Friday, August 19, 2016

Plan Ahead for Thanksgiving---Review of an Awesome Children's Book, and Free Companion Activities

I love children's books, and especially love those with beautiful illustrations, clear language, and simple messages.  Today I was given a new book entitled Thanksgiving Weekend, and fell in love. The author and illustrator, Shannon Moore Fitzgerald, is local to our area, and you can check out her art, musings, and books at She is a former elementary school teacher, author, artist, quilter, and lifelong lover of learning.

In this delightful book about Thanksgiving, the concepts including gratitude, fun, family, sharing, and love are each given their own page, with gorgeous illustrations, and lovely prose.  Each page is a work of art-- a combination of cloth applique and other media, simple enough to convey the main idea but offering enough visual support to provide a springboard for reinforcing vocabulary.

Whenever I find a new book, I always think of our children with language difficulties who need more visual supports, so I developed a set of visuals as an interactive aid for comprehension.  The visuals include icons to match with each page's concept, and a step-by-step set of instructions to make a 'Thankful Turkey' project.  You can download this for free at the end of this post.  The author has also provided nice suggestions at the end of the book for enrichment activities including suggestions for developing a 'gratitude graph', 'gratitude letters', and an Acrostic poem.  Although these didn't come with visual aids, it wouldn't be too difficult to scaffold some of these ideas visually for our EC population.
icons to add an interactive component
Thankful Turkey activity

An Amazon reader wrote about this book: As a special educator and a parent of young children, I am always searching for great holiday and thematic books to read with my kids. I have found Thanksgiving books on turkeys and the history of Thanksgiving, but could never find a book that focuses on GRATITUDE and GIVING THANKS that was also appropriate for young children -- until now!!! I especially love how Fitzgerald's poetic words and beautiful illustrations highlight Thanksgiving vocabulary on each page, like GRATEFUL, SHARING, and BLESSINGS. This book will make you smile and warm your heart, no matter your age. I can't wait to read this at home and in my classroom!

Plan ahead for Thanksgiving!  It'll be here before you know it and this book will work great with your younger learners.

Click here to download the supplementary materials.

disclaimer:  I was given a copy of this book to review but otherwise, gain nothing financially.  This blog contains a link to Amazon.