Thanksgiving Picture Books & Handmade Apron Giveaway Plus Thanksgiving Craft Ideas

This giveaway is now closed! Congratulations to Julie Waldron from Michigan, our Big Winner of this giveaway!

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Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year, not just because the food is amazing and I get to spend the day with friends and family, but because it’s a holiday every American celebrates. It’s the day I recount everything I’ve been grateful for since the beginning of the year. So today I’m showing my gratitude to my Loyal Readers and Facebook Fans by offering this special Thanksgiving Picture Book Giveaway (Plus Apron).

One lucky winner will receive three excellent Thanksgiving themed picture books plus a handmade (designed and sewn by me) Thanksgiving apron for mom. Who says that just because you’re the hostess, you can’t look stylish while cooking? But that’s not all. On this post you’ll find some great crafting ideas I’ve designed with links to the directions for you and your kids and even some pie decorating ideas to make your Thanksgiving holiday extra special.

Scroll to the bottom for Giveaway Rules.

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Stick around because there will be Huge Holiday Events on Smart Books for Smart Kids through the end of the year!


Handmade Thanksgiving Apron

with Pocket and removable Wool Felt Sunflower Pin


Comfortable apron with flouncy skirt and tie neck for the perfect fit that does not pull


Wool felt sunflower pin is removable (cannot be washed)

Image 1

Close up of pattern on main fabric


I just had to model it for you!


 Picture Book 1


Cover Image Courtesy of Candlewick Press

Gobble, Gobble, Tucker!

•    Targeted Audience: Lower & Upper Elementary (Ages 2-5)
•    Genre: Fiction Picture Book
•    Author/Illustrator: Leslie McGuirk
•    Publisher: Candlewick Press
•    Publication Date: Reprinting September 9, 2013
•    Binding: Board Book
•    Dimensions: 8 X 7
•    Printing: Full Color
•    Length: 32 Pages
•    Retail: $7.99
•    ISBN: 978-0763668877

A Dog’s Favorite Day of the Year

Tucker is a lovable white terrier who is just as excited about Thanksgiving as his human family members. As soon as the aroma of the turkey roasting in the oven wafts through the air, Tucker can’t wait to eat it. All throughout the day, Tucker helps family members get the house ready for the guests, and when the doorbell rings, Tucker can’t control his excitement when he sees his canine cousins, Tiger and Murphy with their human family members. They play, but what they really want is a turkey dinner, just like everyone else in the family. But will they ever get one?

© Copyright Inside Image Courtesy of Candlewick Press

A Charming Story to Get Your Child Excited About Thanksgiving

For more than ten years, children have been enjoying books about Tucker, the terrier. The youngest readers can relate to this little guy’s energy and excitement, Gobble, Gobble, Tucker! gives children that wholesome, cozy feeling that comes with spending time with family celebrating Thanksgiving. Leslie McGuirk’s darling images painted in fall colors and outlined in ink, combined with the whimsical hand-lettered font, make the story even more appealing. With simple text and adorable dogs, Gobble, Gobble, Tucker! is the perfect book to get the youngest children interested in reading. What a great way to start the Thanksgiving holiday!

About the Author


When she was a child, Leslie McGuirk wanted to be a game warden in Africa. Instead, she grew up to become an author and illustrator whose favorite topic is the animals she loves so much. She is the creator of several books about Tucker the terrier. She is also the author-illustrator of The Moogees Move House and the illustrator and co-author, with Alex von Bidder, of Wiggens Learns His Manners at the Four Seasons Restaurant. She lives in Vero Beach, Florida with her dogs, Wiggens and Guy.

 Picture Book 2


Text copyright © 2014 by Mark Greenwood . Illustrations © 2014 by Frané Lessac. Used by permission of Holiday House.

