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We Come Together with Thanks

By on November 2, 2017

‘Tis the season to be thankful, and we have much to be grateful for as we reflect on the hurricane season and that we have limited damage compared to what was predicted. Often, when I feel grateful, I look for ways to share what I have with others and spread the gratitude as wide as I’m able. May we always have enough to share.

by Meribeth C. Shank 


by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Archie Preston

thankfulSpinelli’s rhyming picture book is a listing of what makes people feel grateful. In the family-centered illustrations, an imaginative brother and sister play at acting like a waitress, who “is thankful for comfortable shoes,” a firefighter, a clown, doctor, mayor, sailor – to mention a few. Additionally, an “artist is thankful for color and light” and a “mayor is thankful for every vote.”

Preston uses pastel watercolors outlined in black ink with lots of white space to emphasize the expressions and activities of the characters. This charming book can easily prompt readers to look at their own lives with thankful hearts.

Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten – Grade 3

Over the River and Through the Woods: A Holiday Adventure

by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Kim Smith
BOOK-riverGrandma and Grandpa’s invitation to their home for the holiday triggers a modern version of the often-heard Thanksgiving song. Endpapers at the front and back are portraits of the four diverse families of the adult children. Dark and light skin, adopted children, same gender parents, plus an assortment of locations where they make their homes, are a visual feast.

The families’ journeys are equally varied; by ferryboat, airplane, subway, hot air balloon, car, shuttle, train. As their paths converge near the grandparents’ home, each family discovers a problem with their travel plans. They are rescued by an increasingly crowded horse-drawn sleigh, accompanied by the horse’s rhyming “NEIGH!” adding to the happy chaos.

The digital illustrations are detailed, colorful and active. While the double page spread of the full table for Thanksgiving dinner is demonstrably a gathering of love. This happy picture book is perfect for traveling families headed to their own gatherings.

Sterling, $14.95 • Interest Level: Pre-School – Grade 2

Samuel Eaton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy
Sarah Morton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl

Both by Kate Waters, with photographs by Russ Kendall

BOOK-samuelThese companion books separately feature a boy and girl and describe the lives of children recreated from actual accounts. Carefully photographed with child interpreters from Plimoth Plantation, each book takes its readers from daybreak to sunset. It shows the children getting dressed, the work of the day, mealtimes, lessons, and bedtimes.

The detail is a tribute not only to the outstanding photography, but to the care that has been taken to accurately reflect how clothing was laced, how fields were harvested, how fences were constructed. Also, what fireplaces, tools, furniture, food, games, school supplies gardens and many other daily use items looked BOOK-sarahlike and how they were used.

Both Samuel and Sarah were real children who lived in 1627, which is the year that Plimoth Plantation, the outdoor living museum features. The back matter includes information About Plimoth Plantation, Notes About the Book, and a Glossary. Additionally, Who Was Samuel Eaton? And, Who Was Sarah Morton? Comparisons with present day are instructive and engaging after or even during the reading of these delightful books.

Life of Pilgrim Boy (Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten – Grade 2)
Life of Pilgrim Girl (Interest Level: Grade 2-4)

Both published by Scholastic, $7.99 (paperback)

Meribeth Shank works in the Media Center at Miami Country Day School, an independent school in Miami Shores, Florida, has taught 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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