Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and parents often want to include books and movies in their celebrations. Many of us grew up with Peanuts and other holiday specials, but with the push to be more authentic, many of them are no longer viewed as accurate representations.
The image of Indigenous tribes and colonists from Europe breaking bread together has been removed from many minds, like the actual first Thanksgiving. Whether you want to introduce your children to the challenges Natives faced or the milder images of the season, there are fantastic books to illustrate the holiday. After all, we can be thankful on this day without veering into politics or crusades if that is what we choose.
Llama Llama Gives Thanks
Children love Llama Llama Red Pajama because they often identify with his emotions. In this book, he gives thanks for the things he has. We know that Llama Llama loves his mama and family. This book helps little ones give thanks to the people who mean the most to them.
We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga
One of the key components of Thanksgiving has always been the Native American population present in the United States. What better way to honor these tribes than to read a book that combines their heritage with the practice of giving thanks? This book focuses on the Cherokee tribe, which is present in some of the original thirteen colonies.
This book by Peter H. Reynolds is not quite a Thanksgiving book, but it teaches readers about the importance of family togetherness. It focuses on Violet’s family, who has drifted apart. She is a spunky little girl who puts together a plot to get her family back to the table.
Thank You, Omu
Another tale that isn’t exactly about Thanksgiving is Thank You, Omu. Omu cooks up a pot of stew that her community can’t resist. The story teaches children about the value of sharing what you gave. Omu winds up with no stew for herself. Do you think she goes hungry in this generous community? Open the book to see.
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey
Why did she swallow a turkey? Was it a whole turkey? Oh my! The “Old Lady” series is always fun and outrageous entertainment for children. Thanksgiving images abound in this silly book. Get the kids involved with the repetition of the story.
My Heart Fills with Happiness
Here’s another excellent book about thanks and gratitude. The characters in this book demonstrate their excitement and happiness with sounds, smells, tastes, and textures. It also celebrates a diverse population and allows children of color to see themselves on the pages of a book about happiness and warmth.
Around the Table Grandad Built
Like the Old Lady series, this book relies on repetition. However, the repetition in this book is all of the wonderful things that happen around the table that Grandad built. Grandparents are often the most important people in children’s lives outside of their parents. What wonderful things happened at your Grandad’s table. Did he build it?
Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade
Whether you watch the Macy’s Parade or America’s Parade in Detroit, you probably catch a few minutes of a parade each Thanksgiving. These two parades are the oldest in the US tied to Thanksgiving. How did Macy’s get tied up with all these balloons? Take a stroll through this book to find out the story behind this historic event.
The Little Kids Table
If your family had large extended family celebrations, you have probably sat at the kids’ table a time or two. You may have even found yourself at the odd divergence of kid and adult at some point and resented your time at the kids’ table. This book celebrates the kids’ table and reminds your kiddos that this is the place to be. Kids have more fun than adults anyway. Who wants to crash the party at the kids’ table this year?
Thanksgiving in the Woods
While most of us celebrate Thanksgiving around the table, there are some families with different traditions. This book showcases one such family. Everyone has their own traditions for holidays, but we don’t always think about how they are different. Diversity is beautiful in this book!
Indigenous people are vitally important on this holiday. Squanto’s tale comes to life in this beautifully illustrated book. Don’t forget that these stories need to be told throughout the year as well.
There are many books that you might choose to showcase in your home during this period. Be sure that they appeal to your children, but knowledge is power. Fun is also a key component of childhood. Have fun and give thanks this holiday season.