Falling in Love with Fall

Crisp air, rosy cheeks, crunchy leaves, warm drinks, cozy sweaters – fall is in full swing and there is no better time to curl up with a blanket and a good book. The cooler temperatures and beautiful color palette of the outdoors provide the perfect setting for friends and family to gather together and make memories. The list below highlights some books that showcase the things we love best about this season: appreciating nature, working together, and giving thanks.

To find more books about this beautiful season of colors, food, and family, try searching the catalog using a combination of subject terms like “juvenile fiction” for fiction books or “juvenile literature” for nonfiction books along with “Thanksgiving Day,” “autumn,” “leaves,” “gratitude,” or other fun fall words!

Alsdurf, Phyllis.
Thanksgiving in the Woods. 2017 (Picture Book: Based on a True Story)
Based on a real-life Thanksgiving tradition, this book shares an enchanting example of a community coming together to share food, join in song, and make memories. The beautiful illustrations bring this story to life with vibrant colors that invite readers into the scene as a young boy takes them along for the magical journey. This is the perfect book to share as a family to celebrate the gratitude, community, and wonder that is the power of Thanksgiving.
[S-Collection Q. SE. Al7831t]

Balla, Trace.
The Thank You Dish. 2017 (Picture Book)
It’s dinnertime, and as usual, Mama begins to give thanks. Grace jumps in, however, and unexpectedly thanks kangaroos! As the back and forth continues, Grace embodies the true spirit of gratitude and celebrates community and the bonds created by sharing meals together. In this charming conversation between Grace and Mama, readers come to realize that there is always something to give thanks for and someone to give thanks to.
[S-Collection SE. B2108t]

Henkes, Kevin.
In the Middle of Fall. 2017 (Picture Book)
Gorgeous fall colors are radiant in the full page illustrations, highlighting the change and movement that is so visible during this season. The simple prose and defined lines help make the story accessible for young children, and kids will recognize the fall activities mentioned, such as the leaves changing color, picking pumpkins and apples, squirrels running around, and jumping into piles of fallen leaves. This is a beautiful picture book that celebrates all the beginnings and endings that are evident during fall.
[S-Collection Q. SE. H389in]

Holland, Loretta.
Fall Leaves. 2014 (Picture Book)
Readers of all ages are sure to enjoy this unique picture book. Simple two-word headings explain what happens during the fall season, while short paragraphs underneath introduce scientific concepts such as how leaves change color, migration, hibernation, and more. The illustrations seem to glow and illuminate the beautiful colors of the leaves. There are even directions for a leaf print activity at the end that children will love!
[S-Collection Q. SE. H7191f]

Miller, Pat Zietlow.
Sharing the Bread: An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving Story. 2015 (Picture Book)
In this heartwarming tale, each member of the family plays a part in creating the Thanksgiving meal. The detailed illustrations give readers a lot to look at and the vintage tones help set the stage. The narrator is a young boy whom children can identify with, and we follow along as he shares each step of the preparation. Repetitive language invites readers to take part in the story and learn along the way that the most important part of Thanksgiving is simply being together.
[S-Collection SE. M6173sh]

Miltenburg, Sanne.
When Will Fall Arrive? 2017 (Picture Book)
Bunny and Hedgehog are best friends, and Bunny doesn’t want Hedgehog to hibernate and leave him alone during fall and winter. As a result, he tries to hide the fact that fall has arrived from Hedgehog, but as you can imagine, things soon get out of hand. This cute story of friendship is told with simple sentences and cartoon-like pictures, and readers are sure to love this unlikely duo.
[S-Collection Q. SE. M64w:E]

O’Brien, Anne Sibley.
Hocus Pocus, It’s Fall! 2016 (Picture Book)
With such a fun, magical theme, this book is sure to get kids into the fall spirit. The simple, rhyming sentences leave the beautiful, full-page illustrations to play the leading role. Readers will love examining the fold-out pages throughout the book that demonstrate the fall season in action. The warm colors and dynamic movement of the animals and kids in the book will have readers wanting to go outside and explore!
[S-Collection SE. Ob6h]

Spinelli, Eileen.
Thanksgiving at the Tappletons’. 1992 (Picture Book)
In this Thanksgiving tale, everything that can go wrong does, and the Tappleton family wonders how they can possibly celebrate the holiday without the traditional feast. With unique characters and dynamic illustrations, readers are soon pulled into the plot and find themselves rooting for the family. Ultimately, although a bit predictable, it’s a cute story about what really matters: being together.
[S-Collection Q. SE. Sp46t]

Stringer, Lauren.
Yellow Time. 2016 (Picture Book)
This book is a celebration of the anticipation of yellow time arriving, and readers will recognize the in-between feeling that occurs during summer and fall. The array of beautiful yellows and powerful use of white space in the illustrations highlight the splendor of the fall season. With poetic language and diverse children featured in the illustrations, the story is accessible for a wide audience and will appeal to those who love the beauty of the changing seasons.
[S-Collection Q. SE. St864y]

Wellington, Monica.
My Leaf Book. 2015 (Picture Book)
In this introduction to different kinds of leaves, readers explore leaves of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Fun facts about the elements of different leaves are included to add another dimension to this deceptively simple picture book. With bright and happy colors throughout and a page of suggested projects using leaves in the back, this is the perfect fall book for curious explorers.
[S-Collection Q. SE. W46my]

Thanksgiving Books for Children

As Thanksgiving approaches, many children, teachers, and caregivers will begin searching for books about this popular American holiday. Because the tradition has its origins in the early encounters between European colonists and Native Americans, selection of quality books that are also culturally sensitive and historically accurate can be a delicate task.

