My Penworthy Pick is Duck for Turkey Day, an adorable, multicultural story about Thanksgiving and the different ways we all celebrate. Tuyet’s class is preparing for Thanksgiving in the usual ways: singing turkey songs, making pinecone turkeys, and learning about the holiday’s history. Tuyet is excited, until she’s crushed to discover that her Vietnamese American family is having duck for Thanksgiving dinner rather than turkey. How will it be a real Thanksgiving feast? But Tuyet ends up enjoying her family’s Thanksgiving meal, even without the turkey. After the holiday, her teacher asks the students to share stories about each of their celebrations. It turns out that a wide variety of non-turkey dinners were enjoyed by her classmates and their families on Thanksgiving: lamb, chicken and noodles, and even a tofu turkey. Of course, the one thing everyone’s holiday meal had in common was enjoying the love and company of family.
This is a sensitive and engaging story which most children will be able to relate to, no matter their cultural background. Tuyet clearly loves her family and wants to be respectful of their traditions, and her worries are touching and vivid. This is a great choice for reading aloud during the holiday season, or for starting a discussion with students about embracing diverse cultures - particularly their own.
By Dawn Marowsky, Penworthy Representative
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