My Favorite Thanksgiving Books
With falling leaves shimmering in the air and Thanksgiving around the corner, keep your students engaged with rigorous and entertaining Thanksgiving literature that helps build knowledge about the Colonist survival, Native American kindness and giving thanks.
The Magic Tree House: #27 Thanksgiving on Thursday
By Mary Pope Osborne
If you're not familiar with the Magic Tree House series, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the fabulous minilessons and social studies connections you can make using this book. The Magic Tree House series follows two fictional children, Jack and Annie, who time travel through different stages in history. I would use this chapter book with fluent readers who need a challenge, or as a read aloud in class. Start now so you'll finish in time for Thanksgiving!
Hello Reader!® Level 3: The First Thanksgiving
By Garnet Jackson
I appreciate the Hello Reader!® for its simple text narratives. Students are able to read the stories independently and comprehend the major concepts presented in the books. I would use this as an independent reading book and have students write a paragraph summarizing what they learned from this story. You could also discuss the importance of working with others to learn how to survive in a new environment. Help your students ask questions and learn more about colonial times, tribal life and the first Thanksgiving by participating in a live chat from Plimoth Plantation on November 19th at 11am and 2pm EST.
Clifford’s Thanksgiving Visit
By Norman Bridwell
A story about the most lovable big red dog ever! Norman Bridwell's, Clifford's Thanksgiving Visit, is a simple story for students to listen to aloud as well as read on their own. Our school has six copies of this book and the book on tape, so I put this class favorite in our listening center for additional student access. As an extension, I ask students to draw pictures and write about visitors that come to their home for Thanksgiving.
Dav Pilkey's book does an fantastic job of bringing together a story about a group of kids who rescue turkeys from Farmer Mack before Thanksgiving. It's a class favorite! I would use this book for reading aloud with my students as well as allowing them to build fluency. An extension activity would be to have students write their own "night before Thanksgiving" narrative. In addition, I would show my class the Thanksgiving Feast section of Scholastic's First Thanksgiving.
I picked up this great resource book at our Scholastic Book Fair. There's tons of helpful ideas about using literature to teach about giving thanks. My personal favorite was the "Turkey Rescue!" game that goes along with 'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving.
Here's a couple more Thanksgiving books and resources to use:
The Mayflower Voyage, Daily Life, and the Thanksgiving Feast is part of Scholastic's The First Thankgiving collection and is an excellent resource about how the Pilgrims got to America and lived to celebrate their first Thanksgiving.