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12 Picture Books to Celebrate Giving Thanks!

12 Picture Books to Celebrate Giving Thanks!

It’s not always easy deciding how you want to approach Thanksgiving.  There are still glaring misconceptions about the events of the first Thanksgiving and the erasure of Native people on this continent.  Many people have varied associations with Thanksgiving, from a day of mourning or celebration of Native people to food, football, and family.  

Whether you’re upholding old traditions or creating new ones, we’ve pulled together a few Thanksgiving books that will surely be great for the kids in your life.  These are just a few books that embrace food cultures, honor Native American traditions, practice gratitude, and provide fuller accounts of the first Thanksgiving.  


My Heart Fills with Happiness by Monique Gray Smith(Ages 0-2)

The sun on your face. The smell of warm bannock baking in the oven. Holding the hand of someone you love. What fills your heart with happiness? This beautiful board book, with illustrations from celebrated artist Julie Flett, serves as a reminder for little ones and adults alike to reflect on and cherish the moments in life that bring us joy.

International speaker and award-winning author Monique Gray Smith wrote My Heart Fills with Happiness to support Indigenous children and families’ wellness and encourage young children to reflect on what makes them happy.

 


Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk (Ages 0-2)

The sun on your face. The smell of warm bannock baking in the oven. Holding the hand of someone you love. What fills your heart with happiness? This beautiful board book, with illustrations from celebrated artist Julie Flett, serves as a reminder for little ones and adults alike to reflect on and cherish the moments in life that bring us joy.

International speaker and award-winning author Monique Gray Smith wrote My Heart Fills with Happiness to support the wellness of Indigenous children and families and to encourage young children to reflect on what makes them happy.


Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Malliard (Ages 3-6)

This is a beautiful book that celebrates Native American culture through the art of making fry bread.  It honors the history and traditions of the past while making room for the future.

 

 

 

 


We are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell (Ages 3-7)

The word otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is used by members of the Cherokee Nation to express gratitude. Beginning in the fall with the new year and ending in summer, follow a full Cherokee year of celebrations and experiences.

 

 

 

 

 


Squanto’s Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving by Joseph Bruchac (Ages 4-7)

In 1620 an English ship called the Mayflower landed on the shores inhabited by the Pokanoket, and it was Squanto who welcomed the newcomers and taught them how to survive. When a good harvest was gathered, the people feasted together–a tradition that continues almost four hundred years later.

 


Peyton Picks the Perfect Pie: A Thanksgiving Celebration by America’s Test Kitchen Kids  (Ages 4-8)

Peyton is particular. But she’s not picky. It’s never a good thing. And it’s not fair.  Peyton is the hero of this food lover’s tale, and she is determined to confront her fear of new foods by finding a Thanksgiving pie she truly likes, even if it’s flaky, lumpy, or chunky.  This book is perfect for those kids that are leery of trying new foods.  

 


Rice and Rocks by Sandra L. Richards (Ages 4-8)

Giovanni’s friends are coming over for Sunday dinner, and his grandmother is serving rice and beans. Giovanni is embarrassed he does not like ‘rice and rocks’ and worries his friends will think the traditional Jamaican dish is weird. But his favorite Auntie comes to the rescue. She and Giovanni’s pet parrot, Jasper, take him on a magical journey across the globe, visiting places where people eat rice and rocks.  This is a perfect book for celebrating traditions in various cultures.  

 


Gratitude is My Superpower: A Children’s Book about Giving Thanks and Practicing Positivity by Alicia Ortega (Ages 4-8)

Do you want to teach your children how to be grateful for the things they already have?

Little Betsy will learn that happiness is made up of simple things in life, both small and big. With the help of the magic stone, she will begin to feel gratitude for her parents, friends, and toys. But what happens when little Betsy forgets to use the magic of her stone? She will realize that the power of gratitude is hidden in her heart.

“Gratitude is my superpower” will teach your little ones to appreciate the warmth of home, time spent playing with friends, and family relationships.


 

Thanks a Million by Nikki Grimes (Ages 4-8)

What does it mean to connect with someone? What does it mean to feel thankful?

Award-winning poet Nikki Grimes and Caldecott Honor artist Cozbi A. Cabrera honor human relationships–from family to friendships to community bonds–and the moments that bring us together.

Beautiful and rhythmic, the text is written in a variety of poetic styles and forms, including letter poems, haikus, and riddles, among others. Richly detailed illustrations accompany each poem, making this a perfect pick for family as well as storytime sharing.

 


Thank You Omu!  by Oge Mora (Ages 4-8)

Everyone in the neighborhood dreams of a taste of Omu’s delicious stew.  One by one, they follow their noses toward the scrumptious scent. And one by one, Omu offers a portion of her meal. Soon the pot is empty. Has she been so generous that she has nothing left for herself?

Debut author-illustrator Oge Mora brings to life a heartwarming story of sharing and community in colorful cut-paper designs as luscious as Omu’s stew, with an extra serving of love. An author’s note explains that Omu (pronounced AH-moo) means queen in the Igbo language of her parents, but growing up, she used it to mean Grandma. This book was inspired by the strong female role models in Oge Mora’s life.

 


Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena (Ages 3-5)

Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty–and fun–in their routine and the world around them.

This energetic ride through a bustling city highlights the wonderful perspective only grandparent and grandchild can share and comes to life through Matt de la Peña’s vibrant text and Christian Robinson’s radiant illustrations.

 


The World Is Awake by Linsey Davis (Ages 4-8)

 

Inspire children to be thankful for all of God’s blessings with this joyful celebration of the simple pleasures all around us. Perfect for sharing at bedtime or storytime, The World Is Awake gives children (and their parents) a sense of awe and wonder at the world around them.

 

 

 


**Just a heads up, Stories of a Colorful World may receive a small commission when you purchase through our links, at no cost to you. Our team selects all books. **

Kanika Mobley

Hi! I'm Kanika. I'm a mother and 20+ year educator. I started my career as a kindergarten teacher and fell in love with helping kids discover their reading identities. As they asked for certain books, I tried with all my might to keep the classroom library filled with high-engaging books that were both mirrors and windows for their experiences.

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