My Favorite Thanksgiving Picture Books!

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I am so thankful for Thanksgiving picture books! They help me embrace this time of year instead of rushing through it.  November is the month of my birthday and my daughter’s, four days apart. Sometimes I have wished that I was born in a splashy, colorful fun month, like April, July, or October. By the time our birthdays roll around the weather is drab and gray and the night comes early. But I love the spirit of Thanksgiving and family coziness this time of year so those two things make up for it. Reading picture books this time of year adds to the coziness I love to feel as the weather turns cold.

In our family school that meets every Thursday I shared the following two picture books when I was in charge of the “Bring Your Own Genius” class. Basically it’s a time when the teacher can do whatever he/or she wants. I did picture books! Big surprise, I know! I love picture books because they can have beautiful illustrations, tell a great story, and require no lesson prep time other than finding the book at the library. So here is a helping of my favorite Thanksgiving picture books! Enjoy!

The book pictured above tells the story of how Thanksgiving became a national holiday, thanks to the lady who wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

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This is probably my absolute fave! I love that it has maps that show the details of the Pilgrims’ voyage. I love that the maps are so colorful and have lots of interesting tidbits on them. I adore the vibrant watercolor illustrations. I enjoy the author’s telling of the Pilgrim’s faith in God, hard work, family love, loss, and renewed hope when springtime comes. I love that it talks of the Indians and Squanto and shows a map of their land. the fun picture at the end of the Thanksgiving feast makes me so happy! This is a gem of a book! I recently found out that the Allerton family, featured as the “three young pilgrims” are on my family tree. Their aunt, who was still back in England at the time this story took place, is my many-greats-grandmother. So now this book is all the more meaningful to me. Thank you Cheryl Harness for sharing your talent to share the story of the Pilgrims! Now I know it’s part of my family history and this book helps make that come alive to me.

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I love hearing the story of Squanto. Did you know he lived with monks for a time in Spain? Did you know that he could speak at least three languages? I feel God guided his life to be in Massachusetts when the Pilgrims landed so he could teach them how to plant food and save their lives. Thank you Squanto!

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OK, this is probably my second favorite Thanksgiving story. It’s such a sweet story of hospitality and the serendipity of finding new friends when you have an open door in your heart. I also love that the matriarch of the family is behind it all. It’s not just a lesson in generosity, it’s a lesson of grandmotherly leadership.

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This story touches your heart with a reminder that “people are more important than things.”

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I’m a huge fan of Louisa May, so of course I love this book. It’s probably my third favorite. It’s a charming tale of siblings who pitch in when mom and dad have to leave because they hear that Grandma got sick and can’t fix Thanksgiving dinner. I love this happy story! It’s full of resourcefulness, initiative, and merry-making, with two surprises on top of all that. In the end the family sits down to read the Bible for their evening devotional so I always point that out to my kids when we read it. 

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This one is not a picture book but it might hold the attention of younger kids because it is a short chapter book. The ladies in my book club in Provo gave it to me for my birthday one year. It’s a refreshing story of friendship at Thanksgiving time.

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I can’t forget this one! The illustrations remind me of a cartoon or another book from my 70s childhood, by the same illustrator. It’s such a fun story of not being deceived by appearances, Thanksgiving dinner, guests, friendship, and comeuppance! As a bonus, you get a recipe for cranberry bread! Too bad i am gluten free right now or I would fix it.

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This one is based on a true story of a Thanksgiving Dinner that happened in Browns Hole Utah, in 1896. I won’t give away the surprise ending. You have to read it!

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This book features the famous song we all know of the same title. It’s fun to think about traveling in a sleigh and I am delighted that it helps perpetuate the tradition of going to Grandmother’s home for a holiday.

Here are some more titles.

Happy eating, giving thanks, and reading!

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