10 Children’s Books to Celebrate Thanksgiving

Good food. Family. Thankfulness. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. However, my kids have thus far been underwhelmed by the holiday, nestled as it is between two holidays (Halloween and Christmas) that ooze kid-appeal. Here is a list of Thanksgiving picture books to add fun and meaning to the holiday.

The kids’ favorite part of Thanksgiving: Helping Nanny make cherry pie.

Thanksgiving Treat by Catherine Stock. A young boy feels left out when his relatives are busy preparing Thanksgiving dinner, until Grandpa invites him to gather chestnuts. Ages 2+


Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes and Doris Barrett. In this upbeat rhyme, a girl shares what she is thankful for. “Thanks for Thanksgiving, for turkey and pie. Thank you for fall and gold leaves floating by…” A good book for encouraging kids to say thanks. Ages 2+

In November by Cynthia Rylant and Jill Kastner. My Thanksgiving memories include not only memories of family and food but also of crisp autumn walks and occasionally the first snow of the season. In November does a terrific job of describing the season, the bare branches and animals readying for winter as well as families gathering for Thanksgiving meals. Ages 3+

Gracias: The Thanksgiving Turkey by Joy Cowley and Joe Cepeda. Miguel’s father sends Miguel a turkey to care for and fatten up for Thanksgiving dinner. Instead, Miguel befriends the turkey. Ages 3+


Over the River: A Turkey’s Tale by Derek Anderson and Lydia Maria Child. Over the River is the most requested Thanksgiving book at our house. While the text  of this picture book is the traditional lyrics to “Over the River”, Derek Anderson’s illustrations buck tradition. Anderson tells a humorous tale of a family of turkeys who visit their grandparents for Thanksgiving dinner. On their way, they outwit and then befriend a hunting hound. Ages 3+

Celebrate Thanksgiving with Turkey, Family, and Counting Blessings by Deborah Heiligman. A fantastic explanation of various Thanksgiving traditions, beautifully photographed. Celebrate Thanksgiving describes gathering for family meals, celebrating the harvest, saying thanks, sharing food with those in need, and watching the Thanksgiving Day parade. This book includes a succinct, accurate account of the 1621 harvest celebration and acknowledges the sad history of conflict between Native Americans and European settlers. Ages 4+

Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet. The fascinating history of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade balloons. Melissa Sweet’s whimsical, mixed-media collage illustrations are fantastic and complement the subject matter. Ages 4+

Pilgrim Cat by Carol Peacock and Doris Ettlinger. The story of Mayflower‘s 1620 voyage to the New World told from the perspective of a girl Faith and a cat Pounce. Pilgrim Cat is both intimate and engaging and based on research at Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Ages 5+

How Many Days to America?: A Thanksgiving Story by Eve Bunting and Beth Peck. A moving story of a family that flees their home and travels to America on a small boat to escape religious persecution. After a harrowing journey, the family arrives in America on Thanksgiving Day. For another Thanksgiving story about a modern day refugee, see Molly’s Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen and Michael Daraney. Ages 6+

1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving by Catherine Grace, Margaret Bruchac, Sisse Brimberg, and Cotton Coulson. 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving dispels myths and provides an excellent history of the 1621 harvest gathering, the Wampanoag (the Native Americans encountered by the Europeans who arrived on Mayflower), and the first Europeans to explore and colonize the United States. It feature photographs of Plimoth Plantation staff and members of the Wampanoag Nation and other Native communities reenacting events of the 1600’s. Ages 6+

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This entry was posted in Ages 2+, Ages 3+, Ages 4+, Ages 5+, Ages 6+, Ages 7+, Ages 8+ and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to 10 Children’s Books to Celebrate Thanksgiving

  1. Jan says:

    One of my favorite “just for fun” Thanksgiving books is: Turk and Runt: A Thanksgiving Comedy
    by Lisa Wheeler

  2. Robin says:

    Thank you so much! Always check your lists against what I have in my home library, what I’ve given my nephews, and what our elementary school library has! (Great suggestions for the librarian and teachers!)

  3. Emily says:

    I am new to your blog and love it! Thank you for your thoughtfulness :)
    Check out Thanksgiving with me by the amazing Margaret Willey!

  4. I would love to have you take a peek at the just published OLLY JOLLY SAYS COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS.

  5. Most of these are new to me as well. Thank you for sharing at Crafty Moms Share!! There are definitely some books for me to check out with Hazel.

  6. Beth says:

    Oooh – these are all new to me! YEAH! Thanks for the recommendations. I am your newest subscriber. I wanted to invite you to link up at my linky party TGIF – http://livinglifeintentionally.blogspot.com/search/label/Linkey%20Parties – Beth =-)

  7. What a wonderful array of books! They all sound great!

  8. Jen says:

    I also really like Thank You, Sarah! It’s definitely for older kids but it talks about how she worked to keep Thanksgiving as a holiday. :)

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