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The Best Thanksgiving Read-Aloud Books

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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

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

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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 , 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

The Pilgrims of Plimoth

The Pilgrims of Plimoth

In a text that mirrors their language and thoughts, Marcia Sewall has masterfully recreated the coming of the pilgrims to the New World, and the daily flow of their days during the first years in the colony they called Plimoth.

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The Story of the Pilgrims

The Story of the Pilgrims

From the dangerous voyage across the Atlantic to the first harsh winter to the delicious Thanksgiving feast, all the excitement and wonder of the Pilgrims’ first year in America is captured in this vivid retelling that is perfect for the youngest historians.

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The First Thanksgiving

The First Thanksgiving

The Pilgrims called the celebration the Harvest Feast. The Pawtuxet Indians thought of it as the Green Corn Dance. But the first Thanksgiving was much more than that.

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The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving

The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving

Describes the voyage of the Mayflower and the difficulties encountered by the Pilgrims during their first year in the New World, and recounts how they celebrated their first harvest.

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Three Young Pilgrims

Three Young Pilgrims

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.

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The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower, or John Howland’s Good Fortune

The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower, or John Howland’s Good Fortune

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.

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Squanto’s Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving

Squanto’s Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving

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.

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On The Mayflower

On The Mayflower

Filled with full-color photographs of the Mayflower II, a thrilling story follows the adventures of William Small and Ellen Moore as they travel from England to America without their families.

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Tapenum’s Day: A Wampanoag Indian Boy In Pilgrim Times

Tapenum’s Day: A Wampanoag Indian Boy In Pilgrim Times

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.

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Samuel Eaton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy

Samuel Eaton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy

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!

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Sarah Morton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl

Sarah Morton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl

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.

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Pilgrim Chapter Books

Pilgrim Stories

Pilgrim Stories

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.

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Squanto, Friend Of The Pilgrims

Squanto, Friend Of The Pilgrims

This lovely biography tells about the life of Squanto the Wampanoag Indian who befriends the Pilgrims at Plymouth. Learn how he goes to London with some of the first English explorers, is sold into slavery in Spain, and finally returns to America where he meets the Pilgrims.

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The Landing of the Pilgrims

The Landing of the Pilgrims

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.

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The Thanksgiving Story

The Thanksgiving Story

In this festive Caldecott Honor–winning picture book, Alice Dalgiesh brings to life the origin of the Thanksgiving holiday for readers of all ages.

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Mary Of Plymouth: A Story of the Pilgrim Settlement

Mary Of Plymouth: A Story of the Pilgrim Settlement

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.

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Other Fun Thanksgiving Stories


Sharing the Bread: An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving Story

Sharing the Bread: An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving Story

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.

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A Turkey for Thanksgiving

A Turkey for Thanksgiving

Mr. and Mrs. Moose invite all their animal friends for Thanksgiving dinner and the only one missing is Turkey. When they set out to find him, Turkey is quaking with fear because he doesn't realize that his hosts want him at their table, not on it.

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An Outlaw Thanksgiving

An Outlaw Thanksgiving

Illustrated in the author's trademark style, this heartwarming story is based on a real Thanksgiving banquet given in Brown's Hole, Utah, in the 1890s by the infamous outlaw Butch Cassidy and his gang.

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Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade

Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade

Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade: Who first invented these "upside-down puppets"? Meet Tony Sarg, puppeteer extraordinaire!

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Pilgrim Cat

Pilgrim Cat

When young Pilgrim Faith Barrett discovers a stray cat on the Mayflower, she names her new friend Pounce. Together they face the long, cramped voyage and the perils of the first winter at the Plymouth colony.

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The At-a-Glance Booklist

Did you know you can always access the most up-to-date Thanksgiving booklist in our Book Finder?

From the navigation bar, click Book Finder > Holidays + Seasons > Thanksgiving. We’ve also populated all of the Thanksgiving books below for an at-a-glance list.

Thanksgiving
Pilgrim Stories
The Landing of the Pilgrims
The Thanksgiving Story
Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade
Squanto, Friend Of The Pilgrims
Samuel Eaton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy
Tapenum’s Day: A Wampanoag Indian Boy In Pilgrim Times
On The Mayflower
The Pilgrims of Plimoth
Squanto’s Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving
Sarah Morton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl
Mary Of Plymouth: A Story of the Pilgrim Settlement
Sharing the Bread: An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving Story
A Turkey for Thanksgiving
An Outlaw Thanksgiving
The Story of the Pilgrims
The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving
The First Thanksgiving
Three Young Pilgrims
The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower, or John Howland’s Good Fortune
Pilgrim Cat
Over the River and Through the Wood
Thanksgiving Is Here!
If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620
N.C. Wyeth’s Pilgrims
Thanksgiving in the Woods
Thanksgiving at the Tappletons’
Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving
Cranberry Thanksgiving
Give Thanks to the Lord
An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving
Sarah Gives Thanks: How Thanksgiving Became a National Holiday
Thanksgiving Is . . .
Thanks for Thanksgiving
Giving Thanks: Poems, Prayers, and Praise Songs of Thanksgiving

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