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Food for Thought

A Thanksgiving Exercise for Children's Writers

by Lynne Marie

As the Owner and Administrator of as well as a Rate Your Story Judge, I get to see a lot of the issues that hold back a story from getting ratings on the upper end of the scale. One of them is approaching a story idea from a kid-friendly and kid-accessible angle.

So with that in mind, I bring you an exercise which should be not only fun, but nostalgic. And today is the best day to ponder, as the world slows down for the long weekend (unless you shop LOL) and you will have lots of time to think and create!

Remember the Thanksgivings of your youth, looking at them from the perspective of a child, and make a few lists with examples. I will share mine as a sample.

What were your favorite foods, activities, people or things?


Dad's cooking

Early Christmas Gifts


Cranberry Sauce

The Story of Thanksgiving

Apple Pie

The Thanksgiving Day Parade

Sharing Blessings

Playing Board Games

The nut and cheese tray

Thanksgiving Art and Crafts

Fall Colors and Decorations

Counting Blessings

Crayons and Coloring Pages


March of the Wooden Soldiers

Nanny's Spritz Cookies

Tad Lincoln and his Turkey

What were your least favorite foods, activities, people or things?

Annoying relatives


Sitting at a card table

Turkey Gizzards

Mom's anxiety

Feeling stuffed

Loud Football Games

Leftover Turkey

Turkey Soup and Sandwiches

Then, look at each item on your list and come up with some story ideas.

Admittedly Thanksgiving is not my favorite holiday. Although I found things to appreciate, it's centered around turkey which I will not eat and don't like to smell. In fact, love the annual Turkey Pardoning at the White House! With that in mind, you will be surprised to see how many story ideas I got from Thanksgiving as a child! I hope you surprise yourself too!

Annoying Relatives



Apple Pie

(American Pie SOLD)

Counting Blessings

(Counting Sheep with Bo Peep)

Food / What Others Eat on Thanksgiving

(Let's Eat! Mealtime Around the World SOLD)

Thanksgiving Not Being a Favorite Holiday

(Witch's Christmas Switchmas)


(Fowl Humor)


(Turkey Shapes Up BoardBook)

Playing Board Games

(Let's Play! Games Around the World)

Of course, there's more -- some percolating, some sitting on my list of ideas for Story Storm, some which will be respectfully buried.

But the main thing is to use this time and inspiration to tap into your child self and look at the world in that way! And once you plant an idea, if it grows away from Thanksgiving let it! Just give it some thought and water and see where it goes!

Happy Writing Friends -- Wishing You All a Blessed Thanksgiving!

Lynne Marie is the author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten -- art by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic 2011), Hedgehog's 100th Day of School -- art by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play -- art by Lorna Hussey (Beaming Books 2018), Moldilocks and the 3 Scares -- art by David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Sterling / Scholastic 2019) Let’s Eat! Mealtime Around the World -- art by Parwinder Singh (Beaming Books 2019), The Three Little Pigs and the Rocket Project -- art by Wendy Fedan (Mac and Cheese Press / CAW Publishing, December 2021) and American Pie -- art by Dea Lenihan (Dancing Flamingo Press 2022).

She’s also the Owner and Administrator of both and, as well as a long-time Travel Agent with (! She's been a Cybil's Judge in the Fiction Picture Books and Board Books category since 2016. Recently, she's been handed the ReFoReMo torch from Kirsti Call and Carrie Charley Brown, which returns under March On With Mentor Texts in Marc2022 ( You can join her weekly Book Chat here: Mentor Text Talk| Facebook or at #ReVISIONWeek on Twitter which she co-hosts throughout the year.

When she’s not searching for story ideas all over the globe, she lives on a lake in South Florida with her family, a Schipperke named Anakin and several resident water birds. Visit her Lynne Marie is represented by Marisa Cleveland



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