Picture Books for Thanksgiving

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.

Download our free library list to take with you on your next visit to the library.

Tikvah Means Hope book cover

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.

Cranberry Thanksgiving book cover

Cranberry Thanksgiving
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?

Goody O'Grumpity book cover

Goody O’Grumpity
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!

Thankful book cover

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 Book cover

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.

Squanto's Journey book cover

Squanto’s Journey:
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 book cover

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-Fasioned Thanksgiving Story book cover

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 book cover

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!

Hardscrabble Harvest book cover

Hardscrabble Harvest
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 book cover

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.

Turkey Trouble book cover

Turkey Trouble
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 book cover

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 book cover

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 book cover

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 book cover

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 book cover

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 book cover

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 book cover

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 book cover

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 book cover

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.

Balloons Over Broadway

Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade
by Melissa Sweet

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.

FREE Picture Books for Thanksgiving Library List

thanskgiving picture books library list

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.

Looking for MORE books? You can find more great library lists here!

Favorite Picture Books for Thanksgiving Recommended by Our Readers

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!

FREE Picture Book LIbrary Lists

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Candice M


Our family favorite picture book was noted in your list. Bear Says Thanks has been a long time favorite of ours.


says: Customer Service

Thank you for the recommendation, Candice! It is such a sweet book.

Sharon Steinherz


They look like enjoyable books that teach appreciation of Thanksgiving.


says: Customer Service

Thank you, Sharon!



Thank you for these! We love read alouds!


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You’re so welcome, Ashley!

Julie S


Such a helpful list. Thanks!



Can’t wait to share this with my daughter!



Thank you for the helpful list! I see a few of our favorites and some we’ve never read. I’m excited to get some new books for Thanksgiving for my kids!

Lindsey Neuman


This is an awesome list to go check out at the library! Thank you for all the additional resources you are always providing. Loving your curriculum for my oldest daughter who has dyslexia and my 4 year old son has been participating and is reading phenomenally already!


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You are so welcome, Lindsey! It’s wonderful to hear that the curriculum is working so well for your family!

Christine R.


All About Reading has helped my child jump over the learning obstacles she had before. This is our third reading program, and the one that has made the difference! Thanks, AAR, for your help and your brilliant program! I love that you have fun, themed printables to make the learning process novel and also your themed book lists which make the read aloud time a joy and memorable for the whole family. Thank you!!



Thank you for this great list!

Jane Wright


Thank you for this list! I’m excited to read them with my kids, especially Run, Turkey, Run!


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You’re welcome, Jane! Enjoy!



Great list of thanksgiving books!


says: Customer Service

Thank you!



We love the Bear and Llama books! Will have to look into all of the others. Thanks for a great list!



We love Thanks for Thanksgiving and Bear Says Thanks! Can’t wait to look into several others listed here! Thank you for such a great list, its by far the biggest list I have seen so far to go through.


says: Customer Service

Wonderful, Renee! I hope you find lots of other titles to love too!



I’ll have to look some of these titles up and see if we can gather them up for read aloud time! My little reader has been doing level 1 for the last 5 months and he’s been ASKING to read books!!


says: Customer Service

Wonderful, Jeanette! It sounds like your child is making great progress!

Ashtyne M.


Thanks for the resources! So helpful!

Hannah R


Thank you for the resources! So great.



Thanks for the list. Makes a teacher’s job a little easier.

sara McCosham


Love the book suggestions, Turkey Trouble has been a favorite this year.

Nicole Ikeda


Love these book lists. Thanks!



“A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy/Girl” books work really well in an American History unit too. I had my son read those last year and they were very informative. I’ll have to look for “Bear Says Thanks”. We’ve read one of the others and my little guy really enjoyed it.


says: Customer Service

My children loved the “Pilgrim Boy” and “Pilgrim Girl” books when they were little, Samantha.

Tirza Ellesson


Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays! Adding some picture books is such a great way to create lasting family memories. Thanks for sharing such a big list.


says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Tirza!

Tirza Ellesson


Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays! Adding some great picture books is such a great way to create lasting family memories. Thanks for sharing such a big list of Thanksgiving picture books.



This is perfect! Thanks so much!



The list is great! Thank you! I like using books like these to teach history. I feel as though learning through story’s makes it more memorable and therefore helps the information soak in. So fun!

Jessica Wilcox


I always love a book list that has many books on it to increase the chances of finding one in the library. And there’s so man that sound great here. Thanks for this resource!



Great resource!



What a neat list of books for the coming Thanksgiving season. Thank you for offering the free printable list to take to the library to look for books!



So many great books!

Sara Norris


Thank you got putting together a great list of Thanksgiving books to read with our little ones!



I’m thankful for book lists ☺️☺️ One of our turkey favorites is ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving 🦃