The Best Thanksgiving Books for Kids
Parent, teachers, and young children love experiencing this holiday season with their favorite Thanksgiving books for kids.
The story of the first Thanksgiving can be challenging for young readers to understand. With that being said, it’s still important to teach kids the meaning behind their Thanksgiving feast. Thankfully, there are plenty of simple text books and picture books to help teach the Thanksgiving story.
The First Thanksgiving
Before I share the book lists, let’s first learn a short story of the pilgrims.
In 1620, the Pilgrims began their 2 month voyage on the Mayflower to flee New England and come to the New World. The national holiday, known as the First Thanksgiving, occurred in the Fall of 1621 when the Pilgrims and Native Americans gathered to celebrate their first successful harvest. This feast lasted three days and was attended by nearly 150 Pilgrims and Native Americans. Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States and Canada.
Thanksgiving Books for Kids
Grab yourself a slice of pumpkin pie and let’s get started with this Thanksgiving book list.
I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie
The author, Alison Jackson, has made this Old Lady into a series of favorite holidays that kids LOVE. I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie is a funny book to read at the kids’ table before a nice big dinner, or before talking about family traditions with your students. One of our household traditions is to turn on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade while making a Thanksgiving pie.
Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving
The popular storybook character, Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving, is nervous about performing in the school Thanksgiving play, but the show must go on! This is an interactive book filled with flaps and hidden surprises – perfect for preschool, kindergarten, and first grade.
How to Catch a Turkey
Help catch this turkey as he runs loose through the school just before Thanksgiving. I like How to Catch A Turkey, because the story does not end with a turkey being served on different platters of delicious food.
Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks
This children’s Thanksgiving book is a sweet story for little learners. Thanksgiving Is For Giving Thanks helps the kids understand we have so much to be grateful for. Based on reviews, parents and teachers like this book because it’s not too wordy, has great pictures, and teaches kids how to be grateful for things that make them happy.
5 Silly Turkeys
If you’re looking for a simple and special Thanksgiving book for math, Five Silly Turkeys definitely needs to be a part of your collection.
5 Silly Turkeys is the perfect way to integrate counting and numbers to 5, rhyming, and incorporating song and repetition. Kids, ages 2-6, would enjoy this board book about turkeys.
Fancy Nancy: Our Thanksgiving Banquet
Complete with stickers, Fancy Nancy: Our Thanksgiving Banquet, is the perfect book to read when talking about a Thanksgiving feast with the kids. They’ll have a hard time not thinking of all their favorite foods!
‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving
As a vegetarian, I appreciate these types of Thanksgiving books for kids. Scholastic did a great job conveying the children’s compassion and strength after hearing of the turkeys fate. The kids rush to sneak the turkeys out of the turkey farm, and take them home as guests for a vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner. Consider ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving the great Thanksgiving escape.
Little Critter: Just a Special Thanksgiving
Mercer Mayer includes her most popular story book character, Little Critter, in this sweet book about Thanksgiving. Littler Critter: Just a Special Thanksgiving will get all the kids excited for a happy Thanksgiving in Critterville.
If you’re looking for a Thanksgiving book to go along with your turkey in disguise crafts, Turkey Trouble is a must-have on the list of Thanksgiving books for kids. This turkey pulls out all the silly antics to create the perfect disguise, assuring he won’t become the Thanksgiving dinner’s main course. I recommend this hilarious story with beautiful illustrations for preK, kindergarten, first, and second grade.
The Berenstain Bears Give Thanks
Written by Jan Berenstain, The Berenstain Bears Give Thanks, is a classic story of Thanksgiving.
10 Fat Turkeys
Practice numbers, subtraction (one less), and rhyming with 10 Fat Turkeys. This has hit the list of favorite books for the colorful illustrations and humorous contribution.
This would also be great for re-enacting, such as a Thanksgiving readers theater activity, because the author incorporates a lot of antics- which your kinesthetic learners would appreciate.
Charlie Bumpers vs. The Perfect Little Turkey
It’s Thanksgiving at Charlie’s house, and he was looking forward to seeing his family members, until he got the news that his pesty little cousin, Chip, is coming over. Charlie, Mabel, and Matt come up with a plan to make sure Chip doesn’t ruin holiday festivities with the family. The Charlie Bumpers series is good for ages 6-10.
Thanksgiving on Thursday: Magic Tree House, Book 27
Jack and Annie are whisked back to the eve of the first Thanksgiving. There, they meet the Pilgrims as well as Squanto, a Native American who helped them. Thanksgiving on Thursday a perfect chapter book for kids (depending on reading level) in first grade through third grade.
Sometimes, telling the kids to have a thankful heart isn’t enough. The younger kiddos need examples, which is why Thankful is a great addition to the list of Thanksgiving books for kids.
Thankful gives examples such as, a fireman is thankful for being able to put out the fire, and a gardener is thankful for every green sprout. Be aware this book does mention God. If you are in a school district that doesn’t allow books about God, this book isn’t for you.
Llama Llama Gives Thanks
It’s Thanksgiving time for Llama Llama and the family! With minimal words and bright illustrations, Llama Llama Gives Thanks is the picture book would be a great Thanksgiving book for preschool, PreK, and Kindergarten.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (Peanuts)
When the little girl, Peppermint Patty, invites herself and friends to Charlie Brown’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, Charlie Brown agrees to make a holiday feast – even though he can barely make little things. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is a classic book for the season.
Allie at The Gypsy Teacher recommends Thanksgiving in the Woods for Preschool-3rd grade. And, Francesca at Riv’s Room recommends Balloons Over Broadway. What is your favorite Thanksgiving book?
Thanksgiving Poems for Kids
Poetry is a passion of mine. Using poetry to teach reading ignites excitement like no other. What I love even more is when you can combine poetry with crafting. If you are looking for Thanksgiving crafts, grab this Turkey Handprint poem, HERE.
Before you go, here are a few blog posts you may enjoy:
65 Easy Holiday Crafts for Kids
75 Best Yes or No Questions for Kids
Fun Thanksgiving Facts for Kids
Thanksgiving Bulletin Board Ideas