Tales and Traditions

A Wynk, a Blynk, and a Nod to Books about Thanksgiving and Autumn

Nothing says Thanksgiving quite like the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. One of our new Thanksgiving books, Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade, sheds an interesting light on this annual event. In 1870, something known as a Ragamuffin Parade was introduced to New York City by its many immigrant residents. It took place on Thanksgiving Day. Children dressed like beggars and paraded through the streets asking, “Have you anything for Thanksgiving?” People referred to them as ragamuffins and gave them a penny or sometimes a piece of fruit. But as time passed, the parade fell out of fashion. Halloween became more popular, and it offered children a time to dress up and beg for treats. Also, with the passing of time, many of those immigrant children grew up and found themselves employed by Macy’s in Manhattan. These employees remembered with fondness the Ragamuffin Parades, and many historians believe that they asked Mr. Macy if he might consider sponsoring a parade for the children of New York City on Thanksgiving Day. In 1924, the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade took place, and as we all now know, a tradition was born. Oh, the things you can learn from a children’s picture book! We hope you enjoy the story of Rettie along with the others we’ve included …


Baby’s First Thanksgiving by Dawn Sirett

This board book contains bright pictures and word labels that will help little ones identify all the favorites typically associated with Thanksgiving. They’re sure to gobble this one up!





Celebrate Thanksgiving by Deborah Heiligman

This National Geographic publication, with its stunning photographs, celebrates the traditions behind our American holiday. It’s part of the Holidays Around the World series, and provides a nice, simple introduction.






Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter by Kenard Pak

In this beautifully illustrated book, two young children observe the changes in the season, from autumn to winter. This is a companion volume to Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn, released last year. It’s one you don’t want to miss.




Hedgehugs: Autumn Hide-and-Squeak by Steve Wilson and Lucy Tapper

Hedgehog friends Horace and Hattie make a new friend as autumn looms all around. A fun story for the fall season!






Hello Autumn! by Shelley Rotner

All the signs of autumn are depicted in this stunning photographic essay on the season. Rotner is an award-winning author and photographer. Her photos are lively and energetic, and include a multitude of diverse children.





If You Were a Kid at the First Thanksgiving by Melissa Sarno, illus. by Lluís Farré

Ever wonder what it was like to be a kid at the first Thanksgiving celebration? This book provides a glimpse of just that. A young boy living in the Plymouth Colony meets and makes friends with a young Wampanoag girl as they make preparations for a harvest feast. Sidebars include additional factual information about the holiday.




In the Middle of Fall by Kevin Henkes, illus. by Laura Dronzek

This book introduces the concepts and vocabulary associated with fall. The illustrations are simply gorgeous and fill each page with all the colors of the season.







It’s Thanksgiving, Chloe Zoe! by Jane Smith

When the pumpkin pie doesn’t turn out as planned, Chloe Zoe learns that there’s so much more to Thanksgiving than just the food.






Llama Llama Gives Thanks by Anna Dewdney

Llama Llama returns in this board book about Thanksgiving and being thankful for everything from pumpkin pie to blue skies. Fans of the Llama Llama books will enjoy this latest addition.





Leaves: An Autumn Pop-Up Book by Janet Lawler, illus. by Lindsay Dale-Scott

This interactive book describes the changes that accompany autumn through amazing paper engineering. There’s a surprise on every page.





Otis Gives Thanks by Loren Long

Otis the tractor has much to be thankful for: his home, his friends and so much more. Fans of the Otis books will enjoy this latest story, just in time for Thanksgiving.





Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade: A Thanksgiving Story by Trinka Hakes Noble, illus. by David C. Gardner

A snippet of American history is brought to life in this warmhearted holiday tale. Set in New York City in 1918, an immigrant population is struggling to survive the Spanish influenza pandemic. Nine year old Rettie attempts to save her family by participating in the Ragamuffin Parade on Thanksgiving morning in which children dress as beggars and parade through the streets to collect pennies from the wealthy. An author’s note explains the history and significance of this event.





Thanks from the Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

This book is perfect for Thanksgiving but really any day of the year.  Through his signature artwork, Carle gives us a story about all the things that make us thankful.








Thanksgiving by Rachel Grack

This simple non-fiction book is part of the Celebrating Holidays series and provides young readers with interesting facts about the holiday. Colorful photographs accompany the text.



Thanksgiving in the Woods by Phyllis Alsdurf, illus. by Jenny Lovlie

This picture book is based on the true story of a family in Upstate New York who has hosted an outdoor Thanksgiving feast in the woods on their farm for over twenty years.






Where is Baby’s Turkey by Karen Katz

This brightly colored, lift-the-flap board book encourages little ones to help Baby find his special stuffed animal.








Zack and the Turkey Attack by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Zack gets creative in trying to fight off Tailpipe the turkey on his grandparents’ farm. This is a light and humorous read from Newbery Medal winning author Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.






Written by Cecilia Horn and Terri Diebel

Cecilia Horn is currently the Juvenile Collection Development Librarian for the Kenton County Public Library. Terri Diebel is a Children’s Librarian at the Covington Branch. Both hold Masters of Library Science degrees and have worked in the field of Children’s Literature for many years. In recent years, they have collaborated on presentations at local, state, and national library and literature conferences.

“Children’s literature is our passion. Through this blog, we hope to share that enthusiasm and love of children’s books. As children’s literature enthusiasts, our blog name pays homage to the classic children’s poem from 1889, “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod,” by Eugene Field.”


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