Besides being (for many) the best meal of the year, Thanksgiving brings with it a season for expressing gratitude, gathering with family and friends and focusing on our blessings. Whether you celebrate with turkey or duck, remember the Mayflower pilgrims or more recent immigrants who came to America in search of freedom, or eat with family or friends, Thanksgiving holds a special significance for many. To get you in the mood, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about Thanksgiving.
Because Thanksgiving has so many aspects—historical and modern—we’ve included something for everyone on our list of the best thanksgiving books, ranging from silly parody books like “‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving” to beautifully illustrated stories of historical figures who made Thanksgiving a reality like “Thank You, Sarah”. There are some popular, contemporary titles such as “Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving” or #1 New York Times Bestseller “Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks” as well as more classic tales such as Caldecott-Honor winning “The Thanksgiving Story”.
This list includes board, picture and chapter books. Thanksgiving board books are typically best for babies and toddlers. If you’re looking for Thanksgiving stories for toddlers and early elementary students, picture books are your best best. Chapter books are generally ideal for upper elementary and middle school readers, but are also great for adults to read aloud to younger ages or the whole family at once! You can scroll through all age groups simultaneously, or filter to a single type of books to help you find the best books for your family more quickly.
And now, without further ado, enjoy the list! We’re grateful for these books and hope you will be too—feel free to let us know if there are any you think deserve to make the list!
Presents a tribute to the creator of the giant balloons that fill the sky during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, tracing the work of artist Tony Sarg, whose innovative “upside-down puppet” creations have become the parade’s trademark.
Myths! Lies! Secrets! Smash the stories behind famous moments in history and expose the hidden truth. Perfect for fans of I Survived and Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales. In 1620, the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock and made friends with Wampanoag people who gave them corn. RIGHT? WRONG! It was months before the Pilgrims met any Wampanoag people, and nobody gave anybody corn that day. Did you know that the pilgrims didn’t go straight from England to Plymouth? No, they made a stop along the way–and almost stayed forever! Did you know there was a second ship, called the Speedwell, that was too leaky to make the trip? No joke. And just wait until you learn the truth about Plymouth Rock. Through illustrations, graphic panels, photographs, sidebars, and more, acclaimed author Kate Messner smashes history by exploring the little-known details behind the legends of the Mayflower and the first Thanksgiving. “Kate Messner serves up fun, fast history for kids who want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Absolutely smashing!” –Candace Fleming, award-winning author Don’t miss History Smashers: Women’s Right to Vote!
#1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long presents a fresh, modern take on the classic Christmas poem about a visit from Santa Claus in this gorgeous new edition.
Cozy up with the timeless tale that’s been reimagined for the twenty-first century by acclaimed artist Loren Long. Featuring four different homes that reflect the diverse world we live in, Long’s lush landscapes and charming scenes capture the wonder and magic of Christmas.
This gorgeous, modern edition of The Night Before Christmas will delight readers old and new and is a must-have for every family library.
An illustrator’s note is included that gives further context to Long’s approach for retelling this classic.
A modern Thanksgiving classic about an immigrant girl who comes to identify with the story of the Pilgrims, as she seeks religious freedom and a home in a new land.
As Molly nears her first Thanksgiving in the New World, she doesn’t find much to be thankful for. Her classmates giggle at her Yiddish accent and make fun of her unfamiliarity with American ways.
Molly’s embarassed when her mother helps with a class Thanksgiving project by making a little doll that looks more like a Russian refugee than a New England Pilgrim. But the tiny modern-day pilgrim just might help Molly to find a place for herself in America.
The touching story tells how recent immigrant Molly leads her third-grade class to discover that it takes all kinds of pilgrims to make a Thanksgiving. Originally published in 1983, Molly’s Pilgrim inspired the 1986 Academy Award-winning live-action short film.
Pack up the pooches and load the van. We need to leave by eight! There’s so much to bring. Do we have everything? Come on, we can’t be late!
The classic song gets a fresh new twist! The fun begins when Grandma and Grandpa send invitations to their far-flung, modern, and multiracial family: Come to our house for the holidays—and bring your favorite pie! Off everyone goes, driving down snowy roads, riding the train, boarding a plane . . . even sailing along in a hot-air balloon. As each family faces an obstacle that delays their trip, they learn that sometimes the most old-fashioned form of transportation works best . . . NEIGH!
The Berenstain Bears and the Nutcracker - It’s Christmas morning, and Santa has left the Berenstain Bears a special gift—a nutcracker! At first the cubs are more interested in their new video game, electronic toy, and Bearbie movie. But when they put the presents away and put their imaginations to use, the fun really starts. Join the Bears as they act out their own version of The Nutcracker!
