Now that Thanksgiving is right around the corner, it seems like the perfect time to share some of our family’s favorite Thanksgiving books! There are so many reasons to read Thanksgiving books with your children! I like to create memories of reading good books together around every holiday. Thanksgiving is no exception. But the main reason is that it is important to me that our boys do not think that Thanksgiving is merely about feasting, family, and fun. Yes, that is a part of today’s Thanksgiving, but the true reason we celebrate Thanksgiving is so much deeper! Do your children know why Thanksgiving is celebrated?
Why We Celebrate Thanksgiving:
I want to be certain that my children know exactly why Thanksgiving is celebrated. Today, we remember what is often referred to as “The First Thanksgiving”. This is when the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag shared an autumn harvest and celebration of thanks in 1621. We celebrate Thanksgiving in remembrance of how God allowed the Pilgrims to be helped through the love and kindness of the Wampanoag people. The Pilgrims most likely would have all starved to death without the care of the Wampanoag. They taught the Pilgrims everything that they needed to know in order to survive in a new land which they knew nothing about. It is important to me that my children know about the Wampanoag culture, as well as the Pilgrims. In this selection of favorite Thanksgiving books, I have tried to find a balance between books of the Pilgrims, Wampanoag, and fun modern-day Thanksgiving books. I hope you are able to read all these beautiful Thanksgiving children’s books with the little ones in your life!
Thanksgiving Books for Children:
We enjoy these books because they evoke every emotion. From the hilarious Cranberry Thanksgiving to the emotionally stirring story of Squanto’s Journey. Get ready to enjoy some beautiful living books that you will want to read together year after year. I will be keeping these forever, and hopefully, I will get to read them to my grandchildren one day! Now, let me introduce you to some of our very favorite Thanksgiving books!
by Marcia Sewall
The detailed illustrations and beautiful storyline of this book truly bring the Wampanoag culture to life. We found this to be very enlightening and emotionally moving. Long before the Pilgrim’s landed in Plimoth, the Wampanoag people lived in harmony with nature and its changing seasons.
by Joseph Bruchac
Is the story of the first Thanksgiving as told by Squanto. He taught the Pilgrims to plant, hunt, fish, and ultimately how to survive in this new land. Without him, the first Thanksgiving would have not been possible. And almost 400 years later, we remember the time when these two peoples celebrated the bountiful harvest in the spirit of peace and brotherhood.
by Chief Jake Swamp
Is a Native American good morning message based on the Thanksgiving Address, which is an ancient message of peace and appreciation of Mother Earth and all her inhabitants. This book is a beautiful, moving message with wonderful illustrations on every page.
by Danielle Greendeer, Anthony Perry, & Alexis Bunten
Is the story of the first Thanksgiving from a Native American perspective. It is told from the perspective of a grandmother to her grandchildren. Colorful full-page illustrations will keep even the youngest listeners interested. Bonus: you will get to learn some Wampanoag words as well!
by Kate Waters
A day-in-the-life book of a Wampanoag boy. It is filled with re-enactment photos of Tapenum’s day to bring the story to life. A great to help your child see what it was like to be a Wampanoag boy.
by Marcia Sewall
This book gives insight into what the daily life of the Pilgrims was like. It does well depicting the sickness, hardships, and sorrow that were a constant part of those early days. Wonderful illustrations bring the story to life and help connect children to their way of living.
by Alice Dalgliesh
This books has stood the test of time. It is a simple and delightful telling of the Thanksgiving story, which begins with Pilgrims voyage across the Atlantic to the fall harvest feast of 1621. Vintage illustrations are scattered throughout the book.
by Cheryl Harness
This book tells the story of the Allerton family’s first year in Plimoth Colony. Great attention to detail is given to the story and illustrations of this book. (Note: if you have a child who is sensitive to death, the mother of the three young children dies in the story. A great substitute would be: The Story of the Pilgrims.) After all of their hardships, they make it through that first year with the help of Samoset and Squanto!
by Kate Waters
A day-in-the-life book of a Pilgrim girl. It is filled with re-enactment photos of Sarah’s day to bring the story to life. A great way to help your child see what it was like to be a Pilgrim girl.
by Kate Waters
A day-in-the-life book of a Pilgrim boy. It is filled with re-enactment photos of Samuel’s day to bring the story to life. This book is a great way to help your child to see what it was like to be a Pilgrim boy.
by Pat Zietlow Miller
This is personally my favorite modern-day Thanksgiving story. It shows how each person in the family has a task to make Thanksgiving dinner happen. Everyone has a job to do, and they all work together to make and share in their Thanksgiving spread. The illustrations are vivid and adorable in this book.
by Wende & Harry Delin
A rollicking story of how Maggie and her grandmother invite a mysterious newcomer and old Mr. Whiskers (a seafaring captain) to celebrate their favorite holiday: Thanksgiving! Grandmother serves an exquisite feast and ends it with her famous secret recipe of Cranberry Bread. Finally, the recipe is included so you can make it with your child for some extra seasonal fun.
by Eve Bunting
An animal tale of Thanksgiving dinner. Mr. and Mrs. Moose host Thanksgiving dinner, but they do not have a turkey. Everyone knows that you must have a turkey for Thanksgiving! So, Mr. Moose sets out to make Mrs. Moose’s Thanksgiving dream come true. And as for Mr. Turkey….. he’s in for a big surprise!!
I hope this little list was helpful to you! Have you read any of these books? Do you have some others that you and your children love? Tell me in the comments below!
“The big kitchen was a jolly place just now, for in the great fireplace roared a cheerful fire; on the walls hung garlands of dried apples, onions, and corn; up a loft from the beams shone crook-necked squashes, juicy hams, and dried venison . . . Savory smells were in the air; on the crane hung steaming kettles; and down among the red embers copper saucepans simmered, all suggestive of some approaching feast.” ~ An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving, Louisa May Alcott