The most recommended Thanksgiving books

Who picked these books? Meet our 13 experts.

13 authors created a book list connected to Thanksgiving, and here are their favorite Thanksgiving books.
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Book cover of American Cookery

Melanie Kirkpatrick Author Of Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience

From my list on making your Thanksgiving more meaningful.

Who am I?

My idea for a book about Thanksgiving was born in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. I was in downtown Manhattan that awful morning on my way to my office at the Wall Street Journal, directly across from the World Trade Center. I stood on the street and watched the towers fall. Two months later, as Thanksgiving approached, I found myself reading William Bradford’s first-person account of the First Thanksgiving. I wanted to learn more about this little kernel of history and how it grew into a cherished national holiday. I wrote several articles for the Journal about the holiday. Writing a book was the logical next step. 

Melanie's book list on making your Thanksgiving more meaningful

Melanie Kirkpatrick Why did Melanie love this book?

To understand the derivation of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, look no further than American Cookery, the first cookbook written by an American to be published in the United States. The word “Thanksgiving” doesn’t appear in American Cookery, which came out in 1796.  But recipes for the familiar holiday meal are all here: roast turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, cornbread, and potatoes—and, of course, mince pie and pumpkin pie. American Cookery was the first time that most of these recipes appeared in print. So, too, Simmons was the first culinary writer to focus on New World foods, that is, ingredients that would be easily available to most American cooks. It's no surprise that American Cookery is on the Library of Congress’s list of “Books That Shaped America.”

By Amelia Simmons,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Amelia Simmons worked as a domestic in Colonial America and gathered her cookery expertise from firsthand experience. Her book points out the best ways of judging the quality of meats, poultry, fish, vegetables, etc., and presents the best methods of preparing and cooking them. In choosing fish, poultry, and other meats, the author wisely advises, "their smell denotes their goodness." Her sound suggestions for choosing the freshest and most tender onions, potatoes, parsnips, carrots, asparagus, lettuce, cabbage, beans, and other vegetables are as timely today as they were nearly 200 years ago. Here are the first uniquely American recipes using…


Book cover of Cold Turkey

Wendi Silvano Author Of Turkey Trouble

From my list on Thanksgiving for children.

Who am I?

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. 

Wendi's book list on Thanksgiving for children

Wendi Silvano Why did Wendi 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 Gratitude: A Day and Night Reflection Journal

Denise Kiernan Author Of We Gather Together: Stories of Thanksgiving from Then to Now

From my list on gratitude making every day feel like Thanksgiving.

Who am I?

Denise Kiernan is a multiple New York Times bestselling author of narrative nonfiction books including The Girls of Atomic City, the Last Castle, and We Gather Together. Throughout her career as a journalist and an author, she has explored underrepresented stories and characters and the impact they have had on history. These stories of the unsung offer fresh perspectives on historical tales we think we already know. At the heart of many of Kiernan’s nonfiction explorations are women from a variety of different backgrounds and time periods. She has devoted her last three books to the history of Thanksgiving and gratitude, writing separate books for all ages.

Denise's book list on gratitude making every day feel like Thanksgiving

Denise Kiernan Why did Denise love this book?

Let me be clear: You absolutely do not have to buy a gratitude journal, per se, to practice gratitude. But as a writer, I know that there’s nothing scarier than facing a blank page.

You may have heard that such a practice is important, but you’re a little nervous about where to start. This highly popular journal presents you with two pages a day for 90 days—a morning and evening reflection page. The morning page provides blanks for your daily focus, affirmations, what you’re excited and grateful about. The evening page prompts you to assess the day, spell out what went well for you, and guides you to positive thoughts before bedtime.

To make the most of a book like this, you’ll need to check in twice a day. If you don’t transition from this kind of book to a blank notebook, understand that your choice means you are committing…

By Insight Editions,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Center your life around positive thoughts with this guided gratitude journal!

