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84+ Best Children's Books for Thanksgiving

Searching for a list of the best kids books about Thanksgiving?

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!

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Top 10 Books About Thanksgiving

#1
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Balloons Over Broadway
Written & illustrated by Melissa Sweet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

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#2
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Molly's Pilgrim
Written & illustrated by Barbara Cohen
Thoughts from Mom of Boys
This is a very sweet story about a young girl who moved to a new place and was teased by the other girls in her school. I love to see how she overcame these hardships and how life became sweet for her again.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

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.

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#3
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Tiny Blessings: For Giving Thanks
Written by Amy Parker & illustrated by Sarah Walsh
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This book is beautiful both in the illustrations and the sweet, simple message--to be grateful for the beautiful world we live in and the loving people around us! It's a pretty short and sweet book, but I think it's gorgeous and has an important message.
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Sweet, simple blessings that encourage thoughtful gratitude for life’s daily gifts and wonders. This accessible, wholesome board book is perfect for teaching babies and toddlers how to count their blessings every day. With simple, graspable text that inspires mindful thinking, and warm, vibrant illustrations, For Giving Thanks will fill children’s minds with positive thoughts and help them appreciate life’s special gifts.

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#4
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Thank You, Sarah
Written by Laurie Halse Anderson & illustrated by Matt Faulkner
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
Based on a true story that you probably have never heard of before, this book will introduce you to the woman whose persistence made Thanksgiving a national holiday, bringing the country all together to celebrate! The tone is empowering, and while historical, isn't dull, plus the illustrations are great!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Relates how Sarah Hale, a magazine editor and author, persuaded President Lincoln to transform Thanksgiving Day into a national holiday.

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#5
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Cranberry Thanksgiving
Written by Wende Devlin & illustrated by Harry Devlin
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

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.

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#6
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Duck for Turkey Day
Written by Jacqueline Jules & illustrated by Kathryn Mitter
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
Tuyet's struggle with her emotions as she feels like her family doesn't fit in and is doing Thanksgiving wrong is powerful through her child's eyes. This glimpse of the way that different cultures celebrate Thanksgiving by focusing on the essence of the holiday rather than specific American foods is a beautiful reminder of what matters most on Thanksgiving—family and friends, not the Turkey. This book is a reminder to be inclusive and accepting!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

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#7
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How Many Days to America?
Written by Eve Bunting & illustrated by Beth Peck
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Refugees from a Caribbean island embark on a dangerous boat trip to America where they have a special reason to celebrate Thanksgiving.

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#8
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Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving
Written by Eric Metaxas & illustrated by Shannon Stirnweis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

Describes how the Massachusetts Indian Squanto was captured by the British, sold into slavery in Spain, and ultimately returned to the New World to become a guide and friend for the Pilgrims.

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#9
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The Littlest Pilgrim
Written by Brandi Dougherty & illustrated by Kirsten Richards
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Mini is the littlest Pilgrim in her village. She’s too little to sew. Too little to bake. Too little to fish. But she’s not too little to make a friend.

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#10
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The Night Before Thanksgiving
Written by Natasha Wing & illustrated by Tammie Lyon
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
A clever Thanksigiving rendition of the classic "'Twas the Night Before Christmas"! The text trips off the tongue just like you'd expect and it isn't too forced, and the story beautifully captures many Thanksgiving traditions that the nation holds hear: classic food, family, and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Everyone’s favorite fun-filled, family-filled, food-filled holiday is almost here! Follow along as the feast is prepared, cousins are greeted, and everyone gathers around the table, all with an extra helping of holiday fun.

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Table of Contents
Scroll to books about Thanksgiving and...

Books About Thanksgiving and History

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Balloons Over Broadway
Written & illustrated by Melissa Sweet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

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Thank You, Sarah
Written by Laurie Halse Anderson & illustrated by Matt Faulkner
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
Based on a true story that you probably have never heard of before, this book will introduce you to the woman whose persistence made Thanksgiving a national holiday, bringing the country all together to celebrate! The tone is empowering, and while historical, isn't dull, plus the illustrations are great!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Relates how Sarah Hale, a magazine editor and author, persuaded President Lincoln to transform Thanksgiving Day into a national holiday.

