Gratefulness and Family Gathering Round-Up

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I just love that my girl, Tenikca of Hits with the Mrs, keeps me accountable for these round-up posts! This time we’re sharing the books we’ll be reading all November. For me, November is a time to focus on gratitude, family, and good food. This round-up represents all of those things and more! You can use this Bookshop link conveniently purchase or add these books to your library holds.

  1. Full, Full, Full of Love by Trish Cooke is a fun and easy read while helping littles learn patience when waiting for a family meal together. The protagonist waits with his grandma for what seems like an eternity for all of his family to arrive for a feast. The wait is hard, but Grandma makes it fun. After a few helpings of dinner and yummy desserts, he realizes these times aren’t just about the food and it’s not just the food that fills everyone. Being together makes them full of love. 
  2. Thanks a Million by Nikki Grimes is the perfect addition to your poetry stash. This book of short poems is apt for the entire family, helping all focus on gratitude. Not only are the images diverse, the poems are diverse in abilities, socioeconomic status, and gender. These poems cover gratitude for everything from nature, to neighbors, to numbers. 
  3. Gracias Thanks by Pat Mora is a lovely bilingual story that follows the protagonist, a little boy, through his day of showing gratitude for so much in his life. Written in English and Spanish, gratitude is shown for the poignant things (like family, parents and nature) but is done in a hilarious manner that is enjoyable for all readers. 
  4. Feast For 10 by Cathryn Falwell is a little book packed with goodness. Although geared toward toddlers, my two still love this tale as we count from 1-10 all of the ingredients needed for a family feast. Then, counting from 10-1, all the key ingredients that really matter, the soul in the food, the love that is shared, and the people to share it with. 
  5. My Heart Fills With Happiness by Monique Gray Smith follows the happy heart of a little girl sharing all the things she delights in. They aren’t toys or material items but rather spending time with loved ones, being creative and cooking. The book inspires readers of all ages to focus on the intangible things all around them that could fill their heart with happiness. 
  6. What is Given From the Heart, published posthumously by the acclaimed Patricia C. McKissack and illustrated by April Harrison, is one of the most touching books we’ve ever read. Mama teaches James Otis all about compassion and that, “what is given from the heart, reaches the heart.” This leads James Otis to come up with a precious gift for the little girl whose family has lost it all, even when it seems he does not have anything worthwhile to give.
  7. Don’t Say a Word, Mama by Joe Hayes is a funny bilingual English-Spanish book that focuses on generosity. Two sisters, who love each other dearly, try to secretly out-give each other with the best gifts from their gardens. We love books with repeated lines and this one will have your little one yelling, “Don’t say a word, Mama!” 
  8. I Am Thankful: A Thanksgiving Book for Kids by Sheri Wall was just released in August 2020. The rhyming text and vibrant illustrations follow several families and their holiday traditions. From visiting pumpkin patches to spending time with family near and far, watching parades, preparing special dishes, and serving the needy, this book is sure to get your family in the Thanksgiving spirit. I especially love that the author included several ways for little ones to show gratitude at the end of the book.
  9. Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message by Chief Jake Swamp is an older book that contains a timeless message. Giving Thanks provides a model for how we should show our gratitude for all Mother Earth has provided us with; the water, stars, plants, animals, and more. This is a children’s version of the Thanksgiving Address, a traditional morning message of gratitude, that is still provided at Iroquois ceremonies.
  10. Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora is not specifically about Thanksgiving, but it’s always seasonally appropriate to read a book about good food, generosity, and community. Omu, which means queen in Igbo (a Nigerian language), is cooking up a delicious stew that makes everyone in the neighborhood come knocking on her door. Maya was genuinely concerned when she realized Omu had given all of her stew away. You’ll have to read this one to find out what happens next!

We hope you all enjoyed this round-up! In this current socio-political climate, we could all tend to focus a bit more on gratitude, and that is exactly our plan. Let us know if you’ve read any of these or have other recommendations for us.

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