It seems like as soon as Halloween is over, the rush to Christmas is on. Now, I love the Christmas season very much but I don’t like skipping Thanksgiving. Our family has found that one of the best ways to make sure Thanksgiving doesn’t get skipped is to take the time to read Thanksgiving books before the special day. We mix these in with our usual bedtime read alouds, or we add them to the kids’ “free reading” stacks. Older children could read some heftier biographies or non-fiction books about Thanksgiving, the pilgrims, or the traditions, but that’s a post for another day since these selections are for younger readers or reading aloud.
Here are some of our favorite Thanksgiving books we bring out each November:
1.Cranberry Thanksgiving. A nostalgic favorite for me. This is honestly the only Thanksgiving book I remember reading as a child. There may have been more, but this is the only one that I remember.
2.The Thanksgiving Story. We read this classic every year. It’s not hard to find a copy at thrift stores.
3.Over the River and Through the Wood. We love the illustrations of this classic poem / song. Confession: it is hard to read this one without singing. (Or so my kids tell me.)
Trivia for today: did you know that “Jingle Bells” was also written as a Thanksgiving song? See: The Story of Jingle Bells if you don’t believe me. So for all those people who start listening to Christmas music in November because “Thanksgiving doesn’t have any songs” (yes, I’ve heard this argument), well, of course it doesn’t have any songs if Christmas is just going to steal them.
But the version illustrated by Christopher Manson is our personal favorite.
4. Sarah Morton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl (Scholastic Bookshelf). My kids have loved the pictures in this book and its companion book (although we only own “Sarah”, we’ve gotten “Samuel” at the library).
5. Samuel Eaton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy
6. Meet the Pilgrim Fathers. I love old books. (No surprise there!) This book includes short biographies of several prominent pilgrims.
7. The Pilgrims Knew. Another vintage title that’s worth seeking out.
8. The Story of Thanksgiving is an updated version of a book from 1965. This one has new illustrations but we like the 1965 edition too, if you can find a copy.
9. Stranded at Plimoth Plantation 1626. The woodcut illustrations in this one are amazing. The text is a bit difficult for young readers, but it might work as a read aloud.
10. Priscilla Alden: And the First Thanksgiving (Let’s Celebrate Series). This is a simple biography about a famous female member of the Plymouth Colony.
11. Thanksgiving Poems. Some sweet, some funny. Would be great to choose a poem each November for the entire family to memorize.
12. Thanksgiving with Me. A fun, nostalgic story with classic style illustrations.
13. Sometimes It’s Turkey, Sometimes It’s FeathersThis is another update of an old classic.
Thanksgiving on Thursday (Magic Tree House #27)and its companion:
The Magic Tree House books are not exactly my favorite but they are great for encouraging beginning or struggling readers.
Squanto and the Miracle of ThanksgivingI hadn’t realized that Eric Metaxas had written a children’s book but once I found out I ordered it right away. I appreciate his writing for adults and I’m sure this is fantastic too.