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!
Llama Llama Gives Thanks - 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.
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
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!
The Thanksgiving Story - 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!
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.
Want to see books about Pilgrims?
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!
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.
How to Catch a Turkey - 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!).
'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.
Want to see books about turkeys?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tractor Mac Harvest Time - 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.
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.
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.
Want to see books about friendship?
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.
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.
Want to see books about school?