The Mayflower

•    Targeted Audience: Lower Elementary (Ages4-8)
•    Genre: Non-Fiction Picture Book
•    Author: Mark Greenwood
•    Illustrator: Frané Lessac
•    Publisher: Holiday Houses
•    Publication Date: July 1, 2013
•    Binding: Hard Cover
•    Dimensions: 9 X 11
•    Printing: Full Color
•    Length: 32 Pages
•    Retail: $7.99
•    ISBN: 978-0823429431

mayflower_lores_preview_Page_1A Long Voyage to America Aboard the Mayflower

The Mayflower  tells the classic true story of 102 pilgrims who sailed across the Atlantic Ocean  from England in 1620 in the hopes of finding a better life in America. Along the way they endured sickness, uncomfortably crowded living conditions and stormy seas. Sadly some of the passengers perished along the way. One even fell overboard but was miraculously saved by other passengers. Upon arriving in Plymouth, the pilgrims created a set of laws – what is known as the Mayflower Compact. Once ashore in December, 1920, they began to build houses, enduring severe winter storms, and they lived without many of the comforts they left behind in England. After settling in, the pilgrims celebrated their freedom with the Wampanoag Indians at was to be the very first Thanksgiving in The New World.

Illustrations © 2014 by Frané Lessac. Used by permission of Holiday House.

A Beautiful Telling and Visual Depiction of the First Thanksgiving

I remember learning about The Mayflower in elementary school, and I found it so interesting. I am just as fascinated by the events that led up to the First Thanksgiving today, and when I picked up this copy of The Mayflower to read, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the illustrations, with their saturated colors and lovely depictions of the pilgrims and their long voyage to America. The text of the story flows gracefully, and all the important points of the Mayflower story are included without overwhelming young readers. The author and illustrator are husband and wife and make a terrific team.

The Mayflower dispels any myths children may have had about pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving.  They learn about the hardships of these settlers and the importance of freedom. This is the most wonderful young children’s picture book on this subject I’ve read. It would make a special addition to any home or school library, and I highly recommend it.


Text copyright © 2014 by Mark Greenwood . Illustrations © 2014 by Frané Lessac. Used by permission of Holiday House.

Watch the Book Trailer!

Further Learning

  1. Check out the Educator’s Guide to this book.
  2. Read an interview with the author and illustrator.
  3.  Learn more about why we eat turkey on Thanksgiving.

About the Author and Illustrator

Greenwood, Mark and Lessac, Frane

Mark Greenwood has a passion for history and legends and is the author of many books for children, published both in the United States and his native Australia. His work has been honored by Kirkus Reviews (Best Book of the Year) and the Bank Street College of Education Children’s Book Committee. He has twice received the West Australian Premier’s Award.

Frané Lessac, born and raised in New Jersey, has illustrated forty books for children. Several of her books have been honored as NCSS – CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People. Frané received the Muriel Barwell Award for distinguished service to children’s literature, which is given by the Children’s Book Council of Australia.

Mark and Frané, husband and wife, live in Fremantle, West Australia.

Image of the author and illustrator used by permission of Holiday House.

Picture Book 3


Giving Thanks

•    Targeted Audience: Preschool, Lower Elementary (Ages 3-7)
•    Genre: Fiction Picture Book
•    Author: Jonathan London
•    Illustrator: Gregory Manchess
•    Publisher: Candlewick Press
•    Publication Date: Reprinted August 9, 2011
•    Binding: Paperback
•    Dimensions: 8.5 X 9.5
•    Printing: Full Color
•    Length: 32 Pages
•    Retail: $7.99
•    ISBN: 978-0763655945

“Thank you, Mother Earth.
Thank you, Father Sky.
Thank you for this day.”

Gratitude and A Bond Between Father & Son

With poetic prose and extraordinary oil illustrations, Giving Thanks pays tribute to the special bond between a father and son and an appreciation for the simple things in life. The father in the story takes his son on a walk through the woods on a crisp autumn day and gives thanks to the trees, the animals, the earth and the sky. He teaches his son that the beauty in nature is a gift that must be respected and appreciated.

The oil painted illustrations by Gregory Manchess are outstanding, setting the words in motion in a most expressive way. The loveliness of the bond between father and son in the story make this a truly special book for Thanksgiving that will remain a classic for years to come. Your child is sure to ask you to take a walk in the woods with him or her after reading this touching story together.


© Copyright Inside Image Courtesy of Candlewick Press

About the Author

authors-londonJonathan London is the author of numerous celebrated children’s books. His commitment to honoring the wonders of the natural world has been lauded by readers and critics alike. About Giving Thanks, Jonathan London says, “Like the dad in the story, I give thanks to ‘the things of nature’ every day. Of course, my young friends call me a tree hugger! But they’re right. I am!” Jonathan London lives with his wife and two sons.

