Are you looking for Thanksgiving picture books to share with your children this holiday season? Here is a lovely selection that will demonstrate gratitude, show kindheartedness, and explain the rich traditions of Thanksgiving.
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Tikvah Means Hope
by Patricia Polacco
As always, Patricia Polacco pulls at the heartstrings in her touching tale of hope in the midst of adversity. When a fire threatens the safety and security of Oakland, CA, on the eve of Sukkoth, the Jewish festival of thanksgiving, it looks like all is lost. But maybe there is hope after all—both for the Roth family and for a lost cat named Tikvah.
by Wende and Harry Devlin
It’s Thanksgiving Day in Cranberryport. When Grandmother tells Maggie that she can invite someone “poor or lonely” to share their Thanksgiving dinner, Maggie invites her unkempt friend Mr. Whiskers to join them. But can Mr. Whiskers win over Maggie’s wary grandmother and earn a piece of her famous cranberry bread in the process?
by Carol Ryrie Brink
As the scrumptious aroma of citron, cinnamon bark, and nutmeg waft out over the village, it draws the attention of Goody O’Grumpity’s neighbors. With mouths watering, children come from all over town, hoping for a taste of the spicy goodness of Goody’s cake. And of course Goody never disappoints her friends!
by Eileen Spinelli
Eileen Spinelli’s sweet rhyming picture book is a great reminder that everyone has something to be thankful for. A beekeeper is thankful for bees, while a crafter is glad he has glue. Colorful illustrations and easy rhyming text offer a whimsical take on the idea that life is full of simple joys and lots and lots of things to be thankful for.
Thank You, Sarah:
The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving
by Laurie Halse Anderson
Have you ever wondered how Thanksgiving Day became a national holiday? This picture book tells the true story of Sarah Josepha Hale’s dream and how it brought a divided nation together to celebrate its beginnings—and turned Thanksgiving into what it is today.
The Story of the First Thanksgiving
by Joseph Bruchac
Read about the true story of Squanto and his very first interactions with the European settlers of the new world. After being kidnapped and taken to England, Squanto manages to return to his homeland—just in time to help the Pilgrims survive their first winter in their new home.
Sarah Morton’s Day:
A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl
by Kate Waters
In Sarah Morton’s Day, Kate Waters leads readers through the daily joys and struggles of a young pilgrim girl living on the Plimoth Plantation. Beautiful photographs give readers a glimpse of what life might have looked like for a family living and working during the earliest days of a yet-to-be-formed nation.
Sharing the Bread:
An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving Story
by Pat Zietlow Miller
Perfectly rendered illustrations provide the ideal complement to Pat Zietlow Miller’s sweet tribute to Thanksgiving. In this wonderful story, an old-fashioned family works together to put on a meal…but it’s not just any meal! It’s Thanksgiving, and on this special day everyone in the family helps make sure that this is a meal to remember.
This First Thanksgiving Day:
A Counting Story
by Laura Krauss Melmed
Laura Krauss Melmed’s picture book is a great little history lesson, but that’s not all. Engaging rhyme makes it an ideal read-aloud for preschoolers, and it’s also a wonderful counting book, from “1 dressed in linen” to “12 tables groaning beneath a harvest spread.” This warmly illustrated picture book is the perfect mix of learning and fun!
by Dahlov Ipcar
With sweet watercolor illustrations, lilting rhyme, and a touch of humor, Dahlov Ipcar follows a farmer through the seasons, from planting in spring to a bountiful Thanksgiving feast. You’ll quickly discover that if the farmer wants to enjoy his harvest, he’s got his work cut out for him.
Llama Llama Gives Thanks
by Anna Dewdney
If you’re looking for the perfect Thanksgiving picture book for your littlest readers, try this wonderful book from Anna Dewdney’s acclaimed Llama Llama series! Follow along with Llama Llama and his family as they prepare to enjoy a celebration of gratitude with their friends.
by Wendi Silvano
Turkey is going to have to do some quick thinking or Thanksgiving will not be a very happy day for him. If you were a turkey and you didn’t want to be recognized, what would you do? But no matter what Turkey does, someone always recognizes him. Can Turkey find his way out of his predicament?
A Turkey for Thanksgiving
by Eve Bunting
Mr. Moose is determined to find a turkey for his wife for Thanksgiving. All his friends gather to help him—but when they find one, the turkey runs away! Can Mr. Moose convince the turkey that he’s wanted as a guest and not as the main course?
A Plump and Perky Turkey
by Teresa Bateman
The people of Squawk Valley want a turkey for Thanksgiving, but there are none to be found—the turkeys have all gone into hiding! But the resourceful citizens hatch a plan to catch a turkey, a plan so clever no turkey can help falling for it … or so they think.
Thanks for Thanksgiving
by Julie Markes
If you’d like to encourage gratefulness in your children this Thanksgiving, this rhyming picture book is a great place to start! Let your kids explore all the things to be thankful for. There’s even a place for kids to write their own thankful thoughts.
Turk and Runt
by Lisa Wheeler
Turk is the biggest, roundest turkey on the farm, and his parents are sure he’s being primed for a great future. But Turk’s little brother Runt thinks he knows what’s really going on. Runt is determined to save his brother from the roasting pan—but can a tiny turkey save the day?
Bear Says Thanks
by Karma Wilson
Bear is bored. He wants to invite his forest friends to join him for a wonderful dinner, but he is distressed (and a bit embarrassed) to discover that his cupboards are bare. But that doesn’t matter to Bear’s friends. The generosity of their gifts and Bear’s gratitude shine from every page of this sweet book.
Thanksgiving in the Woods
by Phyllis Alsdurf
Based on the author’s own memories of family Thanksgivings, this enchanting picture book tells the story of a memorable Thanksgiving dinner—out in the middle of a forest! Friends and family from all over town gather together to prepare a very special back-to-nature celebration.
Thanku: Poems of Gratitude
Edited by Miranda Paul
In this beautiful anthology, Miranda Paul gathers an eclectic mix of poets and poetry that finds unity in heartfelt expressions of thanks. Thanku is a celebration of gratitude for “Falling Leaves,” “The Perfect Rock,” “Dimples,” “Autumn by the Sea” (by our own editor Renée LaTulippe😊), and much more.
Milly and the Macy’s Parade
by Shana Corey
Milly is a young immigrant who loves the heritage of her Polish past and the promise of her American future. But all around her Milly sees homesick immigrants who desperately need something to celebrate. Then Milly has an idea, but can Mr. Macy help make Milly’s dream a reality?
Thanks a Million
by Nikki Grimes
What are you thankful for? In this delightful collection of colorful and creative poems, Nikki Grimes takes her readers on a journey of gratitude that will evoke both laughter and tears. But more than anything, Thanks a Million is a great reminder that you can always find something to be thankful for.
Even as a boy, Tony Sarg was fascinated by marionettes, and that interest eventually came in handy! In Balloons Over Broadway, Caldecott Honor-winner Melissa Sweet tells the true story of “America’s Puppet Master” and the first “upside-down puppets” to float above the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Thanksgiving Day at Our House: Thanksgiving Poems for the Very Young
by Nancy White Carlstrom
Written and illustrated with tenderness and humor, this book of poetry for young children is the perfect Thanksgiving read-aloud. With poems to sing and poems to play, poems about history and poems about family, silly poems, and prayerful poems, this collection of Thanksgiving verse will be loved by the whole family.
Would you like to read some of my favorite Thanksgiving picture books with your children?
Click to download our list to take to your local library.
Do you have a favorite picture book about Thanksgiving? Please share it in the comments below and I’ll add it to our Readers’ Picks box!