My kids LOVE reading holiday themed books. And some of our very favorites are Thanksgiving picture books. We throw in some new ones occasionally, but our biggest joy is coming back to the same stories over and over, year after year. These books have become family traditions. Even my 11-year-old starts requesting them as soon as Halloween is over. Pulling out these 6 favorites is our #1 way to usher in the Thanksgiving Holiday season!
Does your family have favorite Thanksgiving picture books? Have your kids read any of the books on this list? I’d love for you to let me know in the comments below!
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Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet
Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade – “Everyone’s a New Yorker on Thanksgiving Day, when young and old rise early to see what giant new balloons will fill the skies for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Who first invented these “upside-down puppets”? Meet Tony Sarg, puppeteer extraordinaire! In brilliant collage illustrations, the award-winning artist Melissa Sweet tells the story of the puppeteer Tony Sarg, capturing his genius, his dedication, his zest for play, and his long-lasting gift to America—the inspired helium balloons that would become the trademark of Macy’s Parade.”
My kids LOVE this book. It’s a great mix of entertainment, history, and science. We have not looked at the Thanksgiving Day Parade the same since the first time we read it!
Sharing The Bread by Pat ZIetlow miller & jill mcelmurray
Sharing The Bread: An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving Story – “Celebrate food and family with this heartwarming Thanksgiving picture book. We will share the risen bread. / Our made-with-love Thanksgiving spread. / Grateful to be warm and fed. / We will share the bread. In this spirited ode to the holiday, set at the turn of the twentieth century, a large family works together to make their special meal. Mama prepares the turkey, Daddy tends the fire, Sister kneads, and Brother bastes. Everyone—from Grandma and Grandpa to the littlest baby—has a special job to do. Told in spare, rhythmic verse and lively illustrations, Sharing the Bread is a perfect read-aloud to celebrate the Thanksgiving tradition.”
This is the story of a big family pitching in and working together to create a beautiful Thanksgiving feast. It celebrates all that’s good about the Thanksgiving holiday!
a turkey for thanksgiving by eve bunting
A Turkey For Thanksgiving – “Mr. and Mrs. Moose invite all their animal friends for Thanksgiving dinner and the only one missing is Turkey. When they set out to find him, Turkey is quaking with fear because he doesn’t realize that his hosts want him at their table, not on it.”
Ok…this story is INCREDIBLY heartwarming and funny with detailed illustrations. And your kids may find a surprising twist at the end!
Thank you, sarah by laurie halse anderson
Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving – “Thanksgiving might have started with a jubilant feast on Plymouth’s shore. But by the 1800s America’s observance was waning. None of the presidents nor Congress sought to revive the holiday. And so one invincible “lady editor” name Sarah Hale took it upon herself to rewrite the recipe for Thanksgiving as we know it today. This is an inspirational, historical, all-out boisterous tale about perseverance and belief: In 1863 Hale’s thirty-five years of petitioning and orations got Abraham Lincoln thinking. He signed the Thanksgiving Proclamation that very year, declaring it a national holiday. This story is a tribute to Hale, her fellow campaigners, and to the amendable government that affords citizens the power to make the world a better place!”
I love that this (true) story teaches my kids that perseverence and ONE person (even a WOMAN in 1863) can truly change things for an entire nation. I think of Sarah every year as I sit down to thank God for our blessings on Thanksgiving!
cranberry thanksgiving by wende & Harry Devlin
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!”
I love that this book was published in 1971. Old books are my favorite books. AND I love this story. I mean, “ask someone poor and lonely” is the PERFECT Thanksgiving mantra. And I love that Grandmother allows Mr. Whiskers to attend her Thanksgiving dinner; even though she’s convinced he is trying to steal her famous cranberry bread recipe. It’s a Thanksgiving “who-done-it” with a recipe at the end!
(There are many other Cranberry… books that you may want to check out!)
i know an old lady who swallowed a pie by alison jackson
I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Pie – “I know an old lady who swallowed a pie, a Thanksgiving pie, which was really too dry. And with that the feast begins! After the pie the old lady swallows a whole squash, all of the salad, and the entire turkey! As Mother and Father watch in shock, the two children are delighted to see the old lady growing fatter and fatter. And, in the end, the old lady makes a surprising and humorous contribution to the holiday festivities.”
If I’m being honest, THIS is my kids’ very favorite of our Thanksgiving picture books! Haha! It’s so clever and fun. There are many “old lady” rhyming stories, but this one is the best because…Thanksgiving food!
As always, you can learn more about our big family fun over at Meet Tanna from Megavan Mama.