Thanksgiving books for kids are the topic of our blog post today!
Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks, indulging in comfort food, and making cherished memories with family and friends. But let’s not forget the littlest members of the family. Kids, with their insatiable curiosity and vivid imaginations, deserve a taste of the Thanksgiving story too, don’t you think?
I’ve pulled together a roundup of heartwarming and educational Thanksgiving books perfect for young readers. These books offer a delightful mix of humor, history, and life lessons, ensuring that the Thanksgiving spirit is alive and well among the future adults of the world.
So, if you’re looking for something to keep the kids entertained while you’re wrestling that turkey into the oven or you’re in search of a bedtime story to cap off an exciting day, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s dive into these Thanksgiving treasures, shall we?
Thanksgiving Books for Kids
Here are our top picks for Thanksgiving books for kids
1. Balloons over Broadway, by Melissa Sweet
If you’ve ever wondered about the origins of the larger-than-life balloons at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, “Balloons over Broadway” is a must-read. The book dives into the remarkable story of Tony Sarg, the self-taught immigrant who gave life to this iconic American tradition. Author Melissa Sweet employs vivid collage illustrations that complement the narrative, immersing readers into Sarg’s world of imagination and innovation. This isn’t just a book about balloons; it’s a tribute to creativity and the joy of inventing. Perfect for all ages, this non-fiction gem serves as a stellar educational tool that blends history, art, and holiday festivities.
2. Bear Says Thanks, by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman
Imagine planning a big dinner and finding out you’ve got nothing to offer — that’s the pickle Bear finds himself in. “Bear Says Thanks” showcases a furry host who learns about the power of community and gratitude as his friends bring various dishes to the feast. Karma Wilson’s text is playful, while Jane Chapman’s illustrations add a layer of warmth, making it an excellent read for young kids. This book is a tender celebration of friendship and thankfulness, reminding us that sometimes the simplest ‘thanks’ can be the most meaningful.
3. Turkey Trouble, by Wendi Silvano
Thanksgiving takes a hilarious twist in “Turkey Trouble,” where the turkey in question is literally trying to save his own neck. As Thanksgiving nears, Turkey gets creative with his disguises, attempting to look like other animals to avoid being the main course. Both Wendi Silvano’s narrative and Lee Harper’s watercolors bring a comedic rhythm to the book. It’s a humorous take on the holiday but also a clever approach to discussing problem-solving and adaptability. If you’re looking for a Thanksgiving book that brings the laughs while also getting kids to think creatively, this is it.
4. Llama Llama Gives Thanks, by Anna Dewdney
Serving as one of Anna Dewdney’s final projects before her untimely passing, “Llama Llama Gives Thanks” is a heartfelt board book that encapsulates the essence of Thanksgiving for the very young. Using rhyming text, the book captures Llama Llama’s experiences as he navigates the holiday, covering everything from pumpkin pies to the beauty of fall foliage. Designed for small hands, the durable pages make it ideal for toddlers. The book stands as a wonderful legacy of Dewdney’s ability to entertain and comfort young children while delivering a meaningful message of gratitude.
5. Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving, by James Dean and Kimberly Dean
Who says history can’t be cool? In “Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving,” Pete takes center stage in a school play about the historical event. Laden with flaps that reveal hidden details, the book offers an interactive reading experience that’s sure to keep kids engaged. What stands out is how it combines the jitters of performing with the importance of learning about America’s early days, all while maintaining Pete’s signature laid-back vibe. The book presents a fantastic blend of entertainment and education, making it a go-to read for a well-rounded Thanksgiving celebration.
6. I Am Thankful: A Thanksgiving Book for Kids, by Sheri Wall
“I Am Thankful” is a poetic, rhyming storybook that showcases the diverse ways families celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s a fantastic read to teach kids about giving thanks and being grateful for the world around them. I find the illustrations particularly inviting, depicting a wide range of family dynamics and traditions.
7. Thanksgiving in the Woods, by Phyllis Alsdurf
You want a story based on real-life events? “Thanksgiving in the Woods” has got you covered. It’s inspired by a family in Upstate New York who celebrates Thanksgiving outdoors among the trees every year. This book brings a sense of community and the joy of simpler times. Trust me, the illustrations are like a warm hug; they’re so inviting and cozy.
8. How to Catch a Turkey, by Adam Wallace
“How to Catch a Turkey” is a hilarious adventure where kids chase a turkey through the school right before a Thanksgiving play. It blends humor with STEAM concepts and is one of those books that kids will want to read again and again. Perfect for family readings and also as a Thanksgiving gift.
