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Just in time for the holidays - Books full of thanks

November 14, 2008|By CATHERINE HALL

'Tis the season to be thankful. Traditionally, we come together with friends and family to give thanks for what we have.

We spend time watching parades and football, preparing elaborate meals, decorating with symbols of our bounty and teaching children the history of the first Thanksgiving.

Too often, we also spend time stressing about things we cannot change, eating foods we know are not good for us and spending money we don't actually have.

This season, I offer a simple way to escape the frenzy and bring the thanks back into Thanksgiving. Share a story with your family this season that illuminates both the depth and simplicity of giving thanks. Make up your own, share a favorite or come by the library and pick up one of these stories of giving thanks:

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"Boxes for Katje" by Candace Fleming (ages 4 to 8)

After a young Dutch girl writes to her new American friend in thanks for the care package sent after World War II, she begins to receive increasingly larger boxes.

"Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message" by Jake Swamp (ages 5 to 8)

An illustrated version of the Thanksgiving Address prayer, a message of appreciation of Mother Earth and her inhabitants, traditionally recited by Mohawk children every morning.

"The Secret of Saying Thanks" by Douglas Wood (ages 3 to 8)

In an inspirational story that offers homage to the natural world, a young girl discovers how being thankful for the many wonderful things around us can lead to greater happiness and even more things to be thankful for.

"Giving Thanks" by Jonathon London (ages 3 to 7)

A young boy learns from his father how to show gratitude for the Earth and sky and for the animals that inhabit both. Oil painting illustrations enhance this book for nature lovers.

"Gracias, The Thanksgiving Turkey" by Joy Cowley (ages 5 to 8)

Trouble ensues when Papa gets Miguel a turkey to fatten up for Thanksgiving and Miguel develops an attachment to it.

"Thanks a Million" by Nikki Grimes (ages 5 to 8)

The attitude of thankfulness is expressed poetically in 16 ways.

"One Lucky Girl" by George Ella Lyon (ages 5 to 8)

When a tornado carries away a family's trailer with a sleeping baby inside, it takes a sharp eye to see beyond the ruins and find the lucky little girl sent flying - to safety.

"The Story of the Grateful Crane" by Jennifer Bartoli (ages 6 to 11)

Retells the story of a crane who, when rescued from a trap by an old, childless couple, repays their kindness in a magical way.

"The Memory Cupboard: a Thanksgiving Story" by Charlotte Herman (ages 6 to 9)

When Katie breaks an heirloom gravy boat during Thanksgiving dinner, her grandmother shows her that love is more important than objects.

Catherine Hall is children's librarian with the Washington County Free Library.

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