31 Best Thanksgiving Books to Celebrate the Holiday
Thanksgiving may look a tad different this year, and we might have to create new traditions, like sharing what we're grateful for as we gather round Zoom. From home-cooked desserts to virtual toasts with turkey-friendly wine, there are ways to preserve the holiday spirit. Another trick? Curl up with a stack of good fall reads to get into the mood.
The Macy's Day Parade will look different in 2020 than it did in prior years. The iconic celebration, watched around the country, will be "reinvented" with a virtual ceremony. Keep the spirit of the in-person parade alive with this children's book, which highlights the tremendous effort it takes to get those larger-than-life balloons onto the streets of New York. The award-winning historical book celebrates Tony Sarg, the puppeteer who first developed the giant floats in the 1920s.
Thanksgiving is a complicated holiday. While part of the American tradition, it perpetuates myths about Native Americans' relationship to white settlers. As novelist Tommy Orange has written, Thanksgiving isn't necessarily even a time for celebration. Read about contemporary Native Americans in this acclaimed novel, which switches perspectives between 12 characters.
Laurie Colwin is known for her delightful and astute novels about families, and for her excellent writing about cooking. Essentially, her books are ideal for the Thanksgiving season, as they understand the emotional power of gathering for a meal. Home Cooking is a collection of recipes and thoughts about the meaning of food.
Introduce a new word into your child's vocabulary: Otsaliheliga, used by members of the Cherokee Nation to express their gratitude. "It is a reminder to celebrate our blessings and reflect on struggles—daily, throughout the year, and across the seasons," Traci Sorell, a member of the Cherokee Nation, writes in the book for young readers.
The holidays are a time of feasts and, if we're honest, occasionally family dysfunction. The Nest features one of the most memorable families in contemporary literature. The four Plumb siblings' years of built-up tension come to a head following a confrontation, allowing you to escape into another family's problems for a change.
"Miss Jane Neal met her maker in the early morning mist of Thanksgiving Sunday. It was pretty much a surprise all round," Still Life begins, the first of Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache mysteries. While not necessarily about Thanksgiving, Still Life is set during that very specific time of year, when the holiday spirit is in the air—and in this book, so is danger.
Smell that pecan pie baking in the oven? Maybe not—but this romance novel will make you feel as if you had a fall dessert in the oven. Lauren Hauser is determined to make a pecan pie for an annual competition. The only problem? She can't bake, and the grocery store is out of pecans. The kitchen fiasco is a backdrop to the real allure of a book: A romance worthy of any Hallmark holiday movie.
Not written deliberately as a Thanksgiving book, Ross Gay's collection of gorgeously observed and whimsically rendered essays is perfect for the holiday. Gay finds delight everywhere he looks—even among the mundane.
National Geographic's book gives a more holistic portrait of the Colonies at the time of the first Thanksgiving feast in a way that children can understand.
Giving Thanks is a gorgeous adaptation of a Thanksgiving Address delivered at the start of ceremonial Iroquois gatherings. With a message of gratitude for the Earth, Giving Thanks is a book that can be read and re-read daily.
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