Celebrating Thanksgiving with Your Preschooler

By Sarah S. RSS Mon, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving is once again upon us! But before you succumb to pre-shopping anxiety and turkey-induced food coma, don’t forget about sharing the spirit of the season with the little ones. Here are some especially wonderful Thanksgiving books for the preschooler in your life, all available at your local Free Library location.

In I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Alison Jackson, illustrated by Judith Byron Schachner, that old lady is at it again, gobbling up all the Thanksgiving feast! A new take on a traditional cumulative rhyme, with hilarious illustrations.

A class trip to farmer Mack Nuggett’s turkey farm takes a surprising turn in Dav Pilkey's 'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving when the children discover the farmer’s plans for the turkeys - Ollie, Stanley, Larry, Moe, Wally, Beaver and Groucho - and take matters (and the birds) into their own hands.

What are you thankful for? Feeling Thankful by Shelley Rotner and Sheila Kelly depicts pre-school and school-age children recounting the things in their life they are most thankful for.

Thanksgiving Day at Our House: Thanksgiving Poems for the Very Young by Nancy White Carlstrom is a great collection of poems about one family's activities on Thanksgiving Day, including pondering the history behind the holiday, welcoming visiting relatives, praying for others, enjoying the good food, and giving thanks at the end of the day.

Click here for even more Thanksgiving Day book suggestions from the Free Library of Phildelphia children's librarians.  

Thanksgiving can be a tricky holiday to explain honestly to young children when we know that much of the depictions of Native Americans are disrepectful of their rich and ongoing cultures. It's especially important when we celebrate Thanksgiving with young children that we keep our eyes open for stereotypes which are less than favorable. A great resource for a Native American perspective on Thanksgiving is Oyate, a Native organization which educates the public to see that Native American history is alive and that Native Americans are portrayed honestly. Take a look at their Native American take on Thanksgiving and share 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving by Margaret M. Bruchac and Catherine Grace O'Neill, available at many Free Library locations.

And last but not least, share this interactive rhyme with the kids on the ride to grandma’s house:

The Turkey
The turkey is a funny bird. (Hook thumbs together and spread fingers to create turkey tail.)
Its head goes wobble, wobble. (Wobble head back and forth.)
And all it knows is just one word: (Hold up one finger.)
"Gobble, gobble, gobble." (Make mouth shape with hand, opening and closing it while sounding like a turkey.)

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And for help in the kitchen on this most culinary of holidays, your local library is here to help. Just look for these call numbers (your Librarian can help): 641.5 Cooking Works on cooking for Thanksgiving are classed in 641.568 Cooking for special occasions. General works on cooking organically grown foods are classed in 641.5637 Health-food cooking. "Biscuits (Cookies)--home preparation" and "Cookies--home preparation" both lead to 641.8654 Cookies. The entry "Holidays--cooking" leads to 641.568 Cooking for special occasions, and the entry "Christmas--cooking" leads to 641.5686 Christmas cooking. Most cookies are baked. The entry "Baking--home cooking" leads to 641.71 Baking and roasting. "Pumpkins--cooking" leads to 641.6562. General works on making pies and tarts are classed in 641.8652. Works on making candies with chocolate are classed in 641.853 Candy. Works on cheese as a food are classed in 641.373 Cheese and 637.35 Varieties [of cheese]. The interdisciplinary number for wine is 641.22. Happy Thanksgiving (394.624)!
Jeff B - Northwest Philly
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I think thanksgiving is more for children. They can get everything, they can make their own , they can share their thicks each other.
Elissa - London
Friday, January 14, 2011

Where I can find the best recipe for Turkey? I would like to prepare one on thanks giving. Thanks,
Richard Greaves - Alberta, Canada
Saturday, August 13, 2011

Thanksgiving was always fun celebrating it with my siblings. We now live in different locations and thats no longer possible. I'm hoping to catch up with them all this christmas; hopefully we can relive the good old days!
Hamzat - Olney
Wednesday, November 23, 2011