Thanks & Giving: All Year Long

Thanks & Giving

While my family doesn’t celebrate every holiday, we celebrate books every holiday. Books have become a vital aspect of our pre, during, and post holiday celebrations. During any given holiday, we browse our local library bookshelves, racking up holiday books to read during that particular holiday. Nonetheless, over the years, we’ve noticed a certain pattern. The sooner we go, the greater our chances of finding great holiday books. Whereas, the later we go, the lesser our chances of finding them. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, considering it indicates that kids are actually reading books, more and more. However, that was of little consolation to the fact that a few years ago we got there later, only to find that all the great kids’ holiday books were GONE! Except one: Thanks & Giving: All Year Long by Marlo Thomas and Christopher Cerf.

I am not exactly sure why this book was still sitting on the shelf. I almost left it because I thought, “If this book is still sitting on this shelf, collecting dust, on the day before Thanksgiving, it must not be all that good or good at all.” Then I decided, “I have nothing to lose by checking this book out because after all, I don’t have that much of an option; after all, all the good books are taken anyway…and if we were to read anything Thanksgiving related, we’d have to take this book home with us,” …and we did!

Fast forward, almost seven years later, and we are still reading this book. Reading this book together during Thanksgiving has become a family tradition. Needless to say, borrowing this book from our local library some years ago has become one of the best decisions we’ve made when it comes to books. Here’s why:

1. This book practices what it preaches. Not only is the book about ‘thanks and giving’ the book itself is ‘thanks and giving’ meaning it serves as a fundraiser and that in itself provides the opportunity for giving.  All of the royalties from this book go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to aid with research and medicine. While we can easily obtain copies from most libraries, I’ve decided to purchase a personal copy specifically for this reason and purpose. I encourage you all, in the spirit and season of thanksgiving, to do so as well. You can find out more about the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at

2. This book emphasizes ‘thanksgiving’ year-round. The attitude of gratitude and generosity is most often associated exclusively with Thanksgiving Day, when, in fact, it should be highlighted and practiced  year-round; and this book places very high emphasis on that, in the most understandable and exciting way kids can easily grasp.  Marlo Thomas writes “I love that the word “Thanksgiving” brings together two great ideas -thanks and giving- that we can celebrate every day of the year…so you see, we thank and give every day.”

3. This book provides lessons for all ages. Whenever I read aloud to my kids or have them read alone, I am often amazed at the lessons they pick up on from the book; nevertheless, what amazes me even more is that I end up learning as much, if not more from the “children’s book.” This book is the perfect example of that. There are great lessons to be learned and applied by all ages, not just kids; and this book is loaded with them.

4. This book boosts enthusiasm and interest. To put it simply, this is not a boring book at all. It is jam-packed with rich text and illustrations (through stories, songs, poems, comics, quizzes, etc.) that entice and captivate its readers interest and attention from beginning to end. When you pick up this book, know that there will be more than just reading involved. There will be a whole lot of singing, dancing, reciting, laughing, and anything else imaginable. This book is a very fun and interesting read for kids and adults alike.

5. This book represents diversity on so many levels. First, it has such rich, diverse mix of stories, songs, poems, comics, quizzes, etc., that are bound to appeal to kids of various reading interest, levels, and styles. Second, diversity is so richly embedded in its brilliant, colorful illustrations and text that it has great tendencies to attract kids of diverse backgrounds. Third, the obvious, diverse mix of contributors (authors, illustrators, poets, actors, musicians, athletes, etc.) all adding their own unique, personal perspectives and views to the mix, undoubtedly puts this book at a higher advantage of attracting and reaching diverse readers. Rarely do we find a kids’ book with such a diverse mix.  

As I write this, I am reminded of Frank Serafini’s  profound quote, “There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children who have not found the right book.” Parents, teachers, and all other adults, this book has proven to be the right book for my kids; and it might well be the right book for the kids in your lives as well. Give it a shot! Meanwhile, I would love to hear about books that have become a part of your family’s holiday tradition. Please leave a comment or two below. Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Reading!

By: Dawn Hoff, Book Kids




Book Club – Book of the Month – November

Spirit's Key - Book

Book Kids’ book of the month is Spirit’s Key by Edith Cohn. Recommended for ages 9-12.

