as that pie is divided, and divided, and divided again so that young and old, large and oh-so-very-small, all get their due portion. A warm, happy story to read over and over with children ages 2 and up.
Looking for more Thanksgiving recommendations? You can find many more titles on my Thanksgiving page, here.