Celebrate each moment, big or small, and preserve important memories with everyday mindfulness. This 90-day reflection journal gives you a path to developing a habit of daily gratitude that you can carry throughout your life. Cultivating thankfulness is a potent exercise, proven to have a positive effect on a person's mental health and general well-being. Each spread of this positivity journal includes space to record expressions of gratitude, personal affirmations, memories of positive interactions, and commentary on the significance of it all.

The perfect self-care or mindfulness gift for…


Thanksgiving in Welcombe Bay

By Kate Darroch,

Book cover of Thanksgiving in Welcombe Bay

Kate Darroch Author Of Death in Paris

New book alert!

Who am I?

Living on Devon's gorgeous coast, I'm melding my lifelong love of reading Cozy Sleuths with my love of writing and years of living in foreign climes to write Travel Cozies. I also have a Vella Heist serial Found Money starting on Vella soon, and a Cozy Spy series They Call Him Gimlet coming out in the Autumn.

Kate's book list on humorous murder mysteries

What is my book about?

This is a recovery and redemption novel about forgiveness, full of warmth and compassion, which stirs the heart as it navigates sensitive topics delicately yet realistically. The riveting sobriety journey of Eric, an alcoholic newly recovering in AA, who falls in love with Lily, a woman haunted by memories of domestic abuse.

The emotional roller coaster of their journey unfolds by the sea on the gorgeous Devon coastline in England. This is a super-sweet story of strong friendships and complex, flawed, yet caring people moving toward committed love. Visit the compassionate community at St Michael's, where this old-fashioned love story is part of everyday life in a community which reflects your own. This is life as it should be.

Thanksgiving in Welcombe Bay

By Kate Darroch,

What is this book about?

This is a recovery and redemption novel about forgiveness, full of warmth and compassion, which stirs the heart as it navigates sensitive topics delicately yet realistically. The riveting sobriety journey of Eric, an alcoholic newly recovering in AA, who falls in love with Lily, a woman haunted by memories of domestic abuse.

The emotional roller coaster of their journey unfolds by the sea on the gorgeous Devon coastline in England. This is a super-sweet story of strong friendships and complex, flawed, yet caring people moving toward committed love. Join the compassionate community at St Michael's, where this old-fashioned love story…


Book cover of The Modern Bohemian Table: Gathering with Friends and Entertaining in Style

Lauren Thomas Author Of The Modern Hippie Table: Recipes and Menus for Eating Simply and Living Beautifully

From my list on lifestyle books for cooking, entertaining and tablescaping.

Who am I?

As a child of divorce who moved around often, cooking and entertaining was consistent in my life on both sides of my family. The comforting smells and traditions around food in the home became a religion to me—something I could count on. My grandmother was a hostess to be admiredher impeccable entertaining etiquette was where my love of hosting was born. My degree in psychology lends itself to sharing what’s so important about creating intentional gatherings at the table. My education and passion for creative arts pair well with my husband’s expertise as an Architect, where we understand the importance of creating inviting spaces for people to occupy.

Lauren's book list on lifestyle books for cooking, entertaining and tablescaping

Lauren Thomas Why did Lauren love this book?

As an event planner, Amanda shares her tips for how to host beautiful and meaningful gatherings with friends from small and simple to a larger outdoor party, all of which she uses a bohemian vibe to do so. Her ideas for throwing themed parties are creative, fun, and doable, and I love how she organizes them by season. Her bohemian style uses interesting contrasts, the mixing and matching of tableware and linens, and is a vibe based on feeling rather than rules. There are so many good tips on how to be the best hostess using good planning, calculating how much food you’ll need, and also how to pick drinks to complement your meal.

By Amanda Bernardi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Modern Bohemian Table as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Learn the rules, traditions and customs of table setting and entertaining and how to incorporate principles of bohemian design.

The Modern Bohemian Table teaches you how to: Build an heirloom tabletop collection; Design a welcoming and beautiful table; Calculate how much food you need you for each gathering; Select wine or other drinks to complement the meal.

