Thanksgiving Book Roundup

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Can you believe the holiday season is upon us? Now is a great time to teach your children about the reasons we celebrate Thanksgiving! One of our favorite ways to do this is with some great picture books.  Look for these at your local library or bookstore.

1.  Turk and Runt (by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Frank Ansley)

Thanksgiving Book Recommendations from

In this charming story, Turk and Runt are two turkey-brothers who couldn’t be more different.  Turk is the star of the show until humans start showing up at the farm in hopes to make him Thanksgiving dinner! Runt saves the day with his smart thinking, and kids learn that you don’t necessarily have to look like a hero to be one.

2.  My First Thanksgiving (by Tomie dePaola)

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We got this in a little board book format, and its durability paired with simple concepts are a win!  Both kids — preschooler and baby — enjoyed this one.  And you know that’s a good combination.

3.   Cranberry Thanksgiving (by Wende Devlin, illustrated by Harry Devlin)

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Cranberry Thanksgiving is a classic, but I was clueless until I happened upon it on a recent trip to the library. It’s pretty lengthy compared to the other picture books on this list, and therefore is better suited for the older-preschool-to-early-elementary set.  The message is fantastic: Grandmother allows her granddaughter, Maggie, to invite someone to Thanksgiving dinner with the caveat that she must “ask someone poor or lonely.”  When Mr. Whiskers shows up, Grandmother (surprisingly) turns up her nose at him but must allow him to stay.  Over the course of dinner, it becomes clear that she has judged Mr. Whiskers unfairly.  Kids learn the age-old saying: You can’t judge a book by its cover.  And there’s a yummy recipe for Grandmother’s famous cranberry bread included!  Score.

4.  Run, Turkey, Run! (by Diane Mayr, illustrated by Laura Rader)

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This adorable little tale chronicles Turkey’s rotten day, which is spent running from the farmer.  And you’ll likely find yourself rooting for the turkey, too…  With clompity-clomps, splashity-splashes, and clankity-clanks, Turkey is finally safe — until Christmas!

5.  Thanks for Thanksgiving (by Julie Markes, illustrated by Doris Barrette)

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If I could purchase just one book from this list, I can see us adding this to our collection and poring over it for many Thanksgivings to come.  It goes through a list of things we’re thankful for, from the obvious “turkey and pie” to the everyday rituals (like bedtime, hallelujah!) that make family and togetherness so wonderfully sacred.  The last page is a prompt to write your own things your family is thankful for, which turns this simple book into a future family heirloom.

Note: Affiliate links included because we’re Smart Kids, too!  We only recommend products we truly love.

Do you have other Thanksgiving titles or resources to share?  I’m all ears — comment below!

About Aubrey Hunt
Before hopping on the crazy ride we call motherhood, I studied engineering and taught math and science to middle and high school students. Now, perhaps like you, I fill my days singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider and praying my preschooler will eat a vegetable — any vegetable!

4 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Book Roundup”

  1. Kathryn says:

    These are great! I always love Tomie de Paola, and Run, Turkey, Run! sounds like a hoot. Another good option is Laurie Halse Anderson and Matt Faulkner’s Thank You, Sarah!, which is about the woman whose letter-writing campaign led to the establishment of Thanksgiving as a national holiday.

    1. Aubrey Hunt says:

      Oh, that sounds like a winner, Kathryn! I am going to put it on our library list right now. Thanks for the suggestion!

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