Favorite Thanksgiving Books for Families



Yes!  Leaves are falling, candles are lit. Cider abounds. The ELECTION IS OVER! Bring it, holiday season! I’m ready for some good old fashioned holiday love. :)

I’m a little bit of a fanatic about Thanksgiving—because it allows us to be thankful for what we have without the pressure of gift exchanges. Thanksgiving offers us the chance to focus on what really matters in this life. To slow down. To reflect.

To be thankful.

Each year, I add another Thanksgiving book to our library. Since starting the tradition many years ago, we have quite a collection. We read … and re-read the stories of the pilgrims with our kids. Now, they are reading those stories to their own children.

Little things—as you know—turn into big things over time. Taking time to trace a turkey handprint and make a “Thankful Tree” and the wrapping it up with a story is my idea of a great Thanksgiving season, one of the “big” things of mothering.

Books are blessings for years and years. I set books out for our kids to read all around our house, especially during the holidays.

Mix up some hot chocolate with your kids and settle in with a good book. The memories you make will last a lifetime!


If You Were at the First Thanksgiving
by Anne Kamma.
If your kids are in-between story books and chapter books, this is a great find.  It is part history book, part pretend.  Great visuals! Our kids have loved it from ages 8 and up as a read-aloud and on their own.


The Pumpkin Patch Parable
This charming story for children illustrates how a loving farmer can turn a simple pumpkin into a simply glorious sight. In the same way, God’s transforming love can fill each of our hearts with joy and light. Liz Curtis Higgs created this parable as a way to share the Good News with her own precious children each harvest season. It makes the message of the gospel come alive in a way that only the harvest season can do.

I’ve also found this story being read aloud on YouTube. She reads a little too fast for our taste but it’s still cute.



Mousekin’s Thanksgiving is wonderful but out of print.  (Library!)
The whole series of Mousekin books by Edith Miller, published from 1964 to 1992, can be found listed at Loganberry Books.
I found my copy on Ebay


Cranberry Thanksgiving
Every year Grandmother invited a guest for Thanksgiving dinner and allowed Maggie to do the same. “Ask someone poor or lonely,” she always said. Thanksgiving was Grandmother’s favorite day of the year. The cooking was done and her famous cranberry bread was cooling on a wooden board. But she wasn’t happy to find out Maggie had invited the unsavory Mr. Whiskers to dinner. Would her secret cranberry bread recipe be safe with him in the house? After a long absence this delightful 1971 classic is back. So is Grandmother’s secret recipe!


Squanto’s Journey
In 1620, an English ship called the Mayflower landed on the shores inhabited by the Pokanoket, and it was Squanto who welcomed the newcomers and taught them how to survive. When a good harvest was gathered, the people feasted together–a tradition that continues almost four hundred years later.


Thanksgiving Day at Our House
A house full of relatives can mean only one thing — it must be Thanksgiving! Starting with a school pageant the day before Thanksgiving and ending with after-dinner snoozing, this book offers a peek at one family’s holiday celebration. Whether for rhyming or singing or simply saying grace, these warm, cozy poems show that there are lots of ways to give thanks — and so many things to be thankful for!

This book has been in our family for years. It’s full of poetry and delightful illustrations.


Amelia Bedelia Talks Turkey

Hello! We LOVE Amelia Bedelia!
When Amelia Bedelia helps out with the school Thanksgiving play, she causes quite a scene.
Let’s all give thanks for another funny new Amelia Bedelia story!
This is a great book for early readers—and parents who love to read out loud!

the-story-of-the-pilgrimsThe Story of the Pilgrims
From the dangerous voyage across the Atlantic to the first harsh winter to the delicious Thanksgiving feast, all the excitement and wonder of the Pilgrims’ first year in America is captured in this vivid retelling that is perfect for the youngest historians.
This is one of our favorite read-alouds!


The Very First Americans
From the Makah who set out in canoes to hunt whales to the Comanche who chased buffalo on horseback . . . here is a fascinating look at how the first Americans lived. Beautiful watercolor paintings accurately depict clothing, dwellings, art, tools, and other Native American artifacts.

This is a wonderful book for showing children how different groups of Native Americans lived.
We have used it as early as pre-school and it’s been enjoyed through early elementary age.

ThanksgivingICanReadIt’s Thanksgiving
It’s time for turkey! The parade is about to start. The pumpkin pie is in the oven. The whole family is gathered around the table. And everybody wants to pull the wishbone! From Children’s Poet Laureate Jack Prelutsky comes a scrumptious helping of twelve Thanksgiving poems to enjoy every day of the year!

*An I Can Read Book!


Off to Plymouth Rock
*I do not recommend the Kindle version.  Formatting is poor.
In this engaging retelling of the story of the first Thanksgiving, the whimsical verse of Dandi Daley Mackall can now be heard on a read-along CD. In Off to Plymouth Rock, children will love to hear the story of the Pilgrims’ voyage to the New World and the Native Americans’ guidance that culminated in the first Thanksgiving.


Thank You, Sarah – The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving
This is the wonderful, true story of the woman attributed to starting a letter writing campaign (of 38 years!) to garner support in making Thanksgiving a national holiday. She was none other than Sarah Josepha Hale, the writer of the nursery rhyme, “Mary Had a Little Lamb”!

This is a must-have book for every home library.

Last year, we took our children to Plimoth Plantation—and we all loved it. The United States of America is a country with rich history and traditions!  Here’s a great virtual tour of the the birthplace of the First Thanksgiving from Scholastic.  For more teaching information, visit Plimoth.org.

Enjoy teaching your children about them. May we never forget about the founding of the United States.

Thanksgiving Blessings from our home to yours!

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Heidi St. John
Heidi St. John has been married to her husband Jay since 1989. Together they have seven children from toddler to adult and have homeschooled all the way through high school. A favorite conference and radio speaker, Heidi approaches marriage and parenting with humor and grace. Her passion to encourage moms and set them free to be who God has created them to be will bless and encourage you.
Heidi St. John
Heidi St. John
Heidi St. John

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5 Responses to Favorite Thanksgiving Books for Families

  1. Rebekah Miller says:

    Thank you for the book list. Thanksgiving is very special to us. My 12th Great Grandfather is William Brewster. This has always made it feel like it is our personal holiday. LOL

  2. Katie says:

    Thank you! I just put several of these on hold at our library. We will have so much to read this month!

  3. A Belaire says:

    Do you happen to have an exhaustive list of Christmas books as well????

  4. Jaytheemopanda says:

    When I was in Elementary school in Library class as a juvenile child, I remember my Librarian reading these stories. Especially Amelia Bedelia.

  5. Alison says:

    What a great idea! Thanks for sharing!!

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