Thanksgiving in the United States is a time to celebrate with family and friends and reflect upon life’s gifts and blessings. It also can provide an excellent introduction to American History as children learn about the journey of the Pilgrims and their survival as well as Native American Culture.
For kindergartners, there are several appropriate books that address Thanksgiving related topics. Parents and teachers who need assistance selecting quality books should consult with their local librarian.
Native American Culture
“Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message” by Chief Jake Swamp and illustrated by Erwin Printup, Jr. is a picture book appropriate for kindergarten children eager to learn about Native American culture. It is recommended specifically for Thanksgiving by the Oyate organization. Oyate is a publisher and reviewer of children’s books that accurately portray Native American culture. Chief Swamp provides a view inside the spiritual world of the people of the Six Nations. The book’s message to embrace the beauty of the Earth is one that can easily be understood by both Native American and non-Native American children alike. The artistry of the words is complemented by the poetic illustrations that create a spiritual style and theme. It can be used to discuss the concept of thankfulness as well as Native American culture.
Celebrate Diversity of American Culture
Recommended by the “Library Journal” for audiences in grades K through 5, “Duck for Turkey Day” by Jacqueline Jules and illustrated by Kathryn Mitter celebrates the diversity of American culture. Rather than a turkey dinner, Tuyet’s family celebrates the holiday with a duck prepared using her grandmother’s recipe from Vietnam. She learns that many other students in her class do not eat turkey on Thanksgiving but dishes that reflect their unique cultural backgrounds. America is indeed the great melting pot of cultures and this book helps celebrate such diversity. If taught in a classroom setting, the “School Library Journal” suggests having students bring in family recipes and create a classroom cookbook.
Suggested by the Children’s Book Center at University of Wisconsin, Madison School of Education, “The Firefighter’s Thanksgiving” by Maribeth Boelts and illustrated by Terry Widener is an appropriate picture book for kindergarten age children learning about Thanksgiving. With bright illustrations, the book tells the story of a firehouse preparing their Thanksgiving feast and a grateful community who pitched-in to help put food on their table.
Just For Fun
Reviewed by the Literature Comprehensive Database, “Turkey Day” by Grace Maccarone and illustrated by John Manders is a bright and colorful book that will grab the attention of kindergarten students. Listed as an early reader book by Scholastic, children watch the turkeys as they go through their fun and silly day starting when their alarm clock goes off early in the morning and they jump out of bed.
Children’s Literature reviewer, Carlee Hallman, suggests that children can identify the food on the turkey’s table as the book is read.