Children’s Thanksgiving Books

I have shared some of our family’s favorite Christmas books (along with our Christmas Eve tradition) before so I thought it would be good to share some of our favorite Thanksgiving books.

I keep all of our holiday books together and only take out the ones that pertain to that month at the beginning of the month. I’m pretty sure that’s the former teacher in me coming out.

Nothing fancy for storing them – just some old milk crates in our storage closet. (Christmas – bottom shelf; Halloween – left of top shelf; February – right of top shelf)


It’s exciting to see all of our favorite books come out and sit and enjoy them. Please tell me about any favorites your family might have.

Ten Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston

-Cute rhyming & counting book with each turkey falling off the fence after some mishap-

Fat Turkey's Song (Thanksgiving Song)


I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Alison Jackson

*My friend Betty gave this book to my children years ago & it’s always a favorite – the illustrations show grandma eating the entire Thanksgiving dinner, even the pot it was cooked in!


Arthur’s Thanksgiving by Marc Brown

Arthur is in charge of the school Thanksgiving play and he can’t find anyone willing to be the turkey –


 Thanksgiving Mice! By Bethany Roberts

-Adorable board book about mice putting on a Thanksgiving play, one of our favorites-


Franklin’s Thanksgiving by Paulette Bourgeois

Franklin is sad because his grandparents can’t come for Thanksgiving. He decides to invite some friends to dinner without telling his parents.


Olivia Talks Turkey by Farrah McDoogle

Olivia is up to her usual antics this time learning how to “call” turkeys with the help of her teacher Mrs. Higenmuller


We Gather Together…Now Please Get Lost! by Diane DeGroat

We added this book to our Thanksgiving pile last year – Gilbert is not happy with his partner on the school field trip to Pilgrim Town so he ditches him once they arrive. Unfortunately it was not a good move for Gilbert.


The First Thanksgiving by Garnet Jackson

– Simple reader that shares the Thanksgiving story –


We’re Gong on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

Not necessarily a Thanksgiving book but the illustrations indicate it’s cold and windy so I put it in our pile.


A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving DVD

Not a book but one of my kids favorite holiday DVD’s – always fun to pull this out in November


And here’s our new Thanksgiving book this year (book fairs sucker me in everytime)…my 8 year old LOVED this book and read the whole thing in one day, constantly spouting out facts he found interesting.

What Was the First Thanksgiving? by Joan Holub

This 100 page book is filled with illustrations, maps, pictures, and information about both the Indians and the Pilgrims.


I’m already thinking about adding these books to our collection next year…

The Berenstain Bears Thanksgiving Blessings by Mike Berenstain


The Night Before Thanksgiving by Natasha Wing


Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of The Puppeteer of the Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet


Obviously, I have a love for children’s books.

Happy Thanksgiving Reading everyone!

Summer Reading So Far

Next to Love: A Novel by Ellen Feldman

5 out of 5 stars


From Amazon: t’s 1941. Babe throws like a boy, thinks for herself, and never expects to escape the poor section of her quiet Massachusetts town. Then World War II breaks out, and everything changes. Her friend Grace, married to a reporter on the local paper, fears being left alone with her infant daughter when her husband ships out; Millie, the third member of their childhood trio, now weds the boy who always refused to settle down; and Babe wonders if she should marry Claude, who even as a child could never harm a living thing. As the war rages abroad, life on the home front undergoes its own battles and victories; and when the men return, and civilian life resumes, nothing can go back to quite the way it was.
From postwar traumas to women’s rights, racial injustice to anti-Semitism, Babe, Grace, and Millie experience the dislocations, the acute pains, and the exhilaration of a society in flux. Along the way, they will learn what it means to be a wife, a mother, a friend, a fighter, and a survivor. Beautiful, startling, and heartbreaking, Next to Love is a love letter to the brave women who shaped a nation’s destiny.

I really love historical fiction books so I found this book a good read. I loved the characters, all though at times I was frustrated with them and for them. The pace of the book just right with the chapters follow the close friends for about 25 years, detailing their struggles, triumphs, and relationship. I stayed up several nights getting this book finished.