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Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving
Written by Eric Metaxas & illustrated by Shannon Stirnweis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

Describes how the Massachusetts Indian Squanto was captured by the British, sold into slavery in Spain, and ultimately returned to the New World to become a guide and friend for the Pilgrims.

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  1. Thanksgiving on Thursday - Jack and Annie travel in their magic treehouse to the year 1621, where they celebrate the first Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians in the New Plymouth Colony.

  2. History Smashers: The Mayflower - 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.

  3. The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower, or John Howland's Good Fortune - 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.

  4. 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.

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Books About Thanksgiving and Turkeys

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A Turkey for Thanksgiving
Written by Eve Bunting & illustrated by Diane DeGroat
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Mr. and Mrs. Moose try to invite a turkey to their Thanksgiving feast.

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A Plump and Perky Turkey
Written by Teresa Bateman & illustrated by Jeff Shelly
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

The townspeople of Squawk Valley try to trick a turkey into being their Thanksgiving dinner, but are frustrated when the turkey tricks them instead.

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How to Catch a Turkey
Written by Adam Wallace & illustrated by Andy Elkerton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-10

A turkey is running loose in a school right before a Thanksgiving play. Can YOU help catch it? Fun and chaos ensue as students turn their school upside down trying to catch the turkey, ending with a twist that ensures no turkeys are harmed (or eaten!).

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  1. Turkey Trouble - As Thanksgiving Day approaches, Turkey nervously makes a series of costumes, disguising himself as other farm animals in hopes that he can avoid being served as Thanksgiving dinner.

  2. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey! - 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!

  3. 10 Fat Turkeys - This silly rhyming story about ten turkeys teaches children how to count backwards. “Looky!” says a silly turkey swinging from a vine. Gobble gobble wibble wobble. Whoops! Now there are nine. Girls and boys will gobble up this hilarious story about ten goofy turkeys and their silly antics: swinging from a vine, strutting on a boar, doing a noodle dance, and more. Veteran author Tony Johnston has written a joyful text, which first-time illustrator Richard Deas brings to life as wild and wacky fun!

  4. '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.

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Books About Thanksgiving and Gratitude

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Tiny Blessings: For Giving Thanks
Written by Amy Parker & illustrated by Sarah Walsh
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This book is beautiful both in the illustrations and the sweet, simple message--to be grateful for the beautiful world we live in and the loving people around us! It's a pretty short and sweet book, but I think it's gorgeous and has an important message.
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Sweet, simple blessings that encourage thoughtful gratitude for life’s daily gifts and wonders. This accessible, wholesome board book is perfect for teaching babies and toddlers how to count their blessings every day. With simple, graspable text that inspires mindful thinking, and warm, vibrant illustrations, For Giving Thanks will fill children’s minds with positive thoughts and help them appreciate life’s special gifts.

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The Night Before Thanksgiving
Written by Natasha Wing & illustrated by Tammie Lyon
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
A clever Thanksigiving rendition of the classic "'Twas the Night Before Christmas"! The text trips off the tongue just like you'd expect and it isn't too forced, and the story beautifully captures many Thanksgiving traditions that the nation holds hear: classic food, family, and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Everyone’s favorite fun-filled, family-filled, food-filled holiday is almost here! Follow along as the feast is prepared, cousins are greeted, and everyone gathers around the table, all with an extra helping of holiday fun.

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Thankful
Written by Eileen Spinelli & illustrated by Archie Preston
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

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.

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  1. Otis Gives Thanks - Being thankful is a year-round blessing for Otis the tractor! Giving thanks makes Otis happy. He gives thanks for the land and country he loves. Otis is thankful for time to play games like hide-and-seek and ring-around-the-rosy. He cherishes his farm friends who make life on the ranch as happy as can be. And most of all, everyone’s favorite tractor is thankful for the greatest thing in life: love. Told with a sense of warmth, heart, and above all else, gratefulness, this is an uplifting tale that speaks to the soul of Otis’ character and reminds readers that taking the time to appreciate our lives is a virtue in itself. From the creator of the Otis series, and the illustrator of The Little Engine That Could and Of Thee I Sing by President Barack Obama.