Trip to the Pumpkin Farm - Pick a book. Grow a Reader! This series is part of Scholastic’s early chapter book line Branches, aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow! Eva’s class cannot wait for their field trip to the pumpkin farm! On the farm, they pick apples, milk cows, and even make new friends. But then an award-winning pumpkin goes missing! Eva and her friends will have to solve the mystery. Will they find the pumpkin in time for the holiday party… and also help a friend in need? In this sweet fall story, Eva discovers that everyone has something to be thankful for!
Junie B. Jones: Turkeys We Have Loved and Eaten (and Other Thankful Stuff) - 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?
In this playful and charmingly illustrated Classic Board Book, Bear has so much to give thanks for! What better way for Bear to say thanks than over a nice, big dinner? Bear decides to throw a feast! One by one, Bear’s friends show up with different platters of delicious food to share. There’s just one problem: Bear’s cupboards are bare! What is he to do?
Relates how Sarah Hale, a magazine editor and author, persuaded President Lincoln to transform Thanksgiving Day into a national holiday.
Visit Plymouth Rock with the A to Z Mysteries gang! The hunt is on! Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose are spending Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts. They can’t wait to see the sights and have a Thanksgiving dinner, just like the Pilgrims would have eaten. Then the kids learn about a sapphire necklace that went missing on the real Mayflower. Could the 400-year-old treasure be hidden somewhere nearby? And will someone else find it before they do? With A to Z Mysteries Super Editions, chapter book readers can keep on collecting clues and solving mysteries with Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose. Now with over 8 million copies in print, this classic kid-favorite series is back with a bright new look and hidden messages!
A 2019 Caldecott Honor Book Winner of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award In this remarkable author-illustrator debut that’s perfect for fans of Last Stop on Market Street and Extra Yarn, a generous woman is rewarded by her community. Everyone in the neighborhood dreams of a taste of Omu’s delicious stew! One by one, they follow their noses toward the scrumptious scent. And one by one, Omu offers a portion of her meal. Soon the pot is empty. Has she been so generous that she has nothing left for herself? Debut author-illustrator Oge Mora brings to life a heartwarming story of sharing and community in colorful cut-paper designs as luscious as Omu’s stew, with an extra serving of love. An author’s note explains that “Omu” (pronounced AH-moo) means “queen” in the Igbo language of her parents, but growing up, she used it to mean “Grandma.” This book was inspired by the strong female role models in Oge Mora’s life.
WINNER OF THE BEAMING BOOKS PICTURE BOOK WRITING CONTEST! Porcupine can’t wait to share Fall Feast with her woodland friends, so when everyone she greets is unable to bake their specialty due to a missing ingredient, Porcupine generously offers staples from her pantry. When Porcupine discovers that she, too, is missing a key ingredient, the friends all work together to create a new Fall Feast tradition. Porcupine’s Pie will inspire children ages 4-8 to act generously. A recipe for “friendship pie” can be found at the end of the book.
Cranberry Thanksgiving - Maggie and her grandmother each invite a guest to their Thanksgiving feast, featuring Grandmother’s own cranberry bread, made from a secret recipe. “A tried and true recipe for an entertaining story that will delight young readers”.–Catholic Library World. Full-color illustrations.
Happy Howlidays - Dog Diaries is the first book written by a dog AND a #1 New York Times bestseller! When mischievous mutt, Junior, causes a Turkey Day disaster, getting out of the doghouse will take a Christmas miracle!Are you ready for a festive adventure? Join me, Junior on the most PAWSOME, most BARKTASTIC journey through the HOWLIDAY SEASON. You’ll read all about: FANGSGIVING, CRITTER-MESS and the mysterious SAINT LICK. Why strange humans called CAROL come and howl at the front door.And why SHINY TREES suddenly sprout inside your kennel!This will be the best holiday EVER! As long as the Mom-Lady doesn’t find out what I did to the Fangsgiving turkey. You can keep a SECRET, right?This hilarious, illustrated MIDDLE SCHOOL spin-off about a dog and his boy is perfect for younger readers!
Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message - A traditional Iroquois celebration of the beauty and spirit of Mother Earth, as told by a contemporary Mohawk chief. For as long as anyone can remember, Mohawk parents have taught their children to start each day by giving thanks to Mother Earth. Also known as the Thanksgiving Address, this good morning message is based on the belief that the natural world is a precious and rare gift. The whole universe - from the highest stars to the tiniest blade of grass - is addressed as one great family.Now readers of all ages can share in this tribute to the environment, adapted especially for children by Chief Jake Swamp, whose efforts to share this vision of thanksgiving take him all over the world. Chief Swamp’s inspirational message, along with Erwin Printup, Jr.’s unforgettable landscapes, make Giving Thanks a timeless celebration of the spirit of nature.
Turkey Trouble on the National Mall - Every year, the president pardons one turkey for Thanksgiving. One. But KC and her best friend, Marshall, think one isn’t enough! This year, they want to gather lots of turkeys to be spared. The night before the holiday, the turkeys are in a big flock on the National Mall waiting to be set free. The next morning, they’re gone! Who would steal 117 Thanksgiving turkeys? KC and Marshall have to ruffle some feathers to find out!
Something weird is going on!
It’s Thanksgiving! A.J. is thankful for four days off from school. But he’s not thankful for Dr. Carbles, who is grumpier than ever. Dr. Carbles even fires Mr. Klutz! Will A.J. and his friends be able to save their principal’s job?
A dog’s-eye view of the Mayflower voyage and the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth Colony! English springer spaniel Dash and his furry friend Mercy–a mastiff–travel with their master, John Goodman, in search of the New World. Taken from the pages of history, this Dog Diary follows the story of the colonists whom we now call Pilgrims, from their sixty-six-day voyage at sea to the celebration of their first harvest with the Wampanoag Indians who become their friends and advisors. With realistic black-and-white illustrations by Tim Jessell and an appendix including information about the Mayflower, Plymouth Colony, springer spaniels, and the primary sources on which the book is based, this is historical fiction that dog-loving middle graders–and educators–can be truly thankful for!
Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte, and Gertie are back! In the fourth entry in the All-of-a-Kind Family series–set right after the first book–Charlie is growing up. Ella gets a big role in the Purim play, Henny gets into trouble at school and runs away from home, Sarah gets her ears pierced, Charlotte has a scary kitchen accident, and Gertie finally is old enough to have a book of her own. Life is never dull for this one-of-a-kind family!Born in 1904 on New York’s Lower East Side, Sydney Taylor was one of the first authors of children’s books centered on Jewish characters, and is especially known for the immensely popular All-of-a-Kind Family series. The Sydney Taylor Book Award is given each year by the Jewish Association of Libraries to a book for young people that authentically portrays the Jewish experience.
In the first book he has both written and illustrated, master artist P.J. Lynch brings a Mayflower voyager’s story to vivid life.
At a young age, John Howland learned what it meant to take advantage of an opportunity. Leaving the docks of London on the Mayflower as an indentured servant to Pilgrim John Carver, John Howland little knew that he was embarking on the adventure of a lifetime. By his great good fortune, John survived falling overboard on the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, and he earned his keep ashore by helping to scout a safe harbor and landing site for his bedraggled and ill shipmates. Would his luck continue to hold amid the dangers and adversity of the Pilgrims’ lives in New England? John Howland’s tale is masterfully told in his own voice, bringing an immediacy and young perspective to the oft-told Pilgrims’ story. P.J. Lynch captures this pivotal moment in American history in precise and exquisite detail, from the light on the froth of a breaking wave to the questioning voice of a teen in a new world.
“The latest installment in the Judy Moody and Stink series has the trademark humor and grade-school sensibility that its fans enjoy.” – Booklist The town’s annual Turkey Trot race and festival is coming up, and Judy and Stink are training to win the big prize: a fat, juicy turkey. But what if they don’t win? What then? Flying turkey gizzards! Will the Moody family end up starving on T-day, like ye pilgrims of olde, or will Grandma Lou cook up a tasty Franksgiving solution? Find out in this full-color Moody adventure.
'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving - From Dav Pilkey, creator of the New York Times bestselling Dog Man and Captain Underpants series, comes a tall tale of tall-tailed toms! On the night before Thanksgiving, a group of children visit a turkey farm and meet Farmer Mack Nuggett and his coop of cockerels: Ollie, Stanley, Larry, Moe, Wally, Beaver, Shemp, and Groucho. The children and turkeys giggle and gobble, and everything is gravy. As the trip comes to an end, the children leave the farm with full hearts – and bulging bellies – reminding people and poultry alike that there is much to be thankful for.
Miss Nelson Has a Field Day - The notorious Miss Swamp reappears at the Horace B. Smedley School, this time to shape up the football team and help them to win at least one game. “Children of any age will relish the raucous carrying-on at what has to be the most gloriously awful school in the entire state of Texas.” – Horn Book
1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving - 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.