GregoryManchessAbout the Illustrator

Gregory Manchess is a self-taught artist whose paintings have been seen in such magazines as Newsweek, Time, Atlantic Monthly, Readers Digest, and National Geographic. He has received gold and silver medals and the coveted Hamilton King Award from the New York Society of Illustrators for Nanuk: Lord of the Ice by Brian J. Heinz. About Giving Thanks, he says, “This story is a timeless expression of the love for nature and understanding our place in the realm of life . . . an understanding that children develop so quickly.” This is his first book with Candlewick Press.


Thanksgiving Craft Ideas!

Make Turkey Place Cards from Toilet Paper Rolls


Supplies and directions from turkey place cards are here

Make Paper Bag Pilgrims Centerpiece


Supplies and directions for paper bag pilgrims are here

Make a Cornucopia Welcome Sign for your Front Window


Supplies and directions for cornucopia sign here

Make a Paper Bag Turkey Centerpiece


Supplies and Directions are here.


Pie Decorating Ideas

Get out your cookie cutters and leaf cut-outs and start decorating your favorite pies. Just make or buy an extra roll out pie crust. Start baking your pie and when it begins to set (20 minutes or so), take it out of the oven and place your dough cutouts carefully in any pattern you wish and finish baking. If they start browning too quickly before the pie is done, just place a sheet of aluminum foil over the pie loosely and finish baking.

Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie with turkey in the center and maple leaves around the edges


Apple French Crumb Pie with Apple in the center and maple leaves in rows

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie with Pumpkin cutout in the center and leaves all around the edges

Chocolate Truffle Tart

Chocolate Nutella Tart with real chocolate leaves. I use non-toxic leaves from my tree in the yard. Wash with water and dry them thoroughly. Do not use leaves from any tree that has been sprayed with pesticides! Melt chocolate in the microwave by tempering it. Spray non-stick baking spray on both sides of the leaves. Dredge melted chocolate onto the BACK side of the leaves so you get the actual leaf pattern, veins and all. Lay them on a a cookie sheet on top of wax or parchment paper. Refrigerate until firm. Carefully peel leaves off of chocolate and arrange on tart or pie.


Enter for a Chance to Win Three Thanksgiving Picture Books and a Handmade Apron

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  1. Enter the giveaway by Liking our Facebook Page (if you haven’t already) and sending us an email to smartbooks (at) with your name and mailing address. In the subject line of the email write Thanksgiving Giveaway.  We will not share your email or address or use it for any other purpose than this giveaway. PLEASE NOTE: If you do not include your mailing address in your email your entry will be discarded.
  2. Optional: You will receive one extra entry for leaving a valid comment on this post on this website. Tell me about your Thanksgiving traditions.
  3. Optional: You will receive FIVE  extra entries for sharing this giveaway from our Facebook Page. Go to the Facebook page and from there, click share on the link to this giveaway. If you share it from your own Facebook status and not from the Smart Book Facebook Page, I will not know about it, so it will not count.
  4. There will be one winner for this giveaway selected at random, residing in the USA. No books will be mailed outside the USA.
  5. This giveaway starts on Friday, November 6, 2014 and ends on Monday, November 17, 2014., 2014 at 5 pm.
  6. The winner will be notified via email on Monday, November 17, 2014.
  7. Books and apron will be mailed by Tuesday, November 18, 2014.
  8. Follow us on our Facebook Page to learn about more giveaways and read reviews and interviews.

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36 Thoughts.

  1. We always play games (bingo – with prizes) after our meal and everyone who wants to goes in the backyard and shoots skeet 😉

  2. My girlfriend cooks Thanksgiving dinner for her entire family (and bakes ALL the time) and I think she would enjoy your beautiful hand-made apron. But, most of all, she loves reading to her grandkids and spending quality time with them! THANKS, Smart Books For Smart Kids, for all your great giveaways!

  3. Sorry! Missed the part about sharing my Thanksgiving traditions. We girls (there were 7 of us) helped out Mom by doing the little things as she was preparing dinner. We would clean the veggies, peel the potatoes for mashing, baste the turkey, and eat the delicious meal she slaved over all day making in approx. 30 minutes!
    Making the dressing has become my contribution since Mom passed away. Luckily everyone says, “Tastes just like Mom’s (or Grandma’s)!”

