Thanksgiving Books For Children – A Library Builders Post

This is by no means an exhaustive list of children’s books about Thanksgiving, but these are a few that I will be reading to my boys and the grandbabies during the next few days.  These are all books that have a permanent home in our Heritage Library.   While this list might be a bit late to help you find some good books for this year’s Thanksgiving celebration, you’ll have it to refer to for the next year as you look for books for your own Heritage Library.

Thank You, Sarah – The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving, by Laurie Halse Anderson.  Illustrated by Matt Faulkner.  This book is a whimsical telling of the story of Sarah Hale who is credited as one of the movers and shakers that prompted President Lincoln to delcare a national day of Thanksgiving.  This is a fun read-aloud for all ages, but geared toward the younger crowd (which doesn’t mean the older kids won’t enjoy it).  Matt Faulkner’s full color illustrations are beautiful and funny all at the same time.  He blends caricature with a more natural look wonderfully.  One word of caution:  there is a very brief mention that Sarah Hale also campaigned against biblical discipline (sp***ing).  When I read this aloud I simply skip that word.  My independent readers already know what the Bible has to say about that issue, so it’s not a problem for them.

The Coming of the Pilgrims, by E. Brooks Smith and Robert Meredith.  Illustrated by Leonard Everett Fisher.  This book for children is taken directly from the firsthand account written down in a journal by Governor Bradford.  Mr. Smith and Mr. Meredith edited the journal accounts for children, and Mr. Fisher’s simple illustrations are beautiful.  This book at about 60 pages, would make a wonderful read aloud on Thanksgiving morning.  From the journal, the story begins with the pilgrims in England, follows them to Holland, and then recounts their voyage to America on the Mayflower, their hard first winter, through the time of that first Thanksgiving.  This first hand account, edited for children, will give the true flavor of what Thanksgiving is all about.

For the older kids, or even for yourself, Of Plymouth Plantation, is highly recommended.  This is the history of Plymouth Plantation, written by Governor William Bradford, covering the years 1608 – 1650.  This book is required reading for graduation from our homeschool.

We also enjoy The Thanksgiving Story, written by Alice Dalgliesh and illustrated by Helen Sewell.  This little book, less than 30 pages, is simply yet beautifully illustrated, and is a marvelous brief, yet elegant, account beginning with the trip to American on the Mayflower.

Another short but sweet picture book, The Pilgrim’s First Thanksgiving, by Ann McGovern, illustrated by Elroy Freem is a favorite here because of the lovely, full color illustrations.

Squanto’s story is integral to the story of the first Thanksgiving.  One nice little children’s biography of Squanto is Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving, written by Eric Metaxas, illustrated by Shannon Stirnweis, and published by Tommy Nelson.

I highly recommend looking for, and buying, Clyde Robert Bulla’s Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims.   Please note – the preceding link is to the Scholastic edition of this book.  I have not seen the Scholastic edition, and I do not know if it has been edited from the original.  Therefore, I would recommend that you watch for an older copy published by Crowell instead.  Mine is a beautiful, like new copy with a dust jacket, that I purchased on e-bay for $2.00.  A quick check tonight at abebooks found copies starting at $3.25.

One section of our own Heritage Library that I have been working hard to build is our holiday section.  It’s  easy to find books for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter; but some of our other holidays, especially those specific to American culture, are a bit more obscure.  With that in mind, I am making an effort to collect the Crowell Holiday Book series.  At this point I have just a few, but those I do recommend.  Included, of course, is Thanksgiving Day (part of the Crowell Holiday Book series).  These are long out of print books, but you can find them still at Amazon, on e-bay, or at

To see all of the Library Builders posts to date, please visit the Library Builders page on my web site.

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27

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10 comments to Thanksgiving Books For Children – A Library Builders Post

  • Oh I am so glad you added these posts to your website…it will make them easy to access.

    Great list of Thanksgiving books. The Crowell Holiday Series sounds like a challenge to collect…do you know how many books there are and where there is a list available?

  • tjsNana – Hey, Brenda – I will be doing a future Library Builders post on these….I’ll supply a list then, and some ideas about good prices to watch for.  Fortunately, they are all titled with the name of the holiday, and most say “Crowell Holiday Book” at the top.

  • Hi, my name is Jodi and I read your blog as regularly as I have time for!  I am a new mama to a 2 month old boy and I am loving your heritage library posts.  My hope is to have a good little library built up for my son (and, Lord willing, his siblings) by the time he is reading on his own.  We are starting with some classic picture books (I’ve made a list from your last library builder’s post!).  I’m blessed with a husband who always finds money in our budget to buy books for our son!  Thank you for your blog — it really inspires me to be a better wife and mother. 🙂 

  • Those books look great! It’s good to get recommendations from another Christian woman on children’s books! Do you own all of your books, or use your library??

  • I love all these books. I have never really enjoyed reading and so my kids have picked up my bad habit. I am trying to change that and spend more time reading to them. My oldest is 11 and other than what he has to read for his school work he doesn’t read. Other than the bible at night. Praise God he does that on his own. Anyway thank you for your list.

  • jengi33 – I own all of the books I’ve listed in this post and my last one.  If I ever recommend a book I don’t personally own, I will be sure to make note of that.  You’ll need to read my Heritage Library article to understand my view of the public library.  We did use it in the past, but we use it rarely now.  Dani uses the public library, but she requests books on-line and then just dashes in to pick them up when they come in.  I really think it’s vitally important that we, as far as we can, purchase books for our homes…..Read the article on the web site…the reasons are too numerous to go into here.:wink:

  • marcy2tex – you can turn around that reading situation for all of you!  First, Read more!  If you don’t like to read, then find something that you DO like to read.  Or, perhaps find a new skill that you’d LOVE to learn, and then get a book on that.  The same thing goes for your kids…..find reading that will appeal to them.  A book about a current fond interest.  A book you know they’ll find funny.  A story that you know will appeal.  And, Iwould suggest reading aloud to your kids a LOT, but be sure to read with “personality” using different voices for the different characters, stopping to laugh when something is funny, even to wipe away a tear if it’s sad.  Not fake laughing and crying…..REAL laughing and crying.  There have been times when I’ve read to my boys that we’ve had to take a break because I got to laughing, and then they got to laughing, which made me laugh more, which made them laugh more……  We also, all of us, shed tears in reading the biography of Jim Elliot.  READ!!!!  (Lord willing, my Tuesday post will contain some information on reading aloud.  It was already planned that way, isn’t God good?)

  • I love your book list. Can you post the Christmas book list early so I can order a few? I just love reading about reading:)
    Dee Dee

  • Dee Dee – I’m hoping to have the Christmas book list up within a week, Lord willing and time permitting! 

  • Two of my favorite picture books for this time of year are An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott (illustrated by James Bernardin) and, though not specific to Thanksgiving my children also love In November by Cynthia Rylant. Another fun book is Mousekin’s Thanksgiving (or any of the Mousekin books by Edna Miller). I hope that’s helpful for those with little ones.