Looking for the best Thanksgiving books for preschool? Check out our favorites!
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COUNTDOWN TO THANKSGIVING
The time leading up to Thanksgiving can be so much fun for preschoolers! It’s a wonderful time to help them cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Plus there are so many ways to encourage learning through play with printable learning activities, sensory bins, and of course…books!
Below are some of our favorite Thanksgiving books for preschoolers that you can read at home or in your classroom. Because we have SO many favorites, I’ve divided them up into three categories: Turkey Books, Thankful Books, and Thanksgiving Dinner Books. Hopefully this keeps the list a little more organized for you!
Although we love reading about Thanksgiving, I did not include any books on this list that talk about the first Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, most books do not accurately reflect what really happened to the Native Americans when the Pilgrims came to America, and this can be a tricky subject to talk about with preschoolers. In addition, many Native American tribes recognize Thanksgiving as a Day of Mourning to remember the way their land and freedom was taken away.
Before deciding which books to read for Thanksgiving, I encourage you to research more about this topic. In my class, I choose to focus on Thanksgiving as a time of gratitude and to share what we’re thankful for, plus we love reading books about silly turkeys!
TURKEY BOOKS FOR PRESCHOOL
Turkey Trouble: Here’s a super fun book about a turkey trying to hide from the farmer!. In this story, Turkey tries to disguise himself with different animals, but he’s always found easily. In the end, Turkey comes up with a great plan for Thanksgiving dinner that everyone is happy with…pizza!
10 Fat Turkeys: This is a great rhyming book that also helps preschoolers practice counting down from 10 until 0. There are 10 turkeys sitting on a fence, and each page shows one turkey falling off! Preschoolers will love how silly this book is, from one turkey riding roller-skates to another turkey swinging from a vine. They’re be sure to get a kick out of it! *If you love this book, check out these activities we’ve paired with it to bring it to life!*
Run, Turkey, Run: Thanksgiving is only one day away…can Turkey find a place to hide from the farmer?! Preschoolers will love watching Turkey try to hide in many different places, such as with the pigs, the ducks, and the horses. They’ll be cheering him on and encouraging him to “Run, Turkey, run!!”
The Very Stuffed Turkey: This is the most adorable book about a turkey that is invited to five different Thanksgiving dinners–and eats his fill at all of them! It has a super sweet message about belonging & spending time with friends, and it’s perfect for this time of year.
How to Catch a Turkey: These “How To Catch” books are so much fun! In this version, Turkey is supposed to be on stage with the kids putting on a play about Thanksgiving…but he runs away because he has stage fright! The kids, teachers, and principal all chase after him, but no one can catch him. Finally, after causing quite the mess, he ends up back on stage…and he loves it! Everyone cheers for him and he realizes he LOVES being on stage! Such a fun twist to this series.
Five Flying Turkeys: This book follows the same pattern as the classic Halloween poem Five Little Pumpkins. In this edition, the five turkeys are trying to fly away before the Pilgrims catch them…but it’s too late! Luckily, the Pilgrims just want to be friends with them and invite them to a feast.
The Great Turkey Race: Ollie, Wing, & Cassie are competing against each other to be named the Thanksgiving Turkey…only they don’t realize what being the Thanksgiving Turkey really means. Luckily, they figure it out before it’s too late…and the farmers end up eating a delicious vegetable stew for Thanksgiving dinner! (There are two more books in this series, too!)
There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Turkey: We love the “There Was an Old Woman” books! They are so silly and fun, plus they’re great for working on memory and rhymes. In this edition, there was an old lady who swallowed a turkey…”I don’t know why she swallowed the turkey, but she’s always been quirky!”
THANKFUL BOOKS FOR PRESCHOOL
Bear Says Thanks: Bear is alone and bored in his cave, so he decides he wants to make a feast and invite his friends. But the only problem is that his cupboards are bare! Luckily, his friends come bringing treats and goodies, and they all have a wonderful feast together.
