5 Children’s Books about Thanksgiving



Somehow another Halloween has come and gone.  If you’ve been shopping or turned on your radio, it’s clear the Christmas season is already here. The time between Halloween and Christmas becomes more compressed every year. Even though Thanksgiving can get lost in the shuffle, it doesn’t mean that it just has to be about the turkey and stuffing. Embrace the holiday as an opportunity, and use these children’s books about Thanksgiving  to widen their concepts of gratitude and absorb some history in the process. Below are some of my book recommendations, for ages 8 and under, to set those conversations in motion.

5 Children’s Books About Thanksgiving


For The Youngest Readers

 The First Thanksgiving By Nancy Davis
The First Thanksgiving by Nancy Davis touches on the origin of Thanksgiving for your littlest readers.  It provides colorful, eye-catching depictions of the Mayflower, Pilgrims, Native Americans, and the first Thanksgiving. With its lift-the-flaps, “The First Thanksgiving” has been a big hit in our house over the years.

On Having Gratitude  

Thankful by Eileen Spinelli
Thankful is great for the 4 and under crowd. It depicts family members in normal everyday situations thankful for what they have. The illustrations are not only adorable but also relatable. “Thankful” is a great way to start your own conversation with your children about gratitude.

A Brief History Lesson

The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dagliesh
Ideal for the 5+ year old crowd, The Thanksgiving Story describes the Mayflower’s journey and settlement of Plymouth.  “The Thanksgiving Story” provides relatively accurate, yet accessible history to how the first Thanksgiving evolved.  It also addresses some of the hardships the Pilgrims faced. Despite this, the underlying message of hope and peace with the Wampanoags remains.

From the Wampanoag Perspective

Squanto’s Journey the Story of the First Thanksgiving by Joseph Bruchac
Historically accurate, “Squanto’s Journey” touches on the backstory of Squanto, a Patuxet, and his subsequent first meeting with the Pilgrims. Squanto overcomes his struggles, despite being kidnapped, and eventually learns the English language.  Best for 5+ year old readers, this book ends with a description of the first Thanksgiving from Squanto’s viewpoint.

For a Laugh

10 Turkeys in the Road by Brenda Reeves Sturgis
Admittedly, this one actually doesn’t address Thanksgiving directly.  A farmer’s path is blocked by turkeys who keep doing sillier and sillier things that stall him. Every time we read this giggling is guaranteed! While it’s not  specifically a Thanksgiving book, it’s particularly enjoyable at this time of year.


It’s never a bad time to read with your children, but it’s even better when we can use reading to talk about timely subject matters with our kids. These books, and many other, can help to set that stage.

Have a wonderful and very Happy Thanksgiving!

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Robin Barton
Robin is a working mother of two very precious, but very precocious sons ages 10 and 6. A lifelong Rhode Islander, she lives in the Providence area with her husband of 14+ years and boys. She is a Bryant University graduate (back in the day when it used to be called Bryant College) where she also received an MBA. In between refereeing her boys' impromptu wrestling matches, carting them between school and practice and handling occasional work issues outside business hours, Robin enjoys cooking/baking (but not the mess they create), 80s music, checking out family friendly events/destinations (pre-COVID that is), visiting new breweries and wineries with her hubby, buying new makeup and taking WAY too many photos (YOLO). She also considers herself an aficionado of naps. Robin believes that it is possible to find both motherhood and a career simultaneously rewarding, with the right support system....and an Amazon Prime account.