In November by Cynthia Rylant

It’s November 20 and almost Thanksgiving, but it finally feels like fall here in California!  Anyway… in the spirit of November, I thought I’d share a (hopefully… depending where you live, apparently!) wonderful seasonal read— Cynthia Rylant’s In November. Written by Rylant and illustrated by Jill Kastner, In November beautifully welcomes the new scenery, changing weather, and slower pace of life that comes with November.

Rylant’s story begins with a description of the the visual, what the readers see around them in November, such as the trees “spreading their arms like dancers.” She then writes of the animals and their changing behaviors— birds that are flying south, birds staying and scrounging for food, animals that slow down and rest, and animals that hibernate. We then see the people!

For the rest of the book, Rylant and Kastner allow us to get to know the family. We smell what they are cooking, we feel the excitement over visiting relatives, our bellies rumble at the sight of a tableful of Thanksgiving food, and we say goodbye. Goodbye to the relatives, goodbye to the fall, and goodbye to the day of feasts and company.

In November is recommended for ages 4-8, but it short enough and colorful enough to hold a toddler’s attention as well. This could easily be used as a mentor text for writing projects with older students in descriptive writing and personal narrative units, as well as for craft skills like similes, metaphors, and personification.

If you liked this, check out:

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

Sleep Tight Farm: A Farm Prepares for Winter by Eugenie Doyle

The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant


Do you have a favorite way (book or tradition) to prepare for Thanksgiving and usher in the rest of fall?

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