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Our Favorite Thanksgiving Children's Books

Updated: Jan 11

At our house, we read A LOT of children's books, and we want to share some of our favorites with you! In this post, we've included our favorite Thanksgiving board books and picture books, to include both fiction and nonfiction. Feel free to skim the list and see if any appeal to your family. We hope you enjoy!





Board Books



Five Silly Turkeys By: Salina Yoon Publisher: Price Stern Sloan (2005)

Five Silly Turkeys

By: Salina Yoon

Publisher: Price Stern Sloan (2005)

Recommended Ages: 0+


Book Description: From twirling on a dance floor to being chased by a bee to tanning in the sun, these are no ordinary Thanksgiving turkeys. The rhyming adventure makes for a fun read-aloud, and the tail feathers add a sensory element to the book as they crinkle when touched and are easy to grab for tiny hands turning pages. This shiny fabric–tabbed book is a holiday treat that is sure to be gobbled up quickly.


Why We Love It

  • Short silly rhyming text

  • Crinkly feathers provide an interactive sound and texture element




Pookie's Thanksgiving By: Sandra Boynton Publisher: Boynton Bookworks (2022)

Pookie's Thanksgiving

By: Sandra Boynton

Publisher: Boynton Bookworks (2022)

Recommended Ages: 1+


Book Description:

Oh, POOO-KIE! Little POOO-KIE!

It’s time to start baking!

Thanksgiving is here!

There are pies that need making!


It’s Thanksgiving! Join Mom and her little Pookie as they prepare for the yummiest of holidays. Told and illustrated with Sandra Boynton’s celebrated charm, Pookie’s Thanksgiving is filled with a cornucopia of family, gratitude, and pie!


Why We Love It

  • Charming rhyming text

  • We love reading Spooky Pookie during the Halloween season, and this book allows us to keep reading about Pookie after Halloween has passed.

  • Celebrates one of the things I am most thankful for: PIE! 😁




llama llama gives thanks Written By: Anna Dewdney Illustrated By: J.T. Morrow Publisher: Viking (2017)

llama llama gives thanks

Written By: Anna Dewdney

Illustrated By: J.T. Morrow

Publisher: Viking (2017)

Recommended Ages: 1+


Book Description: It's Thanksgiving time for Llama Llama and his family! That means yummy foods and autumn leaves and being thankful for everything from pumpkin pies to blue skies. Thanksgiving may only come once a year, but in Llama's family, giving thanks is always here!


Why We Love It

  • Familiar characters celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends

  • Great message about giving thanks all year





Picture Books (Fiction)




Fangsgiving By: Ethan Long Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books (2018)

Fangsgiving

By: Ethan Long

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books (2018)

Recommended Ages: 3+


Book Description: It's the fourth Thursday of November, and the members of Fright Club are cooking up something spooky . . . a Thanksgiving feast! But when Vlad's family arrives unexpectedly, they put their own spin on each of the dishes. Now, the rolls are as hard as headstones and the turkey has been cooked to death. Vlad loves his family, but they've made a mess of their meal! Can this monster-filled family come together to save their feast and celebrate what the holiday is truly about?


Why We Love It

  • Impeccably written and paced story

  • Great book to bridge Halloween and Thanksgiving

  • Funny!

  • Great message about working together

  • Perfect ending!




Thanksgiving Is Here! By: Diane Goode Publisher: HarperCollins (2003)

Thanksgiving Is Here!

By: Diane Goode

Publisher: HarperCollins (2003)

Recommended Ages: 2+


Book Description: As soon as Maggie's grandma and grandpa get the turkey in the oven, bright and early on Thanksgiving morning, the guests arrive and the commotion begins: glamorous aunts, crying babies, acrobatic cousins, strange dogs, mysterious gifts, romance, friendships, "yackety-yak"ing and, of course, lots of wonderful food and fun.


Why We Love It

  • Portrays the chaotic reality of holiday households in a funny and entertaining way

  • Charming prose with lots of onomatopoeia to keep little ones engaged

  • Busy illustrations that give kids lots of people to look at and follow

  • Great message about chipping in and helping others





Turkey Trouble Written By: Wendi Silvano Illustrated By: Lee Harper Publisher: Two Lions (2009)

Turkey Trouble

Written By: Wendi Silvano

Illustrated By: Lee Harper

Publisher: Two Lions (2009)

Recommended Ages: 3+


Book Description: 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? What if he looks like another animal instead? After many hilarious attempts, Turkey comes up with the perfect disguise to make this Thanksgiving the best ever!


Why We Love It:

  • So clever and funny!

  • Very well-written story and fun repetitive format that kids will enjoy

  • A book we can't wait to read every year at Thanksgiving!




