If you’re looking for Thanksgiving books for preschoolers and kindergartners, you’ll love our kid-approved list!
Sometimes I think our librarians try not to make eye contact when I walk through the door. Either that, or they roll their eyes behind their desks.
It’s just that I usually look a little silly. And plenty awkward.
Because I’m either fiercely whispering that the kids need to be quiet and walk, not run – or I’m carting an overflowing crate out the door (with six kids in tow).
But I don’t mind. One of my greatest joys is putting together themed book lists for early childhood. These days I’m reading to our fourth (almost 5 years old) and our fifth (almost 3 years old). They’ve helped me find the best of the best Thanksgiving books for preschool and kindergarten!
Thanksgiving books for Preschoolers & Kindergartners
Run, Turkey, Run! by Diane Mayr
As Thanksgiving dinner approaches, Turkey’s one goal is to elude the farmer. He hides all over the barnyard, but Farmer finds him every time! Young listeners will love chiming in on the repeating refrain, “Run, Turkey, run!” And all will enjoy the satisfying ending – when Turkey finally finds a good hiding spot … and Farmer’s family eats grilled cheese sandwiches for Thanksgiving.
‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving, by Dav Pilkey
This book was one of our favorites. Written by the author of the delightful Dragon books, it’s a sweet story about kids who fall in love with the turkeys they meet on their field trip to the farm. We love the hilarious way that the children rescue the turkeys from their Thanksgiving fate.
Fancy Nancy: Our Thanksgiving Banquet, based on the creation of Jane O’Connor
I’m not usually a fan of series books that are no longer written by the original author, but Fancy Nancy always delights. In this book, Nancy is disappointed to be seated at the children’s table for Thanksgiving dinner. After moving up to the fancy adult table, she realizes that the kids’ table isn’t such a bad spot after all. This is nothing spectacular, but it’s a nice, cozy book.
Thanksgiving Is… by Gail Gibbons
I’m of two minds when it comes to Gail Gibbons’ books. On the one hand, she’s a genius. She’s written and illustrated countless nonfiction books for kids – on nearly every topic you can think of.
On the other hand, I find that her books often lack voice and are just too dense with information, especially for the young audience they’re written for. I was pleasantly surprised that my Four listened to this entire book – from the history of Thanksgiving in other cultures to how we celebrate it in America. This is one of Gibbons’ shorter books.
Sharing the Bread, by Pat Zietlow Miller
We love this rhyming, rollicking book about getting Thanksgiving dinner on the table in the old days. The rhyme will keep kids engaged, and the beautiful illustrations will give them a quick history lesson.
A Plump and Perky Turkey, by Teresa Bateman
This is a silly rhyming book about a town who wants turkey for Thanksgiving dinner… but can’t find a single turkey to put on the platter. (They’ve all flown the coop!) What are the townspeople to do?
The cunning townsfolk stage an art contest in which participants will carve turkeys out of different media. As they advertise for a turkey model, a plump and perky turkey comes to town. After the contest, the townspeople plan to gnab the turkey and roast him for supper. But he’s too smart for them… and they end up with shredded wheat instead.
The Memory Cupboard, by Charlotte Herman
This book is a tender one, and has a different tone than many on this list. It’s about a family who gathers for Thanksgiving, and a granddaughter who accidentally breaks a treasured gravy bowl. But her dear grandmother isn’t upset. Instead, she shares a memory cupboard full of other broken treasures.
Squanto and the First Thanksgiving, by Teresa Celsi
The book is a little dated (1989), but it’s a fantastic read for little listeners who don’t have the patience for longer books. I love the simple history lesson and beautiful illustrations. My Four listened to this one several times – willingly!
Five Silly Turkeys, by Salina Yoon
This is a very simple board book with a sweet rhyming story – perfect for toddlers and young preschoolers.
I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie, by Alison Jackson
I’m a fan of any retelling of I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. I guess I’m biased, because this was an old song I loved to hear my mom sing to me when I was a kid.
