25 Thanksgiving Books for Kids That Are Cute and Culturally Responsive

written by OJUS PATEL

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Source: Alexandra Pagar-Wolf
Source: Alexandra Pagar-Wolf

As an adult, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. But, as the daughter of immigrants who were new to America, I never felt like we were doing it “right” as a child. Holidays and traditions, regardless of their most wholesome intents, sometimes have an exclusionary factor about them: some part of the story is always left untold.

As kids, we learned the story of Thanksgiving from a very privileged perspective. Now, as adults, we’re learning that much of what we learned has not been the entire truth. There is not much we can do to change the things we were taught. However, what is within our grasp is how we approach these topics without our little ones. As Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

As a mother, this has become a driving force in my parenting. Now that I know better, I want to do better. And in many ways, this means relearning the things I thought I knew. So when I look for books for my kids for any and every occasion (seriously, cannot stop with the books), I try to consider the perspectives that might be missing from the conversation.

As for our collection of Thanksgiving books for kids, we have adorable, fun stories about friendship and sharing and turkey. We have warm, comforting stories about gratefulness and giving thanks. And we have sobering, perspective-shifting stories about how people different from us think, feel, and live. And though one of my favorite things is teaching my kids, what I love even more is learning right alongside them. Read on for 25 Thanksgiving books for kids that are both cute and culturally responsive.

Thanksgiving Board Books

thanksgiving books
Rose Rossner
You’re the Apple of My Pie

A punny and charming story for your little munchkin that uses endearing plays on words related to fall and Thanksgiving food. From acorns to apple cider, get ready to express your love in sweet, silly, and festive ways!

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Roger Priddy
Bright Baby: Happy Thanksgiving

This sturdy board book introduces simple Thanksgiving words with fun images—perfect for the tiniest readers.

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Deborah Diesen
Be Thankful, Pout-Pout Fish

Pout-Pout Fish is a toddler favorite, and this super cute story is just the right length for young readers.

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thanksgiving books
Monique Gray Smith
My Heart Fills with Happiness

While it’s not deliberately about Thanksgiving, this lovely story centers around Indigenous children and families, and the everyday moments that inspire joy. It’s an inclusive and heartwarming way to give homage to Thanksgiving’s theme of gratitude.

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Alyssa Satin Capucilli
Biscuit Is Thankful

Biscuit introduces the concept of being thankful in a way that is accessible for tiny tots.

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Karen Katz
Where Is Baby's Turkey?

Karen Katz's books are always a hit with babies, and this lift-the-flap one is sure to be no different.

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H.A. Rey
Happy Thanksgiving, Curious George

George takes on all of the usual aspects of Thanksgiving, giving it the curious twist that only George can.

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thanksgiving books
Cindy Jin
Five Little Thank-Yous

Two of the most important words we can hope to teach our children as early as possible. An adorable diversity of little characters help guide our littles on where they can see blessings shining in their lives.

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Anna Dewdney
Llama Llama Gives Thanks

Llama Llama introduces Thanksgiving with short and simple rhyming text and focuses on being grateful.

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Turkey-Day Picture Books

Eileen Spinelli

Thankful combines charming rhymes and whimsical illustrations to convey the importance of being thankful for everyday blessings.

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thanksgiving books
Eugenia Chu and Y.Y. Chan
Celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival

A gentle story that expands childrens’ notion of holidays honored in the fall by introducing them to the vibrant tradition of this Asian holiday. Besides expressing the magic, history, and togetherness of the occasion–which of course, parallels Thanksgiving–it shares festival activities that you can explore and enjoy together as a family.

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Phyllis Alsdurf
Thanksgiving in the Woods

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 and friendship.

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Melissa Sweet
Balloons Over Broadway

This book tells the story of the puppeteer, Tony Sarg, who inspired the helium balloons that would become the trademark of Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.

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Cara Ashrose
The Very First Americans

Long before Columbus landed in America, hundreds of groups of people had already made their homes here. You may have heard of some of them—like the Sioux, Hopi, and Seminole. But where did they live? What did they eat? How did they have fun? And where are they today?

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Cynthia Rylant
In November

In November, the air grows cold, and the earth and its creatures prepare for winter. Animals seek food and shelter. And people gather together to celebrate their blessings with family and friends.

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Karel Hayes
The Autumn Visitors

In this book, a bear family experiences the adventures of fall, including a county fair, Halloween, and Thanksgiving.

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thanksgiving books
Adam Wallace
How to Catch a Turkey

It’s not as barbaric as it sounds! This story will get littles giggling as they follow along with the tale of a turkey who sparks silly chaos as it runs loose through a school. Will the students be able to put on their Thanksgiving play, or is it the turkey who steals the show?

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Dave Horowitz
The Ugly Pumpkin

This charming tale about a pumpkin who doesn't quite fit in on Halloween will entice children and adults alike with its unexpected ending.

board book also available

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Karma Wilson
Bear Says Thanks

The playful text and charming illustrations bring this celebration of family and friendship to life.

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Chief Jake Swamp
Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message

Giving Thanks is a special children's version of the Thanksgiving Address, a message of gratitude that originated with the Native people of upstate New York and Canada and is still spoken at ceremonial gatherings held by the Iroquois, or Six Nations. It's a beautiful book written and illustrated by Indigenous peoples.

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thanksgiving books
Sheri Wall
I Am Thankful

There are never too many messages of gratitude to be shared, whether around Thanksgiving or any day. Join relatable, diverse characters who model the abundance of possibilities for giving thanks. Not only does the entire storybook rhyme, but there are happy thankfulness activities and crafts included at the end!

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Traci Sorell
We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga

Beginning in the fall with the new year and ending in summer, follow a full Cherokee year of celebrations and experiences. Written by a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, this look at one group of Native Americans is appended with a glossary and the complete Cherokee syllabary, originally created by Sequoyah.

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Jacqueline Jules
Duck for Turkey Day

It's almost Thanksgiving, and Tuyet is excited about the holiday and the vacation from school. There's just one problem: her Vietnamese American family is having duck for Thanksgiving dinner—not turkey! Kids from all families with different traditions will enjoy this warm story about "the right way" to celebrate an American holiday.

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Barbara Cohen
Molly's Pilgrim

The touching story tells how recent immigrant Molly leads her third-grade class to discover that it takes all kinds of pilgrims to make a Thanksgiving.

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Pat Mora
Gracias / Thanks

In a series of poetic sentences, a young multiracial boy tells about some of the everyday things for which he is thankful.

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The Cutest Thanksgiving Pajamas for Babies and Kids
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