Mommy Tracked by Whitney Gaskell

2.5 out of 5 stars


From Amazon: For Anna, Grace, Juliet, and Chloe, the idyllic town of Orange Cove, Florida, is home…but even in paradise, balancing the challenges of motherhood and life is never easy.

With a son in the throes of the Terrible Twos, divorced restaurant critic Anna has too much on her plate to reenter the frightening world of dating—no matter how expertly her new admirer wines and dines her….Grace has three beautiful daughters and the perfect husband, yet she’s increasingly obsessed with one nagging flaw: her excess baby weight…. Ambitious Juliet is desperate to make partner at her law firm. Fortunately, her husband stays home with their twins. But at the office, Juliet is finding more than work to occupy her time….When newest mom Chloe gives birth, her husband seems indifferent to parenting their son. Chloe is so overwhelmed that she finds herself slipping into a nasty habit she thought she’d overcome.

Kind of couldn’t wait for this book to end. It started off promising but I just didn’t care what happened to the characters. Using a supplement to help you lose wait and you end up in the hospital? I had no sympathy. About to have an affair with your boss? No sympathy. Your husband gives a stranger your baby so he can go play golf? Complete sympathy but that only lasts for a few pages.

The Beginner’s Goodbye: A Novel by Anne Tyler

3 out of 5 stars


From Amazon: Anne Tyler gives us a wise, haunting, and deeply moving new novel in which she explores how a middle-aged man, ripped apart by the death of his wife, is gradually restored by her frequent appearances—in their house, on the roadway, in the market.
Crippled in his right arm and leg, Aaron spent his childhood fending off a sister who wants to manage him. So when he meets Dorothy, a plain, outspoken, self-dependent young woman, she is like a breath of fresh air. Unhesitatingly he marries her, and they have a relatively happy, unremarkable marriage. But when a tree crashes into their house and Dorothy is killed, Aaron feels as though he has been erased forever. Only Dorothy’s unexpected appearances from the dead help him to live in the moment and to find some peace.
Gradually he discovers, as he works in the family’s vanity-publishing business, turning out titles that presume to guide beginners through the trials of life, that maybe for this beginner there is a way of saying goodbye.

Several years ago I read Anne Tyler’s book, Digging to America, and loved it. So when I saw The Beginner’s Goodbye on the library shelf I decided to give it a whirl. To be honest, I was disappointed but I think that’s only because I remember loving Digging to America. This book deals with Aaron and how he handles the death of his wife Dorothy and everyone trying to help him. Interestingly, the book is written using Aaron’s voice so all of the thoughts are from a male perspective.  While I found the characters pleasing I did not get a great sense of caring one way or the other what happened to them. If you’ve got a choice between reading this book ot Digging to America, go with the latter.

A Couple of Interesting Books

Here are a couple of interesting books I’ve read recently:

  The Obituray Writer by Ann Hood

3.5 out of 5 stars


From Amazon: On the day John F. Kennedy is inaugurated, Claire, an uncompromising young wife and mother obsessed with the glamour of Jackie O, struggles over the decision of whether to stay in a loveless marriage or follow the man she loves and whose baby she may be carrying. Decades earlier, in 1919, Vivien Lowe, an obituary writer, is searching for her lover who disappeared in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. By telling the stories of the dead, Vivien not only helps others cope with their grief but also begins to understand the devastation of her own terrible loss. The surprising connection between Claire and Vivien will change the life of one of them in unexpected and extraordinary ways. Part literary mystery and part love story, The Obituary Writer examines expectations of marriage and love, the roles of wives and mothers, and the emotions of grief, regret, and hope.

Claire believes she has nothing in common with her mother-in-law, Vivian. The readers soon realize they have adultery in common. Not my favorite subject matter and somehow I chose two out of three books this month with that theme. Hood wrote the book in alternating chapters of Claire and Vivian’s life. People find Vivian, the obituary writer, and insist she write about those they have lost. Her talent in writing comes from the stories the mourners tell though her own stories of her lover haunt her and prevent her from moving on. Claire is a wife and mother who decides to have an affair after she realizes she doesn’t love her husband. There lives are intertwined and Claire realizes they have more in common than she thought. I enjoyed the book but found Claire really unlikable which made me not sympathize with her and her struggles.

