The best Thanksgiving books for children

Why am I passionate about this?

I never knew Turkeys had so much personality—that is until I lived with a family high in the Andes Mountains of Peru, and met their turkey Pavito. When they scraped leftovers into a trough for their dogs, Pavito would come running too (certain that he was just “one of the dogs”). He would chase me around the courtyard or sit nearby making strange gurgling noises. He became the star character in my books. As a teacher and mother of 5, I have seen which picture books young readers respond to best—those they connect to, laugh at, remember, and which hold their attention. 


I wrote...

Book cover of Turkey Trouble

What is my book about?

Turkey is in trouble. Bad trouble. The kind of trouble where it's almost Thanksgiving... and you're the main course. But Turkey has an idea--what if he doesn't look like a turkey? What if he looks like another animal instead? After many hilarious attempts, Turkey comes up with the perfect disguise to make this Thanksgiving the best ever!

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Thankful

Wendi Silvano Why did I love this book?

Thankful, is a beautiful list of simple, everyday things that people are thankful for, from a poet being thankful for words that rhyme to children being thankful for morning storytime. It is a great reminder that we can be thankful for the simple things in life (things that we might not usually think of when asked to name something we are grateful for). It has engaging, rhyming text that is meant to be read aloud, while young readers delight in the details of the charming illustrations.

By Eileen Spinelli, Archie Preston (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thankful as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Celebrate everyday blessings, practice thankfulness, and observe the wonderful acts of service that keep us going each and every day. Eileen Spinelli, bestselling and award-winning children's author, charms with rhymes and whimsy in Thankful, perfect for any young reader and their family.

Thankful is a heartwarming board book that teaches children ages 0-4 to:

Focus on the blessings that we often take for granted Appreciate essential workers and what people in our everyday lives provide: "Like the gardener thankful for every green sprout, and the fireman, for putting the fire out."

Meant to be read aloud, Thankful features:

Endearing storytelling…


Book cover of Bear Says Thanks

Wendi Silvano Why did I love this book?

Bear Says Thanks, is a book in a well-beloved series of Bear books. Children are always delighted to read a book with a familiar character—and they love animals! In this book, Bear wants to hold a feast for all his friends but realizes his cupboards are bare. The animal friends begin bringing delicious things, for which Bear always says “Thanks.” But he still feels badly he has nothing to share (or so he thinks). In the end, his friends remind him that he has wondrous stories to share. This playful book reminds us to appreciate more than material things, and to be grateful and say “thanks” for good friends as well as food and gifts.

By Karma Wilson, Jane Chapman (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Bear Says Thanks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 1, 2, 3, and 4.

What is this book about?

What better way for Bear to say thanks and enjoy the company of his friends then over a nice big dinner! Bear decides to throw a feast. One-by-one, Bear's friends show up with different platters of delicious food to share. There's just one problem. Bear's cupboards are bare! What is he to do? Karma Wilson's playful text and Jane Chapman's delightful illustrations bring to life this celebration of family and friendship. Young readers will delight in discovering the special gift Bear has to share and rejoice in all of the wonderful things we have to be thankful for.


Book cover of Cold Turkey

Wendi Silvano Why did I love this book?

Cold Turkey is a brand new book (just out in late 2021), and is great for Thanksgiving, as well as any other ch-ch-chilly time of year! Turkey is freezing and gets all bundled up. He heads out for a walk around the barnyard and ends up sharing his warm clothes with his chilly friends. This story has fun-to-read text, giggle-inducing illustrations and is a heartwarming story of kindness and generosity. (Don’t worry, Turkey ends up toasty in the end!)

By Corey Rosen Schwartz, Kirsti Call, Chad Otis (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cold Turkey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

The Mitten meets How to Catch a Turkey in this absurd-yet-heartwarming read-aloud that's perfect for Thanksgiving-or anytime you're feeling ch-ch-chilly!

Turkey woke up c-c-cold.
He wheezed, "It's ten degrees!"
I need to b-b-bundle up,
before I f-f-freeze!"

Sheep is shivering, Chicken is chilly, and Cow is quivering! Lucky for them, bundled-up Turkey is generous and shares his warm clothes with each of his barnyard friends. But once he's down to just his birthday suit, what's a cold turkey to do? (Not to worry-his friends will have him toasty again in no time!)

With rollicking rhythm and giggle-inducing illustrations, this heartwarming…


Book cover of Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving

Wendi Silvano Why did I love this book?

Pete the Cat the First Thanksgiving is on my list because I wanted to include a book that told the story of the origins of Thanksgiving. Sometimes a historical book like that can be a dry read that young readers tune out for. But add in a familiar character like Pete the Cat (who is loved by so many kiddos), give him a starring role in the school play, and the topic becomes something that holds their attention much better.

By Kimberly Dean, James Dean,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pete the Cat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times bestselling author and artist James Dean celebrates the true meaning of Thanksgiving with our favorite groovy cat—Pete!

Starring in your school’s Thanksgiving play would make even the coolest cat nervous, including Pete the Cat! But the show must go on….

With more than ten flaps that open to reveal hidden surprises, Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving is sure to be a holiday hit and a favorite for Pete the Cat fans.


Book cover of Thanks for Nothing

Wendi Silvano Why did I love this book?

Thanks for Nothing! Gets a big laugh on every page—and that is what makes this a big hit with young readers! If you aren’t familiar with Bruce, the grumpy bear, go meet him in his first book, Mother Bruce. In this book he is making a surprise fall feast for the mice, but, at every turn, his ingredients are ruined and when it’s time for the feast there is nothing to eat. But nevertheless, the whole crew (including a wet moose that joined the crowd), are grateful for that nothing (and a fun day)!

By Ryan T. Higgins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thanks for Nothing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, and 5.

What is this book about?

Ryan T. Higgins, #1 New York Times best-selling author and illustrator, celebrates the season of thanks in this Little Bruce Book.

It’s autumn in Soggy Hollow, and the mice have a lot to be thankful for. But Bruce the bear is not so thankful for all the thanking.

This bite-sized Little Bruce Book is perfect for fans of the Mother Bruce board books.


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By SG Boudreaux,

Book cover of Subjugation: Zanchier

SG Boudreaux

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Harper Brinley is running for her life.

After escaping from a government holding facility where she, along with other scientists, was being forced to build a deadly weapon. She headed for the most remote place she could think of, the wild Xantifal Mountains.

The one place where no one would think to search for her. There, she found a massive hollowed tree in which to survive the harsh mountain winter. If she can survive the four-legged, fire-breathing firebirds and the equally large wildcats of the mountain ridge, then maybe she can find her way back to her children. She was…

Subjugation: Zanchier

By SG Boudreaux,

What is this book about?

Harper Brinley is running for her life. After escaping from a government holding facility, where she along with other scientists were being forced to build a deadly weapon, she headed for the most remote place she could think of, the wild Xantifal Mountains. The one place where no one would think to search for her. There she found a massive hollowed tree in which to survive the harsh mountain winter. If she can survive the four-legged, fire-breathing firebirds, and the equally large wildcats of the mountain ridge, then maybe she can find her way back to her children. She was…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Thanksgiving, bears, and gratitude?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Thanksgiving, bears, and gratitude.

Thanksgiving Explore 25 books about Thanksgiving
Bears Explore 73 books about bears
Gratitude Explore 24 books about gratitude