Thanksgiving Books to Read Out Loud

Once again I asked my Facebook followers for their favorite Thanksgiving books. Of course, they had some terrific suggestions. Old favorites as well as some with which I am not familiar. You can click on any title or image to be taken to Amazon for more details.

Thanksgiving books provide a fun and relaxed way to teach about this special holiday and its history. Minds in Bloom followers share their favorite Thanksgiving books that they read to their students in their classrooms. Check out the list for inspiration!

NOTE: As Amazon Associates, we earn from qualifying purchases.


A Turkey for Thanksgiving
 by Eve Bunting

“I use it with a turkey-shaped graphic organizer outlining the story elements that the students use to form a summary. It’s a cute story about how some forest animals host Thanksgiving dinner, but they forgot to invite Turkey. So they go out looking for him, but Turkey doesn’t want to be found because he is sure he will BE dinner.” -Sandra Leiser

A Turkey for Thanksgiving because it’s so cute. The turkey thinks he’s for dinner when actually he is just the guest. Super funny. After we read the book, I give them turkeys to disguise so no one eats them.” -Maria Reierstad

How Many Days to America?: A Thanksgiving Story by Eve Bunting

“It’s about immigrants coming to America, and they arrive here on Thanksgiving day. Many of my students can relate to the people in the story through their own experience or that of their parents.” Liz Myers Marne

Our school has many families that were forced out of their home country, or they left to find a better life. I like to read it in my upper level classrooms. The stories shared are so touching, and the other children who were not aware of the hardships seem to look at others in a new light. My other favorite is

Thank You, Sarah by Laura Halse Anderson

“Provides a history of how Thanksgiving became the holiday we know today.”-Michelle Capehart 

“I like Thank You, Sarah because it’s history and clever. I get chills when I read it to my first graders.” -Rachel Cooper Ferguson

Thanksgiving at the Tappletons’ by Eileen Spinelli

“I like Thanksgiving at the Tappletons’ because it uses humor to show the stress that families go through when preparing the big meal. In the end it teaches us that it is not just about the food but about being thankful for family and being together. I also make my class come up with how they will help their family prepare for Thanksgiving because the story talks about how each family member had a special job. Great way to get them writing.”-Michelle Marcotte Lavoie

“I love this story!!! I use it for sequencing!!! Then, I have them write about their favorite Thanksgiving dish that their family makes!!!” -Jill Anderson Danklefs

Turk and Runt: A Thanksgiving Comedy
by Lisa Wheeler

We love reading this story because 1) it shows that even a small turkey can have something important to say; and 2) because there are so many fun extension activities you can do with the funny characters and turkey costumes.”-Angie Oliverson

Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving (Bookshelf) by Dav Pilkey

“Because the little potbellied turkeys are adorable. And because the text rhymes kids can make some pretty good predictions for word choice. Make sure to check out the author’s website for fun backstory.” -Angie Oliverson


Sometimes It’s Turkey, Sometimes It’s Feathers
 by Lorna Balian

“It’s a feel good story, and the kids never seem to suspect how it’s going to end!” -Jane Anderson Thoms


I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie
(Picture Puffins)
 by Alison Jackson

“It’s a play on the traditional old lady who swallowed a fly using all the traditional Thanksgiving food, but in the end when the old lady is enormous….she becomes a balloon in the Macy’s Parade!” -Melissa Beebe Riggs

Eating the Plates: A Pilgrim Book of Food and Manners by Lucille Recht Penner 

Eating the Plates. History written for children to understand. My 3rd graders always love it.” -Mary B. Bass Hines

Molly’s Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen

“I love Molly’s Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen. It’s about a young Jewish girl who emigrates from Russia and her mom tells her about the meaning of pilgrims.” -Laural Doyle Jenkins

The Can-Do Thanksgiving by Nancy Cote

“I always start with The Can-do Thanksgiving. It is about a first grade class canned food drive. One student puts a note on her can to try and find out where it goes. When a soup kitchen calls, they volunteer to serve Thanksgiving dinner, where she meets a boy a lot like her, and they save the day together. Good moral message and kicks off our canned food drive.”-Lori Byerley Rose


Sarah Morton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl
 by Kate Waters

“I love the book Sarah Morton’s Day. The illustrations are pictures taken of re-enactors at Plymouth Plantation. We compare and contrast her life to theirs. There are three others in the series–I’m not sure on the names, but I think they are Samuel Eaton’s Day, Tapenum’s Day, and The First Thanksgiving. The kids love them.” -Robin Runnnels Muse


Oh, What a Thanksgiving!
 by Steven Kroll

“Good, simple compare and contrast of the Pilgrim’s Thanksgiving and modern day celebrations Oh, What a Thanksgiving! by Steven Kroll and S. D. Schindler (Nov 1991).” -Kristi Falcone


Out of the Dust
 by Karen Hesse

“I like to use Out of the Dust. It’s a grade 5/6 book about the Dust Bowl told in poems. It’s great for lots of things like point of view, inference, etc. but the last (or nearly the last) poem is a Thanksgiving poem that the girl writes about what she is Thankful for. I have the children write their own poem, and if they read it aloud on Thanksgiving Day for their family, then they get extra credit.” -Sue Boyce-Cormier

Let’s Throw a Thanksgiving Party! (Holiday Parties) by Rachel Lynette

Yep, I wrote this one. It is part of a series on holidays. Not a great read-aloud, but it would make a nice addition to a primary class library.

Do you have another favorite to add? Please comment!

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