Tis the Season, but Cranberry Thanksgiving is actually the first book in the Cranberryport series by Wende and Harry Devlin. Yes, this book was written in 1971, but give it a chance because it is still a wonderful story about family, Thanksgiving tradition, and not judging people based on their appearances.
Another oldie, but goodie is Silly Tilly's Thanksgiving Dinner by the prolific children's author and illustrator, Lillian Hoban. If your child is beginning to read on their own this is a wonderful, simple easy reader for the Thanksgiving holiday. I cannot imagine any little one not falling in love with Hoban's adorable woodland friends rendered in watercolor. If you clicked on the Tis the Season link above you probably noticed that Hoban is also the illustrator of my favorite Christmas story, Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas. I guess that it is hard not to go back to the authors and illustrators from your own childhood and want to share them with your own kids.
I promise that I do like picture books that were published in this century. One of my current favorites is Run,Turkey, Run! by Diane Mayr. This fun and colorful picture featuring a turkey trying to hide with other animals on the farm is perfect for younger kids.
If you like the idea of the turkey escaping, nothing compares to Dav Pilkey's (of Captain Underpants fame) Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving. This hilarious adaptation of the classic Clement C. Moore poem tells the story of an elementary class on a field trip to a local farm. After having so much fun playing with the farmer's turkeys they are horrified to learn that their feathered friends are destined to be sold for Thanksgiving dinners. The children quickly formulate a plan save the turkeys by smuggling them on to the school bus.
Speaking of beautiful paintings, older children may enjoy is N.C. Wyeth's Pilgrims with text written by Robert San Souci. N.C. Wyeth was famous for illustrating classics such as Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe and also his paintings of the American Frontier. His paintings in Pilgrims are a gorgeous way to teach children about the first Thanksgiving, as well as, introduce them to the artwork of the Wyeth family
Wyeth's son and daughter, Andrew and Carolyn, and his grandson, Jamie, have all been talented and successful artists. Most of us have probably seen copies of Andrew's painting, Master Bedroom, which as the owner of yellow lab is one of my favorites.
Of course, a book does not have to be specifically about Thanksgiving Day to be perfect for the season. Three great books about giving thanks to those who love and help us are Splat the Cat Says Thank You by Rob Scotton, Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson, and Ten Thank You Letters by Daniel Kirk.
Brightly (which is one of my favorite book and activity blogs so check it out) has some excellent book-related printable activities here. One of them is a printable placemat featuring Pig and Rabbit from Ten Thank Yous and also some thank you cards you can print out for your kids to write.
You can look online and find oodles of Thanksgiving crafts from paper Pilgrim hats to hand print turkeys. Here are two of the crafts that I did with my storytime kids this November that were cute and relatively easy.
This is my fingerprint Indian corn. I cut the corn shapes out of old manila folder dividers (someone donated a gazillion of these to the library) which were the perfect color and sturdier than construction paper. You can buy the corn husk looking ribbon at Michael's or just use yarn or hemp to tie the two ears together. I put out red, yellow, brown, white, and orange paint and let the kids either use their fingers or a Q-tip to do the kernels. Some kids do not like getting paint on their fingers. This never fails to mystify me, because my kids have always loved to get messy. As you can see from the picture, some kids did better than others at making dots, but as long as they have fun making it, who cares? ff you do not want to use paint you can always cut circles out of construction paper and glue them on or just draw the kernels on with markers or crayons.
Hopefully, I have given you some new suggestions for Thanksgiving books and activities and you will be able to hold off on Christmas for at least another week.