Book Lists Picture Books

Thanksgiving Books

November 9, 2012

If you are looking to write a book in a non-crowded market, might I suggest a Thanksgiving book? Because, whew, there are not a lot of impressive ones out there (or at least not a lot that impressed me).

I have now read more lousy Thanksgiving books than I would ever wish upon any single soul. Here are five that didn’t make me want to grind my teeth.

1. The First Thanksgiving by Nancy Davis. I am a sucker for a cute board book, especially when there are flaps. The page where it showed the Pilgrims planting and you could open the flaps to see different things growing underground? I was instantly sold.

2. Over the River and Through the Wood by L. Maria Child and Matt Tavares. If you’re looking for a gorgeous picture book, the kind you’ll have as a display all season long, this is the one. Makes me almost want to live somewhere with snow (except, you know, not really).

3. Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet. I wrote about this one last year, and it’s continued to garner praises. We read this one about the original beginning of the Macy’s Day parade on a regular basis. The illustrations, especially, are just magnificent. 

4. Sarah Gives Thanks by Mike Allegra and David Gardner. I love this biography about the woman who convinced Abraham Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. She was such an interesting woman and this book really does a great job making the story interesting and relevant.

5. One is a Feast for a Mouse by Judy Cox and Jeffrey Ebbeler. I love this cute little story about a mouse who goes to get a single pea from the leftover Thanksgiving feast, but then he starts getting more and more things, leaving him ill-prepared to run when the cat makes an appearance.

Any Thanksgiving titles to recommend? Surely there must be more winners out there!

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  1. Reply Saskia November 9, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    I remember #2, I loved that book.

  2. Reply Abby November 9, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    We love to share 'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey with our school-age kids. And I love All for Pie, Pie for All by David Martin (which is not technically a Thanksgiving book, but hey PIE). And I know Todd Parr appeals to a certain taste, but he just put out The Thankful Book.

  3. Reply heather November 9, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Thanks for the suggestions! I'm looking forward to finding Balloons over Broadyway.

    My mom sent me Off to Plymouth Rock by Dandi Daley Mackall for Anna's first Thanksgiving. It is a nice, rollicking poem in board book form. My kids love it. The illustrations aren't really my style, but they are detailed and engaging.

    My four year old was just enchanted with Little Bear's Thanksgiving by Janice. (Yes, just Janice) It's so 60's and the illustrations are very sweet.

  4. Reply Audrey November 9, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Oh, I love Balloons Over Broadway ~ I never thought of it as a Thanksgiving book which is kind of silly. It totally is! We're vegetarians in this house so we particularly like 'Twas The Night Before Thanksgiving. So cute! But I do agree with you that there are not enough GOOD Thanksgiving books out there!

  5. Reply Elaine November 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    It's Thanksgiving is a book of Jack Prelutsky poems. Thanksgiving at the Tappletons' is one of my favorites. P is for Pilgrim is a beautifully illustrated alphabet book, but really for older children. Cranberry Thanksgiving is another classic.

  6. Reply Beth November 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    I used "Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving" with a class of third graders for the second time yesterday. Haven't read "Sarah Gives Thanks" but I like the lighthearted way history is treated.

  7. Reply Rachel November 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Thanks! So lovely to not have to sift through lousy Thanksgiving books myself and just go for these winners! 🙂 ps- the deleted comment was by me, accidentally posted as my husband.

  8. Reply Emily November 9, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    We've enjoyed An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott but now I can't find the edition we read that had gorgeous illustrations too. Happy hunting.

    • Reply Janssen November 9, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      I actually checked that one out! It's too long for Ella right now, but I'm excited to pull it out again in a couple of years.

  9. Reply sarah s. November 9, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    I love hearing your recommendations! I need something to keep track of them though 🙂

  10. Reply Megan G November 10, 2012 at 4:53 am

    We love "Turkey Trouble" by Wendi Silvano. My kids get such a kick out of the illustrations.

    • Reply Kimberly F. November 11, 2012 at 1:12 pm

      The former children's librarian at my library used this book and the preschool crowd loved it. The cover illustration alone is hilarious.

  11. Reply Natalie November 11, 2012 at 5:19 am

    Our favorite Thanksgiving book is "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie" by Alison Jackson and Judy Schachner. My kids love it!

  12. Reply Lisa November 14, 2012 at 3:40 am

    The Thanksgiving books are the saddest display of holiday books at our library every year. Last week we tried Rivka's First Thanksgiving by Elsa Okon Rael and really enjoyed it. It's better suited for grade school kids, and my 4th grader liked it best of my three children.

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