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Perfect 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.

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.

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

Thankful
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.

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 the spring to a bountiful Thanksgiving feast. It may sound simple, but you’ll soon discover that if the farmer wants to enjoy his harvest, he’s got his work cut out for him.

Thanksgiving Tikvah Means Hope

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.

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.

Sarah Gives Thanks book cover

Sarah Gives Thanks: How Thanksgiving Became a National Holiday
by Mike Allegra

We’ve all heard about the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving feast, but have you ever heard of Sarah Josepha Hale? If not, you’re in for a treat…and a little slice of history. You see, it was Sarah who convinced President Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday. Now bring on the turkey and pumpkin pie!

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.

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.

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!

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? Well, Turkey has some ingenious disguises up his sleeve, but no matter what, someone always recognizes him. Can Turkey find his way out of trouble?


FREE Picture Books for Thanksgiving Library List

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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!

Favorite Picture Books for Thanksgiving Recommended by Our Readers

  • Run, Turkey, Run! by Diane Mayr (Recommended by Melinda S. via Facebook)
  • ‘Twas the Night before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey (Recommended by Jennifer T. via Facebook)
  • Thank You, Sarah by Laurie Halse Anderson (Recommended by Brittney G. via Facebook)
  • The Very First Thanksgiving Day by Rhonda Gowler Greene (Recommended by Brittney G. via Facebook)
  • The Littlest Pilgrim by Brandi Dougherty (Recommended by Brittney G. via Facebook)
  • A Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman (Recommended by Kendra B. via Facebook)
  • If You Were at the First Thanksgiving by Anna Kamma (Recommended by Marguerite C. via Facebook)
  • Samuel Eaton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy by Kate Waters (Recommended by Jackie R. via Facebook)
  • Over the River and Through the Woods by Lydia Maria Child (Recommended by Jackie R. via Facebook)
  • A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting (Recommended by Holly M. via Facebook)
  • Winnie the Pooh’s Thanksgiving by Bruce Talkington (Recommended by Holly M.)
  • The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh (Recommended by Amber T. via Facebook)
  • Turk and Runt by Lisa Wheeler (Recommended by Mandy B. via Facebook)
  • Give Thanks to the Lord by Karma Wilson (Recommended by Mandy B. via blog comment)
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Leave a Comment

Leah

says:

Great list! About to put them on my hold list at the library.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Leah,
I love how easy libraries make it to place holds nowadays! It’s such a blessing, especially when you have little ones underfoot.

Bethany C.

says:

What a great resource for this coming thanksgiving! Some we’ve used in the past but always looking for new titles. Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Bethany. I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving this year.

Whitney

says:

We read a Thanksgiving/ fall book each day in November. My favorite holiday!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday too, Whitney!

Robyn

says:

Thanks for the great list! Just saw this, but will save it to use next year.

Tiffany

says:

Thank you for putting together such a great list! Heading to the library can get overwhelming searching through everything to find the best holiday books. Thanks again!

Megan

says:

Oooooooh, I see all of our favorites plus some new ones to check out! Pinning this to refer back to next year!

Mary

says:

I love Cranberry Thanksgiving! It’s a favorite of mine from childhood. Thanks for the great booklist!

Kellie Duggin

says:

Thanks for this list! So good.

Thank you for offering this list! I wish I had seen it earlier, since I had a difficult time finding suitable stories to read to young children of U.S. immigrants this year. For this group, storyboard-like pictures are optimal, but any good Thanksgiving story can be modified! These stories are great!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Alison,
I’m sorry you didn’t see this earlier, but I hope this list will be helpful for you next year.

TabitaD

says:

I am so grateful for this list! I did not grow up in the US, so I don’t really know what is good out there. The library can be overwhelming when you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Tabita,
Yes, a library can be overwhelming and I think many (maybe even most) of us raised in the US don’t make full use of all that our local libraries have to offer.

Consider speaking with your librarian about the possibility of a tour or field trip. I had been using our local library for over a decade, but when I attended one of their tours I was surprised about all they have to offer that I didn’t know about.

Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll be saving this list for next year!

Cheri

says:

Thank you for the suggestions. We will be reserving a few from our local library!

Micah Friedrich

says:

Thank you for the suggestions, just reserved a few of these at our library!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Micah! Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Jennifer

says:

Thank you for your suggestions

Dee Anne

says:

What a wonderful list! Thank you for sharing:)

Nozipho

says:

Thanks – enjoyed the few I read thus far

Belle

says:

What a great list! I will be downloading the list and heading to the library this week.
Thank you :)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Enjoy, Belle. I have years of warm memories of reading Thanksgiving picture books with my kids, but now they are getting older and I’m feeling nostalgic. :)

Lori

says:

We discovered a new gem “Give Thanks to the Lord”.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Ooo, thanks for the recommendation, Lori!

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