Can you believe that Thanksgiving is this Thursday? I'll confess that I don't have many favorite Thanksgiving books (Christmas is another story). so I usually focus on books about families and food for Thanksgiving story times and displays. Here are some of my favorite family-oriented books:
Big Red Lollipop captures the challenges of sibling issues in a relatable and sweet way; although Rubina tries to convince her mother that younger siblings don't tag along with older siblings to birthday parties ("they don't do that here"), her mother is not swayed. Little sister Sana embarrasses Rubina at the party, but when Sana is invited to a party and mother Ami insists that little sister Maryam also tag along, Rubina resists the urge to take revenge and convinces her mother to let Sana attend the party by herself.
Building Our House follows a family undertaking a huge challenge: building their own home! As the months progress (as well as Mom's pregnancy in the illustrations), the family lives in a small trailer while the house's foundation is completed, with some help with family and friends. This is an adorable book about a family living a self-sufficient lifestyle; Jonathan Bean continues the family's story (which is autobiographical in sense) in This is My Home, This is My School, which chronicles a typical homeschooling day for the family.
If you know a military family that will not share the holidays together, consider Brave Like Me for a holiday read or purchase. Through the eyes of a girl and boy dealing with the fears and uncertainties of having a deployed parent, this offers a message of reassurance and comfort, with striking photographs of servicemen and servicewomen from many ethnicities.
Tuyet is not looking forward to explaining to her classmates that her Vietnamese-American family will eat duck instead of turkey for Thanksgiving Day. Although her family's Thanksgiving feast turns out to be a fabulous meal, she still dreads "sharing time" on the first day back from Thanksgiving vacation. Much to her surprise, she learns that she was not the only one to have a non-turkey meal: one family served lamb, another cooked enchiladas, and another family had a tofu turkey! Duck for Turkey Day is one of my favorite Thanksgiving themed books, as it celebrates the commanality of our national holiday, but acknowledging the different ways it can be celebrated.
The unnamed family in Feast for 10 is preparing for a big dinner, which requires all hands on deck! Everyone young and old assists with shopping for groceries, preparing the meal, and setting the table before sitting down to enjoy a well-deserved meal. This simple counting story is a staple in my toddler story time.
Nino is a powerful lucha libre wrestler until he faces his fiercest opponents--little sisters newly awakened from their naps! Nino Wrestles the World is an adorable sibling story and a peek at lucha libre style wrestling, which is popular in Mexico.
Sharing the Bread: An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving Story is a charming read aloud that follows an early 20th century family organizing and gathering for a Thanksgiving celebration; everyone helps to bring the big feast to fruition, including the baby blissfully napping during the busy activity.
Although set during summer, The Relatives Came is a perfect fit for family-themed picture books; this look at a large extended family gathering for food, fun, and memories is funny and rings true for anyone who knows the chaos and joy of family reunions.
Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library