12 Thoughtful Thanksgiving Books to Read as a Family

From tales about the history of Thanksgiving to stories of gratitude, these Thanksgiving books are perfect for kids.

By Kimberly Zapata

From handprint turkeys to pumpkin pie, many things come to mind when children think of Thanksgiving. The holiday—which is often described as a time of gratitude—falls on the fourth Thursday of November. And while many families mark the day with food and (unofficially) football, there are numerous activities you can do with your children, including reading. A good Thanksgiving story can go a long way.

Below are our favorite Thanksgiving books for kids.

How to Catch a Turkey by Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton

Playful and funny—and with quirky illustrations and a solid story—How to Catch a Turkey takes young readers on a journey to find (you guessed it!) a turkey. In this tale, the book’s “main bird” escapes the night before the big school play. Will the show go on? Read this rhyming book to see if you and the rest of the class have what it takes to find and catch a turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving Curious George by H.A. Rey

George loves everything about Thanksgiving, from the parade with big balloons to the delicious turkey. But that doesn’t mean everyone’s favorite monkey isn’t getting into trouble, and Happy Thanksgiving Curious George follows George through a series of fun-filled mishaps—each told in poem form.

Dr. Seuss’s Thankful Things by Dr. Seuss

Sweet and simple, Dr. Seuss’s Thankful Things follows Thing 1 and Thing 2 as they learn (and share) what they are thankful for. A cute, sing-songy book perfect for babies, toddlers, and young children.

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I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Alison Jackson

Everyone knows the Old Lady, the one who frequently swallows cows and pigs and flies. But this season, she’s getting into a different type of mischief: swallowing a pie which is “much too dry.” Fun and witty, I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie is sure to get your little laughing. It may even elicit a chuckle or two from you.

T is for Turkey: A True Thanksgiving Story by Tanya Lee Stone

T is for Turkey: A True Thanksgiving Story follows the story of the first Thanksgiving, as told by students at an elementary school play. Little ones will love learning about Thanksgiving with this fun, alphabet rhyming book. 

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell

Written by a member of the Cherokee Nation, We Are Grateful teaches readers how members of the Cherokee community express gratitude, or otsaliheliga; overcome challenges; and celebrate life throughout the seasons. A must-read award-winning picture book. 

Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving by James Dean

Everyone’s favorite cat, Pete, is taking on a new challenge in Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving: He is starring in his school’s play. And while that would make anyone nervous, Pete handles this situation in a cool, groovy way. He also learns the true meaning of Thanksgiving. 

Five Silly Turkeys by Salina Yoon

Fun, interactive, and perfect for both babies and toddlers, Five Silly Turkeys follows (yes!) five silly birds on various adventures, from twirling on the dance floor to bathing in the sun.

Our Table by Peter H. Reynolds

Celebrating family and togetherness, Our Table tells the story of a modern family that slowly drifts apart—that is until Violet, a sharp-witted and determined young girl, brings them back together. A great reminder of life, love, and what there is to be thankful for.

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123s of Thankfulness by Patricia Hegarty

Did you know that one little thank you can go a long way? Well, if you didn’t you will by time you finish the 123s of ThankfulnessThis book will teach your little one about gratitude and help them practice their counting skills. Perfect for Thanksgiving and/or year-round.

The Thank You Book: An Elephant and Piggie Story by Mo Willems

The last book in the Elephant and Piggie series, The Thank You Book: An Elephant and Piggie Story is a great sendoff for Piggie and her friend. It’s also the perfect Thanksgiving read, since the entire story is about gratitude and thanks.

I Am Thankful: A Thanksgiving Book for Kids by Sheri Wall

Voted Amazon’s “Best Thanksgiving Book Overall,” I Am Thankful: A Thanksgiving Book for Kids is a sweet, rhyming storybook that folllows three different families as they celebrate the holiday, give back, and give thanks. Perfect for young children, particularly preschoolers, Kindergarteners, and early elementary-aged readers.


Image Price Stern Sloan / Harperfestival / Sourcebooks Wonderland

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