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Thankful by Elaine Vickers. Illustrated by Samantha Cotterill

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From when the first snow falls and then continuing through the month of December, a young girl and her parents practice a lovely family tradition by making “thankful chains”: Taking scissors, construction paper, pencils, and tape, the girl writes things she’s thankful for on slips of paper, then makes a paper chain with them. Initially, she finds it difficult to think of all the things throughout the year that she’s grateful for, so she starts by looking around her bedroom. Soon, she’s thought of many ideas. Then she turns her attention to the outdoors to find other reasons for thanksgiving—night, morning, moon, sun, and stars. Her dog, her beating heart, her breath, a patient friend, and a teacher who knows when she’s trying her best are each a cause for thanksgiving. The girl’s paper chain continues to grow till all the things she’s thankful for encircle her window like a frame around a picture of the thing she’s most grateful for—the world. 

Illustrator Samantha Cotterill’s unique artwork—digital photos of hand-built, three-dimensional sets depicting the ordinary joys of a loving family—complement author Elaine Vickers’ simply-told, heart-warming narrative. After reading Thankful to children, Christian parents, teachers, and caregivers have the opportunity to begin a similar tradition and to share other reasons for thanksgiving: God’s love for the world, Jesus’ gift of salvation for all people who believe, and the Holy Spirit’s daily presence in the hearts of God’s children. (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)

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