My Favorite Thanksgiving Books for Kids
You know what I love about holiday books? They only come out once a year, so they never get old. And although many of these books are for little ones, all my kids love to read at them each year. (Even my teenager.) One of my favorite holidays for kids’ books is Thanksgiving. I love the warm, cozy illustrations and the lovely themes of families and being thankful and kind. Any of these books would be fun for the kids in your life, and they're very affordable. So, you should get all of them.
This charming little board book helps kids understand what Thanksgiving is all about. Sure it’s about food, and the Pilgrims, parades, and family, but mostly, it’s about being thankful to God who gives us everything we need. Board books are fun for babies and when kids old enough to read, they can enjoy them in a whole new way.
I love the all the books in this series. They all follow the meter and rhyme of the traditional Night Before Christmas. We also love Valentine’s Day, Kindergarten, and Picture Day. But this is probably my favorite because their Thanksgiving is so similar to ours. The mom is making pies the day before and the house is delightfully crowded with cousins who happen to do a skit. (Our kids do that too.) There’s chaos and messes and a big family who loves to be together. Feels like home to me.
T is for Turkey -A True Thanksgiving Story (2009) by Tanya Lee Stone and Illustrated by Gerald Kelley.
This Thanksgiving ABC’s book is seriously how I learned almost everything I know about Thanksgiving. In a loving way, it dispels some of the myths about the first Thanksgiving. It’s one of those books you’ll read aloud to your kids and think to yourself, “Really? Hmmm. I didn’t know that.” The illustrations are wonderful too.
Read this book aloud and your kids will join in because it uses the “Happy and You Know It” tune. It’s a fun challenge getting all the words in if you speed it up. Trust me, this one is fun. Everyone will be laughing by the end. I love the illustrations. They’re colored in with a sort of texture that really draws the reader in. Such a fun book.
The kids in this book are trying to escape to the backyard before the aunts squeeze their cheeks. Of all our books, this one is requested the most because one spread talks about “The wall of butts.” (The grownups standing around the TV.) Nothing like the word butt in a book to get kids to read. They’ll laugh the whole time you read this. (You will too.) It’s so funny.
Over the River and Through & Wood -A Holiday Adventure (2015) by Linda Ashman and Illustrated by Kim Smith.
You’re probably seeing a trend here, but I love books based on songs. They’re so fun to read aloud and this one is great! I remember playing this song on the piano when I was a kid, but this book is a twist on the old song. Everyone’s trying to get to Grandmother’s house and they use all means of transportation to make the trip.
This book reminds me of that Gilmore Girls episode where Rory and Lorelei have four thanksgiving dinners. The turkey gets invited to a bunch of feasts and gets really stuffed. For the kids, it’s a funny story. The parents realize that turkey is invited to all of our feasts too and he’s usually stuffed. Shhhhhh. Don’t tell the kids.
When choosing a book, my kids often gravitate to characters they know and love. Sometimes it’s a gimmick and not a great story, but that’s not true of this one. Pete takes the reader on an adventure to the first Thanksgiving. He’s a pilgrim on the Mayflower, then building the colony, then sharing in the feast. It’s a clever lift the flap book because it shows the passage of time. For instance, there’s a picture of a house being framed and when you lift the flap, it’s completed. Pete is such a hit with kids and this book is no exception.
This little chapter book is perfect for readers in grades 2-4. Molly is a Jewish immigrant from Russia learning about Thanksgiving for the first time. She doesn’t fit in among her new schoolmates. But she identifies with the Pilgrims moving to a new world to escape religious persecution. This is such a beautiful story.
Judy Moody and Stink; The Wishbone Wish (2015) by Megan McDonald and Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
I love this series because it’s for boys and girls and it’s so funny. If your kids are fans of Judy Moody and her brother Stink, this is a perfect addition to your library. Judy and Stink are training for the town’s annual Turkey Trot and they’re counting on winning because the prize is a fat, juicy turkey.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and the best way to celebrate any holiday is by reading books. I hope you’ll try some of these and they’ll become a tradition in your house. They certainly are in mine.