If you recognize this post, there’s a good reason why. For several years I’ve updated and shared my family favorite Thanksgiving books on the blog, Mentoring Moments for Christian Women. When I started the list, my youngest was probably 5 or 6, he’s now 14 and my oldest is 25!
I’m so glad I started a Thanksgiving library of books all those years ago. Every November, despite their age, I still pull all the Thanksgiving books off the shelves and put on a table for everyone to look through. These books are timeless favorites that continue to be a joy.
Most of my family’s Thanksgiving books grew from searching online sales, used book sales, yard sales. I found several on the clearance table at Lifeway following the holidays for as much as 75% off. Some of these books are older, and best bought used when looking online.
Sarah Morton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl by Kate Waters . This was one of my children’s favorites as it uses photos taken at Plimoth Plantation instead of drawings as found in many books. Readers follow Sarah throughout her daily chores from daylight to dusk. There is a companion version available called Samuel Eaton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy.
Squanto, Friend Of The Pilgrims by Clyde Robert Bulla . Excellent for second and third graders to read on their own, it is also good for a family to read aloud. While gentle in regards to the subject matter of kidnapping, it is clear on the sadness and harm inflicted upon Squanto by evil men. My boys enjoyed reading about Squanto from his point of view.
Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving by Eric Metaxas . A beautifully illustrated book beginning with Squanto as a young boy, his kidnapping, being raised by monks, returning to his village, and ultimately befriending of the Pilgrims. Metaxas points out the hand of God throughout Squanto’s story. I love the final sentence of the book, “Hallelujah! Who but the glorious God of heaven could so miraculously weave together the wandering lives of a lonely Patuxet brave and a struggling band of English Pilgrims in such a way that would bless the whole world for centuries to come?”
The Pilgrims by Anne Miranda. Sharing the journey and first year experienced by the Pilgrims, elementary students will enjoy this book. Amongst various drawings, readers will find actual photographs from Plimoth Plantation living museum to bring actual events to life.
Almost Home: A Story Based on the Life of the Mayflower’s Mary Chilton (Daughters of the Faith Series) by Wendy Lawton. Based on the true story of 13-year-old Mary Chilton, readers follow her journey from Holland to the New World aboard the Mayflower. Fluent elementary and up readers will find this book engaging while families of all ages will enjoy it as a read aloud. My boys enjoyed the description of life aboard a ship at sea and found names chosen for children curious. As a parent, I often wiped away tears as I read to my children about Mary’s struggle with leaving all she knew behind, dealing with death and her questions to God and His providence. While centuries apart, Mary’s story reminds modern day readers that God is always in control.
Plymouth in the Words of Her Founders by Dr. Paul Jehle. A small paperback filled with excellent first-person documentation along with black and white photos of actual historic sites.
The Thanksgiving Primer: A Complete Guide to Re-creating the First Harvest Festival for Your Family, Friends or Church by Plimoth Plantation. Put together by the research and education department at Plimoth Plantation, this is an excellent history source on all things Thanksgiving. From the menu with recipes of the Pilgrims, first source documents describing aspects of the Pilgrim story, a re-creation of the Separatist church service, even manners and games, this books is brimming with information. It’s not a book I sat down and read cover-to-cover with my children, but we often picked one topic and delved deeper. The book is filled with artist drawings and photographs shot on location at Plimoth Plantation.
The Light and the Glory for Children : Discovering God’s Plan for America from Christopher Columbus to George Washington by Peter Marshall and David Manuel. Every year during November I read chapters five and six from the The Light and the Glory for Children to my children. What I appreciate is the author’s time spent on explaining Leyden, Holland and the influence it had on the decision making of the Pilgrims. Most children and adults when asked where the Pilgrims came from will answer England. This is actually wrong as they decided to travel to the New World from Holland. The story in Leyden is rich and gives a deeper understanding of the Pilgrims. This book is excellent for read aloud and for middle-school readers.
The Light and the Glory by Peter Marshall and David Manuel . I read this book years ago and even then was impressed with the bounty of details regarding North America. Beginning with Christopher Columbus and ending shortly after George Washington becomes President, this book spans a wide time period. Filled with footnotes to other works, it is an excellent read for any high-schooler and up.
Celesta Brown recommends The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgeish. Published in 1954, I’ve heard it is a wonderful addition to a home library.
Following are several books suggest by Mentoring Moments for Christian Women readers that would be wonderful additions to a growing library of Thanksgiving books.
Mary’s First Thanksgiving: An Inspirational Story of Gratefulness by Kathy Jo Wargin
Give Thanks to the Lord by Karma Wilson
Thanksgiving Graces by Mark Kimball Moulton
Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende Delvin
An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott
An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving DVD. I haven’t watched this movie, it is on my list for this year. What fun it would be if there were Hallmark Thanksgiving movies just like Christmas!
What are some of your family favorite Thanksgiving books?
* Affiliate links included. This means that if a purchase is made using one of my links, I receive a small % back on the sale. It is not an added cost to what is purchased, just a % the vendor blesses me with for sharing their products.