Thanksgiving is a beautiful time of year to celebrate and give thanks with family and friends. This time of year—all year— helps us remember how important it is to give thanks and teach compassion and gratitude to our children. Using books to help teach children is a wonderful, fun way to introduce the history of Thanksgiving and time-honored traditions. Today’s Thanksgiving traditions differ greatly from the original 1621 harvest meal, but still, a feast indeed. There are many great Thanksgiving books for kids, but these are some of our favorites.
Pete the Cat is hands-down, one of our favorite book collections. In the book, Pete the Cat stars in the school Thanksgiving play, making even the coolest cat nervous. But when Pete the Cat gets onstage, he makes learning the story of the first Thanksgiving fun. This book is sure to be a holiday favorite for every Pete the Cat fan.
I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie, a Thanksgiving pie, which was really too dry. And with that the feast begins! After the pie the old lady swallows a whole squash, all the salad, and the entire turkey! As Mother and Father watch in shock, the two children are delighted to see the old lady growing fatter and fatter. And, in the end, the old lady makes a surprising and humorous contribution to the holiday festivities.
The Night Before Thanksgiving explores a families favorite fun-filled, family-filled, food-filled holiday! Follow along as the feast is prepared, cousins are greeted, and everyone gathers around the table, all with an extra helping of holiday fun.
Little Critter is going to have a Thanksgiving he’ll never forget! From the school play to a surprise dinner for all of Critterville, celebrate along with Little Critter and his family as they give thanks this holiday. This brand-new storybook is perfect for story time and includes a sheet of stickers!
The Berenstain Bears cubs act out the first Thanksgiving complete with costumes, props, and a full Thanksgiving feast. But will Sister Bear’s pet turkey play the part of dinner? The Berenstain Bears Give Thanks teaches how God provided for the pilgrims and reminds children of God’s many blessings.
Thanks for 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 is 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.
It’s Not About You, Mrs. Turkey is a unique tool for parents, grandparents and teachers to share both the historical and religious background of the holiday with young readers. The fun and colorful illustrations give children the opportunity to see clothing styles of the past as they learn the importance of courage, sharing, friendship and giving thanks.
Thanksgiving, What Makes It Special? Unfolding the history of a blessed tradition, this delightful picture book explores the role God played in our country’s earliest history and how His blessings endure today. From hungry Pilgrims and generous Native Americans to the ample feast of a modern-day family’s Thanksgiving, author Harold Myra helps children — and parents — learn how to enjoy this holiday to its very fullest.
My Thanksgiving Prayer oversized board book features a child thanking and praising God for the big and small joys of life. The colorful illustrations and catchy rhyming text are great for engaging young children.
Thanksgiving Is for Giving Thanks 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 First Thanksgiving 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 Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims are getting ready for the harvest feast. In colonial Plymouth, the young Pilgrims hunt ducks and geese and dig up turnips and carrots. In a nearby village, the Wampanoag children dig for clams, fish for cod, and gather nuts and berries. Finally, it’s time for the meal. Turkey, cornbread, cranberry stuffing, pumpkin, and Indian pudding are all on the menu-yum! First, everyone gives thanks, and then it’s time to eat and celebrate. The simple, rhythmic text and autumn-colored illustrations are just right for sharing the history and fun of Thanksgiving with young children.
The Very First Americans, from the Makah who set out in canoes to hunt whales to the Comanche who chased buffalo on horseback . . . here is a fascinating look at how the first Americans lived. Beautiful watercolor paintings accurately depict clothing, dwellings, art, tools, and other Native American artifacts.
The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving lasted three whole days. Ann McGovern’s simple text introduces children to the struggles of the Pilgrims during their first year at Plymouth Colony and the events leading to the historic occasion we celebrate today.
Squanto’s Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving — In 1620 an English ship called the Mayflower landed on the shores inhabited by the Pokanoket, and it was Squanto who welcomed the newcomers and taught them how to survive. When a good harvest was gathered, the people feasted together— a tradition that continues almost four hundred years later.
Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message — A traditional Iroquois celebration of the beauty and spirit of Mother Earth, as told by a contemporary Mohawk chief. The text speaks concise thanks to Mother Earth, to water, grass fruits, animals, to the wind and rain, sun, moon and stars, to the Spirit Protectors of our past and present, “for showing us ways to live in peace and harmony,” and to the Great Spirit, giver of all. Although this book doesn’t specifically teach Thanksgiving, it is an excellent story and message.
The Thanksgiving Story — 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!
A Turkey for Thanksgiving — Mr. and Mrs. Moose invite all their animal friends for Thanksgiving dinner and the only one missing is Turkey. When they set out to find him, Turkey is quaking with fear because he doesn’t realize that his hosts want him at their table, not on it.
Turkey is in trouble. Bad trouble. The kind of trouble where it’s almost Thanksgiving . . . and you’re the main course. But Turkey has an idea–what if he doesn’t look like a turkey? After many hilarious attempts, Turkey comes up with the perfect disguise to make this Thanksgiving the best ever!
Plump And Perky Turkeys around Squawk Valley just don’t jump into pots anymore—they are way too smart for that. So the townspeople hatch a clever plan. They host a turkey-themed arts and crafts fair and lure a vain bird into town by advertising for an artist’s model. Peter the Turkey, proud of his well-stuffed form, takes the bait but doesn’t fall for the trap.
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For fun Thanksgiving crafts for kids and activities, check out:
- Turkey Tissue Paper by Number Craft
- Native American Small World & DIY Mini Teepees
- Turkey Marble Painting
Huge resource for more easy Thanksgiving crafts:
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