Finding Thanksgiving books for kids when my kids were little was always tricky. I didn’t know which books to buy, and which to get from the library.
Books, especially really high-quality picture books, aren’t cheap. But holiday books have always felt like a good investment because they often become part of your family’s tradition.
Leading up to Thanksgiving, you need to defrost the turkey and pull out the “good” plates, and of course, you need to grab Cranberry Thanksgiving and read about Grandmother and Mr. Whiskers, and maybe even make cranberry bread by following the recipe in the back of the book.
(OK, you don’t need to do this, but I highly recommend it!)
Reading As Part Of Your Holiday Celebrations
Most homeschooling families like to find a few fun ways to homeschool through the holidays. Holidays like Thanksgiving are such a wonderful time for relaxed learning while you enjoy family time together.
Cuddling together around a book literally gets everyone on the same page, and it’s a great opportunity to talk about the history of Thanksgiving.*
Even if you are traveling for Thanksgiving, you can pack up a few Thanksgiving books for kids to enjoy in the car, or download a Thanksgiving audiobook.
You may all arrive at Grandma’s house feeling a little more grateful, and a little closer having enjoyed a book together.
35 Best Thanksgiving Books For Kids
Below are some of the best Thanksgiving books for kids. I hope you’ll grab a few and make some warm memories this Thanksgiving.
NOTE: We know that Thanksgiving can feel really challenging from a historical standpoint. Please take a minute to preview these books to be sure they are a good fit for your family.
Keep in mind that most books can be used as a starting point for conversation. If you are looking for books specifically about Native American culture, history, and tradition, this list is a great place to start.)
(Look for this symbol 🎧 to indicate this Thanksgiving book for kids is available as an audiobook!)
25 Thanksgiving Picture Books
Cranberry Thanksgiving. This book has everything – romps through cranberry bogs, robbery, Mr. Whiskers’ crazy mustache, singing, and a recipe for The Best Cranberry Bread. (Pro tip: You can skip the raisins!)
This book is a reminder to reach out to others who may need a bit of love this Thanksgiving, and to not judge a book by its cover, or at least, not judge a man by his whiskers.
(Cranberry Thanksgiving is part of a series of books for Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Halloween.)
I have ALWAYS wanted to go to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. But, even if your family prefers to watch the parade from home, this book is a fascinating peek at how the iconic event came to feature those amazing balloons!
Caldecott Award Honor Artist Melissa Sweet uses her incredible collage style to share the story of immigrant and inventor Tony Sarg, who invented the balloons that have made the annual parade such a beloved tradition. 🎧
Referencing Psalm 92, author Karma Wilson encourages readers to look for the simple things – apple cider and baking pie – and find gratitude.
“The table makes a lovely sight. The food is good, it tastes just right. I savor every, single bite. I feel so full of love tonight.”
The arrival of newcomers to America in 1620 is chronicled from the point of view of Squanto, who helped the new arrivals learn to survive.
This Thanksgiving book honors the Wampanoag tribe, who lived where the Pilgrims settled. They introduced the Pilgrims to Weeâchumun (corn), which helped them survive their first winter.
Mr. and Mrs. Moose invite their friends over for Thanksgiving dinner, but Turkey is a no-show … (I wonder why?!)
Great illustrations and comedy combine, but will Mr. Moose’s “hunting party,” find Turkey?
(Don’t worry – this one is vegetarian-friendly! 😉)
Laurie Halse Anderson
Anderson, maybe best known as the author of the YA novel Fever, highlights Sarah Josepha Hale, a “lady editor,” who petitioned for 35 years to have Thanksgiving become a national holiday.
This Little Golden Book (yes – they still make those!), offers sweet illustrations and rhyming text, and features a classroom full of diverse children sharing what they are thankful for.
“I am thankful for my grandma’s pies, her cookies, and her sweet potato fries. I am thankful for my puppy’s tricks, my comfy slippers, and kitty-cat’s licks.”
Another Thanksgiving winner from Karma Wilson, this one stars Bear from the Bear Books series and his crew of animal pals.
Bear’s cupboards are bare, but his friends are on the way to celebrate! What will he do? 🎧
(While this is written for younger readers, I know a teenage girl who described Book 1 in the series, Bear Snores On, as … “FIRE” 😆!)
Another favorite children’s book character, Llama Llama, is celebrating Thanksgiving, but it’s ALWAYS a good time to be thankful. (This board book is perfect for your little ones.)
Featuring lovely, simple illustrations, explore the town and what each person we meet – the pastor, the doctor, the local reporter – appreciates most.
This book gives a nod to essential workers too! 🎧
Beloved author and illustrator Tomie dePaola brings his one-of-a-kind style and shares about traditions like making handprint turkeys and cooking a feast.
(Not specifically a Thanksgiving book, Tomie dePaola’s Look, and Be Grateful, published in 2019, also celebrates gratitude with soft, gentle colors.)
Ann McGovern and Anna Deivito
Part of the If You series of 14 books, this one includes detailed images that can give kids an idea of what it was like to sail across the ocean more than 400 years ago.
Over the River and Through the Woods:
A Holiday Adventure
There are actually quite a few books named after the classic song, but this is a favorite.