  2. Thanksgiving Is for Giving Thanks! - 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.

  3. Bear Says Thanks - In this playful and charmingly illustrated Classic Board Book, Bear has so much to give thanks for!

  4. 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.

Books About Thanksgiving and School

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Molly's Pilgrim
Written & illustrated by Barbara Cohen
Thoughts from Mom of Boys
This is a very sweet story about a young girl who moved to a new place and was teased by the other girls in her school. I love to see how she overcame these hardships and how life became sweet for her again.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

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.

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Duck for Turkey Day
Written by Jacqueline Jules & illustrated by Kathryn Mitter
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
Tuyet's struggle with her emotions as she feels like her family doesn't fit in and is doing Thanksgiving wrong is powerful through her child's eyes. This glimpse of the way that different cultures celebrate Thanksgiving by focusing on the essence of the holiday rather than specific American foods is a beautiful reminder of what matters most on Thanksgiving—family and friends, not the Turkey. This book is a reminder to be inclusive and accepting!
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

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Turkeys We Have Loved and Eaten (and Other Thankful Stuff)
Written by Barbara Park & illustrated by Denise Brunkus
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

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?

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  1. Dr. Carbles Is Losing His Marbles! - 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?

  2. Arthur's Thanksgiving - BESTSELLING CLASSIC SERIES! More than 5 million Arthur Adventure books sold!

  3. Gooney Bird and the Room Mother - Gooney Bird Greene likes to be right smack in the middle of everything. That’s why she wants to have the lead role of Squanto in her class Thanksgiving pageant. But that role will go to whoever finds someone to be the room mother. All the parents are so busy, no one can bring cupcakes to the play. Gooney Bird Greene to the rescue! She finds a room mother alright, but promises not to tell who it is until the day of the play. Now the kids are really busy getting ready for the show. But will the mystery room mother really show up?

  4. 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.

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Books About Thanksgiving and Family

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How Many Days to America?
Written by Eve Bunting & illustrated by Beth Peck
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Refugees from a Caribbean island embark on a dangerous boat trip to America where they have a special reason to celebrate Thanksgiving.

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You Are My Little Pumpkin Pie
Written & illustrated by Amy E. Sklansky
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This festive board book is perfect to celebrate Thanksgiving, especially to help show your little reader how much you're thankful for them. Comparing the baby to the yummy Thanksgiving treat makes this a fun, warm, and sweet read.
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Your scent is so delightful, Like cinnamon and spice. Each time I kiss your tender cheekI have to kiss it twice. This oh-so-sweet tribute to adorable babies evokes the warmth and comfort of a delicious piece of yummy pumpkin pie. Amy Sklansky’s delightful rhyming text makes this new board book the perfect read aloud to show little ones just how much they are loved.

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Thanksgiving in the Woods
Written by Phyllis Alsdurf & illustrated by Jenny Lovlie
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Every year a family and their friends gather in the woods to celebrate Thanksgiving among the trees. Everyone brings something to share and the day becomes a long celebration of family, faith, and friendship. Told in a gentle, lyrical style, this picture book includes warm illustrations of people gathered around bonfires and long tables adorned with candles and food, singing songs and sharing laughter.

Thanksgiving in the Woods is based on the true story of a family in Upstate New York who has hosted an outdoor Thanksgiving feast in the woods on their farm for over twenty years.

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  1. Thanks for Thanksgiving - Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks! This book is a great introduction for younger readers. Everyone knows that Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks—the question is, where to begin? From the turkey on the table to warm, cozy cuddles, life is full of small things and bigger pleasures. But what’s most important is being able to share them with family! Julie Markes reminds kids and adults alike about the little details that make each day enjoyable, while Doris Barrette’s beautiful and striking illustrations bring her thoughtful words to life

  2. Thanksgiving Is Here! - 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!

  3. Berenstain Bears and the Prize Pumpkin - The Bear family might not win the blue ribbon for their entry in the pumpkin<BR>contest during the annual Bear Country Thanksgiving Festival, but they do gain<BR>a new appreciation of the true spirit of the holiday and all they have to be<BR>thankful for.

