Fun and Educational Thanksgiving Books Plus Bonus Printables, Videos and Other Activities


I found these neat Thanksgiving printables at The Crafty Classroom.

I printed them out and can’t wait to use them this Thursday for our Thanksgiving table. It would be good to laminate them, but my laminator is still in a box. I’m going to tape the place mats to our old place mats that are shaped like turkeys.

The place cards have a conversation starting question or task for them to do, such as “Tell a silly story about yourself.” or “What are you thankful for?”.

We are getting pretty excited about Thanksgiving around here.

We have read “‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving”.

‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving

It was really funny. We all enjoyed it.

We also read “Thanksgiving at the Tappletons”.

Thanksgiving at the Tappletons

It was also really funny.

Some other good books to read in the days leading up to Thanksgiving:

Thanksgiving Day at Our House Kelsey’s favorite. She reads this to the younger kids every Thanksgiving.

Thelonius Turkey Lives Kelsey likes this story and the recipe at the end for Sweet Potato Casserole. There’s another recipe in it, too, for Thelonius’ Feather Cookies.

The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh – enough information to be interesting, story about the Hopkins family, but easy enough for younger readers to read. This is a chapter book and covers the main topics of the Pilgrims, Indians and the First Thanksgiving.

Pete the Cat and the First Thanksgiving This is a lift-the-flap book. I haven’t actually read it yet, but I like Pete the Cat’s other books, so I assume I will like this one, too.

The Story of the Pilgrims Introduction to the story for younger children.

If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 Informative, makes kids think about what it must have been like to be a Pilgrim.

Thanksgiving is for Giving Thanks Helps younger children understand why celebrate Thanksgiving – so we can give thanks! To God, for those of us who believe in Him. And to have a thankful attitude, in general.

The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving Good for ages 4-8, tells what it was like for Pilgrims in terms children can relate to, but describes hardships in a way they can handle.

Squanto’s Journey – lots of information about the details of Squanto’s life.

Sarah Morton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl – uses actual photographs of a 10 year old girl in period dress who reenacts Pilgrim life at reconstructed Plimoth Plantation.

Samuel Eaton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy Same format as Sarah Morton’s Day, but for boys!

Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving by Eric Metaxas – well-researched, historically accurate.

Another fun book to read is A Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin. The price for this at Amazon is ridiculous. I would get it at the library if it’s available. There are no copies available in our library system here. It is a very popular book. Here’s a summary of the story:

“Every year Grandmother invited a guest for Thanksgiving dinner and allowed Maggie to do the same. “Ask someone poor or lonely,” she always said. Thanksgiving was Grandmother’s favorite day of the year. The cooking was done and her famous cranberry bread was cooling on a wooden board. But she wasn’t happy to find out Maggie had invited the unsavory Mr. Whiskers to dinner. Would her secret cranberry bread recipe be safe with him in the house? After a long absence this delightful 1971 classic is back. So is Grandmother’s secret recipe!” The recipe is included at the end of the book.

Here is a fun way to learn more about Thanksgiving. A project pack from Hands of a Child for only $3.00. I recommend the lapbook ebook download or the Note Pack, which is like a lapbook but made to just put in a notebook instead of cutting little booklets. Students write information which is provided in the research guide.

Thanksgiving Curriculum from Hands of a Child

And no Thanksgiving celebration would be complete without A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving!

This cupcake idea would be fun to do to go along with the movie. This idea is on my Pinterest page and comes from here.

And here’s the story of the First Thanksgiving told by the Peanuts gang. Click on the YouTube button so it will go automatically from one clip to the next.

Thanksgiving Highlights 2013


Look how much Fiona’s hand has grown in 2 years!


Her fingers have grown an inch longer since we made our Thanksgiving Tablecloth 2 years ago while living in York, PA.


Garrett and Fiona make hand turkeys.



Emma and Abby make hand turkeys.


Some of our Thanksgiving decorations



Making turkey cookies










Leaves for our Thanksgiving Tree


Garrett writing what he’s thankful for


Our Thanksgiving Tree – with lights!


What Garrett is thankful for



Our Thanksgiving Feast!

Thank you, Lois!!!

And Thank You, Kelsey Lois!!!

Kelsey made 4 pies, a pumpkin roll, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green beans, corn, stuffing, rolls, and gravy. If it hadn’t been for Kelsey, we wouldn’t have had a Thanksgiving meal. I did the rest of the food, but the older girls were both sick. We had several sickies that day, but we praised the Lord and enjoyed His abundant provision and had a good day anyway.






And that was our Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Throughout November we studied the Pilgrims. We made a lighthearted unit study by reading library books about the Pilgrims and Indians and listening to “The Stories of the Pilgrims” by Jim Hodges. I was on the Launch Team for the audio, so I was blessed to have a copy of it for free. We learned a lot about the Pilgrims through the stories. Each chapter gave historical information in story form and followed the lives of the Pilgrim children from Scrooby, England to the landing in the New World and beyond. It was very interesting and informative.

We watched the Charlie Brown special called “This is America, Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyagers”.

We watched “The Mayflower Mouse”.

We watched “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” on Thanksgiving Day.

We made hand turkeys.

We made turkey cookies.

Most of all, we made memories. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

Squanto: A Warrior’s Tale

We watched this movie on Amazon Instant Video last year, and it was really good.

It is historically accurate, from what I’ve read about Squanto, and for Disney, that’s pretty amazing. We had read a library book right before that called Squanto’s Journey,

and it gave us more information than we had known before, and the movie was very similar and brought the story to life even more.

It costs $2.99 to watch it instantly on Amazon. That worked out well for us. You have access to it for 24 hours from the time you first start watching it. We watched it on our computer. You can watch it on many different devices.

This is from the Amazon website:

Rentals start at $2.99. If you rent, you’ll have 30 days from when you rent to start watching, and once you start watching, most movies have a 24-hour window to finish watching. Once the rental is over, the movie will automatically disappear from Your Video Library.

I haven’t read this book by Eric Metaxas, but it looks like it will be great. I’m definitely going to look for it. It has a strong Christian worldview and shows how God was involved with Squanto’s life in aiding in the founding of our nation.

A Fun Thanksgiving Cartoon That Tells the Real Thanksgiving Story

“The Mouse on the Mayflower” is a good video made in 1968 that tells the story of Thanksgiving from the perspective of a mouse. It really gives a lot of good information.

My kids enjoyed it.

The youngest ones were not very cooperative because they wanted to play instead of watching what I wanted them to watch, but I made them watch it just because they have to do things they don’t want to sometimes. I couldn’t believe they didn’t want to watch a cartoon!

In spite of that, they did end up enjoying it.

You can find it here on YouTube.