One of my favorite ways to prepare for Thanksgiving and foster an atmosphere of cherished memories is by reading books about it with my kids. When we gather together, snuggled on the sofa to read Thanksgiving stories, the spirit of the holiday comes alive in each of us. These stories create a shared culture, one that holds meaning for each of us. Here are our 7 Favorite Thanksgiving Homeschool Read Aloud Books.
If you are looking for more book suggestions to help your kids learn about this holiday, you may enjoy reading The Trust Thanksgiving Story Book List for Kids.
Video: 7 Favorite Thanksgiving Homeschool Read Aloud Books
7 Favorite Thanksgiving Homeschool Read Aloud Books
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#1 Sleep Tight, Farm: A Farm Prepares For Winter by Eugene Doyle, Illustrated by Becca Stadtlander
In this adorable book, a farm brings in the harvest and prepares for the cold winter ahead. The owners gather the root vegetables, tuck the hens in for winter, cover the strawberries and hoop house, chop the firewood. They stock the farm stand and string the holiday lights. They put each part of the farm to bed as it prepares for the darker, colder days of winter. Although Thanksgiving is not mentioned, the themes of harvest and preparation for winter rest are the highlights of this story. This illustrations in Sleep Tight, Farm are lovely. You get the feel of what it would really be like to live on a farm in this season of the year.
#2 Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin
This story takes place near a cranberry bog in New England. A young girl and her grandmother prepare for Thanksgiving day. They gather wood for the fire and of course, make Grandmother’s famous cranberry bread. Grandmother tells Maggie to “invite someone poor and lonely.” But she is taken aback when Mr. Whiskers shows up Thanksgiving day as Maggie’s guest. Grandma suspects that the rough Mr. Whiskers (“too many whiskers and not enough soap!”, as Grandma describes him) might try to steal her famous cranberry bread recipe! In a unique turn of events, Mr. Whiskers saves the day by recovering the stolen cranberry bread recipe. They finish the Thanksgiving evening by eating pumpkin pie together by the fire.
My kids love this warming story. They ask me to read it again and again. You can even try making Grandmother’s Famous Cranberry Bread by following the recipe on the back cover of the book.
#3 Sarah Morton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl by Kate Watters
This book gives a snapshot of the daily life of a pilgrim girl living in the Plimouth colony. Photographs for the book are taken from the Plymouth Plantation History Museum. You can follow Sarah (an actual pilgrim girl mentioned in several journals) through her day. Watch her milk the goats, get dressed, prepare Indian Cornbread, tend the fire, and recite her lesson to her father. As you read this story, your kids will gain new understanding of the hard work pilgrim children did every day in early American settlements just to survive. It just might help them be a little more thankful for everyday conveniences!
#4 Over the River and Through the Wood | A Thanksgiving Poem by Lydia Maria Child, Illustrated With Woodcuts by Christopher Manson
What is Thanksgiving without reading the classic poem Over the River and Through the Wood?! I love reading this original poem to my kids every year. The end of this book includes sheet music to play and/or sing the song with your kids. This version contains six of the twelve original verses of the poem.
I especially love the woodcut illustrations of Christopher Manson. Lovely pictures of horse and sleigh, children ice-skating on a pond, snowy farm scenes, and more depict the old world style of earlier days.
This poem is a yearly must read!
#5 A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting, Illustrated by Diane de Groat
This is a perfect book for younger kids. In this story, Mr. and Mrs. Moose are preparing for Thanksgiving dinner. They plan the place settings, pull out the candles, and paper pilgrims. Only one thing is missing! A turkey! In an effort to please his wife, Mr. Moose sets off to find Mrs. Moose a turkey for Thanksgiving.
Along the way, he meets several of the animal guests who follow him to help him on his quest of finding Mr. Turkey. When Mr. Turkey is found, he is frightened and hides! He doesn’t want to go anywhere for Thanksgiving! The animals drag him against his will to the home of Mr. Moose. To Turkey’s surprise, he has been invited as a guest, not as the meal. He remarks to Mrs. Moose how pleased he is to be “AT the table, and not ON the table.” Little children get a kick out of this story when they see that Turkey gets to enjoy the meal with all of his friends.
#6 Sarah Gives Thanks by Mike Allegra, Illustrated by David Gardner
This book tells the inspiring true story of Sara Josepha Hale, a widowed mother of five. After her husband’s death, she earns a living with her pen by becoming editress of a popular lady’s magazine. During this time in history, Thanksgiving was a holiday mostly celebrated in the New England states, where the Massachusetts colony originated, but Sarah thought Thanksgiving should be celebrated nationally. She wrote letters to the president every year. Four presidents ignored her petitions, but the fifth president, Abraham Lincoln, listened to Sarah. In the aftermath of the Civil War, Lincoln agreed that celebrating Thanksgiving as a nation would help bring people together. He declared Thanksgiving to be a national holiday in his 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation. Finally, Sarah’s dream was realized.
This story gives some unknown insight to the history of Thanksgiving through the decades. Additionally, it inspires young writers to persevere and make their stories known.
#7 An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott
I have saved the best for last. I confess that this is my absolute favorite of all on our list!! While the other books above are picture books, this one is a short story. It can be read in one sitting, but we usually take the Monday through Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day to read it in sections.
This story begins by introducing the a New England family, the Bassetts and their eight children, as they prepare the farm and food for Thanksgiving Day. All the food preparation is coming along nicely when suddenly bad news whisks mother and father away. The children must manage the the house and cooking themselves for the important event. The day is full of old family stories, cooking blunders, and unexpected events, but mother is pleased to return to a beautiful meal all put together by her children.
This tale is brimming with rich vocabulary. As you read, you may have to stop and explain a word here or there as some of the language is older English. Even so, the story is easy to read and follow. This book is geared for middle and older age kids, but younger kids will still enjoy sitting in on this reading.
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I hope our 7 Favorite Thanksgiving Homeschool Read Aloud Books has inspired you! What are your favorite Thanksgiving books to read aloud to your kids? Share them with others in the comments below. I love hearing from other homeschool moms!
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Hi, I’m Sheri! I am a Christian saved by grace, married to my high school sweetheart, and a thankful mom to ten incredible kids. I’m a former public school teacher who never thought I would someday be a homeschool mom! Drawing on 13+ years of homeschooling experience, follow along to find help for getting started, tried and true homeschooling advice, life skills learning, simple Morning Time ideas, and interviews with everyday homeschool moms just like you!
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