The THANKFUL Book By: Todd Parr Publisher: Little, Brown & Co. (2012)

The THANKFUL Book

By: Todd Parr

Publisher: Little, Brown & Co. (2012)

Recommended Ages: 2+


Book Description:

I am thankful for music because it makes me want to dance.

I am thankful for my feet because they help me run and play.

I am thankful for kisses because they make me feel loved.


The Thankful Book celebrates all the little things children can give thanks for. From everyday activities like reading and bath time to big family meals together and special alone time between parent and child, Todd inspires readers to remember all of life's special moments. The perfect book to treasure and share, around the holidays and throughout the year.


Why We Love It:

  • Reminds us that there are many things (big and small) to be thankful for

  • Includes lots of kid-friendly things to be thankful for

  • Simple, bright illustrations

  • Not strictly a Thanksgiving book; can be read year-round




Bear Says Thanks Written By: Karma Wilson Illustrated By: Jane Chapman Publisher: Simon & Schuster (2012)

Bear Says Thanks

Written By: Karma Wilson

Illustrated By: Jane Chapman

Publisher: Simon & Schuster (2012)

Recommended Ages: 2+


Book Description: What better way for Bear to say thanks than over a nice, big dinner? Bear decides to throw a feast! One by one, Bear’s friends show up with different platters of delicious food to share. There’s just one problem: Bear’s cupboards are bare! What is he to do?


Why We Love It:

  • Bouncy rhyming text that is perfect for reading aloud

  • Beautiful illustrations!

  • Great message about chipping in, helping others, and being thankful for good friends

  • One of my all-time favorite children's book series!




Just A Special Thanksgiving By: Mercer Mayer Publisher: Harper Festival (2015)

Just A Special Thanksgiving

By: Mercer Mayer

Publisher: Harper Festival (2015)

Recommended Ages: 2+


Book Description: 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. Starring Mercer Mayer's classic, loveable character, Little Critter: Just a Special Thanksgiving is a funny Thanksgiving book for kids that's sure to be a hit.



Why We Love It:

  • Classic Little Critter story that we look forward to reading every year!

  • Includes many of the most memorable parts of the Thanksgiving holiday as a kid (getting out of school, art projects, school performance, parade, feast, etc.)




10 FAT TURKEYS Written By: Tony Johnston Illustrated By: Rich Deas Publisher: Scholastic Inc. (2004)

10 FAT TURKEYS

Written By: Tony Johnston

Illustrated By: Rich Deas

Publisher: Scholastic Inc. (2004)

Recommended Ages: 1+


Book Description:

"Looky!" says a silly turkey

swinging from a vine.

Gobble gobble wibble wobble.

Whoops! Now there are nine.


Children will gobble up this hilarious story about ten goofy turkeys and their silly antics: swinging from a vine, strutting on a boar, doing a noodle dance, and more! Beloved author Tony Johnston brings a lively energy to the text, which first-time illustrator Richard Deas brings to life as wild and wacky fun!


Why We Love It:

  • Funny!

  • Silly rhyming text written in a familiar format

  • Teaches kids how to count backward from ten





The Great Thanksgiving Escape By: Mark Fearing Publisher: Candlewick Press (2014)

The Great Thanksgiving Escape

By: Mark Fearing

Publisher: Candlewick Press (2014)

Recommended Ages: 3+


Book Description:

It’s another Thanksgiving at Grandma’s. Gavin expects a long, boring day full of pesky toddlers, but his cousin Rhonda has a different idea: make a break for it to the swing set in the backyard! Gavin isn’t so sure, especially when they encounter vicious guard dogs (in homemade sweaters), overly affectionate aunts, and worst of all, the great wall of butts. Can they avoid all the obstacles and find some fun before turkey time?


Why We Love It:

  • Funny!

  • A fresh and clever twist on the typical Thanksgiving story

  • The illustrations tell a lot of the story and have the perfect comedic timing and expressions.




A Plump and Perky Turkey Written By: Teresa Bateman Illustrated By: Jeff Shelly Publisher: Two Lions (2001)

A Plump and Perky Turkey

Written By: Teresa Bateman

Illustrated By: Jeff Shelly

Publisher: Two Lions (2001)

Recommended Ages: 3+


Book Description: When the people of Squawk Valley find themselves without a turkey for their Thanksgiving feast, they hatch a plot to lure one into town: They’ll advertise for a “model” turkey to pose during a turkey-themed arts-and-crafts fair. Once the model is finished posing, he’ll make the perfect main course for the Squawk Valley Thanksgiving feast. But the citizens of Squawk Valley don’t plan on meeting up with a turkey as sly as Pete―a bird so clever, he just may outsmart them all!


Why We Love It:

  • Cute, quirky rhyming text

  • Interesting story; fresh take on the classic "turkey escape" theme

  • Clever twist and ending!





