Celebrating Thanksgiving is a time for reflection and gratitude. But Thanksgiving should permeate throughout the entire year. We have much to be grateful for. Four of the books listed below help family members appreciate the blessings that surround them. However, the first book has to do with elections and will help youngsters understand the importance of voting. And the last three books are outstanding and published recently. All of the books are picture books and perfect for ages four and up unless otherwise stated.

Rock that Vote, by Meg Fleming and brightly illustrated using gouache, colored pencil and brush marker and finished digitally by Lucy Ruth Cummins, is a delightful rhyming tale full of color and energy. The class is about to vote on their classroom pet and which shall it be? Hedgehog, lizard, hamster, goat? Make a sign and rock that vote! This classroom election signifies the importance for all to cast their vote. And when the decision is made, the class then casts another vote for a name. The cheers the kids make throughout showcase the excitement of support, outcome, and importance of the vote.

Pookie’s Thanksgiving, by Sandra Boynton, is a darling small board book that simply states through rhyme what this holiday is all about. The young pig and his family are preparing dinner for the big feast. When grandparents and Pookie’s family complete their meal, they each state what they are thankful for. This little book is perfect for toddlers and parents to enjoy together.

Giving Thanks: How Thanksgiving Became a National Holiday, by Denise Kiernan and wonderfully illustrated with traditional and digital media by Jamey Christoph, tells how Sarah Josepha Hale made this holiday come about while other cultures had been expressing thanks for centuries. In the 1800’s communities showed their thanksgiving gratitude at different times during the calendar year. Sarah desired for this to become a national holiday where the country celebrated it on the same day each year. She wrote to governors and several presidents until finally one president understood that our country needed to observe a unified thanksgiving of gratitude. Can you think which President agreed with Sarah? This is truly a wonderful book all ages should read during this holiday.

A World of Gratitude: How People Give Thanks Around the World, by Claire Saunders and nicely illustrated showing different cultures by Kelsey Garrity-Riley, is a wonderful exhibit of this godly attribute throughout the world. The book is broken into several categories that include saying thank you in over fifty languages, remembering the people who help you throughout your week and tips to help count your gratitude, (like writing a gratitude journal). I especially like the first part of this book titled The Power of Thanks.

The Thank You Book, by Danna Smith and brightly illustrated by Juliana Perdomo, is a rhyming board book showcases the many simple and easy ways to express gratitude throughout the day. When someone is thoughtful or kind in some way, “thank you” are two very nice words to say. Some classic examples of showing gratitude include thanking police officers, bus drivers and crossing guards.  This is perfect for ages two through five.

Even Robots can be Thankful, by Jan Thomas, has two robots who are best friends. They go thought various humorous stages of problems with their friendship when coming to the realization that friendship takes sacrifice and gratitude. Three short chapters take these robots through some funny antics that end up teaching what it means to be thankful. These vignettes are perfect to read-out-loud! The digitally made illustrations are bright and have a comic-style layout.

If You Laugh, I’m Starting This Book Over, by Chris Harris and hilariously illustrated using ink on paper with digital color and photo enhancements by Serge Bloch, has to be one of the funniest as well as funnest books I’ve come across! The book begins with a strong proclamation stating the rules for this book, which includes:  Don’t look at this book! Also, don’t look at your beautiful fingernails. This is just one of the many statements and decrees announcing what you should and shouldn’t do. And they are all very silly making this a laugh-out-loud book. This book works best as a read aloud!

Over and Under the Waves, by Kate Messner and beautifully illustrated using mixed media by Christopher Silas Neal, is a wonderful story and a look into the deep blue sea. As a family kayak along a bay, a whole world underneath the sea opens up to the child as she asks where a sea lion disappeared to. The colorful scenes take up the complete open page. Books like this are a treasure! There’s an interesting storyline with the family. But the facts and information found throughout is truly edifying. Be sure to check out more information found at the back of the book about the animals found in this underwater world.

How to Eat a Book, by Mrs. & Mr. MacLeod, is a unique celebration of books and the words that create the story. Three siblings each are eaten by a book where they fall into a state of words of wonder and adventure. The brilliant illustrations take on a three-dimensional appearance with the use of dipped pen-and -ink cutout art. It’s a great demonstration of the importance of books and the everlasting world of the imagination.