As those of you who know me and those of you who found this blog because of our Booknificent Thursdays book link-up know, I LOVE PICTURE BOOKS!!! So, of course, this “A Season of Thanksgiving” series could never be complete without a list of picture books that we love at Thanksgiving! I’m also including some non-book resources at the end of the list (gasp!) 🙂 There are oodles and oodles of Thanksgiving books out there so this is by no means an exhaustive list. These are just the ones we have and love as well as a few I’ve come across this year for the first time and am excited about. I’ll let you know whether each one is “tried and true” or “new to us.”
Any of these links that take you to Amazon are affiliate links. If you click through to Amazon from here and decide to buy that product or even go on to buy something else we haven’t recommended, Amazon will pay us a small commission for it at no additional cost to you. Links that take you anywhere but to Amazon in this post are not affiliate links, just places to get great resources!
Picture Books for American Thanksgiving
If You Were At The First Thanksgiving – This is an installation in the “If You…” Series of living books about history. (Not to be confused with the “If you give a mouse…” series which comes up every time I do a search for these!) This book is full of good illustrations and interesting about the first American Thanksgiving.
The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving – Ann McGovern, who actually wrote many of the “If You…” series mentioned above but not that Thanksgiving one, authored this one instead. I love the full-page colored illustrations, and I like how the story is broken up into the seasons of the Pilgrims’ first year. I wish it had actually been entitled “The Pilgrims’ First Year in America” or something but I suppose it wouldn’t sell as well without the Thanksgiving reference in the title.
The Thanksgiving Story – While I don’t like the pictures in this one as well as the last one, I really like how the author, Alice Dalgliesh, chose one family to focus on and followed their journey from England through to the first Thanksgiving. That really helped my children to identify with real people who lived this story. Even though the text to picture ratio is higher than my three year old usually likes, she sits happily through this one and asks for it again.
Samuel Eaton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy, Sarah Morton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl and Tapenum’s Day: A Wampanoag Indian Boy In Pilgrim Times – We love this series! The photographs from Plimoth Plantation make them so very accessible to young children. They are not about the first Thanksgiving, but instead are set in the year 1627. They tell all about a typical day of one of these children in that time, from waking up and getting dressed, to doing chores and eating, to getting used to a new step-parent (which seemed to be a fairly regular occurrence for the Pilgrims as so many adults died in the first years.) I highly recommend these books. We read them over and over again every year.
Thanksgiving (Circle the Year With Holidays Series) – This is my girls’ favorite Thanksgiving book. It is about a modern-day family getting ready for Thanksgiving. There are some innocuous history lessons about the Pilgrims in it as well as a focus on establishing and maintaining family traditions each year. There are crafts and activities included at the back of the book. My children act like they’ve never seen them before and insist on doing them every single year! 🙂
Three Young Pilgrims – This is a new favorite. Like Dalgliesh’s The Thanksgiving Story, this one focuses on actual children, but the illustrations are so much better! It features full-color, full-page renditions, but what takes it over the top for me are the hand-drawn maps, layouts, and timelines with hand-written details and information about the Pilgrims, the “Strangers” who traveled with them, and the neighboring Native American tribes. I could pour over this book for hours!
Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving – I haven’t gotten to read this one yet, but it comes highly recommended from a reader. If you or your kids have tired of the “Pilgrim and Indian” bit of Thanksgiving, this book gives you something new to focus on while still learning history.
No Better Thing Under The Sun: Making The First Thanksgiving – This is another new one for me that I just picked up for my Kindle. I haven’t gotten to read it yet, but it looks fascinating! I love Amazon’s description of it and can’t wait to read it!
“Using a selection of primary sources, including Pilgrim accounts, period cook books, and probate inventories, the author brings the world of the Mayflower settlers to life and creates a 17th century feast incorporating only the ingredients they would have had available (including the five deer that the Wampanoag contributed). An engaging, often humorous, but never dull account of the birth of America’s most beloved festival and the Pilgrim Fathers we thought we knew.”
Thank You, Thanksgiving – This is a firm favorite in our house. It doesn’t have any history at all but is a very simple story, told mostly with pictures, of a little girl’s Thanksgiving day. It is delightful and we read it over and over again!
10 Fat Turkeys – This is a silly rhyming picture book about turkeys that my kids love to read over and over every year. I suppose you could use it to introduce the subtraction concept of taking away one, but we usually just read it for fun! 🙂
Other Thanksgiving Resources
A Thanksgiving Prayer digital sheet music for piano, vocal, and/or guitar – available as a PDF download. This is composed by Wendy Stevens of Compose Create. She describes this piece of music as follows:
“This new piece comes with a solo piano and vocal version, a version complete with easy guitar chords, and a version with advanced guitar chords. It’s a prayer that can be sung on Thanksgiving, every meal before Thanksgiving, or just by yourself at the piano.”
You can listen to the music on the page linked above so you’ll know if you and your kids like it before you buy.
Scholastic virtual field trip to Plimoth Plantation to learn about the first American Thanksgiving. This page is absolutely packed with information about Plimoth Plantation. There are videos and photos, historical letters, reader’s theater ideas, Thanksgiving printables, and more.
Seeds Family Worship, maker of some of our favorite CDs, is offering the entire Seeds of Praise CD as a free download until Thanksgiving! You definitely don’t want to miss out on this great offer!
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving – And finally, (for now), what Thanksgiving would be complete without good old Charlie Brown? Even though this is so old, our kids love it, and it’s actually surprisingly educational while being quite entertaining for the kids and for me too. Win-win!!
And coming soon is a Grenadian Thanksgiving, guest-written by my friend Sarah who is currently living in Grenada. I’m super excited about this one as I didn’t even know Grenada had their own Thanksgiving! I can hardly wait to read her post. You can get to know Sarah in advance on her blog, sarahfaithhansen.com.
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