Inclusive and featuring a multi-racial family (and plenty of pie!), there are lots of ways to get to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for Thanksgiving – even via hot air balloon!
The holiday Americans celebrate as Thanksgiving came about through the perseverance of “lady editor” Sarah Josepha Hale, Abraham Lincoln, and the Civil War. But around the world, for centuries, cultures have gathered to give thanks and practice gratitude. 🎧
Pat Zietlow Miller
Set in the 19th century, everyone has a job to do in this picture book about food and a family of ten. Spare verse and calm, but inviting illustrations even feature a cat and a dog.
Perfect for preschoolers and Kindergarteners, this book follows three different families celebrating Thanksgiving, each with their own traditions and ways of helping others.
This one is out of print, so look for it at your library or used bookstore, or grab the Kindle version.
It’s worth it to read about Ed and Anna, who think Thanksgiving is ruined when their turkey burns. But really, the door is just opening to new friends.
Thank You, Thanksgiving
This sweet book follows a girl on a Thanksgiving errand – she finds so much to be thankful for during her journey.
This multiple, multiple award winner based the the word otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah), used by members of the Cherokee Nation to express gratitude, follows a whole year of Cherokee celebrations.
Ancient cultures celebrated harvest season and gave thanks for crops that would help them survive colder weather. Learn about harvest traditions and the 12 cultures discussed in the book through nine pages of engaging backmatter.
Oh, these illustrations! This is a picture book you want to climb right into.
This story of a daylong celebration of faith, friends, and family is based on a real family that hosted an outdoor Thanksgiving celebration in the woods for 20 years.
(This book is part of the Countryside Holidays series and they are all gorgeous.)
Melanie Heuiser Hill
Around the table that Grandad built are napkins sewn by Mom, squash from the garden, and bread baked by Gran. Featuring diverse food and a diverse family, this is a cumulative tale about building a family.
In this installment of the There Was An Old Lady series, you’ll never guess what the old lady swallows … 😉
We don’t know why she swallowed a turkey, but “she’s always been quirky!”
Adapted by Daphne Pendergrass, based on the work of Charles M. Schulz
You know this story – the toast, the popcorn, the jellybeans … When Charlie Brown invites everyone over for a Thanksgiving feast, Snoopy steps in with his culinary prowess and willing assistant Woodstock.
10 Thanksgiving Chapter Books
We Gather Together (Young Readers Edition): Stories of Thanksgiving from Then to Now
Kiernan, who also wrote Giving Thanks: How Thanksgiving Became a National Holiday, penned this adaption for young readers based on her New York Times bestselling book.
Kiernan’s goal is to separate fact from myth and to help readers consider what gratitude means to society. 🎧
Mary Pope Osborne
This book is No. 27 in the Magic Treehouse Series. Siblings Jack and Annie travel to 1621 to help prepare a feast, but nothing seems to be going the way it should. 🎧
Catherine O’Neill Grace
Part of the New Look book series, this book counters the idea of Pilgrims’ shoe buckles and pumpkin pie being a part of the first Thanksgiving. Photo essays feature The Wampanoag and Pilgrims, and the book even includes a few recipes.
Part of the Katie Woo series of 52 books, Katie’s friends are on the way over for Thanksgiving when they get stuck in a snowstorm. And then the oven breaks! Can you even have Thanksgiving without turkey and friends?
Maybe a “chicken emergency” doesn’t sound much like the plot of a Thanksgiving book, but all you really need to know is that Arthur Bobowicz went out to buy a Thanksgiving turkey, and instead, came home with a 266-pound chicken named Henrietta.
The new version of this old favorite (first published in 1977!) includes illustrations by Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Auth.
Marjorie Weinman Sharmat and Mitchell Sharmat
Your mystery fans will love being on the case with Nate, who is tracking a wild turkey in this installment of the 29-book series. This one includes activities and the opportunity to learn a bit about turkeys. 🎧
You know, Martha was just an average dog, before she ate some alphabet soup and learned to talk. Now the human extended family is coming over for Thanksgiving, and Martha wants to invite her relatives too. Will she find them all in time?
Patricia Reilly Giff
It’s almost Thanksgiving, and Richard Best REALLY wants to win his teacher’s candy corn challenge. But can he read enough library book pages and guess the exact number of candy corn pieces in the jar in order to take home the prize?
(This book is part of The Kids of The Polk Street School series.)
It’s Thanksgiving, and A.J. is excited for a break. But new principal Dr. Carbles is acting like a grumpy turkey, and he just fired Mr. Klutz. Can the kids help Mr. Klutz get his job back?
(This one is part of the My Weird School series.)
As Molly celebrates her first Thanksgiving in America, she struggles to feel thankful. Her classmates tease her about her accent and the doll she brings to school for a Thanksgiving project.
But Molly identifies with the story of the Pilgrims, because her family also came to America in search of religious freedom.
More Book Lists For The Holidays
- A Rover’s Story Discussion Topics and Homeschool Study - December 1, 2023
- Speak Up! Book Review and Homeschool Study Ideas - November 30, 2023
- Spy School Graphic Novel Discussion Questions and Book Review - November 29, 2023