And inspires you with over 20 fresh and fun party ideas, broken up into seasons, including: Morrocan Rooftop Soiree; Wine Night; Medieval-Inspired Feast; Garden Gathering; Apres-Ski Get-Together.

From tablescapes to menu planning, napkin folding to cocktail mixing, learn to gather your favorite people…


Book cover of A Christmas Memory

Marnie O. Mamminga Author Of Return to Wake Robin: One Cabin in the Heyday of Northwoods Resorts

From my list on historic memoirs that speak to the love of place.

Who am I?

I've always loved a sense of place. Perhaps it is because I have lived in the same river valley my whole life, my home for 45 years, and shared a cabin with my siblings that has been in our family for 93 years. Even so, I'm always looking for the nuances in familiar landscapes that expand our understanding of ourselves and each other. I have published dozens of personal essays, two memoirs, Return to Wake Robin: One cabin in the Heyday of Northwoods Resorts and On a Clear Night: Essays from the Heartland, and many monthly perspectives for NPR’s WNIJ radio station. As a former teacher, I enjoyed helping my students find their writing voice. 

Marnie's book list on historic memoirs that speak to the love of place

Marnie O. Mamminga Why did Marnie love this book?

There is no finer memoir celebrating a love of place than Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory. His opening lines take you right into the heart of the kitchen in a rural Alabama home where he lived as a young boy with an elderly distant cousin in the late 1920s. Those few cherished years would influence his writing and life for as long as he lived.

Writing in concise, elegant language, Capote centers his brief memoir around one Thanksgiving and Christmas when he was seven and his beloved cousin, Miss Souk Faulk, was in her late sixties. Perhaps it is because I have hosted Thanksgiving for my family for years, that I so appreciate Capote’s ability to capture, with humor and poignancy, the power of traditions with those you love.

By Truman Capote,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A holiday classic from "one of the greatest writers and most fascinating society figures in American history" (Vanity Fair)!

First published in 1956, this much sought-after autobiographical recollection from Truman Capote (In Cold Blood; Breakfast at Tiffany's) about his rural Alabama boyhood is a perfect gift for Capote's fans young and old.

Seven-year-old Buddy inaugurates the Christmas season by crying out to his cousin, Miss Sook Falk: "It's fruitcake weather!" Thus begins an unforgettable portrait of an odd but enduring friendship and the memories the two friends share of beloved holiday rituals.


Book cover of Thankful

Wendi Silvano Author Of Turkey Trouble

From my list on Thanksgiving for children.

Who am I?

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. 

Wendi's book list on Thanksgiving for children

Wendi Silvano Why did Wendi 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 Everything is Better Than You Think: How Gratitude Can Transform Your Life

Denise Kiernan Author Of We Gather Together: Stories of Thanksgiving from Then to Now

From my list on gratitude making every day feel like Thanksgiving.

Who am I?

Denise Kiernan is a multiple New York Times bestselling author of narrative nonfiction books including The Girls of Atomic City, the Last Castle, and We Gather Together. Throughout her career as a journalist and an author, she has explored underrepresented stories and characters and the impact they have had on history. These stories of the unsung offer fresh perspectives on historical tales we think we already know. At the heart of many of Kiernan’s nonfiction explorations are women from a variety of different backgrounds and time periods. She has devoted her last three books to the history of Thanksgiving and gratitude, writing separate books for all ages.

Denise's book list on gratitude making every day feel like Thanksgiving

Denise Kiernan Why did Denise love this book?

It’s really quite simple: if you focus on negative things, you’ll feel miserable. If you focus on the things that are wonderful in your life, you will feel better. And chances are, you’ve got plenty of wonderful things in your life.

The author of this book is a Maryland pastor, but I don’t think you need to be a Christian to enjoy or even grasp the message of the book. I like that he references the science that has brought gratitude to the masses, and written about it in such a straightforward manner.

