Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead book cover

As a parent, the time you spend with your child—reading aloud, chatting, and interacting in countless ways—is pivotal in helping them develop and thrive as a reader, writer, and thinker. From teaching your child the alphabet to playing rhyming games, you instill crucial knowledge and skills through fun, playful time together. Best of all, it builds your relationship, too—and can even help you feel happier and more fulfilled.

That’s why each month we share a special list of featured reads and literacy activities. Expect fun seasonal reading recommendations, complemented with activity tutorials and free printables for an all-out story time experience with your little one.

Here are some topics to delve into with your child this month:

Thanksgiving Picture Books

What are you thankful for this year? We know what we’re giving thanks for: the shared joy of story time. When we cuddle up our little ones and enjoy a pile of books together, we make priceless memories to cherish every day. This month, we’re building memories and gratitude by reading thoughtful books about Thanksgiving and the concepts we want it to embody for our families. There are so many aspects of the holiday to explore, from history and inclusiveness to giving thanks, the value of simple time with loved ones, and—of course—cooking.

Think about what matters to you and then seek out some recommendations from your local librarian or bookstore owner. Also, Chrysta Naron’s article about Picture Books for Fall Holidays lists some great Thanksgiving books for kids: The Thankful Book by Todd Parr and Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet, plus some wonderful books by and about Indigenous Americans (more on this below!).

Kids’ Books By and About Indigenous Americans

We advocate including books by and about Indigenous Americans in your child’s book rotation all year long, but November offers many additional teachable moments. Your child may have questions about the origin of Thanksgiving or the history they’ve heard about in school and elsewhere. The holiday also offers an entry point into the topic for children.

Read this post about how to choose great reads to introduce Indigenous American authors and stories to your little one, and then be sure to scroll down in the post to find recommendations of some excellent books to get you started. Also check out Squanto’s Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving by Joseph Bruchac—you’ll find a write-up of this one near the bottom of the Favorite Picture Books for Fall Holidays post

Picture Books about Diwali 

Diwali, or the Festival of Lights, is coming up this month, too. The biggest holiday of the year in India (though it is celebrated around the globe), it’s observed by Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and some Buddhists. The festival takes place over several days, with prayers, feasts, decorations like intricate sand art called rangoli, the lighting of lamps, and many other traditions. Though different regions and groups have differing stories about the origin of Diwali, the various celebrants recognize it as a holiday about the triumph of good over evil or light over darkness. Contributor Chrysta Naron has curated a list of awesome Diwali books for children.

Story Time Activity: DIY Gratitude Animals

Grateful Octopus

Practicing gratitude is valuable for mental and emotional well-being. Combine this with some literacy practice while creating cute decor for your house in this sweet DIY gratitude craft to do with kids.

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Welcome! It’s lovely to have you here. I’m Maya, an author, literacy advocate, and mom. On this site, I publish articles, advice, book recommendations, and activities for busy parents. Through it all, my goal is to help parents like you feel equipped and confident to support your children in reading. Let’s start by understanding what you bring to the effort—your unique superpower.

Find your raise-a-reader superpower now.