Reading about Thanksgiving with children can be a valuable instructional tool to help them understand the history and significance of the holiday. Here are some books about Thanksgiving to read with children of all ages.
- The First Thanksgiving: A Lift-the-Flap Book
This book by Kathryn Lynn Davis is a great way to introduce young children to the story of the first Thanksgiving. It describes how the Pilgrims came to America, how Native Americans helped them learn to grow crops, and why they participated in the first Thanksgiving dinner together. The interactive element of this book, along with the clear and bright illustration style, helps young children stay engaged with the story.
- This First Thanksgiving Day: A
Written by Laura Krauss Melmed, this book tells the story of the first Thanksgiving for children ages 4 through 8. Along with the story and the illustrations by Mark Buehner, it includes hidden turkeys on each page for children to find, as well as different kinds of animals on each page for children to count and identify.
- Thanksgiving Is for Giving
This book by Margaret Sutherland is a great introduction to the importance of thankfulness to the Thanksgiving holiday, for toddlers and preschoolers. The story follows a community of friends and family as they each identify things in their lives that they are thankful for. This book can teach children the importance of being thankful for non-material items, such as family members, pets, bedtime snuggles, and hugs from grandma.
- Thanksgiving Day at
Our House: Thanksgiving Poems for the Very Young
Written by Nancy White Carlestrom and illustrated by R.W. Alley, this is a book of poems about Thanksgiving for children ages 4 through 8. The poems range in tone from serious, about the importance of being thankful, to silly, about fun traditions that families take part in during the holiday. This book is a great introduction to poetry for younger kids.
Turkey for Thanksgiving
This is a classic fictional children’s Thanksgiving book by Eve Bunting. In it, an animal couple named Mr. and Mrs. Moose throw a Thanksgiving dinner for their friends, and have to track down their friend Turkey, who doesn’t understand that they want to eat Thanksgiving dinner with him, instead of eat him for Thanksgiving dinner. This book, appropriate for children ages 3 through 6, is both a heartwarming and funny take on the tradition of Thanksgiving dinner, paired with beautiful illustrations by Diane de Groat.
the Night Before Thanksgiving
Written by Dave Pilkey, this book is a fun, quirky poem for children about Thanksgiving. Pilkey adapts the familiar Christmas poem to tell a Thanksgiving story about a group of elementary school students taking a trip to a turkey farm on the day before Thanksgiving. After playing with the turkeys, they are surprised and dismayed to learn that the farmer plans to kill the turkeys for Thanksgiving dinner. This book can be sung along to by children, and is appropriate for ages 3 through 5 years old.
This book by Lisa Wheeler is set in a turkey farm. In this story, the prized Turkey, Turk, is chosen to receive a great honor. No one knows what the honor entails except for Turk’s younger brother, Runt. This book is appropriate for children ages 4 through 7 years old, and is a silly take on the theme of Thanksgiving.