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Friday, November 18, 2011

Celebrating Thanksgiving with books...

Photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

I always enjoy finding and reading books for each holiday.  Thanksgiving is no exception!  I came across several good Thanksgiving-themed books at the library earlier this month (along with one book that was on our shelf at home).  Here are a few of the fictional picture books I found and recommend:

Duck for Turkey Day, written by Jacqueline Jules and illustrated by Kathryn Mitter, 2009... Tuyet learns about Thanksgiving at school.  As the class leaves to go home, her teacher calls, "Have a great Turkey Day!"  When Tuyet discovers that her Vietnamese American family will be having duck for Thanksgiving, instead of turkey, she worries.  Can it really be Thanksgiving without turkey? 

I found this to be a sweet book that celebrates the differences between cultures and family traditions. 

How Many Days to America?: A Thanksgiving Story, written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Beth Peck, 1988...  A family flees its Caribbean island home with other refugees.  They take a boat to America and land at their new home on Thanksgiving Day. 

We always hear about the Pilgrims at Thanksgiving time, but they were not the only immigrants who came to America.  People have come from all over the world to make their home here, and new immigrants continue to arrive every year.  This story reminds us that we have much to be grateful for here.

Over the River and Through the Wood, written by Lydia Maria Child and illustrated by Christopher Manson, 1993...  The famous song "Over the River and Through the Wood" was adapted from a poem written by Child in the 1840's, about traveling to her grandparents' on Thanksgiving Day.  I remember singing it in the car (over and over again) on the way to my own grandparents' when I was young!  This book includes the music that goes with the words, as well as Manson's beautiful woodcut illustrations.

Sometimes It's Turkey -- Sometimes It's Feathers, written and illustrated by Lorna Balian, 1973... Mrs. Gumm finds a turkey egg in the forest one spring.  She takes it home where she hatches the egg and raises the young turkey, anticipating a tasty Thanksgiving dinner.  When the big day finally arrives, however, Mrs. Gumm has second thoughts about eating the bird she's cared for all year! 

I enjoyed the gentle humor of this book, and the surprise ending.

Thanksgiving at the Tappletons', written by Eileen Spinelli and illustrated by Megan Lloyd, 1982... The Tappleton family is planning a big holiday feast, but when one amusing mishap after another occurs, they discover that the most important part of Thanksgiving isn't the food, but spending time together. 

This is a fun book to snuggle up and read with loved ones!

The Thanksgiving Door, written and illustrated by Debby Atwell, 2003...  An elderly couple goes searching for an open restaurant on Thanksgiving when their dinner is accidentally burnt.  They find the door of the New World Cafe open, and go on in.  Meanwhile, the immigrant family who owns the cafe is surprised to see customers ~ the door was supposed to be closed and locked.  The children want to scare the strangers away, but Grandmother insists on inviting them to dinner, and it turns out to be a memorable holiday for all.

I really liked this heart-warming story with its colorful, cheery artwork.

Turk and Runt, written by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by Frank Ansley, 2002... Turk's parents are so proud of their oldest son, the biggest, strongest, most graceful turkey on Wishbone Farm.  His younger brother Runt, however, is worried.  He's figured out why people come to the farm in November, and doesn't want anyone taking his brother away.  What follows is utter silliness. 

This zany book had me laughing out loud on almost every page!

The Greatest Table: A Banquet to Fight Against Hunger, written by Michael J. Rosen and illustrated by Victoria Chess, Richard McGuire, Floyd Cooper, Guy Billout, Brian Pinkney, Diane Goode, David Wiesner, Dena Schutzer, Kevin Hawkes, Eve Chwast, Anita Lobel, Robert Sabuda, Chris Van Allsburg, Lois Ehlert, Lisa Campbell Ernst, and Patricia Polacco, 1994...  I bought this 12-foot-long accordion book back when it first came out (proceeds benefited Share Our Strength, an anti-hunger group), and re-read it every year.  A poem about ending world hunger is accompanied by 16 artists' images of "the greatest table", the world's dining room, all united by the common theme of people sharing food with others. 

I also found some interesting non-fiction books about Thanksgiving:

Celebrate Thanksgiving, written by Deborah Heiligman, 2006... This book is filled with stunning photographs, fun facts about this national holiday, a list of resources, and even a Native American prayer and a recipe for cranberry & peach preserves.

The Story of Thanksgiving, written by Robert Merrill Bartlett and illustrated by Sally Wern Comport, 2001...  This book provides the history behind Thanksgiving, as well as the music for "Over the River and Through the Wood" and a recipe for pumpkin muffins.  The rich illustrations help bring the words to life. 

Thanksgiving Crafts, written by Amy Bailey Muehlenhardt and illustrated by Nadine Takvorian, 2011...  From Pilgrim hats to a fall wreath to a turkey tamborine, this book is filled with fun and easy-to-make Thanksgiving crafts for kids.

Gobble! The Complete Book of Thanksgiving Words, written by Lynda Graham Barber and illustrated by Betsy Lewin, 1991... This middle-grade book describes almost 40 Thanksgiving-related words, offering entertaining information and unusual stories in addition to the etymology of the words.

Have you read any of the books above?  What did you think of them?  Do you have any favorite books for Thanksgiving?  I'd love to hear about them!

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