Happy November, Eerdlings! Christmas music is on the radio and people are putting together shopping lists, and while I am ALL ABOUT Christmas, there’s another important holiday to celebrate before we go down that particular rabbit hole chimney.
Thanksgiving has long been one of my favorite holidays, both because it promotes gratitude and because it comes with large quantities of food.
But in case you need some help getting into the Thanksgiving spirit, here are seven books to remind you of things to be thankful for.
1. The Watcher
We’ll start off with a universal blessing. No matter who you are/what you do/where you live, you’ve got a friend, and they make your life better.
And our brand new book The Watcher is a great reminder of the importance of friendship.
Jordan is alone and scared because he keeps getting bullied by Tanya, but Tanya’s only mean to cover up her own loneliness. The story of how they set aside their differences and learn how to become friends is heartwarming and lovely, and it will leave you with a better appreciation for your own awesome squad.
Only recently published, The Watcher has already received STARRED reviews from Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Shelf Awareness.
2. Library Lily
You knew books were going to be on the list of things to be grateful for. And Library Lily is the perfect book to help you celebrate the joy of reading. Lily LOVES to read, so much so that she neglects to do anything else. But then she meets Milly, who thinks books are boring and prefers to spend her time having adventures.
Both girls end up making priority adjustments, which is a great way to show that books are an important element of everyday life, provided that you keep a good balance.
Library Lily won the 2012 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People
in the Pre K through Grade 3 category.
3. One Big Family
Let’s be real: you love your family, but in the stress and chaos of the holidays, it’s easy to take them for granted. Enter One Big Family, which is a whole book dedicated to family reunions.
The text is cheerful and warm, which really helps to remind you of all the good memories you have with your own family. But personally, I especially love the artwork, because it captures a lot of the funny mishaps that always seem to occur when you get a big group of people together. The end result is a real, loving portrait of family togetherness.
4. When a Wolf Is Hungry
Whether it’s calling AAA when you lock your keys in the car or watering your plants when you’re out of town, good neighbors are a blessing. And nobody knows that more than the residents in When a Wolf Is Hungry. Wolf Edmond Bigsnout finds himself in an apartment building, trying to hunt a city bunny for dinner. Unfortunately, the rabbit’s neighbors keep asking to borrow Edmond’s murder tools—he reluctantly gives away his cooking pot, grill, and chainsaw, until he’s left with only condiments. Edmond eventually learns the value of a community in this surprisingly sincere story.
“This book is a riot, and will be entertaining on different levels for adults and kids. Adults will enjoy the sly references to the board game Clue and to bumbling Inspector Clouseau. Kids will love the humor and the happy ending.” —Rhapsody in Books Kid Lit Review
“From the start, the text and the masterful, mixed-media artwork are both funny and suspenseful.” —Kirkus Reviews
5. A Dog Like Sam and Sam in Winter
It’s no secret around the office that I love animals, the fluffier the better.
So, of course, I fell in love with the Sam books, which are about a Great Pyrenees (if you’re unfamiliar with this breed, picture a golden retriever mixed with a polar bear) that mysteriously shows up in Kix’s yard one day. Sam is the doggiest doggo that ever dogged, which is to say he’s everything you could ever want in a pet.
Even if you’re a cat person, the Sam books will remind you just how much joy and love pets add to your life.
“[A Dog Like Sam] speaks the international language of dog-lovers while also quietly providing an unvarnished yet ultimately compassionate portrait of mental illness.”
—Horn Book Review
“[Sam in Winter is] for pet lovers who have experienced that special relationship with an animal, this emotionally charged story will be memorable. . .”
—Canadian Review of Materials
6. Little Big
—The Here and Now
I don’t know about you, but I often focus on to-do lists and future events so much that I don’t stop and appreciate my life in the moment.
The boy in Little Big is like that too. He wants to be big like his older brother, because life would just be so much easier if he was bigger. (He would finally be able to open the cookie jar all by himself!) But gradually he realizes that being little has its perks too.
Little Big is a great read for when you want to keep things in perspective and focus on the good things that are happening in your life right now.
“Jonathan Bentley’s irresistible illustrations elaborate on the possibilities hinted at in his sparse text and gives this narrative wings: a story of childhood, growing up and the wonders of the imagination.” —Kids’ Book Review
7. Thank You, God
Thank You, God is, as the title suggests, a book totally dedicated to giving thanks. The art is bright and beautiful, but personally I think it’s the text that really sings. It celebrates the standard favorites, like food, family, and home. But it also gives thanks for surprising, creative things, like beluga whales learning new words.
In my mind, this is always The Thanksgiving Book, because it does such a wonderful job of revealing all the great things we get to experience in everyday life.
We all have plenty of things to be grateful for. We just have to look around.
“An inspiring and accessible introduction to the practice of prayer.”
—Publishers Weekly, STARRED review
“Family, friends, shared meals, and shared stories are just a few of the everyday familiars with which readers will identify. But some of the spreads artistically recreate the natural world, and these pictures, rendered in digital paints and photographic textures, make an especially strong impression and capture the wonder of the universe.”
—Booklist, STARRED review
“Thank You, God has a peaceful rhythm and a timeless truth. . . . [It] would make a memorable gift for a young child. . .” —Christian Library Journal