Since Thanksgiving is tomorrow, this post is too late you be useful to you, but maybe you'll pin it for next year? We got nearly 20 Thanksgiving/fall books from the library this month and I wanted to share our favorites, which just happened to be of the nice round number 10. I'll admit, a few of these books were more of my pick than Lucia's as they were a bit over the head of an almost-two-year old, so this list isn't just for toddlers, but for older children as well.
1. What is Thanksgiving? by Michelle Medlock Adams, Illustrated by Amy Wummer
Cute, funny rhymes that remind that Thanksgiving is not about the football or parades or food, but Thankfulness and the Lord.
2. The Story of Thanksgiving by Nancy J. Skarmeas, Illustrated by Stacy Venture-Pickett
Explains the historical basis of Thanksgiving in simple language for little ones.
3. My First Thanksgiving by Tomie dePaola
In very basic language and the beautiful illustrations typical of Tomie dePaola, this book shares the basics of Thanksgiving understandable by the youngest of children.
4. 10 Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston, Illustrated by Rich Deas
A really silly turkey book in the vein of "5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed" only the turkeys are falling off a fence for various reasons (including one riding a boar). Was so off the wall, it even made my husband laugh.
5. The Night Before Thanksgiving by Natasha Wing, Illustrated by Tammie Lyon
A fun Thanksgiving variation of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Probably best for preschoolers on up.
6. A Child's World of Thankfulness by Janet McDonnell, Illustrated by Mechelle Ann
Not Thanksgiving specific, a sweet book that helps children to understand the concept of thankfulness by mentioning the things, big and small, that they might feel thankfulness for. Lucia was stuck on the cookies, so maybe we'll have to pick this one up again next year.
7. The Very First Thanksgiving Day by Rhonda Gowler Greene, Illustrated by Susan Gaber
I loved this book - the rhymes were very soothing, the book built phrases upon each other, the illustrations were gorgeous. Lucia was a little young for this one, although she enjoyed looking at the pictures.
8. Strega Nona's Harvest by Tomie dePaola
This one is also not specific to Thanksgiving, but ties into the fall and harvest. I am a huge fan of Tomie dePaola in general and Strega Nona in particular, so this was a no-brainer for us. Although it's a bit lengthy for Lucia's attention span, she had no problem staying engaged in the story and following along with the beautiful illustrations.
9. Gracias the Thanksgiving Turkey by Joy Cowley, Illustrated by Joe Cepeda
This is one of my absolute favorites. It's hard to pinpoint just a few of it's merits. Unlike most Thanksgiving books, it features Americans of various ethnicities. The main character is a young Puerto Rican boy, Miguel, who lives in New York with a multigenerational family and whose father is gone as a truck driver. His father send him a turkey to "fatten up" for Thanksgiving and Miguel predictably becomes attached to the point that the turkey, Gracias, even follows him into Mass one day. I don't want to give too much away but this book is charming. Charming!
10. A Gift of Gracias by Julia Alvarez, Illustrated by Beatris Vidal
Another one that doesn't mention Thanksgiving, it recounts the tale of Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia (Our Lady of Thanks), a image of the Virgin Mary in the Dominican Republic.