12 Uplifting Thanksgiving Picture Books for the Whole Family

Gather the family around for these beautiful Thanksgiving picture books.

Thanksgiving is the perfect time of year for read-alouds as a family. These picture books provide lots of meaningful moments you can share with the ones you love.

Plus, early readers will enjoy looking at the pictures and exploring the story on their own or with others.

Thanksgiving Picture Books

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The Berenstain Bears and the Prize Pumpkin by Stan & Jan Berenstain

It’s easy to get swept up in the thrill of competition, but is winning all that really matters? The Berenstain Bears learn an important lesson in this book. Plus it includes lots of fun stickers!

Other great Berenstain Bears books for this season is the Harvest Festival and the lift-the-flap book Thanksgiving All Around.

Franklin’s Thanksgiving by Paulette Bourgeois & Brenda Clark

I love this book for the amazing sense of community presented in the plot. While Franklin is sad that his grandparents aren’t joining him for Thanksgiving this year, his house is still full of family, friends, and love. What a touching way to show that Thanksgiving brings people together.

Thankful by Eileen Spinelli and Archie Preston

This book is so beautifully illustrated and so wonderfully written, it’s the perfect family read-aloud. It reminds us to not take our blessings for granted and even focuses on the everyday people that keep our lives running smoothly.

Please be aware that there is a page with a pastor who mentions God. While the book is not overtly Christian/religious, I’ve seen some non-religious people be upset by the reference.

My Heart Fills With Happiness by Monique Gray Smith and Julie Flett

A great book for so many reasons. First, for us Canadians, this is one of ours. (You’ll even see a reference to bannock in there!) Even better, though, is that this version is bilingual with both English and Plains Cree.

Although it’s not explicitly about Thanksgiving, talking about being mindful and cherishing the beautiful everyday moments is great for this time of year.

The Night Before Thanksgiving by Natasha Wing and Tammie Lyon

Written in a similar style to the classic “Night Before Christmas,” this depicts a family working together to get everything ready for Thanksgiving.

Like Franklin, this book really shows the togetherness of Thanksgiving, though it focuses more on coming together as a family. It’s great for talking about your own family’s traditions and how you can work together, plus it builds in a nice pause to talk about what you’re thankful for.

Being Thankful by Mercer Mayer

Sometimes it’s hard to be thankful because you’re too focused on what you DON’T have than what you do. Little Critter learns this lesson as he sees that being thankful will always make you happier overall. A great message for kids of all ages!

Duck for Turkey Day by Jacqueline Jules and Kathryn Mitter

Being someone who’s not a big fan of eating turkey, I love this story. Tuyet is horrified to learn that her Vietnamese American family will be eating duck – not turkey – for Thanksgiving. Not only is she able to enjoy her holiday despite her misgivings, but she comes to learn that there’s not one particular way you have to have Thanksgiving. A great book for diversity!

Pete the Cat Falling for Autumn by Kimberly & James Dean

Initially sad about the end of summer, Pete the Cat explores everything that makes autumn so beautiful. This is a great book for the beginning of fall and the transition to Thanksgiving! I also love that it comes with a poster, Thanksgiving cards, and stickers.

Giving Thanks: More Than 100 Ways to Say Thank You by Ellen Surrey

Not only does this book help teach children what it means to be thankful, it gives practical ideas that kids can do to show their gratitude. It also shows some fun but slightly less doable ideas, like giving someone a rocket, which I think are very creative and helps keep the kids attention throughout the book.

Feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell

Though this book isn’t explicitly about Thanksgiving, it does feature a beautiful family coming together to prepare a feast.

It’s a wonderful counting story featuring beautiful, bright images. It provides lots of rich learning opportunities for your wee ones and makes a great read-aloud.

Thank You, Sarah by Laurie Halse Anderson and Matt Faulkner

A little-known part of American history involving the story of Sarah Hale. Through her perseverance, she got the attention of Abraham Lincoln and helped make Thanksgiving the national holiday it is now. Read about this “dainty little lady” and her amazing work.

Thanksgiving at the Tappletons’ by Eileen Spinelli and Maryann Cocca-Leffler

Nothing goes right for the Tappletons this Thanksgiving. This book is hilarious and highlights some of our worst fears, right down to the turkey going “plop! splash!” in a pond.

In the end, we’re reminded that even if the entire feast goes wrong, Thanksgiving is a whole lot more meaningful than just the food we eat. A very hilarious book with a very touching message.


We really hope you liked our list! Let us know in the comments if your family has any favourite Thanksgiving picture books.

Make sure you also check out our list of Thanksgiving board books for some more wonderful Thanksgiving books. If you’re looking for books for older kids, we also have a list of Thanksgiving books for preteens to help deepen their understanding of gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving!

An image with fall leaves and the words "give thanks"

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