Generally we associate Thanksgiving as a North American holiday, but similar celebrations take place all around the world. Their meanings, dates, and customs may vary, but they all revolve around the concept of gratitude and generally follows the harvest season.
For those living in Japan, Kinrō Kansha no Hi is a national public holiday that Japan celebrates every November 23. Derived from ancient harvest festival rituals named Niinamesai, its modern meaning is more tied to a celebration of hard work and community involvement, hence its translation: Labor Thanksgiving Day. While Niinamesai‘s traditions reach back thousands of years, Kinrō Kansha no Hi was created officially in 1948. It was intended to celebrate the rights of workers in post-World War II Japan. Today it’s celebrated with labor organization-led festivities, and children creating crafts and gifts for local police officers.
With this celebration of gratitude in mind I will be hooting a few books that celebrate Empathy – Respect, Appreciation, Cooperation.
Written and illustrated by Mo Willems, the 25th and final book in the Piggie and Gerald series is one big “THANK-O-RAMA”. In the last twenty four books of this series we have been entertained by the adventures of Careful Gerald and his best friend Piggie, who is just not like him.
Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.
Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to.
In The Thank You Book! Piggie wants to thank EVERYONE. But Gerald is worried Piggie will surely forget someone . . . someone important (the readers!!!). What an artful and brilliant way for Mo Willems to say “Thank you ” to his numerous Piggie and Gerald fans, children and adults, who have been ushered into reading and loving books, through this series. This book teaches children in a sweet, humorous way the importance of saying THANK YOU and being grateful. An excellent read for Thanksgiving.
Published May 3rd 2016 by Hyperion Books for Children ISBN13: 9781423178286
A generous woman is rewarded by her community in this remarkable picture book Thank you, Omu! by author-illustrator, Oge Mora. Here is a book that’s perfect not only for the Thanksgiving season but for year-round reading. It’s not too long and not too short, the text is “just right” for a read-aloud picture book.
The smell of Omu’s delicious stew has everyone in the neighborhood knocking on her door. Omu gives and keeps on giving, not knowing that her unselfish giving will bring back to her an enormous gift of gratitude. Every time I read-aloud this book it puts a smile on my face, first to sense the disappointment in the children when there is nothing left of the “red thick stew” and then the joy when they see Omu is duly rewarded for what she has done. The sense of community and also knowing the people in your neighborhood is a vital point in this book. An absolutely delightful story about community and generosity for Pre K – Lower Elementary.
Published October 2nd, 2018 by Little Brown and Company ISBN13: 9780316431248
Thank you, Mr. Falker is a story about the author, Patricia Polacco, herself as a young girl and how it was (finally in fifth grade) a particularly kind and able teacher who got her the help she needed and helped her learn to read. She writes poignantly about how she’d always been good at art but felt she was stupid because she could not learn to read the way her schoolmates did. This heart-warming story, accompanied by illustrations in Polacco’s signature style is indeed her “thank you” to her school teacher, George Felker (his real name). Youngsters, as well as adults, may find themselves choked up at the emotions so eloquently described in words and pictures. This is one book I often read to Grade 4 & 5 students and they would have a genuine compassion and sympathy for Trisha and her problems with learning to read and the bullying that followed. I highly recommend reading this to young children ages 7 and up.
Published May 7th 2001 by Philomel Books (first published May 4th 1998) ISBN-13 : 978-0399257629