Thanksgiving is a time for family and food, for sharing and spending time together. What better way to teach children about the meaning of Thanksgiving than by reading together? Books are one of the things we are most thankful for, so we’ve put together a list of the best Thanksgiving books that you and your family can share this holiday. Featuring stories both old and new, silly and educational, this list is sure to have the perfect Thanksgiving story for your family. We’ve organized them by recommended age group and included their publishers’ descriptions below. Have a happy Thanksgiving!
For Babies and Toddlers:
Where Is Baby’s Turkey? by Karen Katz
Little ones will love this new lift-the-flap board book from Karen Katz that’s perfect for Thanksgiving!
Gobble, gobble! It’s time for Thanksgiving! In this interactive book from bestselling author Karen Katz, little ones can lift the sturdy, easy-to-lift flaps on each page to look for Baby’s turkey stuffed animal. Filled with bright, striking art, this book is sure to get little ones excited for the festive family holiday!
Happy Thanksgiving, Curious George by H.A. Rey
Today is Thanksgiving and George is so excited! He loves everything about the holiday — from the parade with music, jugglers, and big balloons to the delicious turkey shared with family and friends. But even on Thanksgiving the curious little monkey manages to stir up some trouble! Follow George through his Thanksgiving adventures with the short poems in this ebook.
Squanto’s Journey by Joseph Bruchac and Greg Shed
In 1620 an English ship called the Mayflower landed on the shores inhabited by the Pokanoket, and it was Squanto who welcomed the newcomers and taught them how to survive. When a good harvest was gathered, the people feasted together—a tradition that continues almost four hundred years later.
Thanksgiving Is for Giving Thanks! by Margaret Sutherland and Sonja Lamut
Sure, Thanksgiving is about pilgrims and history — and turkey, of course! — but most importantly, it’s a holiday all about everything that we are thankful for. Cheerful, colorful illustrations accompany the simple text in this celebration of family, friends, and the holiday that brings them all together.
Ladybug Girl Gives Thanks by Jacky Davis and David Soman
Lulu has much to be thankful for: Bingo, the trees, her books, her friends and family, and, of course, pumpkin pie! This sweet, simple board book is perfect to share with Ladybug Girl’s littlest fans at Thanksgiving — or any time you’re feeling thankful.
For Preschool Through Grade 3:
Thanksgiving is Here! by Diane Goode
As soon as Maggie’s grandma and grandpa get the turkey in the oven, bright and early on Thanksgiving morning, the guests arrive and the commotion begins: glamorous aunts, crying babies, acrobatic cousins, strange dogs, mysterious gifts, romance, friendships, “yackety-yak”ing and, of course, lots of wonderful food and fun.
You’ll find a new story every time you read this joyous celebration of Thanksgiving!
Franklin’s Thanksgiving by Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark
In this Franklin Classic Storybook, our young hero likes everything about Thanksgiving, from eating pumpkin-fly pie to making cornucopias. But what he likes best is having his Grandma and Grandpa share the holiday with him and his family. This year, however, his grandparents are traveling abroad. Thanksgiving just won’t be the same without guests around the table, so Franklin decides to invite some friends for dinner. What a nice surprise it will be for his parents. Only Franklin’s mother and father have the same idea, and on Thanksgiving Day all their friends show up for the festivities! With no more room in the house, where will the holiday meal take place?
The Thankful Book by Todd Parr
I am thankful for music because it makes me want to dance.
I am thankful for my feet because they help me run and play.
I am thankful for kisses because they make me feel loved.
Todd Parr’s bestselling books have taught kids about unconditional love, respecting the earth, facing fears, and more, all with his signature blend of playfulness and sensitivity. Now, The Thankful Book celebrates all the little things children can give thanks for. From everyday activities like reading and bathtime to big family meals together and special alone time between parent and child, Todd inspires readers to remember all of life’s special moments. The perfect book to treasure and share, around the holidays and throughout the year.
The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh
In this festive Caldecott Honor-winning picture book, Alice Dalgiesh brings to life the origin of the Thanksgiving holiday for readers of all ages. Giles, Constance and Damaris Hopkins are all passengers aboard the crowded Mayflower, journeying to the New World to start a new life. Things get a little more cramped when their baby brother Oceanus is born during the passage. However, when they arrive, there are even worse challenges to face as the Pilgrims are subjected to hunger, cold, and sickness that put their small colony in great danger. With the help of the Native Americans though, they might just be able to survive their first year in this strange land — and have a November harvest to celebrate for generations!
Amelia Bedelia Talks Turkey by Herman Parish and Lynn Sweat
When Amelia Bedelia helps out with the school Thanksgiving play, she causes quite a scene. Let’s all give thanks for another funny new Amelia Bedelia story!
