The Top 29 Books About Thanksgiving

Updated Apr. 23, 2019

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, eat with family or friends, Thanksgiving holds a special significance for many. To get you in the mood, here's a list of some of our favorite Thanksgiving titles ranging from silly turkey books to beautifully illustrated stories of historical figures who made Thanksgiving a reality.

Molly's Pilgrim book
Molly's Pilgrim
Written and illustrated by Barbara Cohen
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.

Balloons Over Broadway book
Balloons Over Broadway
Written and 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.

Tiny Blessings: For Giving Thanks book
Tiny Blessings: For Giving Thanks
Written by Amy Parker and illustrated by Sarah Walsh
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
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.

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.

Cranberry Thanksgiving book
Cranberry Thanksgiving
Written by Wende Devlin and 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.

Thank You, Sarah book
Thank You, Sarah
Written by Laurie Halse Anderson and illustrated by Matt Faulkner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
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!

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

Duck for Turkey Day book
Duck for Turkey Day
Written by Jacqueline Jules and illustrated by Kathryn Mitter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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!

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.

How Many Days to America? book
How Many Days to America?
Written by Eve Bunting and 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.

Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving book
Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving
Written by Eric Metaxas and 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.

The Night Before Thanksgiving book
The Night Before Thanksgiving
Written by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Tammie Lyon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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!

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.

The Littlest Pilgrim book
The Littlest Pilgrim
Written by Brandi Dougherty and 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.

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

Illustrations and simple, rhyming text reveal a family's preparations for their Thanksgiving feast, with everyone pitching in to help--including Baby, who sleeps quiet as a mouse.

Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving book
Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving
Written by James Dean and 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.

The First Thanksgiving book
The First Thanksgiving
Written and illustrated by Kathryn Lynn Davis
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Nancy Davis recreates the excitement and wonder of the first Thanksgiving--how the pilgrims came to America and how the Native Americans taught them to plant and then joined them in a Thanksgiving feast. Parents can use the simple text and the bright, graphic illustrations of this lift-the-flap book to introduce a very young child to this holiday.

One is a Feast for Mouse book
One is a Feast for Mouse
Written by Judy Cox and illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

On Thanksgiving Day while everyone naps, Mouse spots one pea, a perfect feast, but he cannot help adding all of the fixings--until Cat spots him, in a story about giving thanks for little things. 12,500 first printing.

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

Squanto's Journey: The Story/1st Thanksgiving (PB)

You Are My Little Pumpkin Pie book
You Are My Little Pumpkin Pie
Written and illustrated by Amy E. Sklansky
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
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.

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.

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

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

Turkey Trouble book
Turkey Trouble
Written by Wendi Silvano and illustrated by Lee Harper
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

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.

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey! book
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey!
Written by Lucille Colandro and illustrated by Jared D. Lee
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

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!

How to Catch a Turkey book
How to Catch a Turkey
Written by Adam Wallace and 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!).

10 Fat Turkeys book
10 Fat Turkeys
Written by Tony Johnston and illustrated by Richard F. Deas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

The antics of ten fat turkeys on a fence illustrate counting from ten to one.

My First Thanksgiving book
My First Thanksgiving
Written and 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.

A Plump and Perky Turkey book
A Plump and Perky Turkey
Written by Teresa Bateman and 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.

Llama Llama Gives Thanks book
Llama Llama Gives Thanks
Written and 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.

Tractor Mac Harvest Time book
Tractor Mac Harvest Time
Written and 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.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!