Table for Seven by Whitney Gaskell

3 out of 5 stars


From Amazon: On New Year’s Eve, Fran and Will Parrish host a dinner party, serving their friends a gourmet feast. The night is such a success that the group decides to form a monthly dinner party club. But what starts as an excuse to enjoy the company of fellow foodies ends up having lasting repercussions on each member of the Table for Seven Dinner Party Club.
Fran and Will face the possibility that their comfortable marriage may not be as infallible as they once thought. Audrey has to figure out how to move on and start a new life after the untimely death of her young husband. Perfectionist Jaime suspects that her husband, Mark, might be having an affair. Coop, a flirtatious bachelor who never commits to a third date, is blindsided when he falls in love for the first time. Leland, a widower, is a wise counselor and firm believer that bacon makes everything taste better.

I enjoyed this book as a quick read but didn’t love it. I liked the premise of having a dinner club every month with friends and enjoyed Leland, the grandfather character. What I found disturbing about the book was the other six characters acting as if they had no relationship skills, self esteem, or common sense at all. It’s hard to love a book when you don’t love the characters.

Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson

4.5 stars out of 5 stars


From Amazon: Nonny Frett understands the meaning of the phrase “in between a rock and a hard place” better than any woman alive. She’s got two mothers, “one deaf-blind and the other four baby steps from flat crazy.” She’s got two men: a husband who’s easing out the back door; and a best friend, who’s laying siege to her heart in her front yard. And she has two families: the Fretts, who stole her and raised her right; and the Crabtrees, who won’t forget how they were done wrong. Now, in Between, Georgia, a feud that began the night Nonny was born is escalating and threatening to expose family secrets. Ironically, it might be just what the town needs…if only Nonny weren’t stuck in between.

Ummm, completely loved this book. There are quirky characters, family feuds, and southern charm all mixed together to create a quick and pleasing read. Throughout the entire book I was fascinated by the communication system the mother (who was deaf and blind) had with her daughter versus how she communicated with her own sister. I found the last 30 pages of the book a little hookey but hey, I don’t live in Georgia so maybe that’s really how things get wrapped up there.

Any book recommendations for me?

Three Good Reads

Here are a few more books that I have enjoyed lately…

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

5 stars


 From Amazon: It is 1875, and Ann Eliza Young has recently separated from her powerful husband, Brigham Young, prophet and leader of the Mormon Church. Expelled and an outcast, Ann Eliza embarks on a crusade to end polygamy in the United States. A rich account of her family’s polygamous history is revealed, including how both she and her mother became plural wives.

Yet soon after Ann Eliza’s story begins, a second exquisite narrative unfolds–a tale of murder involving a polygamist family in present-day Utah. Jordan Scott, a young man who was thrown out of his fundamentalist sect years earlier, must reenter the world that cast him aside in order to discover the truth behind his father’s death. And as Ann Eliza’s narrative intertwines with that of Jordan’s search, readers are pulled deeper into the mysteries of love, family, and faith.

I was initially unsure about this book but am so glad I decided to read it. The story switches back and forth each chapter from the 1800’s with Ann Eliza to the present day story with Jordan. I found the information about polygamy, both past and current, fascinating and unsettling. I would definitely recommend this book.

Shanghai Girls: A Novel by Lisa See

4 stars


From Amazon: In 1937 Shanghai—the Paris of Asia—twenty-one-year-old Pearl Chin and her younger sister, May, are having the time of their lives. Both are beautiful, modern, and carefree—until the day their father tells them that he has gambled away their wealth. To repay his debts, he must sell the girls as wives to suitors who have traveled from Los Angeles to find Chinese brides. As Japanese bombs fall on their beloved city, Pearl and May set out on the journey of a lifetime, from the Chinese countryside to the shores of America.

Though inseparable best friends, the sisters also harbor petty jealousies and rivalries. Along the way they make terrible sacrifices, face impossible choices, and confront a devastating, life-changing secret, but through it all the two heroines of this astounding new novel hold fast to who they are—Shanghai girls.

