November - Gracias the Thanksgiving Turkey by Joy Cowley

posted Nov 17, 2009, 6:37 PM by Holly Shipman   [ updated Nov 17, 2009, 6:42 PM ]

Dear Students and Teachers,

As we get ready for the special season of Thanksgiving, our Book of the Month comes at just the right time. Gracias, The Thanksgiving Turkey by Joy Cowley and illustrated by Joe Cepeda is truly a fun, yet touching story. I’m betting that when you sit down to eat your Thanksgiving dinner, you will think about this very cute story! I am also hoping that while you are with your family and friends for this coming holiday time you will write about your special traditions and experiences of the week. I love to read your thoughts and tales about your amazing adventures!

As always, there are many connections to be made from our book this month. As I read this book, the characters and story line caused me to remember when I was a young girl during Thanksgiving time. Waiting for family members to arrive for Thanksgiving dinner was sometimes very difficult. I remember thinking they would NEVER get there so we could enjoy the holiday meal. I guess being young sometimes makes us impatient! I also remember some special pets I had throughout my childhood years. These are such great memories that this book brought forward for me!

Miguel is our main character for our story. He lives with his grandparents and his parents. His father sends him a special gift a few weeks before Thanksgiving. I think his dad meant for the gift to be useful for the Thanksgiving meal, but through the course of the story, Miguel decides that his present is NOT going to be used in this way. I won’t spoil the details of the story for you, but what a great way to twist the idea of Thanksgiving and that very special dinner.

This book is rich with Spanish language that is very interesting – words that our Spanish speaking friends will be very familiar with. Wasn’t that a great idea to put real Spanish words into the story? Vocabulary for story writing should be authentic to the characters and the plot. I think Joy Cowley, the author, did a great job helping us to "feel" the story and to "imagine" ourselves right in the middle of the action. This is referred to as the author’s "voice" in the story.

Another connection I made is the closeness of the community in the neighborhood where Miguel, the main character, lives. I was so impressed with how the neighborhood folks "got in on the act" of helping Miguel with his "present", especially when he needed some assistance. I can’t help but think about the wonderful community we are a part of right here at Lily B. Clayton – our neighborhood families and friends are so very generous in helping us out – with whatever we may need. Right now during this time of thankfulness – I’m thankful for our great community. We are very blessed.

So now, it’s time to get started with our super story for the month of November. Don’t forget to write about your Thanksgiving traditions and experiences. I want to hear about the special things your family does during the holiday – and maybe you could let me know what you are thankful for. I know one thing I’m thankful for – Lily B. Clayton – and each one of its students and staff members.

Happy Reading! Happy Thanksgiving!

Mrs. Hollinger

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