Turkey Trouble by Lee Harper and Wendi Silvano
Turkey is in trouble. Bad trouble. The kind of trouble where it’s almost Thanksgiving… and you’re the main course. But Turkey has an idea — what if he doesn’t look like a turkey? What if he looks like another animal instead? After many hilarious attempts, Turkey comes up with the perfect disguise to make this Thanksgiving the best ever!
Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving by James Dean and Kimberly Dean
Join Pete in New York Times bestselling artist James Dean’s Pete the Cat picture book series as Pete celebrates Thanksgiving in this groovy lift-the-flap book!
Starring in the school Thanksgiving play would make even the coolest cat nervous. But when Pete the Cat gets onstage, he makes learning the story of the first Thanksgiving fun. With thirteen flaps that open to reveal hidden surprises, this book is sure to be a holiday favorite for every Pete the Cat fan.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving by Charles M. Schulz
Celebrate Thanksgiving with Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the Peanuts gang in this retelling of the beloved Thanksgiving TV special!
When Peppermint Patty invites herself (and most of her friends) to Charlie Brown’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, Charlie Brown reluctantly agrees to make a holiday feast even though he can barely make toast and cold cereal! Can he pull together a memorable meal, or will he and his friends just be grateful when it’s over?
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey by Lucille Colandro and Jared D. Lee
The old lady is at it again, and this time she’s swallowing a Turkey… she’s always been quirky! You won’t believe why this old lady swallowed a turkey, a ball, a hat, a balloon, a boat, some wheels, and a horn of plenty! Read this book and find out why!
Sharing the Bread by Pat Zietlow Miller and Jill McElmurry
Celebrate food and family with this heartwarming Thanksgiving picture book. We will share the risen bread. / Our made-with-love Thanksgiving spread. / Grateful to be warm and fed. / We will share the bread. In this spirited ode to the holiday, set at the turn of the twentieth century, a large family works together to make their special meal. Mama prepares the turkey, Daddy tends the fire, Sister kneads, and Brother bastes. Everyone—from Grandma and Grandpa to the littlest baby—has a special job to do. Told in spare, rhythmic verse and lively illustrations, Sharing the Bread is a perfect read-aloud to celebrate the Thanksgiving tradition.
Thank You, Sarah by Laurie Halse Anderson and Matt Faulkner
Thanksgiving might have started with a jubilant feast on Plymouth’s shore. But by the 1800s America’s observance was waning. None of the presidents nor Congress sought to revive the holiday. And so one invincible “lady editor” name Sarah Hale took it upon herself to rewrite the recipe for Thanksgiving as we know it today. This is an inspirational, historical, all-out boisterous tale about perseverance and belief: In 1863 Hale’s thirty-five years of petitioning and orations got Abraham Lincoln thinking. He signed the Thanksgiving Proclamation that very year, declaring it a national holiday. This story is a tribute to Hale, her fellow campaigners, and to the amendable government that affords citizens the power to make the world a better place!
For Grades 4 and Up:
An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott
“You will see what I can do. Ma said I was to use my judgment about things, and I’m going to. All you children have got to do is to keep out of the way, and let Prue and me work. Eph, I wish you’d put a fire in the best room, so the little ones can play in there. We shall want the settin-room for the table, and I won’t have them pickin’ round when we get things fixed,” commanded Tilly, bound to make her short reign a brilliant one.
Turkeys We Have Loved and Eaten (and Other Thankful Stuff) by Barbara Park and Denise Brunkus
Meet the World’s Funniest First Grader — Junie B. Jones! Room One is getting ready for their very own Thanksgiving feast! There’s even a contest to see which room can write the best thankful list. The winners will get a pumpkin pie! Only it turns out being thankful is harder than it looks. Because Junie B. is not actually thankful for Tattletale May. Or scratchy pilgrim costumes. And pumpkin pie makes her vomit, anyway. Will Room One win the disgusting pie? Can May and Junie B. find common ground? Or will this Thanksgiving feast turn into a Turkey Day disaster?
1621 by Catherine O’Neill Grace
Countering the prevailing, traditional story of the first Thanksgiving, with its black-hatted, silver-buckled Pilgrims; blanket-clad, be-feathered Indians; cranberry sauce; pumpkin pie; and turkey, this lushly illustrated photo-essay presents a more measured, balanced, and historically accurate version of the three-day harvest celebration in 1621.
As an orphan, young Jonathan looks forward to starting life anew and so journeys across the sea on the Mayflower to look for his great opportunity in the new world.
Which of these Thanksgiving books do you recommend? Tell us in the comments!