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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