Thanksgiving is right around the corner and today I wanted to share some of my favorite books to read along with some activities to do with each! Some of these books may be new to you and they’re a little different from your typical turkey books! I also have a fun and free writing activity that you can use digitally at the end of this post.
Before we dive in, I wanted to let you know that if you want to watch this content, you can go ahead and access that below on my YouTube channel:
If you like these type of videos, I have over 100 over on my channel which I add to every week, so be sure to subscribe to the >>> Susan Jones Teaching YouTube channel
Turk and Runt by Lisa Wheeler
The first book, I wanted to share is called Turk and Runt by Lisa Wheeler. This is a cute and funny read for students. It’s about two brother turkeys, Turk and Runt. Turk is big and Runt is small and Runt keeps telling his family that the visitors to their farm are there to pick out a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, but no one listens to him. Instead, they keep plumping up big brother Turk and getting him nice and strong for all sorts of other reasons!After we read this book, I point out that Lisa Wheeler has titled this, “A Thanksgiving Comedy.” We talk about what a comedy is and then I would have students write an opinion piece sharing whether they agree or disagree with this book being called a comedy. They have to provide at least two examples from the text to support their opinions!
Balloons over Broadway by Melissa Sweet:
This nonfiction book is one I found a few years ago and it is about the puppeteer, Tony Sarg, who created all the floats and balloons for the Macy’s Day Parade as we now know it! There is a ton of information in this book, so if you are reading it aloud to your class, you may want to split it up into a couple days of reading. After day 1, you could share some fun facts you learned from this book thus far.
After reading the entire book, this is great one to extend into a STEM activity. You could give students their own materials (construction paper, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, etc.) and ask them to create their own balloon for the Macy’s Day Parade! This is a great nonfiction book to read to give your students more knowledge about such a popular tradition every Thanksgiving!
Fry Bread by Kevin Maillard:
This book was an honorable mention in my video above, because I couldn’t share some of my favorite Thanksgiving/November books without mentioning this one! This is a beautiful story about the Native American dish, fry bread. It is a nonfiction book, but not in the traditional sense. Each page has a different heading, “Fry Bread is Art,” “Fry Bread is History,” etc. and on each page, the author shares a little bit about the importance of this food to the Native American people.
Kevin Maillard has an extensive author’s note at the end that goes into a lot more detail about each section to explain how Native American people have been here for a long, long time. How the country, The United States, didn’t always look the way it does now. How Native American people don’t look the same (as they may be portrayed in many older books). The illustrations are beautiful and it is a great one to add to your library if you don’t have many books about Native American people!
Stone Soup by Jon J Muth:
Last, but certainly not least, I wanted to share just one of the Stone Soup books I like to read during November. I love doing a small literacy unit comparing 4 different versions of Stone Soup books and we focus on community and sharing. You can see more about those activities and the four books in my older blog post here >>> Stone Soup Activities and Ideas.
For this blog post, I chose to focus on this version by Jon J. Muth. In this folktale the travelers are actually monks wondering what makes people happy. Similar to the other versions, when they arrive at a village, they find that none of the villagers really speak to one another and they all seem unhappy. The monks decide to show the villagers how to work together and share what they have to create Stone Soup. By the end of the story, the villagers are happy and we learn the importance of sharing and community!
I wanted to go ahead and create a free writing activity for this book, so I actually went ahead and made some digital and printable writing prompts and planning sheets to go along with the book! If you don’t have your own copy to read aloud to students, I also shared my own read-aloud of this version of the book as well. You can grab all of that by clicking below:
I hope you enjoyed these book suggestions and activity ideas. What other books do you like to read around Thanksgiving time in the classroom?! Share some ideas in the comments below!
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