Are you starting to think about the activities you will do with your class for Thanksgiving? Here are three new books that will help younger students understand both the spirit and the history of the holiday. Share them in a read aloud or add them to your classroom library as we lead up to the big day.
1. The Thankful Book
Written and illustrated by Todd Parr. $9.99.
We love the bright and colorful simplicity of Todd Parr’s books, and this thankful-themed collection is no exception. With statements like “I am thankful for music because it makes me want to dance” and “I am thankful for my feet because they help me run and play,” it will help even the youngest students understand the concept of gratitude, both at Thanksgiving and all year long. Best for grades PreK–1.
Activity to try: Invite students to draw a portrait of themselves in the style of Todd Parr, then write their own “thankful statements” to share with family.
2. Sarah Gives Thanks: How Thanksgiving Became a National Holiday
Written by Mike Allegra, illustrated by David Gardner. $16.99.
Your students may know the history of the first Thanksgiving, but do they know the story of Sarah Josepha Hale, the woman who campaigned to make Thanksgiving a national holiday? This picture book biography will introduce students to Sarah and her incredible tenacity in recognizing Thanksgiving’s importance. Best for grades K–2.
Activity to try: Ask students if there are any special days they think should be holidays. Why? As a class, decide on one day that you think should be commemorated and write a letter to your local government explaining your reasoning.
3. Bear Says Thanks
Written by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman. $16.99.
We adore Wilson and Chapman’s charming “Bear” series (check out “Bear Snores On” if you don’t already know the books) so we were delighted by this seasonal take on friendship, in which Bear hosts a feast to say thank you to all of his pals. Best for grades PreK–2.
Activity to try: If your students were hosting a meal to say thanks to their friends and family, who would they invite and why? Have children draw a Thanksgiving table and show who would be invited, including captions that explain why each guest would be included.
Question for you: What books will you read with your class in honor of Thanksgiving?