Not This Turkey

not this turkey

2017 Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Young Readers

Mel's Jewish immigrant family makes new holiday traditions after his father wins a Thanksgiving raffle and brings home an enormous live turkey home on the New York subway.

Although Mel and his family have lived in America for several years, they have never celebrated Thanksgiving, just the Jewish holidays. But this year, after Papa wins a live turkey at work and brings it home on the subway, Mama invites all their relatives to their Brooklyn tenement for dinner. There's just one thing―Mel has a soft spot for the turkey!---from the publisher

32 pages 978-0807579084 Ages 4-8

Keywords: Thanksgiving, immigrants, turkey, customs and traditions, new experiences, 20th century, family life, 4 year old, 5 year old, 6 year old, 7 year old, 8 year old, Thanksgiving without the myth, diversity, diverse books, Jewish fiction


The story of a Jewish family that immigrates from Germany to America in the early 20th century.  Papa gets a job in a pocketbook factory and rides the subway to work and back every day.  Papa says he misses Germany but he also likes to figure out how things work in his new country.  Which leads him to the morning when he is encouraged to put his name into a raffle for the Thanksgiving Prize.  "New country, new celebrations."

So begins a delightful adventure of a family whose turkey gets off the subway and comes home. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on your point of view, the turkey is so adored by the family- love at first sight - that no one could possibly eat it.

Thinking of all the immigrants who come to live in my neighborhood these days stringing up their lights for Diwali and painting their front steps and hanging up scarecrows for Halloween.

We are a melting pot and it turns out all those side dishes from the country back home need to be on Thanksgiving Day tables to be celebrated and shared.

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge,


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