Twelve Terrific Children’s Books for Thanksgiving

(12)Twelve Terrific Children’s Picture Books for Thanksgiving:

For Children Preschool to Fifth Grade (Updated 11/11/19)

Halloween is done, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner in our holiday line up. Thanksgiving is on November 28, 2019, in the United States. In this post, I listed twelve fantastic Thanksgiving children’s picture books from preschool to fifth grade. Some will make you laugh, some will educate, and they are all a great tradition to incorporate in your Thanksgiving celebrations. 



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1) One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims
By: B.G. Hennessy
Illustrated by: Lynne Cravath
Publisher: Puffin Books
Date: 1999
Thanksgiving, Pilgrims, Native Americans, Wampanoag, Fiction, Non-Fiction (located in the back of the book), Counting, America, Song, Nursery Rhyme

One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims by Hennessy is a variation of the popular nursery rhyme/song One Little, Two Little, Three Little Indians. Both the author and the illustrator researched the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth, and the book reflects the information that they learned.

There is a section in the back of the book that is filled with factual information, and a bibliography of nonfiction books pertaining to pilgrims and Native Americans. Clever illustrations, bold print, and simple text presented in a song like/nursery rhyme manner make this the ideal introduction to Thanksgiving for young children.

2) This First Thanksgiving Day: A Counting Story
Written by: Laura Krauss Melmed
Illustrated by: Mark Buehner
Publisher: HarperCollins Publisher
Date: 2001
Thanksgiving, Pilgrims, Native Americans, Wampanoag, Poetry, Counting, America

This First Thanksgiving Day: A Counting Story by Melmed is a wonderful counting book in poetry format. The book provides some realistic account of the first Thanksgiving, and what Pilgrim and Native American children did as chores in everyday life.

Rhyming text and counting opportunities create an educational look into what life was like for children back around the first Thanksgiving. The illustrations complement the text to create a smooth flow!


3) Thanksgiving Day
By: Dorothy Goeller
Publisher: Enslow Publisher’s, Inc.
Date: 2011
Thanksgiving, Turkeys, Counting, Subtraction

Thanksgiving Day by Goeller is an adorable little book that explores the concepts of counting and subtraction with turkeys right before Thanksgiving. This is perfect for young children.

The book has a table of contents, a short bibliography in the back of the book, web sites, index, and a word count of 66. This is part of an All About Holidays series.


4) Thanksgiving at the Tappletons’

Written by: Eileen Spinelli

Illustrated by: Maryann Cocca-Leffler

Publishing Date: 2015

Ages: 4-8

Thanksgiving, Dinner, Family, Fiction

Thanksgiving at the Tappletons’ a goofy look at what happens when everything goes wrong. Mrs. Tappleton, Mr. Tappleton, and their two children are scrambling around at the last minute to prepare a Thanksgiving feast for the rest of the family. There are knee-slapping missteps at every turn. Discover what happens when the rest of the family shows up, and there is a BIG problem.

I had my Kindergarten class laughing when I read this in class.


5)Celebrating Thanksgiving
By: Jenna Lee Gleisner
Publisher: Child’s World®
Date: 2017
Thanksgiving, Pilgrims, Native Americans, Wampanoag, Nonfiction, America

Celebrating Thanksgiving by Gleisner is an engaging book that covers many popular events and activities associated with Thanksgiving depicted in photographs. I appreciate how this book is set up as a reference book for younger children. It has: table of contents, Turkey Tube Craft guide, glossary, a short bibliography, index, and even a website that have resources related to Thanksgiving. Adults can explain how to use the different parts of this book.

Celebrating… does a fabulous job covering the month of November and how it is a month in fall. This includes football, the parade, harvest, and mentions the importance of being thankful and volunteering at Thanksgiving time.


6) Turkey Trouble
Written by: Wendi Silvano
Illustrated by: Lee Harper
Publisher: Amazon Children’s Publishing
Date: 2009
Ages: 7-9
Thanksgiving, Turkey, Farmer, Farm animals, Fiction

Turkey Trouble is a hilarious take on a turkey’s perception of the holiday. The turkey tries to dress up as other farm animals to avoid being part of the Thanksgiving feast. His silly disguises do not fool anyone including the farm animals he is trying to impersonate.

Enjoy the humorous journey the turkey takes trying to save himself from becoming Thanksgiving dinner! His solution is very clever! The water colored illustrations complement the text perfectly.

