November is a month to keep thankfulness at the top of our minds. There are so many beautiful books for young readers that focus on an appreciation for nature in general, and in particular gardens, food and the people behind them. Here are a few of my favorite picture books for reading at any time of the year, but especially as we approach Thanksgiving celebrations.

Thank You, Garden written by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Simone Shin

Set in a community garden with lots of helping hands, this rhyming text celebrates the ways in which a garden can bring us together and appreciates all the work and patience that go into a garden. With evocative poetry, this book shows us a garden that is playful, joyful, messy, alive and abundant. The art offers lots for the young reader to explore and discover on the pages: garden gnomes, little toy trucks, snails, butterflies and more.

Thank You, Bees by Toni Yuly

With cheerful art and simple language, this book helps even the earliest readers (and older ones, too!) make the connections between nature and themselves: “Bees give us honey. Thank you, bees...Dirt gives us plants. Thank you, dirt.” Encouraging curiosity, wonder and gratitude, this story guides readers to ask questions about the world around us. Whether we are walking around the block, or playing at the park, or working in our gardens, what do we see, and who can we thank?

Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora

Generosity, community, and gratitude bubble up in this moving story about Omu and her “thick red stew in a big fat pot” that keeps on giving. (“Omu” is what the author called her grandmother. It means “queen” in Igbo, the Nigerian language of her parents.) Neighbors smell Omu’s delicious stew and come knock on her door. Omu offers her stew to everyone: a police officer, the hot dog vendor, an artist and more. She shares and shares until her pot is empty. But she hears another knock on her door... and everyone she fed has brought food to share with her! With beautiful and engaging words and art, this book encourages us to think about the generosity inherent in a pot of stew. Do you have a family stew tradition?

Around the Table That Grandad Built written by Melanie Heuiser Hill and illustrated by Jaime Kim

Centered on the table that Grandad built, the table is set with napkins sewn by Mom, sunflowers picked by cousins, and more. Once the table is set, the story shifts to focus on the meal. With a feast of garden produce, tamales, samosas, rice pudding, Gran’s bread, Dad’s huckleberry jam, and more, this gathering of loved ones is a treasure. I love the emphasis on the homemade and the handmade, and the stories about the things on tables, such as the glasses from Mom and Dad’s wedding and the silverware gifted from a grandparent. This is a moving book for thinking about not only the food, but also the special things on our tables this time (and any time!) of year and why they hold meaning for us.

Thanks a Million poems by Nikki Grimes and pictures by Cozbi A. Cabrera

This collection of poems touches on familiar subjects like lunch boxes, teachers, weekends and good neighbors, as well as subjects that may be less familiar to young readers, such as homelessness and grief. Readers will find humor and approachability in, for example, “Dear Teacher,” the poem featuring a math word problem signed by “David, who only hates math ½ as much as he used to.” In “Shelter,” about a family living in a shelter, or in “Dear Author,” about a child who has lost a parent, the reader glimpses how gratitude may be present even in the most difficult of circumstances. The opening poem, “Reward,” is perfect for gardeners and plant lovers, comparing a “thank you” to a seed that grows and flourishes.

Before We Eat: From Farm to Table by Pat Brisson and illustrated by Mary Azarian

This book offers a look at how our food arrives at our tables and invites the reader to consider the folks who work on farms, on ranches, at sea, in fields, in transportation, and in kitchens.

It acknowledges the labor that often goes unnoticed, such as the truck drivers making deliveries of food, and the workers packing and sorting produce into crates. Written in rhyme with a woodblock illustration style, the book includes helpful further resources on gardening with kids.

Kate Rowe loves picture books, reading, gardening, cooking, and talking about all of these things! She shares picture book recommendations paired with food adventures @thepicturebookcook on Instagram. She is a writer, editor, and parent of two young book-loving garden helpers.