History & Culture

Talking to Kids About Thanksgiving

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Are you looking for ways to share with children the importance of family, community, and gratitude? Or trying to make sure talking to kids about Thanksgiving includes giving them an age appropriate introduction to history? A wonderful book to share is Keepunumuk Weeãachumun’s Thanksgiving Story by Danielle Greendeer (Mashpee Wampanoag) and Tony Perry (Chickasaw). Learn the story of Weeãachumun, who asked local Native Americans to show the newcomers how to grow food.

Watch this video to hear Alexis Bunten from the Bioneers Indigeneity Program share learning activities about sharing, valuing nature, and animal behavior. Alexis reads the story aloud, and then leads a discussion about talking to kids about Thanksgiving. A very helpful resource guide is available with all kinds of fun ideas to try at home.

You might also try If You Lived During the Plimoth Thanksgiving by Chris Newell (citizen of Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township). It comes highly recommended from American Indians in Children’s Literature, a site that provides critical analysis of Indigenous peoples in children’s and young adult books. Read their detailed review to find out why the book is so highly regarded, like this analysis “There are many sentences and passages in If You Lived During the Plimoth Thanksgiving that I wholeheartedly welcome. Here’s one from page 8: “The story of the Mayflower landing is different depending on whether the storyteller viewed the events from the boat or from the shore.”

Very young listeners might also enjoy Online Storytime: Thanksgiving to hear some of our favorite books to share in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. Online Storytime will include experiences to talk, read, sing, write, and play. This makes fun stories and activities about Thanksgiving include important early learning skills!

Make a selection from one of these lists to enjoy a rich variety of stories to add to your annual Thanksgiving traditions.

Prayer Books for Kids – The Many Ways People Say “Thank You”

Here is a selection of prayers and stories for children to explore the prayer traditions in their own family or those of their friends and neighbors. After sharing one, talk about the ways the characters in the story prayed, or talked about the things they felt thankful for. How was it the same as how you talk about gratitude in your home? How was it different?

Title - A Family PrayerTitle - The Masjid Kamal LovesTitle - Salat in SecretTitle - A World of PraiseTitle - Standing in the Need of PrayerTitle - My Heart Fills With HappinessTitle - Sammy SpiderTitle - Thanku

Books by Indigenous Authors for Young Children

Learning about other cultures helps young children develop a better sense of themselves and the world around them. The books in this list are written by Indigenous authors, providing a look inside the traditions and values of their communities.

Title - First LaughTitle - Fry BreadTitle - We Are Water ProtectorsTitle - Bowwow PowwowTitle - KamikTitle - Zoe and the FawnTitle - You Hold Me upTitle - Thunder Boy Jr

Picture Books by Native Authors, Recommended by American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL)

Add to your Thanksgiving favorites with these great books recommended by American Indians in Children’s Literature.

Title - Bowwow PowwowTitle - Awâsis and the World-famous BannockTitle - First LaughTitle - Nimoshom and His BusTitle - ChickadeeTitle - KunuTitle - Whale SnowTitle - Fatty Legs