Fall is a wonderful, refreshing time of the year and especially the Thanksgiving season and all it means to friends and family. Lots of great children's books are out there that celebrate the season. I contacted the children's librarian, Heather McCue, in Columbia, SC, at the Richland County Library. They have a fabulous, up-to-date collection of kidlit books. She was gracious enough to send me a list of the more popular books in her downtown library. She broke them down into three categories--Families and Food, Gratitude, and Thanksgiving. I decided to pick two from each group. You may have your own favorites, but maybe you will add some of these to your list.
FAMILIES AND FOOD
Grandma's Tiny House by Janay Brown Wood
We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorrell.
This book rings true because Traci's mom was a part of the Cherokee nation, and Traci herself lives within that nation. The book starts with fall, since that represents the Cherokee New Year, and goes through each season with bright and colorful illustrations of everyday things that are celebrated. This book is good for all ages and introduces Cherokee culture in a charming and relatable way. For added interest, the illustrator decided to put a pileated woodpecker in each spread so the reader would have something to look forward to.
Gracias Thanks by Pat Moira
A young Mexican/Caucasian boy shares everyday things to be grateful for. The acrylic illustrations by John Parra are full of fun details that pop with color and vibrancy. From the moment he wakes up to the bright sunshine's warmth until he goes to bed to the sound of chirping crickets, he gives thanks for the things and people in his life. The poetic writing on each page gives us the Spanish version of what's being said. (I got to practice my Spanish) This bilingual book would be a great read-aloud for classroom story time. The author's endnote challenges the reader to make a list of what he's thankful for.
One is a Feast for Mouse by Judy Cox.
What a fun book with lively and engaging illustrations. Mouse peeps out of his hidey hole and spies the leftovers of a big Thanksgiving feast. One green pea catches his eye and seems to be the perfect feast for one little mouse. Or is it? Reading the online reviews, I especially liked one idea of a home-schooling mom who concocted a sequencing activity. She traced the mouse and drew a picture of each food that he adds to his stack. The kids colored and cut out the mouse, along with the foods. Then, she had them recall the foods added and glue each item in order, just like in the book. Maybe some other families would like to try this idea.
Some other books you might want to add to your list are Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard, Before We Eat: From Farm to Table by Pat Brisson, and Sharing the Bread: An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving Story by Pat Zietlow Miller. Happy Thanksgiving, one and all!