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Read Aloud Thursday–Thanksgiving Books


I will be the first to admit that I usually don’t realize any given holiday is creeping up on us until it’s almost the day of.  That makes planning ahead for read-alouds pretty difficult, especially when one relies on the library (as we do) for most of one’s books.  However, this year, I’m on top of things!  Granted, Thanksgiving is my favorite of the fall/winter holidays (‘though I do LOVE Christmas), so I’m less likely to overlook this one.  Plus, I don’t get too up in the air over that holiday we just had, so I have time to snatch up the Thanksgiving books while everyone else is still looking for ghosts, pumpkins, and all manner of other scary creatures.  Here are a few of the Thanksgiving books we’ve enjoyed so far:

I picked up Thanksgiving Wish by Michael J. Rosen without so much as even a glance inside, basing my judgment of it solely on its cover (I know, I know).  Can I just say it has been a winner?  It’s a longish story, so it’s better for older kids than younger, but even Louise has sat through it multiple times.  Lulu has requested it at least three times in the week or so that we’ve had it.  Thanksgiving Wish is the story of Mandy and her extended family and their first Thanksgiving without their beloved Bubbe.  Bubbe, a traditional Jewish grandmother, worked on her Thanksgiving meal for weeks, perfecting all the dishes and cooking all of them herself.  By the time the family gathered, she had the entire meal prepared, and she had even accumulated enough wishbones from the various birds she had cooked over the past year to have a wishbone for each of the grandchildren.  This year, though, is the first Thanksgiving since Bubbe’s unexpected death, and everything is different.  Of course, they don’t know how different it will be until everyone arrives at Mandy’s new house (which is actually an old house with an equally old electrical system), and they have to scramble to modify their plans.  However, through all the changes, they also make some new friends and discover the importance of traditions.  This one is a tearjerker, but then, what book about Thanksgiving isn’t?  Highly recommended! 

I’m beginning to detect a theme among the Thanksgiving books we’ve read so far, and it has been entirely unintentional.  We read Molly’s Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen today after lunch.  If you’re unfamiliar with this very popular Thanksgiving story, it’s about a little girl named Molly, an  immigrant from Russia to America who also happens to be Jewish.  Molly is picked on at school for her differences (has anyone besides me ever noticed how frequently this is presented as a theme in books about school?), and the situation only worsens when Molly brings to school a “pilgrim” doll her mother has made to fulfill Molly’s school assignment. Of course, the “pilgrim” looks like Molly’s mother–a real pilgrim from Russia who came to America in search of religious freedom.  The wise teacher, of course, turns the tables on the bullying girls and teaches them a gentle lesson.  Yet another tearjerker.

So far we’ve gotten most of our historical information about Thanksgiving from Let’s Celebrate Thanksgiving by Peter and Connie Roop.  This informational book has several pages of background information about the first Thanksgiving, the Separatists, the Mayflower, etc.  Interspersed with the historical information are jokes, riddles, facts, and even a craft.  The illustrations by Gwen Connelly are cartoonish but still respectful.  (Does that make sense?)  Although this book does NOT discuss Thanksgiving as a time of being thankful to God, over all I think it provides a fairly balanced view of Thanksgiving and leaves plenty of room for discussion.  We have read a page or two a day this week and the girls, Lulu especially, have really enjoyed it.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving books?  I’ve decided that I need to start my own collection.  I have a few (which I’ll try to highlight in a couple of weeks), but I need more!  What do you consider a can’t-be-missed Thanksgiving story?  We have these on the way (thanks to The Corresondent’s review and PaperbackSwap!) and I hope to purchase this one and this one within the next week so we can maximize our enjoyment and learning before the actual holiday!  Please share your favorite title(s) in the comments!

Oh, and don’t forget to link up your own Read Aloud Thursday post below!  🙂

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10 Responses

  1. I’ve never focused our reading that much around any holiday but Christmas, though I always realize too late that I should. I appreciate these suggestions!

    I’m familiar with the books the Correspondent recommends, and my eldest has really enjoyed them too. We’ve read some others from the library recently related to the pilgrims in general, but the only Thanksgiving one permanently on our shelves is Ann McGovern’s ‘The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving,’ a relic of my own childhood.

    • Somehow I’ve missed Ann McGovern’s book. (Is it the same Ann McGovern who is or was the governor of Texas? I’m woefully behind on politics, and I may have the name wrong, but it rings a bell.)

  2. Squanto is on my list to buy as well (and the hardback of that one is on sale for $4.00 at Amazon right now!) I have P is for Pilgrim and we love it. I also blogged a book we’ve been reading today and I’ll link it up (hoping that you will forgive me because I forgot my read-aloud Thursday graphic!) 🙂

    PS. We finished Tumtum and Nutmeg on Tuesday this week! N1 asked if we could turn around and start over again so I consider that book a HUGE success with her! 🙂

    • I have my shopping cart almost ready to click “buy” at Amazon! 🙂 I’m just waiting to see what else is suggested here and to make up my mind about some easy, easy readers for Lulu. (The Nora Gaydos books–have you used them?)

      Tumtum and Nutmeg–oh my goodness! My girls LOVED it!!! I can’t wait to share next week. I’ll admit I was taken by surprise by the last little bit of the last story, though. . . 😉

  3. I’m back this week! And I DO have a tiny stack of Thanksgiving books that I was going to post on soon. One thing I discovered last year was that everyone in town goes and raids the library for their holiday books and I never found a single title for us to read. So this year I started our home collection for Thanksgiving and I’m adding to our stuff on Christmas. P is for Pilgrim is a good one. And then we picked up a copy of The Pilgrim’s FIrst Thanksgiving (mentioned above) which is a scholastic book.


    And just in case Mr. Linky wasn’t working (I’m dazed and confused) here is the link to my post:


  4. I hated I couldn’t participate this week! I’m glad you enjoyed the other books I posted, though. Thanks for the Thanksgiving Wish recommendation and the Molly’s Pilgrim reminder.

  5. We own a copy of the picture book Give Thanks to the Lord by Karma Wilson and read it every Thanksgiving. As the kids grow older, I’m sure we’ll try the titles you mentioned.

  6. I requested a bunch of Thanksgiving books early this year so we would actually have some good ones to read this year. I really should start buying a few too so we can have our own collection of Thanksgiving books.

  7. I have written a post on my early literacy blog, togethertime4families, about Thanksgiving books for young children. They are arranged into categories of historical, thankfulness and general topics.

    Reading these books before the holiday gives children time to think and learn more about the upcoming day. Reading provides background information letting children know what to expect. As a result, I believe they are more inclined to be involved, understand and appreciate the holiday /celebration.

  8. […] a follow-up to the Read Aloud Thursday post from two weeks ago, I wanted to share a few more of the Thanksgiving books we’ve been enjoying.  We […]

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