  4. I help my kiddos decorate a jar to look like a turkey and then everyday until Thanksgiving we write what we are thankful for that day and put it in the jar. On Thanksgiving, after dinner, we take turns pulling the papers back out and reading what everyone was thankful for during the month leading up to Thanksgiving.

  5. One of our Thanksgiving traditions is to have a Honey Baked Ham and no turkey, LOL! I know it’s strange, but my family just isn’t too crazy about turkey. We always have sweet potato soufflé and green bean casserole every year, too. And the meal wouldn’t be complete without a caramel cake for dessert!

    • That caramel cake sounds wonderful. Some of the workers at the place where I buy my turkey tell me after they sell so many turkeys they cannot bear to eat one, so they eat ham too. Whatever works for you is tradition! Thanks for sharing!

  6. We really do the same thing every year. The family gets together, I cook Thanksgiving dinner, and afterwards we play family games.

  7. For the last few years, It’s been me and momma cooking for my sister and her family. Other than Christmas, it’s the only other time of the year we all get together.

  8. We always say a special prayer to Our Lord instead of our regular blessing at meals thanking Him for all the blessings that He has bestowed upon us during the last year.

    All the other optional entries I completed
    royalegacy at gmail dot com

    Thank you for this splendid Thanksgiving giveaway

  9. My family love to get together watch thanksgiving day and evening football. Turkey is great but our Thanksgiving would not be complete without a huge turkey and my homemade strawberry cheesecake.

  10. Thanksgiving is definitely a family project for us. The location alternates between our house and my parents’, and my mom and I do most of the cooking. My aunts also contribute, with one of them bringing all the dishes my grandmother cooked when she was alive. Some years, my best friend from childhood also joins us with her famous banana pudding.

  11. My family’s Thanksgiving tradition is all the women cook together while the kids decorate their pinecone turkeys and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade and the men watch sports.

  12. We don’t really have any Thanksgiving traditions….we go to my IL’s that day & have a big meal. Our tradition is that we start listening to Christmas music & put the Christmas tree up the day after Thanksgiving 🙂

  13. 40-45 members of my immediate and extended family get together every Thanksgiving and write down what we’re thankful for on a slip of paper which we put in a hat and during Thanksgiving dinner we draw a random slip and read what an anonymous family member is thankful for.

    • Wow Jasmine. 40-45 people at one Thanksgiving must be amazing. I am wondering how you can make enough turkey for that many people?! And I love the tradition of writing down what you are thankful for.

  14. we always go around before the meal and say one thing we are thankful for. After dinner it’s always mapping out routes for shopping!

    • We have a few family traditions, my favorite is reading a letter that we wrote on New Years Eve the previous year. The letter is written at our church Unity of the Palm Beachs they mail the letter back to us before Thanksgiving , we wait to read them and it really helps to put life into perspective and feel gratitude and see the growth that time brings to each of us. We also bake several homemade pumpkin pies, pecan pies, bread and eat way to much but are grateful for family and friends new and the ones that are in heaven. Laugh, Love, Gratitude and Eat Turkey.

  15. Pingback: Enter to win Thanksgiving Picture Books & a Handmade Thanksgiving Apron – ends 11/17/14 | Blog Giveaway Directory

  16. email sent and I shared from your fb page.

    I don’t really have a set tradition other than eating too much food. The dear abby pecan pie recipe served with vanilla bean ice cream is always a must for me to make and bring though!

  17. Our Thanksgiving traditions have changed a bit since the passing of our parents, and the addition of two children in the last few years. We now go to my sister’s house as she has the most room to have all of us. We do buy some of the extras, such as a salad, and desserts, Mysister cooks the turkey and we bring some of the side dishes, like potatoes, rolls, and vegetables. We have some friends come over after the dinner which we have at noon time. Then we all play games or watch Thanksgiving specials on television. 🙂

  18. Our Thanksgiving traditions include setting a beautiful table using our turkey themed china that has been passed down in the family. Also enjoying having the family together, young and old and realizing how special those times are, because it is always changing.

  19. We don’t really have much in the way of traditions. We visit relatives and eat turkey. Someone brings a pumpkin pie. Anything else is flexible.

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