By Will Johns,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Everything is Better Than You Think as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Want to feel fully alive? You can feel your best right now by following the simple method laid out in this book. Your life is actually much better than you think it is. It all depends on what you focus on. Order now to find out how you can be your best every day by changing your focus. It is like having a magical set of glasses that you put on each morning. Your entire day will look different when you look at your life through the lens of gratitude. You will begin to notice the good that is already…


Book cover of An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving

Melanie Kirkpatrick Author Of Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience

From my list on making your Thanksgiving more meaningful.

Who am I?

My idea for a book about Thanksgiving was born in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. I was in downtown Manhattan that awful morning on my way to my office at the Wall Street Journal, directly across from the World Trade Center. I stood on the street and watched the towers fall. Two months later, as Thanksgiving approached, I found myself reading William Bradford’s first-person account of the First Thanksgiving. I wanted to learn more about this little kernel of history and how it grew into a cherished national holiday. I wrote several articles for the Journal about the holiday. Writing a book was the logical next step. 

Melanie's book list on making your Thanksgiving more meaningful

Melanie Kirkpatrick Why did Melanie love this book?

I love, love, love this endearing novella by the author of Little Women. It’s Thanksgiving morning on the Barrett Farm in New Hampshire, and Mrs. Barrett is called away to nurse her sick mother in town. Father hitches up the sleigh and off they go to Grandma’s house, leaving eight hungry children behind. The oldest girl declares that she knows how to roast a turkey, and before you know it, she’s talked her skeptical brothers and sisters into helping her make the feast.  Catastrophe ensues, with a lot of fun for the reader along the way.

By Louisa May Alcott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

"You will see what I can do. Ma said I was to use my judgment about things, and I'm going to. All you children have got to do is to keep out of the way, and let Prue and me work. Eph, I wish you'd put a fire in the best room, so the little ones can play in there. We shall want the settin-room for the table, and I won't have them pickin' round when we get things fixed," commanded Tilly, bound to make her short reign a brilliant one.


Book cover of Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving

Wendi Silvano Author Of Turkey Trouble

From my list on Thanksgiving for children.

Who am I?

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. 

Wendi's book list on Thanksgiving for children

Wendi Silvano Why did Wendi 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 Thanksgiving in the Woods

Melanie Kirkpatrick Author Of Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience

From my list on making your Thanksgiving more meaningful.

Who am I?

My idea for a book about Thanksgiving was born in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. I was in downtown Manhattan that awful morning on my way to my office at the Wall Street Journal, directly across from the World Trade Center. I stood on the street and watched the towers fall. Two months later, as Thanksgiving approached, I found myself reading William Bradford’s first-person account of the First Thanksgiving. I wanted to learn more about this little kernel of history and how it grew into a cherished national holiday. I wrote several articles for the Journal about the holiday. Writing a book was the logical next step. 

Melanie's book list on making your Thanksgiving more meaningful

Melanie Kirkpatrick Why did Melanie love this book?

There is no better book on Thanksgiving for young children than Phyllis Alsdurf’s Thanksgiving in the Woods, which recounts the true story of the annual holiday dinner that a group of family and friends celebrate in the woods of upstate New York. Gorgeous illustrations by Jenny Lovlie evoke the famous First Thanksgiving of 1621, when Pilgrims and Indians enjoyed a three-day harvest feast in the woods of New England. Four hundred years later, the meaning of the holiday remains the same. As Thanksgiving in the Woods explains, Thanksgiving is about faith, family, and friends. 

By Phyllis Alsdurf, Jenny Lovlie (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Thanksgiving in the Woods 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?

Every year a family and their friends gather in the woods to celebrate Thanksgiving among the trees. Everyone brings something to share and the day becomes a long celebration of family, faith, and friendship. Told in a gentle, lyrical style, this picture book includes warm illustrations of people gathered around bonfires and long tables adorned with candles and food, singing songs and sharing laughter.

Thanksgiving in the Woods is based on the true story of a family in Upstate New York who has hosted an outdoor Thanksgiving feast in the woods on their farm for over twenty years.