  4. Great Thanksgiving Escape - A hilarious, kid-friendly take on Thanksgiving -- full of family, food, and lots of fun!

Books About Thanksgiving and Culture

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Squanto's Journey
Written by Joseph Bruchac & illustrated by Greg Shed
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

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.

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My First Thanksgiving
Written & illustrated by Tomie dePaola
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Tomie dePaola’s simple text and bright illustrations perfectly capture the joy of this special holiday. Young readers will love learning more about the traditional celebrations of the day.

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Katie Saves Thanksgiving
Written by Fran Manushkin & illustrated by Tammy Lyon
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

When a snowstorm causes the power to go out, Katie and her parents think their Thanksgiving dinner with JoJo and Pedro is ruined, but by being a good neighbor, Katie manages to save the day. Simultaneous.

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  1. 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.

  2. Giving Thanks: The 1621 Harvest Feast - Sometime between September 21 and November 9, 1621, the English colonists, whom we call Pilgrims, and the Wampanoag people shared a harvest celebration. That meal has become known as the First Thanksgiving. This is the story of what may have actually happened during those days, as told by Dancing Moccasins, a fourteen-year-old Wampanoag boy, and Resolved White, a six-year-old English boy.<P>Photographed in full color at the Plimoth Plantation, this fascinating reenactment will let readers experience the time when English colonists settled on the rich and fertile land of the Wampanoag people.

  3. Tapenum's Day: A Wampanoag Indian Boy in Pilgrim Times: A Wampanoag Indian Boy in Pilgrim Times - Chosen to become a special warrior prince in 1627, Tapenum prepares himself for the great honor by hunting, fishing, and sharing a day with friends and family, in a story that is complemented by photographs of Plymouth Plantation.

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Books About Thanksgiving and Pilgrims

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The Littlest Pilgrim
Written by Brandi Dougherty & illustrated by Kirsten Richards
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Mini is the littlest Pilgrim in her village. She’s too little to sew. Too little to bake. Too little to fish. But she’s not too little to make a friend.

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The Thanksgiving Story
Written by Alice Dalgliesh & illustrated by Helen Sewell and Alice Dalgliesh
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

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!

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Samuel Eaton's Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy
Written by Kate Waters & illustrated by Russ Kendall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

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.

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  1. Sarah Morton's Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl - 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.

  2. Pilgrims of Plimoth - In a text that mirrors their language and thoughts, Marcia Sewall has masterfully recreated the coming of the pilgrims to the New World, and the daily flow of their days during the first years in the colony they called Plimoth. <p/><i>Aye, Governor Bradford calls us pilgrims. We are English and England was our home…But our lives were ruled by King James, and for many years it seemed as though our very hearts were in prison in England…</i><br> <i>September, 1620, our lives changed. We were seventy menfolk and womenfolk, thirty-two good children, a handful of cocks and hens, and two dogs, gathered together on a dock in Plymouth, England, ready to set sail for America in a small ship called the Mayflower…</i> <p/>After an abundance of prayers and tears we made farewells at dockside and boarded our small ship. Our voyage across the Atlantic Ocean “began with a prosperous wind,” but the sea soon became “sharp and violent” and storms howled about us. <p/> When the pilgrims set out for America, they brought with them a dream for the future. Sickness, hardship, and heartache stood in the way of that dream. But the pilgrims worked hard, keeping their dream close to their hearts, until they were finally able to make it come true.

Books About Thanksgiving and Animals

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Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving
Written by James Dean & illustrated by Kimberly Dean
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

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Llama Llama Gives Thanks
Written & illustrated by Anna Dewdney
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

In Llama Llama Gives Thanks, it’s Thanksgiving time for Llama Llama and his family! That means yummy foods and autumn leaves and being thankful for everything from pumpkin pies to blue skies. Thanksgiving may only come once year, but in Llama’s family, giving thanks is always here!

With short and simple rhyming text, the Llama Llama board books introduce Llama Llama to babies and toddlers before they’re ready for longer full-length stories. And their small size and durable pages are perfect for little hands.

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Franklin's Thanksgiving
Written by Paulette Bourgeois & illustrated by Brenda Clark
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

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?