At times a very hard read but well worth it. If you enjoyed reading Dreams of Joy or Memoirs of a Geisha you will enjoy this book.

Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection by A. J. Jacobs

4 stars


From – Caley Anderson – You may know A.J. Jacobs as the man who attempted to read the Encyclopedia Britannica from cover-to-cover. Or you may have been introduced to him when he spent a year trying to follow the Bible as literally as possible. He returns once again with another seemingly impossible task–that of becoming the healthiest man alive. As with his earlier books, Jacobs brings his quick wit, self-deprecating humor, and journalistic eye to the experiment. He leaves no health stone unturned: from literally running his errands and wearing noise-cancelling headphones for hours a day to rigging a desk that he can work at while walking on the treadmill (there are instructions at the end for those interested), Jacobs chronicles the good, bad, and ugly of trying to attain “perfect” health. Jacobs’ writing is breezy, informational, and entertaining, and he manages to achieve the near impossible–discussing issues of health without sounding preachy. –Caley Anderson

I loved A.J. Jacobs previous books – The Know It All (he spends an entire year reading the Encyclopedia Britannica) and The Year of Living Biblically (he lives by the Bible for a year) – since they are both filled with ridiculous humor and sarcasm.  This book is also a year in his life, this time his attempt to get healthy. Although entertaining I  feel his other two books listed above are much better though with Jacobs humor and writing style I always know I’m in for a good book when I pick one up.

 Have you read any good books lately?

Our Favorite Art Books

I love to buy artsy books for my kids (and sometimes me!) to draw with.

Now don’t get me wrong, I fully believe in blank paper in order to create but sometimes it’s just fun to try drawing an alligator or a funny person.

Here are some of our family’s favorite art books (my kids are 11, 7, and 4 if that helps):

Ed Emberly’s Drawing Book

ed emberley animals


Doodles at Lunch & Doodles at Breakfast: 36 Tear-Off Placemats

doodles at lunch placemat

doodles at lunch detail

Animal Doodles Place Mats



642 Things to Draw: Journal



and this is the next book I want to get for our house

The Boys’ Doodling Book


and maybe in a few years we’ll purchase this one

The Girls’ Drawing Book



Happy Drawing Everyone!

Art Holder for Markers, Crayons, Pencils, Glue Sticks, and Scissors

I have wanted an art holder for our kitchen table for awhile now.

I looked around the garage and found an old tea light candle holder that I bought at Goodwill for $3 several years ago.

My husband drilled the holes further down & then I sanded it to create this new piece.


I could sand it further & then paint it but frankly that’s not going to happen anytime soon.





When the art holder is on the table I have noticed the kids drawing and creating more than usual. I place various drawing books we have as well as blank paper and watch them go to town.



Tomorrow I’ll share with you some of their favorite doodling books!

A Few Good Books

Winter is always a good time to hop in bed, snuggle in with the comforter, and read a good book. I’ve read a few books recently that I thought you might be interested in.

The Sisters: A Novel – Nancy Jensen

5 stars

The Sisters

From Amazon: Growing up in hardscrabble Kentucky in the 1920s, with their mother dead and their stepfather an ever-present threat, Bertie Fischer and her older sister Mabel have no one but each other—with perhaps a sweetheart for Bertie waiting in the wings. But on the day that Bertie receives her eighth-grade diploma, good intentions go terribly wrong. A choice made in desperate haste sets off a chain of misunderstandings that will divide the sisters and reverberate through three generations of women. What happens when nothing turns out as you planned? From the Depression through World War II and Vietnam, and smaller events both tragic and joyful, Bertie and Mabel forge unexpected identities that are shaped by unspeakable secrets. As the sisters have daughters and granddaughters of their own, they discover that both love and betrayal are even more complicated than they seem. Gorgeously written, with extraordinary insight and emotional truth, Nancy Jensen’s powerful debut novel illuminates the far-reaching power of family and family secrets.

I stayed up late reading this book and it was definitely well worth. Mabel and Bertie were close sisters until one fateful day which instantly changed their lives.Misunderstandings and missed opportunities led to them to search and wonder about each other for the rest of their lives. This novel follows the women and their families and brings you into their world, silently cheering them on as you read.


