The Best Thanksgiving Stories

Updated on December 9, 2016
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Some of the best Thanksgiving stories are unknown by parents. While many people have Christmas stories that they traditionally read to their children year after year few know of the many choices that they have in excellent Thanksgiving literature that will become cherished traditions and rich memories in their children's lives. Whether your child is two or twelve there is a book that will make the Thanksgiving holiday more meaningful to them.

If you choose a book and begin reading it aloud and you see that it is not interesting to you or your child stop reading it, put it aside and find one that you both like. After all, reading should be a pleasant adventure not a chore.

An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving

This book by Louisa May Alcott is short but one of the most heartwarming Thanksgiving stories ever. If you like wholesome stories that promote old fashioned ethics and values in an entertaining way this book is for you.

A family of nine is looking forward to a cozy Thanksgiving celebration when the parents are called to the bedside of an ailing relative. With parents gone the children must run the farm by themselves, managing as best they can. What happens when they decide to surprise their parents with a Thanksgiving meal, ready for their return is funny, heartwarming, sweet, and wonderful all at once.

Although not everything happens the way that the children want it to, Thanksgiving is celebrated with joy and love.

This is a great read aloud. It is a wonderful peek into life on a 19th century New Hampshire farm as well as promoting a strong work ethic and cooperation between siblings. This is one of my favorite books, and has been since I discovered in in the 1960s. Reading level is probably precocious third grade and up.

The Thanksgiving Visitor

Truman Capote weaves a warm tale of compassion, forgiveness and hospitality that will never be forgotten. This book is another perfect family read aloud for the Thanksgiving Holidays and the way that Capote describes people and places is unforgettable.

Buddy, the main character (loosely based on Capote himself) is bullied mercilessly by the town bully, Odd Henderson. When Buddy's eccentric spinster cousin convinces him to invite his nemesis to Thanksgiving dinner unexpected things happen. With many twists and turns the plot is not really all that predictable.

This is a good introduction to Capote for children, and a fun read for the whole family. Be sure and have some pecans to crack and shell while you are reading.

Molly's Pilgrim

Molly is a young, Russian immigrant that is having a hard time understanding the new culture that surrounds her in America. When her teacher decides to teach the class about Thanksgiving by having them models of pilgrims and native Americans Molly and her mother understand what being a Pilgrim really means, perhaps better than the rest of the children.

This book is very well done and most people will love it. Be warned however, the author cuts the reader no slack. Molly's pain at being bullied and teased, her misery at being different, and her embarrassment over her cultural differences are rendered in exquisite, painful detail. Very sensitive children may be bothered by the meanness of the school children so parents may want to read this book ahead of their child. It really is a good book, an excellent read aloud, and a great way to teach the abstract reasons we celebrate Thanksgiving.



Cranberry Thanksgiving

This book became so popular when it was featured in the Five in a Row Curriculum that it can be hard to find. Most libraries carry it, however, so check with yours. It is well worth whatever you need to do to acquire it!

A little girl and her grandmother invite two very special people to Thanksgiving dinner. One is a very distinguished guest and the other is an eccentric character. The story illustrates how looks can be deceiving!

This is a fabulous Thanksgiving tale with a special recipe at the end that you can bake with your children. 


Mary's First Thanksgiving

This is a new story from Zondervan about an Irish immigrant girl who begins to wish that her family was back in Ireland. Thanksgiving is on it's way and there is little food in the house.

Her father relates to her the story of the Pilgrims, their struggle for survival and tells her about the winter they survived on five kernels of corn each day. He explains that the corn became a symbol to them of faith and hope. Can Mary find faith and renewed hope in the legend of five kernels of corn? Read it and see. 

Carefully Choose What You Read

There are many more books about Thanksgiving to read to your children. So many of them are "dumbed down" with limited vocabulary and little depth that they are pure fluff.

By reading good books to your children, with solid story lines and interesting vocabulary, your children will learn what good sentence structure sounds like. When it is time for them to learn grammar and composition they will instinctively know how the language should sound.

Sharing books with them about various holidays and traditions can make the day even more special, especially when the books convey your own ethics and morals in an entertaining way. 

Questions & Answers


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      • Pollyannalana profile image


        8 years ago from US

        Very good and I'm off to see more of what you have.

      • RGraf profile image

        Rebecca Graf 

        9 years ago from Wisconsin

        I'll confess that this avid reader has never read this. I'm ashamed of this and will have to fix that promptly. Thank you for the leads.

      • Carlosweb profile image


        9 years ago from USA

        Good job.


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