It’s time to start thinking about Thanksgiving-themed books and activities for the kids. We have a small collection of Thanksgiving children’s books, and we unpack them each year around this time. Emma’s so excited to see them. It’s like getting new books but visiting old friends every year!
If you’re looking for some quality Thanksgiving picture books to use for homeschooling or just to reinforce the the idea of thankfulness and remembering God’s blessings, here are some of our suggestions.
1. The Story of the Pilgrims by Katharine Ross
“Once upon a time in the land of England, there lived a small group of people called Pilgrims. The Pilgrims were unhappy, because the King of England would not let them worship God in their own way.” This story is a fabulous introduction to the Thanksgiving story. The bright-colored illustrations are easy to understand, and the story is easy for kids to follow. This one makes a great read-aloud.
2. Thanksgiving Day at Our House: Thanksgiving Poems for the Very Young by Nancy White Carlstrom
This fun little book of poems walks you through the whole Thanksgiving celebration for one family. It starts before Thanksgiving with a school play with kids dressed as Pilgrims and Native Americans. Then it shares the family celebration, including the meal, a story from Granny, prayers for others, and more.
3. The First Thanksgiving by Linda Hayward
This book is a Step 3 Step Into Reading book, so kids who are reading on their own can read this independently. With its shorter sentences, it’s geared for grades 1 through 3. There’s also a nice cross-section illustration of the Mayflower inside.
4. P is for Pilgrim: A Thanksgiving Alphabet by Carol Crane
“Across the Atlantic Ocean, a lone ship on a vast sea. Ablaze with new hope, all praying to be free.” The author uses each letter of the alphabet as a basis for some aspect of Thanksgiving. Some of the information is about the Pilgrims, but the history of Thanksgiving is sprinkled throughout the book. Kids get a big-picture look at Thanksgiving as a holiday in this book.
5. Sarah Morton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl by Kate Waters
Samuel Eaton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy by Kate Waters
Tapenum’s Day: A Wampanoag Indian Boy in Pilgrim Times by Kate Waters
Since Emma is a girl, we started with Sarah Morton’s Day. I’m planning to add the other two to our collection as well. Sarah Morton’s Day walks kids through a typical day in a Pilgrim child’s life. The book contains real photos of people in costume at the historic Plymoth Plantation in Massachusetts.
Samuel Eaton’s Day and Tapenum’s Day are structured in the same way, just with different characters. Reading all three together should give kids a solid idea of what life was like for children at that time.
6. Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks by Margaret Sutherland
This is a fun little story that can be a springboard for discussing thankfulness. Kids can think through what they’re thankful for as the characters in the story count their blessings. This is especially good for younger children.
Now’s the time to start gathering these books. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to get a holiday book from the library at the last minute only to find that it’s already checked out. Now you know why I decided to buy these books. That way we have them here each time we want to use them. 😉