 The Sisters from Hardscarbble Bay by Beverly Jensen

  3.5 stars

7662575From Book List: Jensen’s tale of two sisters begins in New Brunswick. When their mother dies, Idella and Avis are left in the care of their father, who is overwhelmed by the tasks of raising a household of several young children and eking out a meager living on a potato farm. The book—a series of interconnected stories, really—follows Idella and Avis as they grow up and move to America. Idella ends up in Maine with a wandering husband and a frightful mother-in-law. Avis, the wilder one, lives in Boston and goes through what she describes as “a shitload of men.” The book encompasses more than 70 years, and the early chapters, especially the one in which a French Canadian girl named Maddie comes to help out on the farm, are the strongest. If the later sections read more like family memoir being forced into a fictional shape, they are nevertheless notable for vivid writing and strong characterizations. Jensen died before seeing any of her work published; this is a fine tribute. –Mary Ellen Quinn

This book covers more than 70 years of Idella and Avis’s lives and while the girls stick together through life, life isn’t always very kind to them. The first half of the book is much better than the second half though I kept reading because I wanted to see where the girls would end up in life. It’s definitely a good book and worth a read.

Joy for Beginners bu Erica Baeurmeister

4 stars


From Amazon: Having survived a life-threatening illness, Kate celebrates by gathering with six close friends. At an intimate outdoor dinner on a warm September evening, the women challenge Kate to start her new lease on life by going white-water rafting down the Grand Canyon with her daughter. But Kate is reluctant to take the risk. That is, until her friend Marion proposes a pact: if Kate will face the rapids, each woman will do one thing in the next year that scares her. Kate agrees, with one provision – she didn’t get to choose her challenge, so she gets to choose theirs. Whether it’s learning to let go of the past or getting a tattoo, each woman’s story interweaves with the others, forming a seamless portrait of the power of female friendships. From the author of The School of Essential Ingredients comes a beautifully crafted novel about daring to experience true joy, starting one small step at a time.

The idea behind this short book intrigued me, do one task that scares you and it could change your life. When you read the tasks each woman is assigned, you think it would be no big deal to complete them. But what you learn through the course of the book is how profound these small tasks are for each woman and what they really entail.

Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

5 stars


From Amazon: Eighty-nine-year-old Isabelle McAllister has a favor to ask her hairdresser Dorrie Curtis. It’s a big one. Isabelle wants Dorrie, a black single mom in her thirties, to drop everything to drive her from her home in Arlington, Texas, to a funeral in Cincinnati. With no clear explanation why. Tomorrow. Dorrie, fleeing problems of her own and curious whether she can unlock the secrets of Isabelle’s guarded past, scarcely hesitates before agreeing, not knowing it will be a journey that changes both their lives.

This book was a last minute selection at the library and I’m so glad I grabbed it. This story really and truly breaks your heart for Ms Isabelle. She’s a feisty and independent ninety year old who needs help completing one last task in life. In fact, her character reminds me a lot of the old woman in the movie Driving Miss Daisy. This is Kibler’s debut novel and I hope the first of many more heart grabbing novels.

Any book suggestions for me?

A Christmas Tradition of Santa Giving Books

***I am reposting this from 2 years ago since it is my most popular post ever – plus the time is perfect***just to clarify a few things which I have been asked – the post office gives anyone those airmail stickers and yes those are real stamps with a stamp marked all over them – the books always have a quick message from Santa on the inside cover, something like “I can’t wait to eat those cookies you put out” or “Rudolph’s nose is all shined up and ready to go.” – add a flourish to your writing or ask someone else to do the writing)

One of my favorite family Christmas traditions occurs on Christmas Eve. Every December 24th, usually in the afternoon, Santa’s elves deliver a holiday book (or two) and leave it at our door.

Once everyone has showered and put on pajamas we get into bed and read the book. The kids love receiving the book and I’m pretty sure Santa loves giving it just as much. Over the years we have built up quite a collection of holiday books. Here’s a peek at some of our favorites:

The Berenstain Bears Christmas by Stan & Jan Berenstain

The Berenstain Bears’ Christmas Tree by Stan & Jan Berenstain

Santa Claus by Rod Green

This is an amazing book, just gorgeous illustrations and just magical for kids 5 – 10 yrs old.

Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma WilsonSanta’s Reindeer by Rod Green

Another unbelievable Christmas book. Tells all about Santa’s reindeer, where they sleep, how they fly, and more. This one will not disappoint.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

Cajun Night Before Christmas by “Trosclair”

Just a few lines of the beginning to give you the gist of this favorite of mine – lay on a thick french/country accent as you read it 🙂

‘Twas the night before Christmas

An’ all t’ru de house

Dey don’t a t’ing pass

Not even a mouse.

De chirren been nezzle

Good snug on de flo’

An’ Mama pass de pepper

T’ru de crack on de do’.

Do you have any family traditions or holiday books that are special to you?

My New Favorite Baby Gift

My new favorite baby gift to give is the One Line a Day Memory Book.

The concept is so simple and in the same lines with journaling & scrapbooking but IT’s DOABLE for everyone.

The idea behind the book is that you have 6 lines for each day of the year. The brillant part of the book is that it lists 5 years on one page. So you get to see what your little one or yourself was doing on January 1st for 5 years. Just think of all the changes you will see this way.

I bought each of my children their own book two months ago and both my husband and I have been faithful to make sure there is something written for each day.

Sometimes we write how their school day went, which friend they talked a lot about, games that they played at home, what they ate or refused for dinner, favorite books, funny stories they told us – really anything is open for an entry.

Here are a few of the examples I have for each of my kiddos:

Alex (10 yrs) – You played “French Resistance Army” with Andrew and Caroline. You each had on a toque and gloves. You all built a trench (made of toy boxes, chairs, and play kitchen furniture) coming out from the tent – loving the Tour de France right now.

Andrew (7 yrs) – Ran errands with Dad & Alex – went to Alex H’s for birthday party and sleepover- at lunch, you said, “Look at me, I can eat like a yak.” And you did.

Caroline (3 yrs) – We play Candy Land almost every day. No matter where you are on the board you always say, “I’m almost winning and you’re almost losing.”

I have enjoyed writing in this book so much that I bought one for my sister for a baby shower present.

To jazz up the gift a little, I decorated a little bag for the book to go in.

I used a blue bag that a pair of sheets had come in and some pink fabric.

I cut the side of the bag since I need to be able to put the bag on my sewing machine.

Cut out a letter “C” (initial of her last name) out of the pink fabric.

I sewed the “C” onto the bag and added a little decorative trim.

Hopefully my sister will enjoy this book as much as I have – Although I have a feeling she might be recording sleep durations and blow outs in the beginning 🙂


We ventured out to a new pool in the area this week.

This pool had a wonderful kids area for Caroline so I was able to sit and relax in the water while watching her play on the water slide.

There were a few other moms watching their children go down the slide too.

We’d casually reply to one another, “great day,” “they’re certainly having fun,” and, “definitely ready for school to start.”

After Caroline had gone down the slide a few times she ran over to me and said, “You’re my stepmom.”

And with that she gave me a big hug and was off.

Now, I have an 8 inch c-section scar to dispute this statement but I think I was too stunned to argue at first.

Still processing what she told me, I glanced around at the other moms trying to determine if they had heard.

Caroline went down the slide and came running over to me again, “You’re my stepmom. I love you.”

What is this girl thinking?

When she came over a third time I said, “I am not your stepmom , I am your mommy.”

She ignored me and said, “You’re my stepmom.”

Desperately searching my brain for what she could be thinking I finally realized that it must be Disney’s fault. While reading Cinderella the other night with Caroline, I realized I was reading the word “stepmom” quite often.

Cinderella’s mean stepmom…Cinderella’s stepmom broke Cinderella’s dress..Cinderella’s stepmom locked her in her room.

What does it mean that Caroline is comparing me to the evil stepmom?

I’ll tell you what it means.

Caroline is going to be doing a lot more cooking and cleaning around here. The heck with all this playing and coloring.

She’s going to hope her fairy godmother visits her and helps her escape the evil clutches of this pool taking, ice cream giving, book reading, stepmom.

Finding the Funny