Picture Book Picks for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I like the holiday’s focus on gratitude and the simplicity of celebrating with good food and family. Choosing the perfect picture books to share with my children adds meaning to the holiday. Here are my favorite picture books for introducing young children to Thanksgiving, teaching children about the first Thanksgiving and creating Thanksgiving memories.

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

1. To introduce young children to Thanksgiving.

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 to encourage children to say thanks. Ages 2+

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+


2. To teach children about the first Thanksgiving.

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+

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+

3. To create Thanksgiving memories.

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. Balloons Over Broadway is a fantastic book to read before watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Balloons Over Broadway is not only one of my favorite Thankgiving picture books but one of my favorite picture books period. I had the pleasure of interviewing Melissa Sweet and shared my interview and images from Balloons Over Broadway here: A Conversation With Melissa Sweet. Ages 4+

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. The kids and I enjoy singing the lyrics to “Over the River” by Lydia Maria Child and playing the song on our piano. 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+

You may also be interested in:

Pinterest: Thanksgiving 

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

3 Responses to Picture Book Picks for Thanksgiving

  1. PragmaticMom says:

    GREAT list for Thanksgiving! I never did get my hands on the Balloons Over Broadway but you’ve reminded me to order it for Xmas shopping. Thanks! Really want to read it with my kids!

  2. Karen Ebert says:

    Great list, thanks! We recently discovered Milly and the Macy’s Parade by Shana Corey and gorgeous illustrations by Brett Helquist. Another wonderful Thanksgiving/Christmas book!

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