Picture Book Pair for a Fun Fall Story Time

by Rebecca J. Gomez Pairing two or more picture books with similar themes can open up a world of discussion possibilities, and those discussions are great ways to connect with your children or students. It can be fascinating to see how different authors and illustrators approach different topics and themes. Pairing books with similar themes during story time will help children learn that everyone sees the world a little differently, and it's good to see other people's perspectives. Read : Leaves by David Ezra Stein and The Leaf Thief by Alice Hemming, illustrated by Nicola Slater Discuss :  What is the main theme in each of these stories? How are these two books different? How are they similar? What were Bear and Squirrel both confused about?  Have you ever been confused or curious about something in nature? Talk about it! What is fall like where you live? Do you see leaves changing, then falling from the trees?  What other books about fall or leaves have you read? Are any of

TEN Books About Thankfulness: A Read, Discuss, Do! Book List

By Marci Whitehurst

We live on a ranch and I often find myself wondering, “What do cows think about?” So when I saw the book Otis Gives Thanks, about a tractor giving thanks, I HAD to read it. What is on a tractor’s thankfulness list?

Otis lives on a farm. He is thankful for the land, for games like hide-and-seek, and his friends. Most of all, he’s thankful for love.

November is known for being the month of Thanksgiving, but practicing thankfulness year-round is a great habit to have! Just like Otis, sharing what we are thankful for helps us remember daily joys.

I hope that this list will inspire you to share what you are thankful for!

Ideas for things to DISCUSS:
  • What are some things you are thankful for?
  • Talk about some people you are thankful for.
  • Why are you thankful for these things and people?
  • How do you feel when someone says, “Thank you!” to you?
  • Have you ever learned to be thankful for something you didn’t appreciate at first?

Ideas for things to DO:
  • Make a list of the people you are most thankful for. Write a note to them to tell them why.
  • Make a “thankfulness journal” to keep track of things you’re thankful for throughout the year.
  • Make Thankfulness Rocks! See instructions for this activity below:
Thankfulness Rocks:

In my town, there is a small team of people who paint rocks with special words on them and purposefully leave them around town for people to find. They say things like: peace, love, hope. When a person finds a rock, they can keep it or place it in a different spot for someone else to find. I love this idea, so it got me thinking…

Rocks can be a canvas! We can share what we are thankful for on rocks. Why? Because thankfulness rocks!

You will need:
  • An assortment of small rocks, smooth enough to write or paint on
  • Acrylic paint, permanent markers, or heavy pens (paint pens work well)
  • Your list of things you’re thankful for!
Wash the rocks off if they’re dirty. Let them dry completely. Using paint or markers, write or draw things you’re thankful for on the rocks! Leave them places where other people can find them. One friend of mine even made a rock garden outside her walkway.

Here are some of mine…

And now for the list!

Taylor the Thankful Turkey by Sonica Ellis, illustrated by Nejla Sholaie

Taylor shares gifts with his friends. What can we share with those around us?

I Am Thankful by Sheri Wall, illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown

A rhyming story of traveling and cooking with family.

A Little Thankful Spot by Diane Alber

A literal spot—a circle—encourages lists of thankfulness with ideas of things to be thankful for. Dare I say they are spot on?

Otis Gives Thanks by Loren Long

Otis is a tractor who gives thanks for all that he enjoys—like rain for the crops. Through the eyes of a tractor is a fun perspective.

Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

This is the first of a series of books about Stick and Stone. It’s an endearing tale that shows thankfulness for friendships—because friends rock!

When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree by Jamie L.B. Deenihan, illustrated by Lorraine Rocha

When you get an actual lemon tree, what can you do? This story goes beyond the cliché and touches on a growth mindset while having an engaging story.

Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman

A rhyming story with repeated refrains that show how friends sharing creates thankfulness for all.

Thankful by Elaine Vickers, illustrated by Samantha Cotterill

A young girl lists things she is thankful for as she prepares a "thankful chain" as part of a yearly family tradition. The colorful, detailed illustrations are hand made 3D sets! 

For older readers: MIDDLE GRADE BOOKS:

The Giver by Lois Lowry

This book has been around for decades. In this dystopian society, one kid learns the power of memories. These memories show the importance of individuality, but also that feelings are something we can be thankful for.

Fish in a Tree by Linda Mullaly Hunt

Ally has been able to hide her inability to read until her new teacher sees something in her that helps her understand herself. This book contains a lovely cast of characters, strong friendships, and hopeful endings. Thankfulness for who you are and the people around you is scattered throughout.


Mindy Baker said…
Great list! I love the painting rocks idea, too!