This book is an absolutely hilarious, completely absurd Thanksgiving version of the old song. The old lady swallows a pie, some cider, a roll, a squash, an entire turkey… we read this countless times and never tired of it.
The Story of the Pilgrims, by Katharine Ross
My Four is on high alert for “boring” books these days, and I often find that I’m left reading to myself if the book doesn’t have a gripping beginning. I found a winner in this one! It was a lovely nonfiction book and a nice antidote to Gibbons’ books. I appreciate that it’s told as a story instead of a listing of facts.
The illustrations are appealing, and there’s just enough details to keep my Four’s interest without boring him. My only complaint is that in the section about the feast, no mention is made of giving thanks to God. We added that part. 😉
A Turkey for Thanksgiving, by Eve Bunting
Poor Turkey is terrified when Mr. Moose brings him home for Thanksgiving dinner – but imagine his surprise when Mrs. Moose pulls up a chair! I highly recommend Bunting’s modern classic.
Turkey Trouble, by Wendi Silvano
This is a hilariously illustrated book about a turkey who masquerades as different farm animals so the farmer won’t roast him for Thanksgiving. He’s finally successful when he dresses up as a pizza delivery man, and the farmer’s family has pizza for Thanksgiving.
Duck for Turkey Day, by Jacqueline Jules
When her teacher tells the class to have a happy “turkey day,” Tuyet is concerned. Is it okay to have duck on Thanksgiving? As her family buys a duck and other fixings at the Vietnamese market, Tuyet is worried that she’ll be different from all her friends. She has a pleasant surprise when she returns to school.
The Know-Nothings Talk Turkey, by Michele Sobel Spirn
This is a funny book about the Know-Nothings, four silly friends who know nothing about Thanksgiving. They’re on the hunt for a turkey to serve … but not in the way you’d think! Be sure to check out the other books in this fun series.
Thanksgiving Treat, by Catherine Stock
We loved this gentle book about a little boy who feels left out on Thanksgiving. No one needs his help – from Grandma who wants him to stay away from the hot oven, to Daddy who warns him to keep back as he chops firewood. Finally, the boy helps his grandpa pick fallen chestnuts for a special Thanksgiving treat. This book will strike a chord with preschoolers who are never quite big enough to do the things they want to do.
The First Thanksgiving, by Nancy Davis
If you want a simple board book to teach the concept of Thanksgiving in just a few pages, this is it. I love the simple text, engaging pictures, and sturdy flaps. Recommended!
Give Thanks to the Lord, by Karma Wilson
I love the Christian perspective in this heartwarming rhyming book. The book celebrates the joys God gives us in everyday life but especially on Thanksgiving – the visiting relatives, the cozy house, the delicious smells, and the satisfying dinner.
This Little Turkey, by Aly Fronis
We loved this funny little version of the familiar “This Little Piggy” rhyme. Even though it’s a board book intended for toddlers, my Four and I chuckled every time I read it.
Turk and Runt, by Lisa Wheeler
We loved this tale of two brothers, Turk and Runt. Turk is the bigger, stronger turkey, and the only one their parents notice. Mom is convinced he’ll be a professional dancer. Dad is sure he’ll play professional football. But little brother Runt knows the truth … the only recruiters on the farm are looking for Thanksgiving dinner!
Thank You, Sarah, by Laurie Halsen Anderson
If you want a book that is brimming with voice, appeal, history, and beautiful artwork, don’t pass this one up! I am in love with this true story of a 19th century woman who fought to make Thanksgiving an American holiday. Highly recommended… for all ages!
Longer Thanksgiving books for older listeners – or more patient ones 😉
- The Thanksgiving Story, by Alice Dalgleish
- The First Thanksgiving, by Linda Hayward
- Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving, by Ann McGovern
- If You Were at the First Thanksgiving, by Anne Kamma
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