Inside: The Best Thanksgiving Read-Aloud Books
Thanksgiving brings to mind images of a bountiful feast featuring a beautiful roasted turkey, plates piled high with homemade dressing, a variety of yummy side dishes, and many kinds of pie.
Along the way, stories about the Mayflower and the life of the Pilgrims in Plymouth get a little lost in all of the feasting and celebrating (and seconds on pie). Consider taking some time this season to gather and read about the real-life experiences behind the holiday.
The Best Thanksgiving Read-Aloud Books
This Thanksgiving, take your children on the Pilgrims’ challenging journey across the Atlantic. Experience the sacrifices and choices made when settling the New World. Help your children understand the perseverance required to survive and to appreciate the impact of those who helped them. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on those things.
Pilgrims in Plymouth
There are many books available about the Pilgrims and the story of the first Thanksgiving. However, we chose some of our favorites to highlight.
You’ll find picture books and chapter books to walk you through the Pilgrims’ life in England, their voyage of the Mayflower, and their real life on Plymouth Plantation.
Many of the books below draw from the actual accounts of people who sailed to the New World on the Mayflower. Several reference Of Plymouth Plantation (affiliate), which was written by William Bradford and recounts the entire Pilgrim story.
Other Fun Ones, Too
We couldn’t only include Pilgrim books with so many other fun Thanksgiving books out there. We included some really fun stories that children will want to hear over and over again. These include some sweet ones, some with animals, and a true one about Thanksgiving with Butch Cassidy. It’s a fun variety!
Pilgrim Picture Books
In these richly detailed pages, you'll meet three of the young Pilgrims who sailed on the Mayflower, Bartholomew, Remember, and Mary Allerton. When Bartholemew, Remember, and Mary Allerton and their parents first step down from the Mayflower after sixty days at sea, they never dream that life in the New World will be so hard.More info →
At a young age, John Howland learned what it meant to take advantage of an opportunity. Leaving the docks of London on the Mayflower as an indentured servant to Pilgrim John Carver, John Howland little knew that he was embarking on the adventure of a lifetime.More info →
In 1620 an English ship called the Mayflower landed on the shores inhabited by the Pokanoket, and it was Squanto who welcomed the newcomers and taught them how to survive. When a good harvest was gathered, the people feasted together--a tradition that continues almost four hundred years later.More info →
Chosen to become a special warrior prince in 1627, Tapenum prepares himself for the great honor by hunting, fishing, and sharing a day with friends and family, in a story that is complemented by photographs of Plymouth Plantation.More info →
Samuel Eaton is a young boy living in an early American settlement in the year 1627, and today is the day he will help with his first rye harvest!More info →
At sunup when the cockerel crows, young Sarah Morton's day begins. Come and join her as she goes about her work and play in an early American settlement in the year 1627.More info →
Pilgrim Chapter Books
In the early 1900s, Pumphrey, a primary school teacher, compiled stories from a number of original sources, including William Bradford's diary Of Plimouth Plantation and Edward Winslow's journal Good Newes from New England--stories of faith, courage, and joy that became the seeds of a great nation.More info →
In England in the early 1600s, everyone was forced to join the Church of England. Young William Bradford and his friends believed they had every right to belong to whichever church they wanted. In the name of religious freedom, they fled to Holland, then sailed to America to start a new life.More info →
The compelling and historically-accurate Mary of Plymouth, the tale of sixteen-year-old Mary, who sailed with over a hundred Pilgrims on the Mayflower to establish a colony in America.More info →
Other Fun Thanksgiving Stories
Celebrate food and family with this heartwarming Thanksgiving picture book. In this spirited ode to the holiday, set at the turn of the twentieth century, a large family works together to make their special meal. Mama prepares the turkey, Daddy tends the fire, Sister kneads, and Brother bastes. Everyone—from Grandma and Grandpa to the littlest baby—has a special job to do.More info →
Everyone’s a New Yorker on Thanksgiving Day, when young and old rise early to see what giant new balloons will fill the skies for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Who first invented these "upside-down puppets"? Meet Tony Sarg, puppeteer extraordinaire!More info →
Click this link to learn more about How We Choose Good Books for Children.