The best Thanksgiving books

1 authors have picked their favorite books about Thanksgiving and why they recommend each book.

Soon, you will be able to filter by genre, age group, and more. Sign up here to follow our story as we build a better way to explore books.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

Cold Turkey

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

Book cover of Cold Turkey

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!)


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. 


I wrote...

Turkey Trouble

By Wendi Silvano, Lee Harper (illustrator),

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!

This Land Is Their Land

By David Silverman,

Book cover of This Land Is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving

Historian Daniel Silverman tells the story of the Pilgrims amid recounting the experience of the Massasoit's Wampanoags who signed a defense treaty with Plymouth Governor John Carver that endured throughout the great chief's lifetime, about 40 more years. For me, one of the more telling vignettes in his account is that of the young Indian child forced to sing “This Land is Your Land” at a school Thanksgiving celebration on land that once had belonged to his people. His subtitle, "The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled Story of Thanksgiving" is appropriate to the history he relates, if not an understatement. Silverman's book provides a compassionate view of the complex path the Native Americans had to navigate with the Europeans who were pushing them out of the land they had inhabited for more than 12,000 years.


Who am I?

In researching the next book in my Kindred Spirit series I intended to tell the story of the “Angel of Hadley,” which occurred in my hometown. As I researched the topic, I fell into more, and more convoluted rabbit holes. For example, the Indian who led King Philip's War was Metacom, son of the great sachem Massasoit who signed the mutual defense treaty with Governor Carver of Plymouth Plantation when they first met in 1621. The rapid descent from 40 years of peace into the proportionally bloodiest war to take place in what is now America, was spellbinding. And my research continues.


I wrote...

All Is Still And Quiet: The 1704 Attack on Deerfield in the Colony of Massachusetts Bay

By Craig Lancto,

Book cover of All Is Still And Quiet: The 1704 Attack on Deerfield in the Colony of Massachusetts Bay

What is my book about?

On February 29, 1704, during Queen Anne's War, about 150 Mohawks from New France (Canada) and their allies joined with 50 French soldiers in launching a pre-dawn attack on the Deerfield settlement at the northwest frontier of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay. Forty-eight villagers were killed in the raid and 109 captives were taken for ransom or prisoner exchange and forced to march about 300 miles to Quebec.

Using journals, letters, and books by the erstwhile captives and other sources, this account relates actual events, focusing on the family of the Rev. Mr. John Williams, pastor and community leader.

Balloons Over Broadway

By Melissa Sweet,

Book cover of Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade

If you’ve ever wondered how those big parade balloons came to be, this book explains everything. You’ll meet Tony Sarg, a talented marionette artist who crafted puppets to entertain on the Broadway stage as well as Macy’s Department store window in New York City. Tony’s ingenuity really soars when he is called upon to create something special for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Something that would change the face of the parade forever.

Who am I?

Parades are a truly happy place for people of all ages. The inspiration for Everyone Loves a Parade!* came from the 2018 Philadelphia Eagles Superbowl Championship Parade - a spectacle the entire city enjoyed, drawing people with Philadelphia roots from all over. The communal nature of putting together a parade that carries on traditions and gives people a reason to share a celebration drove my interest in writing this book. The beautiful illustrations by Guilherme Franco bring the pages to life and allow readers to enjoy the wonder of parades from their living room couch - (where it’s much less messy).


I wrote...

Everyone Loves a Parade!*

By Andrea Denish, Guilherme Franco (illustrator),

Book cover of Everyone Loves a Parade!*

What is my book about?

Music, costumes, food, and fun. The sights and sounds of a parade are exciting! From Mardi Gras and Chinese New Year to St. Patrick's Day and LGBTQ+Pride, each celebration is a joy for kids, and most adults. With rhyming text and bold illustrations, children will love this festive and humorous look at some of the country's most well-known parades.

Pete the Cat

By Kimberly Dean, James Dean,

Book cover of Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving

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.


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. 


I wrote...

Turkey Trouble

By Wendi Silvano, Lee Harper (illustrator),

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!

Thankful

By Eileen Spinelli, Archie Preston (illustrator),

Book cover of Thankful

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.


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. 


I wrote...

Turkey Trouble

By Wendi Silvano, Lee Harper (illustrator),

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!

The Modern Bohemian Table

By Amanda Bernardi,

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

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.


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.


I wrote...

The Modern Hippie Table: Recipes and Menus for Eating Simply and Living Beautifully

By Lauren Thomas,

Book cover of The Modern Hippie Table: Recipes and Menus for Eating Simply and Living Beautifully

What is my book about?

The term “Modern Hippie” celebrates a way of living and entertaining that creates an intentional series of moments at home, where good food, conversation, and design come together to create lasting memories. Lauren Thomas’s The Modern Hippie Table combines more than 70 curated recipes and assorted themed menus with beautiful and doable tabletop ideas, creating a vibe of laid-back elegance that complements whatever is on the menu, from an intimate dinner for two to a large celebration.

In this debut collection, Lauren shares favorite dishes that can be easily prepared for entertaining, which allows you to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your guests and family. 

Dancin' in the Kitchen

By Wendy Gelsanliter, Frank Christian, Marjorie Priceman (illustrator)

Book cover of Dancin' in the Kitchen

A great Thanksgiving treat. “Dancin’ in the kitchen. The family’s packed in tight. I think we may be dancin’ in the kitchin’ all night!” The family cooks, sets the table, and eats…all while dancing and chanting along.  Get your beat going. Hand out spoons to beat on pans and rock along with this joyful picture book. All the way to the end, “Grandpa does the washin’. We all pitch in to dry. We’re still dancin’ in the kitchen, with the radio way up high!” 


Who am I?

As a Children’s Librarian for over 30 years, my passion has been for the sound of language. I want children to hear rhythmic, joyful language that will make them fall in love with words. My own career as a storyteller and author continues this same love of language. I try to write my own picture books in such a way that any adult who picks them up will read them out with the same kind of verve and joy that I put into them.  



I wrote...

Pickin' Peas

By Margaret Read MacDonald, Pat Cummings (illustrator),

Book cover of Pickin' Peas

What is my book about?

“Pickin’ Peas! Put ‘em in my pail!” Little Girl sings in her garden. But Mr. Rabbit wants those peas too.  “Pickin’ Peas! Landin’ on my knees!” he jumps along behind her. Be sure your listeners sing along with them as they duel over those peas. This Alabama folktale always leaves my listeners going out the door singing.   

For more singing tales see Conejito!, Mabela the Clever, Tuck-Me-In Tales, Farmyard Jamboree, The Old Woman and Her Pig, and The Wishing Foxes also by Margaret Read MacDonald.  

Bear Says Thanks

By Karma Wilson, Jane Chapman (illustrator),

Book cover of Bear Says Thanks

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.


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. 


I wrote...

Turkey Trouble

By Wendi Silvano, Lee Harper (illustrator),

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!

Thanks for Nothing

By Ryan T. Higgins,

Book cover of Thanks for Nothing

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)!


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. 


I wrote...

Turkey Trouble

By Wendi Silvano, Lee Harper (illustrator),

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!

New book lists related to Thanksgiving

All book lists related to Thanksgiving

Bookshelves related to Thanksgiving