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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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.
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.
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.
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: 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: 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
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.
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
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 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?
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!