SHARING THE BREAD Written By: Pat Zietlow Miller Illustrated By: Jill McElmurry Publisher: Schwartz & Wade Books (2015)

SHARING THE BREAD

Written By: Pat Zietlow Miller

Illustrated By: Jill McElmurry

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade Books (2015)

Recommended Ages: 2+


Book Description:

We will share the risen bread.

Our made-with-love Thanksgiving spread.

Grateful to be warm and fed.

We will share the bread.


In this spirited ode to the holiday, set at the turn of the twentieth century, a large family works together to make their special meal. Mama prepares the turkey, Daddy tends the fire, Sister kneads, and Brother bastes. Everyone—from Grandma and Grandpa to the littlest baby—has a special job to do. Told in spare, rhythmic verse and lively illustrations, Sharing the Bread is a perfect read-aloud to celebrate the Thanksgiving tradition.


Why We Love It:

  • Lively rhyming text that is perfect for reading aloud

  • Repetitive nature makes it easy for kids to pick-up

  • Great message about chipping in and working together

  • This book grew on me each time I read it. We'll call it love at fourth sight! 😊




Franklin's Thanksgiving Written By: Paulette Bourgeois Illustrated By: Brenda Clark Publisher: Kids Can Press (2001)

Franklin's Thanksgiving

Written By: Paulette Bourgeois

Illustrated By: Brenda Clark

Publisher: Kids Can Press (2001)

Recommended Ages: 2+


Book Description: Franklin likes everything about Thanksgiving, from eating pumpkin-fly pie to making cornucopias. But what he likes best is having his Grandma and Grandpa share the holiday with him and his family. This year, however, his grandparents are traveling abroad. Thanksgiving just won't be the same without guests around the table, so Franklin decides to invite some friends for dinner. What a nice surprise it will be for his parents. Only Franklin's mother and father have the same idea, and on Thanksgiving Day all their friends show up for the festivities! With no more room in the house, where will the holiday meal take place?


Why We Love It:

  • Fun (and different) premise for a Thanksgiving story

  • Great message about being thankful and creating new holiday traditions when old traditions can't be upheld

  • Bright colorful illustrations




Thanksgiving Is For Giving Thanks Written By: Margaret Sutherland Illustrated By: Sonja Lamut Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap (2000)

Thanksgiving Is For Giving Thanks

Written By: Margaret Sutherland

Illustrated By: Sonja Lamut

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap (2000)

Recommended Ages: 2+


Book Description: Thanksgiving is about pilgrims and history--and turkey, of course!--but most importantly, it's a holiday that highlights everything 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.


Why We Love It:

  • Great introduction to the concept of giving thanks and appreciating every day things

  • Includes kid-friendly things to be thankful for




A Turkey For Thanksgiving Written By: Eve Bunting Illustrated By: Diane de Groat Publisher: Clarion Books (1991)

A Turkey For Thanksgiving

Written By: Eve Bunting

Illustrated By: Diane de Groat

Publisher: Clarion Books (1991)

Recommended Ages: 3+


Book Description: 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.


Why We Love It:

  • Beautiful text and illustrations; perfect for the season

  • Humor added through the illustrations of turkey's facial expressions and body language

  • Happy ending for all!





Thanks For Thanksgiving Written By: Julie Markes Illustrated By: Doris Barrette Publisher: HarperCollins (2004)

Thanks For Thanksgiving

Written By: Julie Markes

Illustrated By: Doris Barrette

Publisher: HarperCollins (2004)

Recommended Ages: 2+


Book Description: Everyone knows that 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's 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.



Why We Love It:

  • Short rhyming text that is perfectly in tune with what children are thankful for (park, slides, pets, family, etc.)

  • Beautiful illustrations with a soft yet rich feel




Dino-Thanksgiving Written By: Lisa Wheeler Illustrated By: Barry Gott Publisher: Carolrhoda Books (2020)

Dino-Thanksgiving

Written By: Lisa Wheeler

Illustrated By: Barry Gott

Publisher: Carolrhoda Books (2020)

Recommended Ages: 3+


Book Description: Follow along as dinos travel over the river and through the woods to join together with family. They enjoy favorite activities, including a corn maze, a televised parade with giant balloon creations, and of course a football game! The dinos share in not one but two feasts―one for the carnivores and another for the veggie-saurs. Join in the fun as the dinos find much to be thankful for on this special holiday!

Why We Love It:

  • We LOVE dinos! 😊

  • Fun rhyming text that touches on many favorite Thanksgiving traditions

  • Includes a Thanksgiving feast for both carnivores and herbivores

  • Cute illustrations!