By now, twelve-year-old Spirit Holden should have inherited the family gift: the ability to see the future. But when she holds a house key in her hand like her dad does to read its owner’s destiny, she can’t see anything. Maybe it’s because she can’t get over the loss of her beloved dog, Sky, who died mysteriously. Read More

Our tween-teen book club books are chosen by our book tweens and teens. Some books they read prior to selecting; others they select prior to reading. Spirit’s Key is one they haven’t read but find fascinating based on reviews and recommendations. We are all excited to dive into this book for the first time, along with you. We’d love you to share your thoughts and views about this book. Please leave a comment or two below. Coming soon is our “Book Club Kid Review” segment at Stay tuned! Happy Reading!

* Children, please seek parental permission and guidance before commenting on all book club books. All our book picks are found on amazon. You may also check your local bookstores or libraries.

Dawn Hoff, Book Kids


5 Great Ways to Put a Literary Spin on Halloween


If you’ve been following Book Kids, you probably know by now that we put a literary spin on every holiday, and of course that includes Halloween. So, without further ado, let’s get right to it:

1. The Costumes. I’d admit, Halloween is the least of my favorite holidays. It can get a little spooky and eerie. However, there couldn’t be a more perfect time to flaunt literature and literacy than during Halloween. What little girl wouldn’t want to flaunt her favorite literary princess’ dazzling tiara and beautiful gown? Similarly, what little boy would turn down an opportunity to sport his favorite literary superhero’s majestic armor, cape, or crown? I couldn’t imagine anything more magical than the scene of literary characters parading our streets on a Halloween night. Most importantly is making sure the kids have fun in the entire process of choosing, purchasing, or creating the costumes. Need ideas? Read this

2. The Treats. Kids tend associate Halloween treats exclusively with candy. If it isn’t candy, then it is automatically thrust into the “trick” category. Well, I’m here to tell you that books and educational toys can be tasty too, for the brain of course. I dare not insinuate that you eliminate all candy; the kids definitely won’t take that well! I simply suggest a healthy balance between the two. Let candy be a supplement to other (educational) treats, rather than a substitute. We’d want our children to get the idea that we value books as much as (if not more than) we value other “treats” and that we consider books great treats as well. Now that’s a real treat! Need ideas? Read this

3. The Events. Whether you’re into hosting holiday parties or simply attending them, a great way to incorporate literature and literacy into the holiday event is simple – host or attend those that focus on literary and literacy themes. The costumes, treats, decor, etc., you select for your party can be based primarily on literary characters. Similarly, take your kids to holiday parties or other theatrical performances or events that highlight literature and literacy. I have yet to meet a kid who would turn down an opportunity to see a play or performance based on his or her favorite book character, especially around the holidays. Need ideas? Read this

4. The Arts & Crafts. Oh, this is truly where Halloween fun meets literary fun. This is really where the magic begins. Calling all crafty and not so crafty kids (as related to arts and crafts) to carve and shape pumpkins into the image of your favorite book characters. You can solicit the help of adults of course. The beauty of it all is that the images don’t have to be perfect; just have fun throughout the process. We draw, we paint, we color, we cut, we paste, we sew …any and everything possible to keep our kids minds stimulated and constantly in learning mode. In the short and long run, the results are fun and educational. Need ideas? Read this

5. The Books. You didn’t think I would leave out books, did you? I deliberately saved the best for last. I’ve said this numerous times and I can never cease to say it: Books are some of the most powerful and effective tools to educate and entertain all at the same time. I often use books to supplement any and every holiday event. They just seem to go hand in hand. My kids and I read all kinds of books pertaining to each holiday prior, during, and post-holiday. We discuss the who, what, when, where, why, and how, regarding each holiday. Ultimately, they come out with a greater sense of background knowledge, interest and, enthusiasm for that particular holiday. Books are essential, educational, and entertaining. Need ideas? Read this

I would like to conclude with a bit of information regarding a program we are extremely passionate about, as it relates to Halloween; a program that sets the stage for adults to raise food allergy awareness and ensure that kids with food allergies are safer during Halloween. I am referring to The Teal Pumpkin Project. The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages adults to offer non-food treats to trick-or-treaters during Halloween. Halloween can be a bit spooky enough for any child, let alone for a child with food allergies. Here’s to a great campaign, making Halloween safer and less scary for children with food allergies. Need ideas? Read this

As always, we love to hear your thoughts and ideas on how you make Halloween a literary event. You may leave a comment or two below. Have a safe and book-filled Halloween! Happy Reading!

By: Dawn Hoff, Book Kids