Thanksgiving is a time for gathering with loved ones, reflecting on what we’re grateful for, and instilling a spirit of thankfulness in children. Reading aloud from books with Thanksgiving themes is a wonderful family tradition that can help kids understand the meaning of the holiday in a fun way. This article explores the best read-aloud books to foster gratitude and create memories during your Thanksgiving celebrations.
Picture Books for Young Kids
For little ones ages 3-6, picture books with engaging illustrations and simple stories make ideal read-alouds. A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting tells the sweet tale of a young boy who raises a turkey to eat for Thanksgiving dinner but ends up making a feathered friend. The book gently teaches empathy and compassion.
The colors and textures in Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson appeal to kids’ senses. As Bear prepares for hibernation by collecting food, he realizes he must say thank you to his forest friends. Kids learn to appreciate help from others.
In ‘Twas The Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey, children get swept up in the silly antics of kids visiting their grandparents’ farmhouse. With rhyming text, it builds excitement for the big turkey feast.
Early Chapter Books
For early elementary kids, try short chapter books with more advanced vocabulary, development and plots. Thanksgiving at the Tappletons’ by Eileen Spinelli details the hilarious mishaps of a large family prepping their holiday meal. Kids will giggle at the family’s quirky personalities and traditions.
Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen by Debbi Michiko Florence follows young Jasmine’s determination to shape mochi rice into a Thanksgiving tradition. Jasmine models confidence and strong cultural heritage.
In Balloons Over Broadway, Melissa Sweet profiles Tony Sarg, creator of the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons. Vintage photos and fun illustrations bring history to life.
Advanced Chapter Books
Lengthier, more complex chapter books engage older elementary and middle school kids. In The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City by Jodi Kendall, Josie Shilling’s plan to fatten up a pig for a blue-ribbon falls apart when she bonds with the pig. This unlikely friendship disrupts the town’s Thanksgiving contest.
The Vanderbeekers series by Karina Yan Glaser follows a large, biracial family navigating life in Harlem. In book 2, the kids try to save their neighbors’ annual Thanksgiving extravaganza. Themes of community and persistence shine through.
Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo is a poignant tale of family, hope and belonging. Louisiana, 12, ends up abandoned by her granny in rural Georgia. A local family’s warm Thanksgiving invitation is a bright spot in her struggle.
Read Aloud Tips
When reading aloud, bring energy and expression to your voice to ent hrall young listeners. Invite older kids to take turns reading paragraphs. Ask questions to gauge comprehension. Most importantly, make reading together a joyful bonding experience.
Afterwards, discuss the books’ themes of gratitude, family traditions, sharing, and compassion. Have kids describe what they would be thankful for if they were characters in the stories. Make connections to your family’s own Thanksgiving.
More than just fostering literacy skills, Thanksgiving read-alouds cultivate thankfulness in children. They learn powerful lessons about community, empathy, generosity and blessings. Make reading aloud a meaningful part of your holiday activities. The stories you share will create heart-warming memories kids carry with them for years to come.
Great read-aloud books bring families together during the Thanksgiving season. From silly tales of mishaps to heartwarming stories of unlikely friendships, these engaging books impart the deeper meaning of Thanksgiving to kids. Select stories that match your children’s ages and interests Set aside time to read, discuss and foster gratitude. Creating this new tradition will enrich your holiday celebrations now and for many Thanksgivings to come.