Carolyn writes about children's literature for library, preschool, or homeschool settings. She has a BA in English Literature.
November Storytime Themes
- Picky Eaters/Trying New Foods
- Thanksgiving Celebrations
This curated list of children's books on various storytime themes can help you to pull together a quick preschool or kindergarten lesson or library story hour. Some of the books cross over, so feel free to mix and match!
Children's Books About Picky Eaters
As every parent of a picky eater will admit, getting a picky eater to try new foods can be a challenge. This collection of books introduces the topic in a humorous, understanding, and sometimes down-right weird ways.
Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli by Barbara Jean Hicks
This delightful read aloud story will give children an opportunity to read along, in call and response style. "Fum, fo, fi, fe, monster's don't eat broccoli!" This story is all about the reluctance to try new foods, and making up your mind that you don't like something before you try it. Wait a minute? Those maple trees are broccoli? But they taste delicious!!
I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child
Lola's a "fussy eater" and her brother Charlie has a plan. And that's a good thing, because there are a LOT of things Lola doesn't eat. Charlie convinces Lola to try a few new things when he gives the food interesting names.
Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert
This alphabet book contains a rainbow collection of fruits and vegetables with their names. This book isn't your typical read aloud. But with so many delicious fruits and vegetables to identify, this book would create a good search and find activity. Call on different children in the classroom to identify the pictured vegetables on the page.
Little Pea, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
(ages 4 and up) What child wouldn't love eating candy for dinner? But Little Pea hates it! Thank goodness Little Pea had spinach to look forward to for dessert. When the picky eater is a cute little pea, children are bound to giggle.
Little Green Donkey, by Anuska Allepuz
Sometimes when you're a picky eater, you get fixated on eating only your favorite thing. Little Green Donkey eat so much grass that he turns green. This turn of events forces him to try some new foods, and he discovers one that he likes. But, uh oh...This is fun, and not heavy-handed story about picky eaters that won't make anyone feel terrible.
Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin
This isn't strictly a book for picky eaters, but it's a rollicking fun read about tacos, all their healthy ingredients, and the taco sauce that causes some unusual problems for the dragons. This is a fun title to mix up with some of the other picky eating books, which might be a little heavy handed if read all together. Can anyone say agenda?
Eat Your People! by Lou Kuenzler
Monty the Monster doesn't like eating people! They're crunchy and sour and just don't taste that good. And yet, he does manage to eat them after his parents cajole him through dinner. Use your discretion—this book might be a little disturbing for preschoolers, with images of children running around (and smiling, apparently oblivious to their fates) on Monty's plate.
Gregory, The Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat, Jose Aruego, and Ariane Dewey
(Ages 4-8). Gregory the goat's parents are aghast: he actually likes to eat healthy food instead of the junk goats usually eat. This Reading Rainbow classic has been a favorite for decades. Read my full review of Gregory, The Terrible Eater here.
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
(Ages 5 and up). The boy in this rhyming children's classic will not try green eggs and ham, until finally, he decides maybe, he just might like them a lot! If it has been a while since you have read this title, remember that it's a long read. Some squirmy preschoolers may not sit still for this.
Children's Books About Gratitude and Saying Thank You
Saying thank you and having gratitude is a great life skill that comes into focus during November. Here's a curated list.
Thanksgiving Is for Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland and Sonja Lamut
(Ages 4-8). This book is an uncomplicated modern take on why we celebrate Thanksgiving, distilling the essence of the holiday into a few short pages. A young girl describes a list of things that she feels thankful for, including: pets, friends, lollipops, beautiful weather, her parents, and her grandmother, who gives great hugs.
The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza by Philemon Sturges
(Ages 4 and up) The hard-working Little Red Hen is frustrated with her lazy and ungrateful friends, who refuse to help her make a pizza. Will they get to participate in the homemade dinner feast?
Feast for 10 by Kathryn Falwell
(Ages 2-5) is a counting book, a book about food, and a book about sharing a feast around a family dinner table. A mother and her 5 children visit the grocery store, collecting food for their feast. Then they come home and prepare the meal together. This book isn't a dedicated Thanksgiving book, but it depicts delicious, healthy food, a happy, warm family, and an atmosphere of abundance and gratitude. Large text and simple words make this an excellent read aloud for younger ages.
Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson
(Ages 3-5) This title never uses the term "Thanksgiving," but Bear and his friends gather in his home to have a Thanksgiving Feast. Bear's generous friends share their bounty with him when his cupboard is bare. Bear is embarrassed that he doesn't have something to contribute, but his friends remind him that his friendship means just as much to them as does his food. Like all of the books in the Bear series, the illustrations are bright, colorful, happy, and full of life.