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  1. Thank You, Bees - This gentle message of gratitude and connection, enhanced by beautifully simple collage illustrations, makes for a charming gift. Sun gives us light. Thank you, sun. Clouds bring the rain that makes puddles to splash in. Sheep give us wool for our sweaters and hats. The honey that sweetens our bread comes from bees (thank you, bees). With spare, repetitive text and bright, torn-paper collage artwork, this picture book gives even the youngest readers a subtle sense of how everyday things are related – and inspires an appreciation for life’s simple gifts.

  2. The Thank You Book - Perfect for fans of Margaret Wise Brown and Pat Zietlow Miller’s Be Kind, _The Thank You Book_ explores the many ways of being thankful that can fill a child’s day. Timely, wise, and accessible, the poetic text and tender illustrations celebrate the powerful impact gratitude can have on our lives. 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.

  3. We Gather Together...Now Please Get Lost! - When Gilbert gets stuck with annoying tattletale Philip as his partner for the class trip to Pilgrim Town, he wishes Philip would just get lost! But when Gilbert hides from Philip in the bathroom and can’t get out, he’s sure he’ll have to spend Thanksgiving there all alone. Luckily, faithful Philip comes to the rescue. This memorable holiday episode in the popular series about Gilbert proves to readers that there is always something to be thankful for.

Books About Thanksgiving and Christmas

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The Night Before Christmas
Written by Clement C. Moore & illustrated by Loren Long
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

#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.

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The Berenstain Bears and the Nutcracker
Written & illustrated by Jan Berenstain and Mike Berenstain
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

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!

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Over The River and Through The Wood
Written & illustrated by Emma Randall
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

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!

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  1. Dog Diaries: Happy Howlidays: A Middle School Story - 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!

  2. The Little Kid's Table - Everyone knows that the little kids table is the place to be for any holiday or family gathering. They just know how to have fun! This silly, rhyming story follows a group of rambunctious cousins from table setting to dessert. A universal theme, The Little Kids Table will have kids–and parents!–howling with laughter.

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Books About Thanksgiving and Cooking And Food

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Sharing the Bread
Written by Pat Zietlow Miller & illustrated by Jill McElmurry
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

“A warm and wonderful holiday treasure.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred

“A paean to the pleasures of Thanksgiving, with rhymes so musical readers may just burst into song.” —The Wall Street Journal

“A delightful holiday book that shows the heartwarming tradition of food and family.” —Booklist

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Mouse's Thanksgiving
Written by Judy Cox & illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
One tiny, happy mouse's simple Thanksgiving dinner gets bigger and bigger....and bigger! Uh oh!
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Thank You, Omu!
Written & illustrated by Oge Mora
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

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.

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  1. Apple Cake: A Gratitude - 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.

  2. All for Pie, Pie for All - In this merry, multi-species story cooked up with folksy warmth and humor, everybody gets a piece of the pie -- and then some.

  3. Time for Cranberries - From the cranberry bog to the Thanksgiving table, join Sam and his family as they harvest a classic American fruit. When the vines hang heavy with berries that the autumn winds have turned deep red, it’s time for cranberries, and Sam is finally old enough to help with the harvest! This charming, lyrical picture book follows Sam and his family as they raise the water in the bog, pick the cranberries, and gather the fruit for processing. It’s a story of modern family farming in action, showing readers where their food comes from but mostly delighting them along the way.

  4. Mr. Men: A Very Thankful Thanksgiving - Get ready for an extra-big helping of fun when you celebrate Thanksgiving with the characters from Mr. Men Little Miss! It takes a lot of work to get everyone around the table on Thanksgiving. But once all the Mr. Men Little Miss characters sit down, they realize they have a lot to be thankful for.

Books About Thanksgiving and Social Themes

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I Love to Gobble You Up!
Written & illustrated by Sandra Magsamen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

Give thanks for your little ones with kisses, hugs, and GOBBLES of love all throughout the holiday season with this backlist holiday classic.