Picture Books (Nonfiction)


BALLOONS OVER BROADWAY By: Melissa Sweet Publisher: Clarion Books (2011)

BALLOONS OVER BROADWAY

By: Melissa Sweet

Publisher: Clarion Books (2011)

Recommended Ages: 4+


Book Description: Meet the master puppeteer who invented the first balloons for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Melissa Sweet brings to life the inspirational story of the puppeteer who invented the giant balloons floating in the sky during the annual parade celebrating Thanksgiving. The Caldecott Honor artist brilliantly captures the essence of Tony Sarg, a self-taught immigrant with a fascinating imagination.


Why We Love It:

  • Fascinating story that provides historical context for the popular Thanksgiving parade

  • Inspires creativity, problem-solving, and hard work

  • One of the most interesting books we've ever read!




Sarah Gives Thanks Written By: Mike Allegra Illustrated By: David Gardner Publisher: Albert Whitman & Co. (2012)

Sarah Gives Thanks

Written By: Mike Allegra

Illustrated By: David Gardner

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Co. (2012)

Recommended Ages: 4+


Book Description: During the nineteenth century, Sarah Josepha Hale dedicated her life to making Thanksgiving a national holiday, all while raising a family and becoming a groundbreaking writer and women's magazine editor. Sarah Hale's inspiring story, accompanied by luscious watercolor illustrations, tells the tale of one woman who wouldn't take no for an answer.


Why We Love It:

  • Provides historical context for how Thanksgiving became a national holiday

  • Inspiring story featuring a strong female character!




If You Were A Kid On The Mayflower Written By: John Son Illustrated By: Roger Zanni Publisher: Scholastic Inc. (2018)

If You Were A Kid On The Mayflower

Written By: John Son

Illustrated By: Roger Zanni

Publisher: Scholastic Inc. (2018)

Recommended Ages: 6+


Book Description: In 1620, a group of Pilgrims left Europe aboard a ship called the Mayflower. They sailed toward North America, hoping to make a new home where they could practice their religion freely. Readers will join Hope and Theodore as they set sail on a 66-day journey across the Atlantic Ocean. Learn what living conditions were like aboard The Mayflower, what dangers the Pilgrims faced at sea, and much more.


Why We Love It:

  • Provides great factual information about the Mayflower journey while also telling the story of the journey through the eyes of two young kids





The Story of the Pilgrims Written By: Katharine Ross Illustrated By: Carolyn Croll Publisher: Random House (1995)

The Story of the Pilgrims

Written By: Katharine Ross

Illustrated By: Carolyn Croll

Publisher: Random House (1995)

Recommended Ages: 4+


Book Description: From the dangerous voyage across the Atlantic to the first harsh winter to the delicious Thanksgiving feast, all the excitement and wonder of the Pilgrims' first year in America is captured in this vivid retelling for the youngest historians. Colorful and appealing illustrations bring history to life!


Why We Love It:

  • Well-written; informative without being overwhelming

  • Includes thoughtful details that give the reader a sense of what the pilgrims experienced

  • Fitting illustration style




The Very First Thanksgiving Day Written By: Rhonda Gowler Greene Illustrated By: Susan Gaber Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (2002)

The Very First Thanksgiving Day

Written By: Rhonda Gowler Greene

Illustrated By: Susan Gaber

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (2002)

Recommended Ages: 3+


Book Description:

This is the food, gathered and blessed,

the corn and sweet berries, and wild turkey dressed,

shared on the very first Thanksgiving Day.


Journey back to the very first Thanksgiving Day, when two societies came together to feast and honor the earth's bounty in peace.


Why We Love It:

  • Breaks down the Pilgrims' story into simple digestible pieces that build as they go

  • Rhyming text makes it easier for younger kids to stay engaged and learn the story

  • Beautiful realistic illustrations





This Is The Feast Written By: Diane Z. Shore Illustrated By: Megan Lloyd Publisher: HarperCollins (2008)

This Is The Feast

Written By: Diane Z. Shore

Illustrated By: Megan Lloyd

Publisher: HarperCollins (2008)

Recommended Ages: 4+


Book Description: The Pilgrims embarked on their legendary Mayflower voyage in 1620 in search of religious freedom and a better life. The settlers were unprepared for the hardships they would face at the end of their journey, but with the help of their neighbor Indians, the Pilgrims survived the first year in their new world. Then, when their fall harvest was plentiful, the Pilgrims and the Indians joined together in a three-day celebration, the first Thanksgiving.



Why We Love It:

  • Informative without being overwhelming

  • Rhyming text makes it more engaging for younger readers

  • Teaches about the origin of Thanksgiving and reminds readers to give thanks

  • Beautiful realistic illustrations


 

We sincerely hope that you enjoy these books as much as we have! To receive monthly book recommendations, sign-up for my newsletter at the bottom of this page. Otherwise, if you have any Thanksgiving book recommendations for us, please type them in the comments below. We are ALWAYS looking for fun new books to read! 😊


Happy Thanksgiving and happy reading from our family to yours!




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