After you have finished that adorable handprint turkey craft (I don’t know about you, but for me, the joy of your kid’s painted handprint never gets old), you may want to engage more in the Thanksgiving holiday with your kids. So, I have compiled a list of 10 things to read and watch with your kids for your most memorable Thanksgiving yet!
written by Julie Markes, illustrated by Doris Barrette
A perfect, simple, sweet Thanksgiving book, that reminds us to be thankful for all the little joys of life and family. Plus, at least in the copy I have, there is an area in the back to write down your “thankful thoughts,” after you read the book.
written by and artwork by Melissa Sweet
If you’re like me and obsessed with parades, especially the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, you will love reading this book with your children. BALLOONS OVER BROADWAY tells the story of American Immigrant Tony Sarg, a puppet maker, who invented the helium-filled balloons that debuted in Macy’s 1928 Thanksgiving Day Parade. This Thanksgiving story complete with fun and inventive illustrations and artwork, will have even your youngest kids wanting to read it over again.
written by Laurie Halse Anderson, illustrated by Matt Faulkner
This historical tale, told with comically funny illustrations, is about Sarah Hale, who’s consistent writing influenced Abraham Lincoln to make Thanksgiving the national holiday that we all observe on the fourth Thursday of November each year. Though interesting, what I think the author really wanted her young readers to take away from the story is that they can change the world, even if they can’t yet vote. Sarah couldn’t vote in the 19th century, but just by writing to magazines and/or even politicians, she was able to enact change for generations to come. THANK YOU, SARAH is a truly inspiring Thanksgiving picture book.
written and illustrated by Debby Atwell
During this 2020 pandemic Thanksgiving, we cannot literally open our Thanksgiving door to kind strangers, but in Debby Atwell’s THE THANKSGIVING DOOR we lovingly still can. This picture book that’s full of heart, tells the story of Ann and Ed burning their Thanksgiving dinner and finding an unexpected evening when they enter the open door of the New World Cafe. THE THANKSGIVING DOOR is a story that celebrates the American immigrant and the joy in welcoming others. Plus, after reading it with your kids, you may be a bit less stressed about making that perfect Thanksgiving meal.
written by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frané Lessac
Not a Thanksgiving book per say, but a picture book that teaches how the Cherokee people use the phrase, “Otsaliheliga,” to express gratitude everyday and throughout the changing seasons of a year. It is a moving look at modern Cherokee family, tradition, and culture. At Thanksgiving, I appreciate learning and teaching my son about true Native American history and culture beyond the too many notoriously sugar-coated stories of the three-day feast in 1621 between the Pilgrims and Native Americans.
written by Jacqueline Jules, illustrated by Kathryn Mitter
This is a sweet story about Tuyet, who after learning about it at school, is so excited to celebrate “turkey day” with her family. However, she is disappointed when she finds out her Vietnamese family will be serving traditional duck and not turkey for Thanksgiving. In this heartwarming tale, we learn everyone has different food traditions at Thanksgiving and there is no wrong way to celebrate.
An Arthur Thanksgiving
Stream this new special anytime on the PBS kids app and celebrate Thanksgiving with Arthur, D.W., Pal, and the whole family. It is the perfect thing for your kids to enjoy while you stuff that bird.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
You can stream the Charles M. Schultz classic this year on Apple TV+. Share with a whole new generation the antics of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy, and all the kids, and let your favorite Thanksgiving tradition become theirs too. Get them dancing to these tunes to prep for the Christmas special and the tik tok trend of doing their own Charlie Brown dance moves.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
The annual parade is NOT cancelled this year and I am so excited about it. I wrote a whole other blog post about it. Catch it Thanksgiving day from 9am to 12PM on NBC.
Miracle on 34th St.
Technically a Christmas movie, but since the beginning is set during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, it feels like the official Thanksgiving holiday kick off movie and this classic will make believers of Santa Claus out of even its most cynical viewers. Mix MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET with a little post dishes pie and snuggles from your littlest one, and you’ll have the makings of a lifelong Thanksgiving memory. Stream it now on Disney+.
Thanksgiving can be so much more than just turkey and pie, but too often the stress of the holiday religates it to just that. But making it memorable can be as simple as picking up and reading a Thanksgiving themed book with your child, or even easier, just watching together a reading of one of these books on YouTube and then talking about it. Or just sitting down with the family for an annual film viewing can create traditions and memories of family-time that will last a lifetime. Because no matter how we celebrate it’s taking the time to enjoy a moment with the people, past, present, or even on ZOOM, that we love the most, that makes Thanksgiving special.
Have a special Thanksgiving book you like to read or movie you like to watch that I didn’t mention? Comment with it below, so that I can include it in a list next year!