Thankful Book - 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.
Solve a new November mystery with the younger siblings of the A to Z Mysteries kids! November is for Night… It’s November, and there’s a new mystery to solve. ‘The twins’ new neighbors are up to something! It’s Thanksgiving, and a mysterious couple has moved in next door. Bradley, Brian, Nate, and Lucy mustwork out the clues: The neighbors have built a tall wooden fence. They’ve bought some strange parts formaking . . . something. They’ve even put up a suspicious tent in their backyard, with a big, scary dog to guard it. What could they possibly be hiding?
Enjoy this classic counting book and lively read-aloud featuring a family shopping for food, preparing dinner, and enjoying a meal together. This board book edition is perfect for little hands.Count from one to ten–then count again! What does it take to make a feast for ten hungry people?Shopping, cooking, setting the table–everyone in this loving family pitches in to create a colorful and joyful feast. Lively read-aloud text paired with bright collage illustrations.
Autumn comes to Camden Falls – bringing new friends, new teachers, new worries, and new challenges. It’s autumn in Camden Falls, and Flora and Ruby are just starting to settle into the town. Flora is worried about spending the first Thanksgiving without their parents. Ruby is worried about getting a part in her school musical. And their new friends, Olivia and Nikki, are facing problems of their own. But the friendship that ties them together will also give them the strength to work things out – one stitch at a time.
Text and photographs of Plimoth Plantation follow a pilgrim girl through a typical day as she milks the goats, cooks and serves meals, learns her letters, and adjusts to her new stepfather.
Young Samuel Eaton has hardly slept from excitement! Today he will do a man’s work–helping with his first rye harvest. But as his hands become blistered and the sun beats down, he wonders if he’s up to the task.
Over The River and Through The Wood - The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh–so hop in, hold tight, and join the journey in this dazzling holiday classic! In this stunning paper-over-board picture book, a blustering wind stings the toes and bites the nose, but hearts are warm and there’s lots to eat–for ‘tis Thanksgiving Day! Bundle up as you navigate a winter wonderland of sparkling snow-covered trees and adorable woodland creatures in this cherished holiday tale. Coupled with Emma Randall’s delightful illustrations, the familiar poem-turned-song is the perfect way to celebrate the season. Just remember to leave room for pumpkin pie!
Thanksgiving Turkey Trouble - With more than two million copies sold, READY, FREDDY! is a huge success with first-grade readers! It’s a Thanksgiving disaster for Freddy Thresher! When his first-grade class begins planning the annual Thanksgiving play, everyone will have a role. Freddy’s friends are all happy to be Pilgrims and Indians, but there is one part that nobody wants to be-the turkey! Freddy hopes he won’t get the part, but-you guessed it-he gets the unlucky role. Now Freddy has to find a way to play the turkey while everyone is laughing at him.
Happy Thanksgiving, Curious George - 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 board book. The fun, tabbed pages are perfect for little fingers!
Thank You Book (Padded Board Book) - The Thank You Book’s poetic text and tender illustrations celebrate the powerful impact gratitude can have on our lives. Now in a padded board book edition. Thank you isn’t just for learning manners. It’s also for when something wakes a little hum–a little happy hum–inside you and you want to answer back. The Thank You Book explores the many ways we can be thankful for the pleasures great and small that await us every day. Tender and poetic, it reflects on the role gratitude can play in our lives and celebrates the powerful impact it can have on us.
The gardener’s thankful for every green sprout.
The fireman, for putting the fire out.
The artist is thankful for color and light.
The clown for her costume silly and bright.
Thankful, written by beloved children’s author Eileen Spinelli and illustrated by Archie Preston, combines charming rhymes and whimsical illustrations to convey the importance of being thankful for everyday blessings. Like the gardener thankful for every green sprout, and the firefighter, for putting the fire out, children are encouraged to be thankful for the many blessings they find in their lives. Spinelli exhibits her endearing gift for storytelling with this engaging poem, reminding children how blessed and special they are. Meant to be read aloud, this heartwarming board book will be a treasured keepsake for parents and children alike.
On a trip to the farmers’ market with her parents, Sophie chooses a squash, but instead of letting her mom cook it, she names it Bernice. From then on, Sophie brings Bernice everywhere, despite her parents’ gentle warnings that Bernice will begin to rot. As winter nears, Sophie does start to notice changes…. What’s a girl to do when the squash she loves is in trouble?