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Thank You Book (Padded Board Book)
Written by Mary Lyn Ray & illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
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.
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Look and Be Grateful
Written & illustrated by Tomie dePaola
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

A young boy awakens with the dawn, opens his eyes and looks closely at his world. He admires all that surrounds him, large and small, from the radiant sun to a tiny, but exquisite, ladybug. “Today is today, and it is a gift,” writes Tomie dePaola in this meditative and joyful book. Simply and beautifully told, and illustrated with jewel-like paintings, this picture book encourages each one of us to be thankful.

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  1. Thankful Book - I am thankful for music because it makes me want to dance.<br>I am thankful for my feet because they help me run and play.<br>I am thankful for kisses because they make me feel loved.

  2. Rivka's First Thanksgiving - More than anything, Rivka wants to celebrate Thanksgiving. She has learned all about the holiday in school and knows her family has a lot to be thankful for in America. But Rivka’s parents are Jewish immigrants from Poland, and they wonder what Pilgrims and Indians have to do with them. Is Thanksgiving really a holiday for Jews? Rivka’s grandmother, Bubbeh, decides to take over: She will bring Rivka to see the Rabbi Yoshe Preminger – and whatever the Rabbi concludes, Rivka will have to live with. Rivka knows that Thanksgiving is a holiday for all Americans, from all backgrounds and religions. But how can she convince the esteemed Rabbi Preminger? Elsa Okon Rael and Maryann Kovalski bring the bustling Lower East Side to life in this heartwarming story. Set in the 1910s, “Rivka’s First Thanksgiving” is about respecting old traditions while embracing new ones, about giving thanks and celebrating freedom in America. Perhaps most important, Rivka’s story teaches us that even the wisest adults have something to learn from children.

  3. Amelia Bedelia's First Apple Pie - Amelia Bedelia loves everything about autumn

  4. Thanksgiving for Emily Ann - Celebrate Thanksgiving in this sweet, rhyming story all about family and togetherness! <p/>Emily Ann doesn’t like Thanksgiving, not one bit. With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday, she feels a little ignored…and just a little bit sad. But just as Emily Ann prepares to do her worst, her family comes together to show her what matters most about Thanksgiving: family. <p/>With charming illustrations by Vanessa Brantley-Newton (ONE LOVE and EVERY LITTLE THING, both by Cedella Marley), this is a heartwarming holiday treat to share and treasure for many seasons to come. A celebration of family, friends, and the special day that brings them all together.

Books About Thanksgiving and Fall

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Sophie's Squash
Written by Pat Zietlow Miller & illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

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.

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Tractor Mac Harvest Time
Written & illustrated by Billy Steers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

When the nights start to get cooler and the corn is ready for picking, it’s time for autumn fun at the farm! Tractor Mac loves the fall, but he’s just too big for the orchard, where he is stuck harvesting apples that Farmer Bill will make into delicious treats. Across the road, Small Fred the tractor is busy with the Pumpkin Picking Festival, but he’s just too small to pull all of the people who want to go on a hayride. Working together, Tractor Mac and Small Fred figure out a way to share their chores and share the fun.

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Snuggle Time Fall Blessings
Written by Glenys Nellist
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

Snuggle up with your little one and enjoy all the best parts of autumn together--pumpkin picking, colored leaves, hayrides, and more--with this adorable padded-cover board book. Get ready for repeated readings and lots of hugs!

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  1. Trip to the Pumpkin Farm - Pick a book. Grow a Reader! <p/>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! <p/>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!

  2. Porcupine's Pie - WINNER OF THE BEAMING BOOKS PICTURE BOOK WRITING CONTEST! <p> 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.

  3. Bright Baby: Happy Thanksgiving - What is Thanksgiving? It’s turkey and pumpkin pie, but most of all it’s a time to spend with family and friends. With photographs to look at and Thanksgiving words to learn, this sturdy board book is ideal for adults to read and share with very young children to introduce them to this special holiday.

  4. Happy Thanksgiving Day! - A touch-and-feel book that celebrates Thanksgiving and encourages gratitude for blessings in a child’s life. In this new touch-and-feel board book, textures and bright artwork bring to life the things children experience at Thanksgiving. The narrator lists things for which he or she is thankful. Tactile experiences throughout the book engage the reader and help children to connect the book to the textures in their actual surroundings. Soft, vibrant watercolor illustrations add warmth and sweetness to the book.

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