10 Best Thanksgiving Read Alouds

The holidays are such a magical time in the elementary classroom. The excitement, the busyness, the crafts, the fun games,  and the anticipation of a much-needed school break make holidays such as Thanksgiving so fun! Grab our 10 Best Thanksgiving Read Alouds Virtual Library now and enjoy your holidays even more.

I love to take the opportunity to read lots of picture books during this time of the year. Whether students are intently listening on the classroom rug, or coloring or completing a craft, a read-aloud picture book is just the calm in the chaos of the holiday season.

We have put together 10 Best Thanksgiving Read Alouds for you! Want to make your life even easier, grab our virtual library today and sip your coffee at your desk while your students enjoy their Thanksgiving Virtual Read Alouds until the madness begins again!

The Very Stuffed Turkey by Katharine Kenah

Publisher’s Synopsis: A Thanksgiving story featuring a large turkey with a big problem…he’s been invited to EVERYONE’S home for dinner! With five homes to visit — Horse’s, Pig’s, Sheep and Goat’s, Cow’s, and Mouse’s –Turkey knows there’ll be a ton of food to eat. But there’ll also be friends and their families who can’t wait to celebrate the holiday with Turkey! Can this very plump bird make it through every meal without bursting? A silly, read-aloud story featuring food, friends, and one hilarious turkey!

Run Turkey Run by Diane Mayr

The repetition of this book is perfect for students to read aloud with you and practice their fluency!

Publisher’s Synopsis: The perfect picture book for the holiday, this hilarious twist on the traditional Thanksgiving feast features Turkey as he hops from hiding place to hiding place to avoid ending up as the main course. With Thanksgiving only one day away, can Turkey find a place to hide from the farmer who’s looking for a plump bird for his family feast? Maybe he can hide with the pigs . . . or the ducks . . . or the horses . . .Uh-oh! Here comes the farmer! Run, Turkey, run!

Thanksgiving in the Woods by Phyllis Aldurf

The illustrations are so beautiful in this picture book. It may inspire your students to color or paint a beautiful fall scene! It is heartwarming and inspiring. It shows that family is the center of the holidays. 

Publisher’s Synopsis: Every year a family and their friends gather in the woods to celebrate Thanksgiving among the trees. Everyone brings something to share and the day becomes a long celebration of family, faith, and friendship. Told in a gentle, lyrical style, this picture book includes warm illustrations of people gathered around bonfires and long tables adorned with candles and food, singing songs and sharing laughter. Thanksgiving in the Woods is based on the true story of a family in Upstate New York who has hosted an outdoor Thanksgiving feast in the woods on their farm for over twenty years.

Thanksgiving Rules by Laurie Friedman

Publisher’s Synopsis: Percy Isaac Gifford’s Official Thanksgiving Decree: I officially command you to eat EVERYTHING you see! Percy knows just what to do to get the most out of this delicious holiday. And so will you if you follow his ten simple rules. From “the early bird gets the turkey” to “life is sweeter when you eat sweets,” his rules will help you eat your way through the big meal. But is there more to Thanksgiving than stuffed turkey and sweet potatoes with marshmallows? See how Percy discovers the true recipe for a perfect Thanksgiving holiday.

Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey

This narrative poetry book follows along the same pattern as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. We have a unit to teach narrative poetry using this book. Check it out here!

Publisher’s Synopsis: From Dav Pilkey, creator of the New York Times bestselling Dog Man and Captain Underpants series, comes a charming story about eight children and eight turkeys on the night before Thanksgiving. On the day before Thanksgiving, a group of children visit a turkey farm and meet Farmer Mack Nuggett and his coop of cockerels: Ollie, Stanley, Larry, Moe, Wally, Beaver, Shemp, and Groucho. The children and turkeys giggle and gobble, and everything is gravy. As the trip comes to an end, the children leave the farm with full hearts — and bulging bellies — reminding people and poultry alike that there is much to be thankful for. This hysterical read-aloud and fan-favorite picture book is now available for the first time in a paper-over-board format!

How to Catch a Turkey by Adam Wallace and Andy Elkerton

Publisher’s Synopsis: A turkey is running loose in a school right before a Thanksgiving play. Can YOU help catch it so the show can go on? Follow along as students turn their school upside down trying to catch the turkey, ending with a twist that ensures no turkeys are harmed (or eaten!). This hilariously zany children’s picture book combines STEAM concepts and traps with a silly story and fun illustrations, perfect for starting a new fall family tradition this autumn or giving as a Thanksgiving gift for kids ages 4 and up! Thanksgiving time is here again, but there’s a turkey on the run! Can you catch this tricky bird before the school play has begun?

Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet

Publisher’s Synopsis: Meet the master puppeteer who invented the first balloons for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Melissa Sweet brings to life the inspirational story of the puppeteer who invented the giant balloons floating in the sky during the annual parade celebrating Thanksgiving. The Caldecott Honor artist brilliantly captures the essence of Tony Sarg, a self-taught immigrant with a fascinating imagination. The collage illustrations coupled with Sweet’s storytelling portray Sarg’s joy in his childhood inventions and his ingenious balloon creations that still bring delight to viewers around the country. This nonfiction illustrated book will capture the hearts of all ages.

A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting

This book is beautifully illustrated and tells an adorable and quaint story. 

Publisher’s Synopsis: Mr. and Mrs. Moose invite all their animal friends for Thanksgiving dinner and the only one missing is Turkey. When they set out to find him, Turkey is quaking with fear because he doesn’t realize that his hosts want him at their table, not on it.

Dino Thanksgiving by Lisa Wheeler

Publisher’s Synopsis: Follow along as dinos travel over the river and through the woods to join together with family. They enjoy favorite activities, including a corn maze, a televised parade with giant balloon creations, and of course a football game! The dinos share in not one but two feasts – one for the carnivores and another for the veggie-saurs. Join in the fun as the dinos find much to be thankful for on this special holiday!

I Am Thankful by Sheri Wall

This is a wonderful book that reminds us to be grateful: the reason for Thanksgiving!

Publisher’s Synopsis: Thanksgiving books for kids teach us about coming together with our loved ones and to give thanks for all that we have. I Am Thankful is an adorable, rhyming storybook that follows three different families as they celebrate the holiday with their own traditions, acts of kindness, and ways of giving back. Kids will learn how to be thankful for the people and world around them as they delight in the sweet illustrations that show diverse families and exciting Thanksgiving adventures. This heartfelt, poetic story will show young ones the meaning of giving and sharing.


We hope your students will enjoy these picture books, from a funny one like How to Catch a Turkey to an educational one like Balloons Over Broadway. These books will not only entertain your kiddos, but it will warm their hearts with the reason behind the season, with the stories of I Am Thankful and Thanksgiving in the Woods. Even though holidays in the classroom can be chaotic, remember to sit back and enjoy the magic with your students!

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