I think every month should be gratitude month. I love what Chesterton said… “Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” (That’s the sort of math I am really especially fond of!)
We pulled together a great roundup of books to help you celebrate the month of November (updated for 2019), including some Thanksgiving picks plus a couple of mine that I hope help cultivate that sense of wonder and thankfulness all year long.
Books for November and Giving Thanks
Over the River and Through the Woods by Lydia Maria Francis Child, illustrated by John Steven Gurnsey
I love the song, and nostalgia makes this one of my favorite Thanksgiving books. The full-page illustrations are very detailed, and the text follows the classic song word for word. So fun to read (or sing!) aloud.
Turkeys, Pilgrims, and Indian Corn by Edna Barth and Ursula Arndt
Historical research and entertaining, lively prose combine to relay the importance of Thanksgiving while uncovering fascinating and not-so-well-known holiday symbols, facts, legends and details. Beautifully illustrated and recommended for ages 9-12, this book is one that both children and adults can learn from with its exposure of general myths on topics such as clothing, historical moments, and relations between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans. If your child is ever planning to study the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving, this book is a great pick; it’s an enjoyable read, yet mixed with interesting and important historical research.
Silly Tilly’s Thanksgiving Dinner by Lillian Hoban
You know I love silly! Silly Tilly’s memory is playing tricks on her again — she has “forgotten to remember” that she has invited all of her friends over for Thanksgiving dinner! On top of that, Tilly has accidentally sent out her recipe cards instead of the invitations. Oh no! Fortunately Tilly’s friends are one step ahead of her and each come to dinner with a delicious Thanksgiving dish in hand. Recommended for ages 4-8, Silly Tilly’s Thanksgiving Dinner is a great I Can Read Book for the beginning readers in your family this holiday. Plus, it doesn’t get much better than Lillian Hoban’s adorably illustrated furry animal friends and fantastic children’s writing.
The Thankful Book by Todd Parr
I am thankful for music because it makes me want to dance.
I am thankful for my feet because they help me run and play.
I am thankful for kisses because they make me feel loved.
Todd Parr’s bestselling books have taught kids about unconditional love, respecting the earth, facing fears, and more, all with his signature blend of playfulness and sensitivity. Now, The Thankful Book celebrates all the little things children can give thanks for. From everyday activities like reading and bath time to big family meals together and special alone time between parent and child, Todd inspires readers to remember all of life’s special moments.
The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh
In this festive Caldecott Honor-winning picture book, Alice Dalgiesh brings to life the origin of the Thanksgiving holiday for readers of all ages. Giles, Constance and Damaris Hopkins are all passengers aboard the crowded Mayflower, journeying to the New World to start a new life. Things get a little more cramped when their baby brother Oceanus is born during the passage. However, when they arrive, there are even worse challenges to face as the Pilgrims are subjected to hunger, cold, and sickness that put their small colony in great danger. With the help of the Native Americans though, they might just be able to survive their first year in this strange land — and have a November harvest to celebrate for generations!
Sharing the Bread by Pat Zietlow Miller and Jill McElmurry
We will share the risen bread.
Our made-with-love Thanksgiving spread.
Grateful to be warm and fed.
We will share the bread.
In this spirited ode to the holiday, set at the turn of the twentieth century, a large family works together to make their special meal. Mama prepares the turkey, Daddy tends the fire, Sister kneads, and Brother bastes. Everyone—from Grandma and Grandpa to the littlest baby—has a special job to do. Told in spare, rhythmic verse and lively illustrations, Sharing the Bread is a perfect read-aloud to celebrate the Thanksgiving tradition.
Thanksgiving in the Woods by Phyllis Alsdurf and Jenny Lovlie
Every year a family and their friends gather in the woods to celebrate Thanksgiving among the trees. Everyone brings something to share and the day becomes a long celebration of family, faith, and friendship. Told in a gentle, lyrical style, this picture book includes warm illustrations of people gathered around bonfires and long tables adorned with candles and food, singing songs and sharing laughter.
Everyone’s a New Yorker on Thanksgiving Day, when young and old rise early to see what giant new balloons will fill the skies for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Who first invented these “upside-down puppets”? Meet Tony Sarg, puppeteer extraordinaire! In brilliant collage illustrations, Caldecott Honor artist Melissa Sweet tells the story of the puppeteer Tony Sarg, capturing his genius, his dedication, his zest for play, and his long-lasting gift to America—the inspired helium balloons that would become the trademark of Macy’s Parade. Winner of the 2012 Robert F. Sibert Medal and the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award.
Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes and Doris Barrette
Sweet text, beautiful detailed illustrations, and even a place to write down thankful thoughts year after year.
Because of an Acorn by Lola M. Schaefer
Because of an acorn, a tree grows, a bird nests, a seed becomes a flower. Enchanting die-cuts illustrate the vital connections between the layers of an ecosystem in this magical book. Wander down the forest path to learn how every tree, flower, plant, and animal connect to one another in spiraling circles of life. An acorn is just the beginning.
Why Do Leaves Change Color? by Betsy Maestro, Illustrated by Loretta Krupinski
If you’ve read True Colors, you know I’m fascinated by the change leaves go through each season. This book explains the scientific process of concepts like chlorophyll and photosynthesis with easy-to-understand diagrams and bright, detailed illustrations. Finish your reading time with one of their fabulous leaf activities, like leaf rubbings, leaf pressing, and leaf sorting.
The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger
This sweet story is about a tiny yellow leaf who’s afraid of facing the unknown. Have you ever felt that way? It celebrates friendship and braving the world together. For anyone who needs a little encouragement, this poetic picture book is sure to stir up courage as you cheer on the little yellow leaf and his scarlet friend.
The Roll-Away Pumpkin by Junia Wonders, Illustrated by Daniela Volpari
What a silly, wonderful, and whimsical book! Follow along with a little girl who chases her giant pumpkin all over town, getting help along the way from a wild cast of characters, beautifully illustrated with big expressions and unforgettable scenes. You’ll love repeating the chorus together: “Diddle-dee-doo! Oh, what shall I do?” Try asking your little one to guess what will happen next!
Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd-Jones and Jago
Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing is a devotional, offering 101 simple-yet- profound thoughts on faith. I hope this book helps families cultivate gratitude little by little, day by day. Winner of Christian Book of the Year in the adult (!) inspirational category.
Baby Wren and the Great Gift by Sally Lloyd-Jones and Jen Corace
A tiny wren marvels at the incredible creatures around her, all the while wishing she had a special gift to share. As she takes in the beauty of the world around her, she discovers a unique talent that’s been inside her all along. This book is a celebration of all the wonderful gifts God has given us.
What are your favourites? Any to add? We’d love to include them in next year’s list!
Happy November & Happy Thanksgiving!