Thanksgiving comes once a year, and each November we spend time around family meals and gatherings. As part of the tradition, we express what we're thankful for and remember its origins. With it's focus on family, we've gathered together 31 books that are great for both you and your children.
2011 | Melissa Sweet
A Sibert Medal-winning picture book biography and perfect Thanksgiving Day read about the invention of the first balloons for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! From Caldecott honor artist Melissa Sweet. Everyone’s a New Yorker on Thanksgiving Day, when people from every corner of the country rise early or tune in to see what giant new balloons will fill the skies for Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. In Balloons Over Broadway, Caldecott honor artist Melissa Sweet brings the inspirational story of Tony Sarg, a self-taught immigrant with a wildly creative dream that invented those balloons, to life. The story takes readers through every step of Sarg’s journey— from his childhood love of creating marionettes, to the moment this brilliant idea was born in his head, all the way up to the invention of these enchanting floating balloons. Sweet brilliantly captures the essence of Sarg through her signature collage illustrations and thoughtful storytelling. Balloons over Broadway will capture the hearts of all ages sitting around the dinner table, on Thanksgiving Day and every day.
2018 | Tommy Orange
Tommy Orange's wondrous and shattering novel follows twelve characters from Native communities: all traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow, all connected to one another in ways they may not yet realize. Among them is Jacquie Red Feather, newly sober and trying to make it back to the family she left behind. Dene Oxendene, pulling his life together after his uncle's death and working at the powwow to honor his memory. Fourteen-year-old Orvil, coming to perform traditional dance for the very first time. Together, this chorus of voices tells of the plight of the urban Native American--grappling with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and spirituality, with communion and sacrifice and heroism. Hailed as an instant classic, There There is at once poignant and unflinching, utterly contemporary and truly unforgettable.
1988 | Laurie Colwin
Share the unsurpassed pleasures of discovering, cooking, and eating good, simple food with this beloved book. Equal parts cookbook and memoir, Laurie Colwin's "Home Cooking" combines her insightful, good-humored writing style with her lifelong passion for wonderful cuisine in essays such as "Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant," "Repulsive Dinners: A Memoir," and "Stuffed Breast of Veal: A Bad Idea." "Home Cooking" is truly a feast for body and soul.
2018 | Traci Sorell, Frané Lessac
A look at modern Native American life as told by a citizen of the Cherokee Nation The word otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is used by members of the Cherokee Nation to express gratitude. Beginning in the fall with the new year and ending in summer, follow a full Cherokee year of celebrations and experiences. Appended with a glossary and the complete Cherokee syllabary, originally created by Sequoyah.
2016 | Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
A warm, funny and acutely perceptive debut novel about four adult siblings and the fate of the shared inheritance that has shaped their choices and their lives. Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on an unseasonably cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their charismatic and reckless older brother, Leo, freshly released from rehab. Months earlier, an inebriated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs’ joint trust fund, “The Nest,” which they are months away from finally receiving. Meant by their deceased father to be a modest mid-life supplement, the Plumb siblings have watched The Nest’s value soar along with the stock market and have been counting on the money to solve a number of self-inflicted problems. Melody, a wife and mother in an upscale suburb, has an unwieldy mortgage and looming college tuition for her twin teenage daughters. Jack, an antiques dealer, has secretly borrowed against the beach cottage he shares with his husband, Walker, to keep his store open. And Bea, a once-promising short-story writer, just can’t seem to finish her overdue novel. Can Leo rescue his siblings and, by extension, the people they love? Or will everyone need to reimagine the future they’ve envisioned? Brought together as never before, Leo, Melody, Jack, and Beatrice must grapple with old resentments, present-day truths, and the significant emotional and financial toll of the accident, as well as finally acknowledge the choices they have made in their own lives. This is a story about the power of family, the possibilities of friendship, the ways we depend upon one another and the ways we let one another down. In this tender, entertaining, and deftly written debut, Sweeney brings a remarkable cast of characters to life to illuminate what money does to relationships, what happens to our ambitions over the course of time, and the fraught yet unbreakable ties we share with those we love.
2005 | Louise Penny
The discovery of a dead body in the woods on Thanksgiving Weekend brings Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his colleagues from the Surete du Quebec to a small village in the Eastern Townships. Gamache cannot understand why anyone would want to deliberately kill well-loved artist Jane Neal, especially any of the residents of Three Pines - a place so free from crime it doesn't even have its own police force. But Gamache knows that evil is lurking somewhere behind the white picket fences and that, if he watches closely enough, Three Pines will start to give up its dark secrets...
2014 | Gina Henning, Gina Calanni
A warm pie. A tasty guy. Happy Thanksgiving indeed. Lauren Hauser is home for the holidays, and she’s been given a challenge: preparing her grandmother’s pecan pie. The problem? Lauren’s not famed for her baking skills. In fact, while her sister would win Star Baker every week, and her mom at least knows a sieve from a spatula, Lauren’s bakes have always been more dangerous than delicious! Still, no Thanksgiving would be complete without dessert…which is why Lauren finds herself searching for pecans on Thanksgiving Eve. Stumbling into a gorgeous stranger laden down with bags of pecans seems like a holiday miracle…but despite Jack’s kissable lips he’s frostier than a snow cone…and out of sight before she can say ‘Macy’s Parade’! As the clock counts down to Thanksgiving dinner, Lauren is running out of time. And without her grandmother’s perfect pecan pie it won’t be a very Happy Thanksgiving! What Lauren needs is a knight in shining armour. And it might just be that the magic of Thanksgiving will find her one after all…
2019 | Ross Gay
Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights is a genre-defying book of essays—some as short as a paragraph; some as long as five pages—that record the small joys that occurred in one year, from birthday to birthday, and that we often overlook in our busy lives. His is a meditation on delight that takes a clear-eyed view of the complexities, even the terrors, in his life, including living in America as a black man; the ecological and psychic violence of our consumer culture; the loss of those he loves. Among Gay’s funny, poetic, philosophical delights: the way Botan Rice Candy wrappers melt in your mouth, the volunteer crossing guard with a pronounced tremor whom he imagines as a kind of boat-woman escorting pedestrians across the River Styx, a friend’s unabashed use of air quotes, pickup basketball games, the silent nod of acknowledgment between black people. And more than any other subject, Gay celebrates the beauty of the natural world—his garden, the flowers in the sidewalk, the birds, the bees, the mushrooms, the trees. This is not a book of how-to or inspiration, though it could be read that way. Fans of Roxane Gay, Maggie Nelson, and Kiese Laymon will revel in Gay’s voice, and his insights. The Book of Delights is about our connection to the world, to each other, and the rewards that come from a life closely observed. Gay’s pieces serve as a powerful and necessary reminder that we can, and should, stake out a space in our lives for delight.