Holidays can be tricky to explain to children. Columbus Day, for example, after the children came home from school saying they’d learned (1) Columbus wasn’t supposed to be searching for America, and (2) he didn’t realize he had discovered something new, and (3) people were already living here, so isn’t that more like being a conqueror than a discoverer? “So what IS Columbus Day, Mother dear?” “A Monday off from school in October, children dear.”
Thanksgiving is tricky, too, with all the awkward issues that crop up now that we look back on it. BUT WE PERSEVERE. And this is what I love about children’s books: the authors too have struggled with how to explain it, but unlike me they have come to a conclusion, and I can read that conclusion to the children and then make modifications if necessary. (And if you’re looking for an assortment of books, all the books in this post qualify as of posting time for Amazon’s 4-for-3 deal: if you add four books to your cart, one of them will automatically be free.)
Thanksgiving is For Giving Thanks (photo from Amazon.com). “Yes, yes, pilgrims and Indians,” this book seems to say, “But perhaps it would be better at this point in history to focus on the MODERN meaning.” The things we eat! The things we are currently thankful for!
The Night Before Thanksgiving (photo from Amazon.com). We have had a few of these “Night Before” books over the years: they tend to be included in holiday packs from Scholastic. It irritates me to read something so determined to cram words into a particular rhythm, but the kids seem to like it and I usually feel like it does a good job of covering a bunch of interesting details about a holiday (in this case, things like watching the parade and bringing out the folding chairs). Plus, the illustrations appeal to me.
If You Were at the First Thanksgiving (photo from Amazon.com). This is for the child that wants THE SCOOP. I love the look of the table of contents (this sample is also from Amazon):
That list makes me want to KNOW THE ANSWERS. This is a book I might read MYSELF, because it’s been awhile since I was in 2nd grade and I’m a little fuzzy on the details.
Fancy Nancy: Our Thanksgiving Banquet (photo from Amazon.com). I like the way this one describes the modern celebration, and I like the stickers, and I’m a fan of fanciness in general (though I’d prefer a less-fancy font). But…it refers to “authentic” cranberry sauce as “the kind that doesn’t come out of a can.” Wait, what? The only authentic cranberry sauce is cylindrical.
Maisy’s Thanksgiving (photo from Amazon.com). Aw, this book makes me wish I still had really little kids in the house! Maisy is probably my top favorite character for the baby/toddler stage, and this book looks really fun with all the stickers. Hm, maybe Henry would still like it: babies don’t really do sticker books anyway, and he’s only four…