November Books: We are Thankful

By on November 4, 2014

Sponsored by The Children’s Trust


Gramma and Grampa are among your child’s best choices for reading books aloud together.  They are second only to you, the parent!  Both parents and grandparents read with and to children for multiple reasons — to entertain, to explain, and to charge up their curiosity — to mention a few.  Reading out loud does all of these especially well.

Reading aloud also builds vocabulary, creates background knowledge, and plants the interest in your child to read on her/his own.   Reading together offers your child a role model.  And, perhaps most important, your child is supplied with lots of opportunities to associate reading with pleasure.

We know that we choose to do what brings us pleasure, again and again.  The same is true for our children. Especially during this month, we recognize much for which we are thankful.  Let’s also give our children many occasions to recall reading together with pleasure.  Enjoy!

by Meribeth C. Shank


BOOK-greatthanksgivingThe Great Thanksgiving Escape

by Mark Fearing

Candlewick Press, $15.99 (hardcover)

Interest Level: Kindergarten – Grade 3

Remember those Thanksgiving gatherings with the WHOLE family?!?  Sometimes it’s a day of boredom. Occasionally however, like in this hilarious tale, an idea can provide an escape. Gavin’s family arrives at Grandma’s and he sees from the start, the day will NOT be fun. But cousin Rhonda suggests a plan. “The way I see it,” she says, “is that sometimes you have to make your own fun.” On the way to the swing set in the backyard, “vicious guard dogs” block the two cousins. (Although, readers actually see pups sleeping beside the front door.)  Then the two encounter the “Hall of Aunts,” and the “Great Wall of Butts” watching TV. Dodging all the traps enroute, they successfully arrive at the back door.  And . . . . it’s raining! Relatives of all shapes and sizes are dressed for a cold day in colorful coats, hats, gloves, and scarves.  The pencil illustrations have been digitally completed, with expressive faces and designs to evoke texture.  Large sizing emphasizes the teeth and googly eyes, provoking chuckles.  The final page, wordless, shows the pair “making their own fun,” grinning on the swings, in the rain!

BOOK-graciasGracias Thanks

by Pat Mora, illustrated by John Parra, translation by Adriana Dominguez.

Lee & Low Books, Inc., $17.95 (hardcover)

Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten – Grade 2

Award winner Mora has once again crafted a bilingual picture book to connect young children with the natural world.  The lyrical litany of thanks begins with early morning sunrise.  Next, the young boy notices a ladybug on his finger. “Foamy waves” chase him and his sister.

As the day continues, Abuelita (Grandmother) gives him a dollar.  Then, he catches a big fish. Later, his family enjoys the music of a guitar-playing uncle. A celebration with melted chocolate syrup on vanilla ice cream follows.  As the day ends, a cricket sings, until sleep comes. Companion pictures in bright acrylics on board supply color, texture, and movement.  Multiple cultures are represented as the range of thankfulness crosses the day.  An author’s note at the end invites readers to “keep the circle of giving thanks, growing.”

BOOK-maxmoonMax and the Tag-Along Moon

by Floyd Cooper

Philomel, $16.99 (hardcover)

Interest Level:  Junior-Kindergarten – Grade 1

When Max and Granpa say good-bye to each other, the giant moon is in the sky.  Granpa tells Max, “That moon will always shine for you . . . “ And Max waves to Granpa as the car drives him away from Granpa’s place. The full moon plays peekaboo, first around the “swervy” curves. Later, Max sees it over the bridge and between the trees.  The moon even shows up on the other side of a tunnel.  But clouds tumble “across the night sky.”  And Max wonders, “Where is the moon?” Award-winning author-illustrator Cooper matches his trademark illustrative style with his own comforting family story.  Featuring Max’s loving relationship with Granpa, Cooper focuses his sepia toned paintings on the expressive faces of the two main characters.  And the moon’s brilliant large face appears on nearly all the pages, until covered by clouds. When finally it emerges once again, the story ends where it began: with Granpa’s reassuring comment, “That ol’ moon will always shine for you . . . .”

More titles for FUN!

Have Fun Molly Lou Melon

by Patty Lovell, illustrated by David Catrow. Putnam, $16.99 (hardcover)
Interest Level: Kindergarten – Grade 2 (This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library; Civic Center, Palmetto Bay, West Dade Regional. Also may be purchased from Books & Books online:


by Emily Kate Moon. Dial $16.99 (hardcover)
Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 1 (This book is available to purchase from Books & Books online:

The Thankful Book

by Todd Parr. Little, Brown and Company, $11.00 (hardcover)
Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 2 (This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library; Main Library, Miami Lakes, Allapattah, Culmer Overtown, Edison, Lemon City, Miami Springs, Opa Locka.)

Amy’s Three Best Things

by Philippa Pearce, illustrated by Helen Craig. Candlewick Press, $15.99 (hardcover)
Interest Level: Junior-Kindergarten – Grade 1

When Charley Met Grampa

by Amy Hest, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. Candlewick Press, $15.99 (hardcover)
Interest Level: Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 2 (This book is available to purchase from Books & Books online:


Meribeth Shank works in the Media Center at Miami Country Day School, an independent school in Miami Shores, Florida, teaches classes on Writing Books for Children, and earned her MFA in Writing for children from Vermont College. You can also find her on the web:

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