Once Halloween passes, the holiday season seems to come on fast and furious, in a whirlwind of activities and fun. Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday for many, but does your preschooler understand what it is and why we celebrate? Take your little one beyond the big turkey dinner with these Thanksgiving books that explain different aspects of the holiday and why we have so much to celebrate and be thankful for.
Obviously Thanksgiving has a rich history and a tasty meal to go with it, but there is so much more behind the holiday than that. Thanksgiving Is for Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland and Sonja Lamut explains to little kids about what it truly means to give thanks for the important aspects of their lives -- family, friends and pets too on a level they can understand. Charming, warm illustrations drive the point home.
How about Thanksgiving's silly side? Didn't know it existed? Then you need to read 10 Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston, a fun book that squeezes in a math lesson (or ten). The premise is simple, and it actually doesn't mention Thanksgiving at all. But it is a hoot to read and little ones will enjoy looking at the bright pictures that have a lot of funny details. A great one to take out while your designated chef puts the finishing touches on the meal.
How did Thanksgiving get started? And who or what is a Pilgrim? The Story of the Pilgrims by Katharine Ross and illustrated by Carolyn Croll tells the story of the brave men and women who traveled to their new home across the Atlantic Ocean, as well as detailing their first year in America. Great for preschoolers, the book takes a lot of historical information and boils it down to important, simple facts that little ones will understand.
What are big and colorful and float down New York City streets every Thanksgiving? The balloons of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade of course! Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade by Melissa Sweet tells the story of another beloved Thanksgiving Day tradition -- the big parade! Informative and fun, this non-fiction tale introduces us to Tony Sarg, the man behind the balloons.
In Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes and illustrated by Doris Barrette, the story of the holiday is told through the eyes of a brother and sister who share everything they are thankful for. The text is great for preschoolers to understand and the illustrations offer up a ton of fun details that you won't grow tired of looking at. One of the best parts of the book has to be at the end where you can record what it is your child is thankful for.
Using the familiar storytelling method, One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims by B. G. Hennessy and illustrated by Lynne Avril Cravath shows the young pilgrims and their Wampanoag neighbors at work getting ready for their Thanksgiving feast. The rhythmic text is easy-to-follow and includes lessons about that historic day. The end culminates in a lovely illustration of all the friends and reinforces the significance of the holiday, as well as a nice lesson about teamwork and cooperation.
Told from the perspective of little ones putting on a play for school, T is for Turkey: A True Thanksgiving Story by Tanya Lee Stone and illustrated by Gerald Kelley details Thanksgiving alphabetically. Filled with words that your child has probably heard plenty of this time of year (such as "pilgrim" and "harvest") and visually interesting illustrations, this is a great overview of the fourth Thursday in November.