Each year during the week before Thanksgiving, my children and I enjoy a unit study on the Pilgrims. It’s so interesting to study that first Thanksgiving and what life was like for those early settlers.
While the unit study changes in a few ways as my children get older, we continue to read the same Thanksgiving books each year. They never grow old!
I’m frequently asked about my favorite books for various subjects and holidays, so I’m sharing our favorite Thanksgiving history books today! These books are just right for the elementary years, and several can even be used into early middle school.
Note: You can view all of Our Favorite Books in one spot. So go browse, and then reserve them at your library!
🦃 Make sure you browse through all of the Thanksgiving Worksheets and hands-on printable activities here at Mama’s Learning Corner! You will find Thanksgiving Worksheets for Kindergarten and 1st Grade, matching games, word searches, Pilgrims worksheets, and more!
Our Favorite Thanksgiving Books
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Most of these picture books are on our bookshelves, and several we check out from the library each year!
When my children and I read about the early years in America and the First Thanksgiving, it make us feel much gratitude for our own current condition.
Use these Thanksgiving picture books to spark conversations about giving thanks for our many blessings this season, both big and small.
If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 by Ann McGovern
My children love that this book is written in a question & answer format. The questions about that infamous voyage are interesting for readers of all ages (including mom!).
My kids also enjoy the illustrations, many of which are amusing!
The pages can be a bit dense, so we only read 2-4 questions each day. This is a great book to read bit by bit.
Squanto’s Journey by Joseph Bruchae
This is another book that describes the First Thanksgiving, however it’s told from Squanto’s point of view.
This is a fascinating read and my children often choose this one first!
The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving by Ann McGovern
Ann McGovern is an author that I turn to often when searching for quality history books. (See my first selection in this post!)
The story of the first Thanksgiving feast is told in a simple, child-friendly way.
My children adore the detailed pictures in this book. They like to pretend that they are children at that first Thanksgiving!
If You Were at the First Thanksgiving by Anne Kamma
This book is also written in the question & answer style that my children find so appealing!
– What did the Pilgrims eat during the first Thanksgiving dinner?
As a teacher/mama, I also enjoy this Q&A style. It makes it easy to find a stopping point if you only want to read small sections each day.
The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh
The First Thanksgiving is told using the Hopkins family and their journey across the ocean, including the birth of Oceanus (born at sea!).
This is an easy-to-read chapter book that makes a great addition to our Thanksgiving studies.
The Story of the Pilgrims by Katherine Ross
A simple retelling of the First Thanksgiving: voyage in the Mayflower, the first harsh winter, and more.
If You Lived in Colonial Times by Ann McGovern
While this book is not specific to the First Thanksgiving, we always read it with our Thanksgiving unit study.
The descriptions of the settlers’ way of life and their daily activities add so much to our studies!