Favorite Thanksgiving Stories for Children

Favorite Thanksgiving Stories for Children | Roots & Boots

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My family loves to celebrate the changing of seasons and holidays with collections of our favorite books, such as the following titles from our list of favorite Thanksgiving stories for children. 

Here’s a quick video to show you our very favorite Thanksgiving picture books.  Can’t see the video?  Click here to watch.

I’ve also compiled a list of poems and songs here: Favorite Thanksgiving Poems, Hymns & Scriptures.

Favorite Thanksgiving Stories for Children


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1. Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving (Eric Metaxas; Shannon Stirnweis)
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This is a well-written, historically accurate account of Squanto’s life and how he impacted the first Thanksgiving celebration.

We learned about this book from Justin Taylor at The Gospel Coalition.  Read his post here, which includes a CNN interview with author Eric Metaxas as well as a Focus on the Family Radio Theatre Drama.  

2. Samuel Eaton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy  (Kate Waters; Russ Kendall)
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A photographic book based on historical facts and set at the Plymouth Plantation.  My boys are fascinated by this simple tale of the day a young boy helps with his first rye harvest.  Will he prove to his father that he is able to do a man’s work?   (See companion books below).

Click here to see sheet music for “The Marriage of the Frogge and the Mouse” song mentioned in the book.  (A rough score is provided at the end of the book, but this one was easier for me to read).

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3. Sarah Morton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl (Kate Waters; Russ Kendall)

Text and photographs of Plymouth Plantation follow a pilgrim girl through a typical day as she milks the goats, cooks and serves meals, learns her letters, and adjusts to her new stepfather.

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4. Tapenum’s Day: A Wampanoag Indian Boy In Pilgrim Times  (Kate Waters; Russ Kendall)

A companion book to the previous titles by the same authors, this story follows young Tapenum, a fictional young man from the Wampanoag tribe in Massachusetts as he hunts and fishes and learns about patience. 

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5. The Thanksgiving Story  (Alice Dalgliesh; Helen Sewell)

Dalgliesh is also the author of The Courage of Sarah Noble and The Bears on Hemlock Mountain, both Newbery Honor Books.  The Thanksgiving Story  is a Caldecott Honor book.

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6. The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving  (Ann McGovern; Joe Lasker)

A simple tale of the Pilgrim’s struggles during their first year at Plymouth Colony, culminating in that first celebratory feast.

7. The Plymouth Thanksgiving

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  (Leonard Weisgard)

I like the non-political correctness of this account, as well as the fact that the text is based on information from William Bradford’s diary.  Caldecott Award winner Weisgard spent time in Plymouth, Massachusetts in order to bring accuracy to his illustrations.


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8. An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving (Louisa May Alcott)

A short story from the author of Little Women that was originally published in the Aunt Jo’s Scrapbag collection.

They were poor in money, but rich in land and love, for the wide acres of wood, corn, and pasture land fed, warmed, and clothed the flock, while mutual patience, affection, and courage made the old farmhouse a very happy home.

NOTE:  Be aware that most illustrated versions of this title are ADAPTED from the original text.  

TIP: The original text is available online for free (see link below), so it might be fun to check out an illustrated version from the library and let the kids look at the pictures as you read the original text aloud.  

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9. Over The River and Through The Woods  (Lydia Maria Child; Christopher Manson) 

We love this book every year.  Gorgeous woodcut illustrations portray details about life from a simpler time and the familiar poem allows us to join the family on their way to Grandfather’s house for an exciting celebration.


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10. Cranberry Thanksgiving  (Wende & Harry Devlin)

A little story from my home to yours: One of the highlights of my summer is our county’s annual library used book sale.  Two summers ago I found this wonderful book at the sale, but since I already had it at home, I very generously gave it away to a nice family who was looking for many of the same Five In A Row titles as I was.

When I arrived home, to my complete and utter dismay, I realized we owned Cranberry Halloween. Not Cranberry Thanksgiving.

I literally was sick to my stomach when I realized this book was out of print and a used copy would cost me at least $30 at every online source I could think of.  

At the book sale I would have paid 80¢.  

So the next year we checked it out from the library, and I could barely stand to read it.

There’s a happy ending, though: it’s back in print as of September of 2012!  Still not quite the 80¢ book-sale-bargain, but affordable all the same Click here to read the lyrics and access sheet music, etc for We Gather Together.

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11. Amelia Bedelia Talks Turkey  (Herman Parish; Lynn Sweat)

NOTE: Herman Parish is the nephew of Amelia Bedelia’s creator, Peggy Parish, and the author of many books about Amelia Bedelia.  While this title isn’t a true original Amelia Bedelia story, it remains faithful to the original author’s beloved housekeeper and her silly mishaps.

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12. My First Thanksgiving  (Tomie dePaola)

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A simple introduction to the story and traditions of Thanksgiving, perfect for toddlers and young preschoolers.

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13. Little Bear’s Thanksgiving  (Janice Brustlein & Mariana Curtis Fosster)

Adorably illustrated story of a bear who is so excited about Thanksgiving dinner that he asks his friends to wake him from hibernation.

14. Sharing the Bread (Pat Zietlow Miller & Jill McElmurry)

A heartwarming celebration of food and family, two of my favorite things.  


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15. In November  (Cynthia Rylant; Jill Kastner)

No Roots & Boots book list would be complete without a Cynthia Rylant title!   

We read this on the first day of November.  It’s a great introduction to the season, covering topics of nature and family celebrations.

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16. All AboutTurkeys  (Jim Arnosky)

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We LOVE Arnosky’s nature-themed children’s books.  This is a fun one for Thanksgiving.

Which favorite Thanksgiving stories for children would you add to this list?

Favorite Thanksgiving Stories for Children | Roots & Boots
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More book lists you might like:

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Kathleen | Roots & Boots

Let's get real! I’m Kathleen Henderson, your Natural Living Mentor. I’m on a mission to help families see the joy in real food, while finding natural remedies and creating a nontoxic home. Learn more about my story >>


  1. Courtney D on 11/09/2012 at 10:10 pm

    Thank you, Kathleen for your Thanksgiving collection! I already placed some books on hold thru the library- So many requests for these books-hope we are able to enjoy them before Thanksgiving- 🙂 THanks!

  2. yankeehomesteader on 11/12/2012 at 7:45 pm

    I hope you receive some of them before Thanksgiving, too! I’ll try to post my Christmas Books list a bit earlier, to give you more of a head start. 🙂

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