Thankful by Eileen Spinelli
(Ages 3-5) This simple, rhyming book of verse presents a poem about people from many walks of life who are thankful for specific things. A writer, a dancer, a gardener, a fireman, a poet, a waitress, an artist, a tailer, children, and a queen are just a few of these. This book will appeal to children's imaginations as they will see themselves in Archie Preston's illustrations, which depict children in each of these roles. This is a sweet and short addition to a selection of books about gratitude.
Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback
(Ages 4-8). Joseph the Tailor shows gratitude for his belongings by remaking his overcoat into a variety of colorful and creative garments that become smaller and smaller throughout the book. This award winning story is primarily about about thrift, but it also shows that we can show appreciation for the things we have by taking care of them and using them in new and clever ways. This one's a Caldecott Winner.
Children's Picture Books About Turkeys
Turkey Trouble by Wendy Silvano
A clever turkey nervously devises a series of costumes so he can look like the other animals. This is a good idea, but unfortunately, he finds himself falling short, as all the animals warn him the costumes aren't believable. After many ideas that don't work, Turkey comes up with a new, different plan. The moral of the story is clear, if at first you don't succeed, try dressing up as the pizza delivery person.
Run, Turkey, Run! by Diane Mayr and Laura Rader
(Ages 4-8) Will the turkey escape from the farmer who is trying to catch his Thanksgiving dinner? A harrowing chase through the barn yard and into the woods makes this a fun and exciting read aloud, with the refrain "Run, Turkey, Run!" Children can help you move the story forward as turkey escapes and the farmer and his family eat grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner.
A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman and Jeff Shelly
(Ages 5-8) The townspeople of Squawk Valley are hungry and they are devious, so they decide to lure a turkey into town by having an art show. Pete the turkey answers their ad for a plump and perky turkey model, but will they be outsmarted and have to eat Shredded Wheat for Thanksgiving?
All About Turkeys by Jim Arnosky
(Elementary grades) Have you ever wondered where a turkey lives? How fast a turkey can fly? Why turkeys gobble? What turkeys eat? What animals are turkey predators (beside people, of course)? This book presents many interesting facts about turkeys that may surprise you! Did you know that female turkeys can change the color of their head? This nonfiction book will be an interesting read and can be the answer to a fact-finding mission! I highly recommend for second graders and up.
10 Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston and Richard F. Deas (Ages 4-8)
(Ages 4-8) With a "gobble, gobble, wibble, wobble" the 10 fat turkeys on the fence get into all kinds of hijinx, AND they break the fence! This is a fun way to practice counting to ten. This story can be set to music and even performed as a rap.
Children's Picture Books About the Thanksgiving Holiday
I put together this curated list of books about the Thanksgiving holidays with the idea that everyone celebrates a little differently. Families might eat chicken for dinner, have a special feast out in the woods, or enjoy a special Thanksgiving celebration with friends at a community center.
In November by Cynthia Rylant
In November offers a proverbial feast of sights and and sounds that will appeal to all the senses. An exploration of the changes that happen in November, the author poetically describes changes in plants and animals as birds prepare to migrate, animals get ready for a long winter, and people spend more time together gathering in thanksgiving. Rylant's pleasing prose never talks down to children, and paints beautiful word pictures that you will want to read again and again. If you read one Thanksgiving book this year, choose this one.
In November at winter's gate, the stars are brittle. The sun is a sometimes friend, and the world has tucked her children in, with a kiss on their heads, till spring.
— Cynthia Rylant, In November
Thanksgiving in the Woods, by Phyllis Alsdorf
This picture perfect book about a large family gathering that extends to friends, neighbors, and "people I don't even know." The spirit of Thanksgiving shines in this story of gathering and celebration in a beatiful fall setting surrounded by nature. Jennie Løvlie's illustrations are magical. The author drew her inspiration from her family traditions and the simplicity of the Shakers, a religious group from the 1800s.
Gracias The Thanksgiving Turkey by Joy Cowley and Joe Cepeda
(Ages 6-8). Miguel and his family live in New York City, so when his father sends him a live turkey, his Abuelo (grandpa) says "Que Problema!" Contrary to the assumption that Gracias was sent to be the Thanksgiving dinner, Gracias becomes Miguel's amigo. And of course, you can't eat your friends for dinner! This book has a warm, extended family, several words in Spanish, and a vibrant neighborhood full of people who help Gracias grow big and fat. Leave plenty of time to read this long story, suitable for elementary ages.