9. Five Silly Turkeys, by Salina Yoon
Last but not least, “Five Silly Turkeys” is a fun sensory book for the littlest readers. Not only does it have rhyming text that’s catchy but the tail feathers crinkle when touched! This one’s more on the light-hearted side and perfect for tiny hands. Plus, those shiny fabric tabs? Totally irresistible for the kiddos.
10. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey! by Lucille Colandro
Yup, you read it right, this Old Lady is back, and she’s gobbling up everything from a turkey to a horn of plenty. Think of it as a whimsical way to teach kids about the elements of a traditional Thanksgiving feast with a hilarious twist. The rhyming scheme makes it super engaging, and the illustrations? Total crowd-pleasers! You could easily slip this into a lesson about sequencing events or just read it for pure entertainment value.
11. The Night Before Thanksgiving, by Natasha Wing
This one’s a cozy little tale that taps into the anticipation we all feel the night before a big holiday. Family, food, and festivities—this book captures it all in a delightful rhyme. Perfect to read when the pumpkin pie is baking and the kids are getting restless. For educators, this one’s a great way to introduce kids to the concept of family traditions and seasonal celebrations.
12. Little Critter: Just a Special Thanksgiving, by Mercer Mayer
Remember Little Critter from your own childhood? He’s still around, and this time, he’s sharing his Thanksgiving experience, from the school play to family dinner. I’ve always found Mercer Mayer’s books to be relatable, and this one’s no exception. Great for younger kiddos who are still getting the hang of what this holiday is all about.
13. Thanks a Million, by Nikki Grimes
Let’s talk about depth and range for a minute, because this book has both. Multiple poetic styles tackle themes of gratitude and human connection in a way that’s both heartfelt and complex. A great read that could serve as an anchor text for lessons on poetry forms or an emotive read-aloud during a Thanksgiving assembly.
14. 10 Fat Turkeys, by Tony Johnston
If you’re looking for something on the sillier side, this is your pick. Ten turkeys are up to all kinds of zany adventures, from noodle dances to swinging from vines. I mean, who wouldn’t find a turkey doing a noodle dance hilarious? The goofiness of this book makes it an ideal choice for those restless moments right before the holiday break. It also lends itself to counting exercises for younger kids.
15. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, Charles M. Schulz
Ah, good ol’ Charlie Brown, always finding himself in the most awkward yet endearing situations. When Peppermint Patty and friends invite themselves over for Thanksgiving, hilarity ensues. Perfect for teaching kids about improvisation and the true meaning of Thanksgiving—being thankful for friends and enduring life’s little hiccups. Trust me, you’re gonna want to pull this out every November.
16. The Berenstain Bears Give Thanks, by Jan Berenstain and Mike Berenstain
The Berenstain Bears take us back to the first Thanksgiving, and it’s not just about the turkey and the corn. This book offers the chance to talk about the historical and religious aspects of Thanksgiving in an accessible way for kids. Sister Bear’s pet turkey adds a dash of humor, making it engaging for young readers while subtly weaving in life values.
17. Happy Thanksgiving, Biscuit!, by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
Biscuit books are like comfort food for the young reader’s soul, and this one is no different. Pull-back flaps make it interactive, perfect for little hands that might still be learning the fine motor skills required to pass the gravy. If you’re looking for something simple yet engaging to occupy the kiddos while the adults are busy, this one’s a safe bet.
18. Turkey Trouble, by Wendi Silvano
Now, here’s a turkey with ingenuity! Turkey Trouble offers up comedy and suspense as Turkey tries to disguise himself to avoid becoming Thanksgiving dinner. A hilarious read that could also be a great conversation starter about empathy and perspectives, especially considering Turkey’s viewpoint is quite different from those looking forward to a feast!
19. The Story of the Pilgrims, by Katharine Ross
For young historians in the making, this book is a must-have. It covers the Pilgrims’ journey and the first Thanksgiving in a way that’s both informative and engaging. The illustrations add an extra layer of historical context, helping to bring the 17th century to life for today’s kids. It’s the sort of book that could serve as a springboard for deeper explorations into American history.
Find it on: Amazon
20. We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, by Traci Sorell
“We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga” is not your average Thanksgiving book. It takes you through a year in the life of the Cherokee Nation, with a focus on gratitude. Written by a Cherokee Nation citizen, this book is a cultural eye-opener, complete with a glossary and the Cherokee syllabary. It’s rich in cultural context and makes for an enriching read.
This curated list of Thanksgiving books offers something for every little reader, from the historically curious to the humorously inclined. It’s my hope that these Thanksgiving books for kids not only entertain but also foster meaningful conversations about the importance of gratitude, friendship, family, and the rich history that surrounds this cherished holiday. So go ahead, pick a few titles from this list, and enjoy Thanksgiving with your kids!