Thanksgiving day is coming soon! Before it’s time to eat the turkey, we are diving into a few favorite Thanksgiving picture books. The first two books are good for explaining the historical part of Thanksgiving to older preschoolers through elementary aged learners. The last two are funny turkey stories for the same age group. At the end of the post, there are some great books for even younger toddlers and preschoolers. In the past, I’ve used those books to focus on being thankful. I’m excited to introduce more about history of Thanksgiving with my four year old this year. If you are looking for more holiday books, check out my holiday children’s books on ready-set-read.
Thanksgiving Books for Kids
Thanksgiving Day by Anne Rockwell This story begins with a question to the child, “Do you know why we celebrate Thanksgiving?” Then the book paints a picture of the first Thanksgiving. In the story, a teacher reads a book to her class about the first Thanksgiving while the class prepares and puts on a play about the story. There are pictures illustrations depicting the teacher’s storybook as well as pictures of young children dressed up as the various characters. This approach makes the book intriguing for young kids while providing a glimpse of history. This seems to be a fairly historically accurate representation of the first Thanksgiving. The story ends by connecting the first Thanksgiving to some of our traditions today. This is my favorite book for introducing the historical story of Thanksgiving.
T is for Turkey by Tanya Lee Stone In this story, an elementary school puts on a play that tells the true facts about thanksgiving. The story is told in the format of an alphabet book with rhyming couplets. It introduces a lot of vocabulary like colonists,Wampanoag tribe, Massasoit, pilgrims, pompion (I had to look that one up!), squanto, and venison. The pictures are cartoonish but engaging. The book could be used to orally tell the Thanksgiving story to a young child. It even dispells some popular myths of the first Thanksgiving- like how the Pilgrims dressed and what they might have actually eaten.
A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting The story begins with a paper turkey gracing Mrs. Moose’s table. When she tells Mr. Moose that she’d love to have a real turkey for Thanksgiving, he sets out to find the real thing. He is joined by his friends rabbit, goat, sheep, and porcupine. With his friends to help, Mr. Moose finds the perfect, fat turkey and takes him home to Mrs. Moose. The turkey is terrified until Mrs. Moose offers him a chair. She wants him as a guest for Thanksgiving, not as a meal! When I checked this book out at the library, an older librarian noticed my selection. She was so excited to see this book getting checked out. She told me, “I’ve been reading that book for years and years and every kid that hears it, love it.” That’s a pretty top-notch review!
Gracias The Thanksgiving Turkey by Joy Cowley Miguel’s father, a truck driver, sends him a turkey to fatten up for Thanksgiving along with a promise to be home to help eat the turkey.Gradually, Miguel and the turkey, Gracias, become friends.In fact, Miguel gets so worried about Gracias, he even takes him to church and has him blessed by the priest! The family decides the must now eat chicken for Thanksgiving because no one wants to eat a blessed pet! However, Miguel still worries if his father will make it home for Thanksgiving.