The list below contains a sample of the many Thanksgiving-themed books found in the Education and Social Science Library’s School Collection. Items were selected based on recommendations from the 8th edition of Best Books for Children, and were checked against the ‘Books to Avoid’ About Thanksgiving list on the Oyate website. The non-fiction titles provide information on the Thanksgiving holiday, as well as background information about the peoples involved and the environment in which the first Thanksgiving was held. Fiction titles can be found towards the bottom of the list.

Additional books about Thanksgiving can be found by entering “Thanksgiving Day” into a subject search in the UIUC Online Catalog. Additional resources for locating books about Native American peoples can be found on the S-Collection’s “Native American Young Adult and Children’s Literature” page.

Barr, Catherine, and John T. Gillespie. Best Books for Children: Preschool Through Grade 6.
(8th ed.) Westport, Conn.: Libraries Unlimited, 2006.
[Education Juvenile Reference: S.011.62 B271b2006]

“‘Books to Avoid’ About Thanksgiving.” Oyate Website. Accessed 10/28/2007.
Non-Fiction Titles

Discovery and Settlement: Europe Meets the New World, 1490-1700. (1993).
Brown, Gene.
Presents primary source materials related to the discovery and settlement of America and daily life in the colonies, including the experiences of Native Americans, African Americans, and women.
Call No.: S.973.2 B813

The Mayflower Compact. (2003).
Carter, E.J.
Discusses the history of the Pilgrims in Massachusetts, the early government of the Plymouth Colony, and the document known as the Mayflower Compact.
Call No.: S.974.4 C245m

Daily Life in the Pilgrim Colony, 1636. (2001).
Erickson, Paul.
Text, drawings, photographs, and maps describe how the Pilgrims lived at the Plymouth colony in 1636.*
Call No.: Q.S.974.48202 Er44da

1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving. (2001).
Grace, Catherine O’Neill.
This appealing and informative photoessay presents the historically correct story of the first Thanksgiving as reenacted at the Plimoth Plantation.*
Call No.: S.394.2649 G753s

A Pioneer Thanksgiving: A Story of Harvest Celebrations in 1841.
Greenwood, Barbara.
This book about a family’s Thanksgiving celebration in 1841 includes recipes, craft projects, and games.*
Call No.: S.394.2649 G856p

Four Seasons of Corn: A Winnebago Tradition. (1997).
Hunter, Sally M.
Twelve-year-old Russell learns how to grow and dry corn from his Winnebago grandfather.
Call No.: S.394.1089975 H919f

Thanksgiving Day. (1997)
MacMillan, Dianne M.
Describes the history of Thanksgiving Day, how it came to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, and the traditions associated with this holiday.
Call No.: S.394.1649 M228T

Thanksgiving. (1998).
Miller, Marilyn.
Examines the traditions and celebrations associated with the holiday of Thanksgiving.
Call No.: S.394.2649 M616t

Clambake: A Wampanoag Tradition. (1992).
Peters, Russell M.
Steven Peters, a twelve-year-old Wampanoag Indian in Massachusetts, learns from his grandfather how to prepare a clambake in the tradition of his people.
Call No.: S.974.482 P442C

Pilgrim Voices: Our First Year in the New World. (1995).
Using first-person sources, the experiences of the Pilgrims from their sea journey to the first Thanksgiving are re-created.*
Call No.: S.974.48202 P643

Mayflower 1620: A New Look at a Pilgrim Voyage. (2003).
Plimoth Plantation Inc.
Contains a photographed reenactment of the voyage and landing of the Mayflower with text covering the perspectives of both the Native Americans and the English.
Call No.: Q.S.974.4 M453

The Wigwam and the Longhouse. (2000).
Yue, Charlotte.
Describes the history, customs, religion, government, homes, and present-day status of the various native peoples that inhabited the eastern woodlands since before the coming of the Europeans.
Call No.: S.973.04973 Y9w
Fiction Titles

A Turkey For Thanksgiving. (1991)
Bunting, Eve.
Mr. and Mrs. Moose try to invite a turkey to their Thanksgiving feast.
Call No.: SE.B886TU

Minnie and Moo and the Thanksgiving Tree. (2000).
Cazet, Denys.
All the animals in the barnyard ask the cows Minnie and Moo to hide them so that they will not become Thanksgiving dinner.
Call No.: SE. C319m

We Gather Together – Now Please Get Lost! (2001).
De Groat, Diane
Gilbert the opossum gets stuck with a tattletale “buddy” on a class trip to Pilgrim Town.
Call No.: S.D365w

Thanksgiving at the Tappleton’s. (1992).
Spinelli, Eileen.
When calamity stalks every step of the preparations for the Tappleton’s Thanksgiving dinner, they realize that there is more to Thanksgiving than turkey and trimmings.
Call No.: Q.SE.Sp46t

The Know-Nothings Talk Turkey. (2000).
Spirn, Michele.
Four friends celebrate Thanksgiving in their own silly way.
Call No.: SE.Sp48knt

Thanksgiving With Me. (1998).
Willey, Margaret.
As a young girl waits for her six uncles to arrive for Thanksgiving, she asks her mother to describe life with these brothers on past Thanksgivings.
Call No.: Q.SE.W669t

An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving. (1993).
Alcott, Louisa May.
Follows the activities of seven children in nineteenth-century New England as they prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday while Mother is away caring for Grandmother.
Call No.: Q.S. AL19OL1995

The Perfect Thanksgiving. (2003).
Spinelli, Eileen.
Two families – one that is perfect and one that is far from it – celebrate Thanksgiving in their own loving ways.
Call No.: Q.SE.Sp46p

*annotation from Best Books for Children.