7) Franklin’s Thanksgiving
By: Paulette Bourgeois & Brenda Clark
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Date: 2001
Ages: 3-8
Thanksgiving, Turtles, Franklin, Woodland animals, Fiction

Franklin’s Thanksgiving by Bourgeois and Clark is another sweet story in the Franklin the Turtle series. Thanksgiving is around the corner, and Franklin and his parents have harvested plenty of food for the Thanksgiving feast.

However, shortly before Thanksgiving, Franklin’s grandparents call and say they cannot attend this year’s Thanksgiving dinner. Franklin and his parents are very disappointed as they look at the plethora of food that they harvested for the meal. One by one, Franklin and his parents have the same idea, but they do not tell each other.

Find out what the big, pleasant surprise Franklin and his parents have on Thanksgiving Day. This book proves that Thanksgiving is all about togetherness and being thankful!


8) Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving
By: Kimberly and Dean James
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
Date: 2013
Ages: 4-8
Thanksgiving, Pilgrims, Native Americans, Cats, School play, Fiction

Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving is another humorous addition to the Pete the Cat collection. Pete is nervous about playing the part of a Pilgrim in his up and coming school play, but he doesn’t skip a beat as he remembers all his lines.

This is a delightful lift the flap book. This book does cover some facts about Pilgrims, Native Americans, and the first Thanksgiving. The text and illustrations work together in harmony! Another great book to add to your Thanksgiving collection!


9) There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey
Written by: Lucille Colandro
Illustrated by: Jared Lee
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Date: 2016
Ages: 4-6
Thanksgiving, Turkey, Fiction, Song

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Turkey is song parody on There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. This rendition has the old lady swallowing all kinds of items relating to Thanksgiving including a football, balloon, a Pilgrim’s hat…

Children will delight in singing along with this zany song! The illustrations are comical!

10)Arthur’s Thanksgiving
By: Marc Brown
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Date: 1983
Ages: 4-6
Thanksgiving, Turkey, School play, Actors, Fiction, Arthur ‘s Adventures

In Arthur’s Thanksgiving, Arthur has a dilemma. No one wants to play the part of the turkey in the school play about Thanksgiving, so
Arthur becomes obsessed with finding a solution to this problem. Every time he thinks he has a resolution, it falls through.

In Arthur’s desperation, he even tries to get a live turkey to play the part. How will Arthur find a solution? Will your children figure it out before Arthur does?

The hijinks continue in this entertaining read! This is an enjoyable read!

11)Thanksgiving: A Day of Thanks
By: Amanda Doering
Publisher: Capstone Press
Date: 2007
Ages: 6-9
Thanksgiving, Cultures, Traditions, Nonfiction

Thanksgiving: A Day of Thanks is a wonderful introduction to the facts that not only surrounded the first Thanksgiving but also how Americans celebrate it in today’s society. This book is probably the most detailed facts out of all the books I reviewed for Thanksgiving, because it explains the years it was celebrated, and what year it was recognized by the United States government.

This book is set up as a reference book. It includes a table of contents, glossary, bibliography, index, and website resources. It also has step-by-step instructions on how to do a turkey craft project. This is a must-have nonfiction book to add to your Thanksgiving collection!

Written by: Brenda Haugen
Illustrated by: Todd Ouren
Publisher: Picture Window Books
Date: 2004

Thanksgiving, Traditions, Nonfiction, Holidays and Celebrations

Thanksgiving provides some factual information about Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving. This book is also set up as a reference book and includes a glossary, bibliography, index, and website resources. It also includes Fun Facts and instructions on how to create a leaf rubbing. In the Fun Facts section, it also describes when Canada celebrates its Thanksgiving. This is a slightly oversized book.

Another brilliant nonfiction book to add to your Thanksgiving bookshelf

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*If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy 10+Wonderful Winter Books for Children.


Source of  Featured Image


8 thoughts on “Twelve Terrific Children’s Books for Thanksgiving”

  1. Arthur’s Thanksgiving sounds like a wonderful book for children for those days. I always liked themed books as a child, and even more those that had something to do with solving something.

  2. I love childrens books! I’ve been a nanny for years and now have a niece and it is such a special time taking a moment to read books together!

  3. There are a lot more holiday theme books than when our girls were little. I am looking forward to grandchildren one day so I can read some of these books to them!

    1. Lisa, I know the world of quality picture books has exploded since I was young. (I am not sure how old your daughter is, but even if she is 15 years younger than me, this still holds true.) I am so glad picture books are able to compete with electronic entertainment. As a former early childhood teacher, I believe strongly in reading physical picture books with a loved ones and educators is the only way. ) 🙂 Thank you for commenting! 🙂

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