Twas The Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey
(Ages 4-8) Written the the author of the popular Captain Underpants series, this parody of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas" features 8 tiny turkeys instead of reindeer, a farmer who's nothing like Santa, and a bus full of children who smuggle the turkeys home to their vegetarian Thanksgiving dinners.
Little Critter: Just a Special Thanksgiving by Mercer Mayer
Little Critter manages to get stage fright during the Thanksgiving play, is lost at the parade, and makes a mess of the cranberries at the grocery store. Full of lots of delightful mayhem, everyone will love the imperfect but loveable Little Critter. This one's been enjoyed for decades.
The Perfect Thanksgiving by Eileen Spinelli and Joann Adinolfi
(Ages 4-8) Two loveable, but very different families have Thanksgiving at their house. One is picture perfect in every way, and the other, is messy, haphazard, and loud. Which family will your students relate to?
Children's Picture Books About Sharing and Generosity
An excellent November theme that delves into character development, this curated list of books about sharing and generosity go hand in hand with some of the books about Thanksgiving. The titles include realistic fiction, folktales, and characters that readers can relate to.
That Fruit is Mine! by Anuska Allepuz
(ages 3 and up) Deep in the heart of the jungle live five fruit-loving elephants who discover an exotic new fruit tree. Each elephant devises a creative solution to picking the fruit, but almost everyone discovers that working together and sharing the fruit yields much better results. This humorous read-aloud can be read in call and response style, with children saying "Mine!" and "Ours!" throughout the story.
Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts and Noah Z. Jones
(Ages 5 and up) A realistic fiction story about a boy's longing to fit in by owning a pair of "those shoes," the ones everybody at school are wearing. This touching story shows the struggles of wanting things we cannot afford, as the boy's grandmother tells him kindly, "we don't have room for wants, only needs." After much wanting and wishing, a trip to three different thrift stores on the city bus yields a pair of those shoes! But they're too small. The boy finds a satisfying resolution to the problem of owning shoes that are much too small and that hurt his feet. Another boy at school, Antonio needs a new pair of shoes too, and the reader learns that those who have little can still give much.
Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora
2018 Caldecott Medalist. A generous grandmother named Omu prepares a pot of "delicious, thick red stew" and shares it with everyone in the neighborhood, even the mayor! She shares and shares throughout the pages of the book, until all of her delicious food is gone, and none is left for her. The resolution of the story shows that sharing and gratitude go hand in hand. This would be a fantastic story to read with any version of the Little Red Hen, whose friends never help and rarely give back. Thank You, Omu is full of enriching vocabulary words and vivid descriptions. One of the true gems in this list.
All for Pie and Pie for All by David Martin and Valeri Gorbachev
This charming read aloud is well-paced. Grandma cat makes a delicious pie for dinner, and grandma mouse smells the leftovers. Each member of her family gets a piece. Grandma ant smells the crumbs, and each member of her family get's a piece, too! When Grandma cat decides to make another pie, all the animals in the house join in and help.
Stone Soup is a traditional folktale that has inspired many retellings. The traditional story about community and cooperation has a trickster character, an out of town visitor, who arrives in a small village and announces that he can make soup from a stone. I like the two versions below, but you will probably find others that you like to share.
Stone Soup by Marcia Brown (Ages 4-8) This version of the traditional Stone Soup folktale won the author a Caldecott Medal in 1947.
Stone Soup by Heather Forest (Ages 4-8). This 1998 version of the Stone Soup folktale depicts a multi-cultural village and two beggars who trick the villagers into sharing.
Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White and Megan Lloyd
Too Many Pumpkins by Linda White and Megan Lloyd has found it's way on many of my book lists. This charming semi-realistic story stars Esmeralda, an older woman who detests pumpkins. But unknown to her, the pumpkin truck leaves an accidental surprise in her back yard, and she discovers a pumpkin patch at the end of the summer. What to do with all of those pumpkins? Share them, of course!
© 2008 Carolyn Augustine
Carolyn Augustine (author) from Iowa on October 08, 2008:
Thanks Lupo, Green Eggs and Ham is one of my favorites. The Dr. Seuss books are sooo LONG compared to many of the modern children's picture books published, though, and I haven't been as successful reading them in story hours. For lap-reading purposes the length of the story is less of an issue because you can stop if your child loses interest. Cheers!
Lupo from Boston Area on October 07, 2008:
Gotta love "Green Eggs and Ham." I wonder how many people in the U.S. know of this book and remember it from their childhood?
Anyway, thanks for the nice list!