Each year in November, Tom reads Truman Capote's The Thanksgiving Visitor to his eighth graders. We both love this story, and it contains one of my favorite passages. Miss Sook says, "There is only one unpardonable sin - deliberate cruelty. All else can be forgiven. That, never." The most interesting facet of the tale for those thirteen and fourteen year olds is the fact that this older cousin invites the young Buddy's worst enemy to Thanksgiving dinner. Tom says there is always much discussion about Odd Henderson, who is a bully who lives in a terrible family situation. He is twelve years old, and still in the second grade.
This year, I pulled Arthur's Thanksgiving by Marc Brown off our shelf, and asked, do you want to read this to your seventh graders, and he did. Tom held up the book and asked the students if they knew the characters, and they remembered them all. Probably some from the PBS series, but I'll bet most of them read it when they were little ones. I love the Arthur books, and my kids loved them. In this book, Mr. Ratburn, Arthur's teacher, chooses Arthur to direct the Thanksgiving play.
Tom says he'll continue this new tradition each November. The seventh graders clapped when he finished the book!!