The recipient of four starred reviews, an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor, and a Charlotte Zolotow Honor, Sophie’s Squash will be a fresh addition to any collection of autumn books.
Refugees from a Caribbean island embark on a dangerous boat trip to America where they have a special reason to celebrate Thanksgiving.
When Tuyet finds out that her Vietnamese family is having duck rather than turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, she is upset until she finds out that other children in her class did not eat turkey either.
Thank you, hedge, / Thank you, tree. / Thank you, flower, / Thank you, bee. / Thank you, rain, / Thank you, sun. / Thank you, farmers, / every one. In this simple rhyming story from the author of Held in Love, a child says thank you for the gifts nature provides, from hazelnuts in the hedge to apples from the tree, eggs from the hens to milk from the cow. Eventually, the family has enough ingredients to make something special…a delicious apple cake! With captivating illustrations that brim with emotion, this sweet picture book encourages children to be grateful for the world around them–the perfect read for Thanksgiving. A recipe for apple cake at the end allows you and your child to share in the joyful gratitude.
The Great Turkey Heist - A new restaurant is opening up in Greenfield, and the Aldens are first in line to help the owner start up a food pantry. They do everything they can to collect donations, from putting up signs to offering a free Thanksgiving dinner for the whole town, but someone keeps moving the signs and even steals the giant turkey that was meant for the dinner. The clock is ticking to get it back, but never fear, the Boxcar Children are on the case.
The Berenstain Bears and the Prize Pumpkin - The Bear family might not win the blue ribbon for their entry in the pumpkincontest during the annual Bear Country Thanksgiving Festival, but they do gaina new appreciation of the true spirit of the holiday and all they have to bethankful for.
Biscuit Is Thankful - This sweet and simple board book is sure to be a favorite in your family–curl up with your toddler to share some important things to be thankful for.Biscuit is thankful for his bone, his biscuits, and lots more, too. Sweet puppy! Woof!Generations of children have been introduced to reading by Biscuit, the little yellow puppy.
Gooney Bird and the Room Mother - Gooney Bird Greene knows exactly where she likes to be: “right smack in the middle of everything.” Sure enough, her colorful fashion sense, exuberant personality, and “absolutely true” stories land her at the center of attention most of the time, but as Mrs. Pidgeon’s second grade class prepares for their Thanksgiving pageant, the lead role of Squanto is still up for grabs. And so is the role of Room Mother, but with each of the children’s parents already overloaded, there are no volunteers to bring cupcakes to their play. So Gooney Bird promises to find one—in exchange for the lead. There’s just one catch: the person she convinces to be Room Mother insists on remaining incognito. As the class struggles to decorate the mural, make costumes, and learn their songs for the play, the suspense builds: will the pageant be a success? And who is their mysterious Room Mother? Two-time Newbery Award–winning author Lois Lowry has once again captured the eager energy of an elementary school classroom and the hilarious antics and anecdotes of its students, especially those of the irrepressible Gooney Bird Greene herself. In her second literary appearance, Gooney Bird is back with more “absolutely true” stories to tell, more tips for her fellow aspiring storytellers, and a few challenging vocabulary words to share, too.
What is autumn all about? This comprehensive celebration of all things autumn will show you! Autumn is awesome! Leaves change color. Animals fly south or get ready to hibernate. People harvest crops and dress up as scary creatures for Halloween. And then there are pickup football games to play, Thanksgiving foods to eat, leaf piles to jump in–all the amazing things that happen as the air turns crisp and cool. With colorful photographs, lively explanations, and classic craft ideas, Bruce Goldstone’s Awesome Autumn has created a festive and fascinating exploration of autumn’s awesomeness.
Perhaps you’d like to know a secret, one of the happiest ones of all. You will surely find it for yourself one day. You’ll discover it all on your own, maybe when you least expect it. If you’ve not yet discovered the secret of saying thanks, it’s waiting for you. The secret can be found in the sunrise that offers promises full for the day ahead, or in the gentle shade of a tree sheltering you from the hot rays of the sun, or on the rock that offers rest from a long walk. In the inspirational text that made him a bestselling, internationally acclaimed author, Douglas Wood offers a spiritual homage to nature and the world. Greg Shed’s stunning portraits of the natural world tenderly portray all of the many ways in which we can say thanks for the wonders we sometimes take granted in life.
When a scientist visits Mrs. Jeepers’s class to help the students with their ecology projects, the kids think he may be a swampmonster. But swampmonsters don’t chase wild turkeys, do they?
Jigsaw’s dog Rags is missing! It’s the most important case yet for super-sleuths Jigsaw and Mila.
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