Thankful: This is our favorite book to read at the beginning of November to help us set our intentions for the month. It’s a sweet rhyming book about all the things different people are thankful for, such as the artist being thankful for color and light, and the traveler being thankful for a cozy hotel. Another great story to spark a discussion about gratitude and thankfulness.
Thanks for Thanksgiving: This is another rhyming story that shares different things to be thankful for, such as the gold leaves floating by, school, music, dancing, and art! The illustrations are colorful, and there’s a place at the end to write what you’re thankful for.
The Thankful Book: We love Todd Parr books, and this one is no exception! This story reminds us there are so many things to be thankful for, like our hair because it makes us unique, and our pets because they keep us warm. The classic Todd Parr illustrations are colorful and unique, and the story will spark a great discussion about gratitude.
THANKSGIVING DINNER BOOKS FOR PRESCHOOL
This is the Turkey: This story tells all about a family getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner. But when an accident sends the turkey flying into the fish tank, everyone is reminded that the turkey doesn’t make Thanksgiving special…it’s spending time with people you love!
The Night Before Thanksgiving: “Twas the night before Thanksgiving, and all through the nation, families got ready for the big celebration.” This story is part of the classic “The Night Before” book series, which is based on the iconic story, “The Night Before Christmas.” We love this series since it’s a fun way to get excited for a holiday. This specific version talks about getting prepared for Thanksgiving, including watching the parade and having family arrive from out of town.
The 12 Days of Thanksgiving: This book is based on the classic Christmas song, “The 12 Days of Christmas.” The pattern in this book says, “On the first day of Thanksgiving, I was thankful for…” and then it lists what the family is thankful for. Some examples include an evening at home with family, two sacks of apples, and three fall squash. It’s a fun way to get excited for Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving: This nonfiction book uses real photographs to talk about different ways families celebrate this holiday, including watching a parade, eating a big dinner, and taking a nap!
I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie: This is just like the song “There was an old lady who swallowed a fly,” and it is just as silly and fun! The old lady in this story eats A LOT for Thanksgiving dinner, and is finally stuffed at the end!
Sharing the Bread: An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving Story: This rhyming story tells about a Thanksgiving from the old days. The illustrations will transport you back to a simpler, slower-paced time, and it would be fun to use as a way to compare and contrast Thanksgivings from the past to Thanksgiving today.
Duck for Turkey Day: I absolutely love this story because it reminds kids that not everyone celebrates holidays in the same way. Tuyet’s family is Vietnemse, and they eat duck on Thanksgiving, not turkey. Tuyet is feeling very sad about this…even though she loves eating duck, she feels like she’s “supposed to” eat turkey. After a wonderful Thanksgiving with her family, she heads back to school and tells her teacher she ate duck for Thanksgiving, not turkey. Then other kids in her class shared what they ate…noodles and chicken, lamp, roast beef, enchiladas, and tofu turkey. Her teacher reminds her that it doesn’t matter what you eat on Thanksgiving, as long as you have a good time with family and friends.
Who Will Carve the Turkey This Thanksgiving? This creative story is perfect for November and is guaranteed to make your little one laugh! The little boy in this story wonders, “Who will carve the turkey on Thanksgiving?” He goes through a list of options, including a saber-toothed tiger, a tyrannosaurus rex, and a shark! In the end, the little boy realizes the perfect person to carve the turkey is his grandpa, just like every year.
If you’re planning on reading books about turkeys, then you should definitely make this adorable turkey-themed snack! You can read the directions for making this snack (along with a few other fun turkey ideas) on this post!
Need a fun turkey-themed freebie to use with your preschoolers? Then make sure you download these FREE Turkey Numbers. Click here to read more about them and grab a copy for your kiddos!
THANKSGIVING MATH & LITERACY PRINTABLES
I hope this book list helped you fill-in your Thanksgiving lesson plans for your preschool classroom or homeschool. If you want an entire pack of printable math & literacy centers for this theme, check out my Thanksgiving Preschool Activity Pack.
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