Library List: Thanksgiving Picture Books

Thanksgiving Day is nearly here! It’s not too late to make a quick trip to the library for some books your kids can read on the drive to Grandma’s. Here’s a short but sweet list of books that can help your family get ready for Thanksgiving Day—and cultivate a spirit of gratitude throughout the year.

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We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell and Frané Lessac

I love this book! It follows a Cherokee family and their practice of gratitude through all four seasons of the year. Each of the topics feature one or more Cherokee words written three ways: English transliteration, English phonetic spelling, and Cherokee syllabary. My four-year-old, Jackson, and I had fun practicing the new-to-us words together. The author, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, beautifully explains how this community embraces their dual citizenship by honoring their history, keeping their Native culture alive, and serving our country. This book provides a warm and lovely look at contemporary Native American culture and encourages year-round gratitude.

Squanto’s Journey by Joseph Bruchac and Greg Shed

This is a fascinating and beautiful account of the first Thanksgiving, told from Squanto’s perspective. There were too many words per picture for Caleb, my not-quite-two-year-old, but Jackson stayed interested during the whole story. The author worked hard to make it historically accurate, so it does mention heavy topics such as slavery and death. You’ll want to be ready with age-appropriate ways to answer questions that your children may have, but please don’t let that stop you from sharing this excellent book with the kids in your life. The overall message is still very hopeful.

Duck and Hippo Give Thanks by Jonathan London and Andrew Joyner

This is a silly and sweet story of a hippo who wants to have perfect “good old-fashioned Thanksgiving.” His quirky duck friend seems to be thwarting his plans, but [spoiler alert] she actually helps him see what’s most important about the day.

This is the Turkey by Abby Levine and Paige Billin-Frye

Here’s another sweet and fun book that centers around a Thanksgiving Day meal. It’s written with a rollicking rhyme scheme, and there’s a twist near the end that my boys thought was hilarious.

Giving Thanks: More Than 100 Ways to Say Thank You by Ellen Surrey

I was initially skeptical about this book. Reading 100 of anything in a single sitting seemed likely to be more than my boys’ attention spans could handle. I’m so glad I went ahead and brought it home. They both loved it! There’s a lot to look at in this bright and fun book, but it’s organized in a way that doesn’t feel overwhelming.

I hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and may our hearts be filled with gratitude all year long!  

What are your favorite reads for Thanksgiving? Please share them in the comments!

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Library List: Interactive Picture Books

Thanks to a fun client project, I recently searched our library for interactive picture books. Jackson and Caleb, my willing research assistants, enjoyed the process as much as I did. I thought it would be fun to share our favorites!   

Don't Push the Button by Bill Cotter

We have to start with Don’t Push the Button by Bill Cotter. Both three-year-old Jackson and twenty-month-old Caleb LOVED this book. Each spread features Larry, a lovable monster, and a big red button that is just begging to be pushed. Larry warns the reader not to push the button but then changes his mind. Hijinks ensue.

My one quibble with this book is that, after giving emphatic instructions not to push the button, Larry says, “No one is looking. You should give the button one little push.” I don’t know about the kids in your life, but mine do not need any encouragement to think like that. I usually skipped that line or changed that phrase as I read. This was hands-down my boys’ favorite.

Watercolor and collage are my favorite media, especially for picture books. Christie Matheson uses both to create adorable illustrations for each of these three books. 

Tap the Magic Tree follows a tree as it changes through the seasons. As you’ve likely guessed, Plant the Tiny Seed is about seeds growing into flowers, and Touch the Brightest Star explores the "magic [that] happens every night." I loved all of the creative ways the author invites her reader to interact with and “help” in the stories.

The hardcover editions of these books also include a final page that explains "how the magic happens" or how to grow your own zinnias from seeds. Tap the Magic Tree and Touch the Brightest Star are also available as board books. 

From Head to Toe by Eric Carle

Who doesn't like Eric Carle's depictions of animals? They're so fun! From Head to Toe is a perfect book for story time with a group. On each spread, children are encouraged to imitate a different animal. I accidentally requested an oversized version of this book from my local library. The huge pictures made it even more fun for my boys to participate. I couldn't find that option when I checked Amazon, but your library might have the giant edition too! 


Wiggle by Doreen Cronin is a cute book written with a lilting rhyme that keeps the wiggles--and resulting giggles--going strong. The illustrations perfectly capture the glee of a wiggly dog living his best life. It also mentions wiggling in your underwear, which my boys thought was HILARIOUS.

Open Very Carefully: A Book with Bite

Open Very Carefully: A Book with Bite by Nicola O'Byrne is an interactive picture book with some simple but clever novelty elements. It features the beautifully-illustrated calamity of a crocodile invading a copy of The Ugly Duckling. 

In both Press Here and Mix it Up, Herve Tullet takes interaction with the pages to the next level. As you can guess from the covers, this happens in different ways in each book. I couldn't resist pressing the dots and mixing the colors right along with my kids--and once when they weren't even around.

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I highly recommend looking for these books at your library and/or keeping them in mind for birthday and Christmas gifts! They'll be fun for you and your little readers!

Have you read any of these books to the littles in your life? Do you have a favorite interactive picture book that you would add to the list? Let me know in the comments!

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