19 Diverse and Thoughtful Thanksgiving Books for the Classroom

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on gratitude and togetherness. It’s also an excellent opportunity to teach students about diverse cultures, history, and perspectives. Incorporating Thanksgiving books into the classroom curriculum is a great way to achieve these objectives. Here are 19 diverse and thoughtful Thanksgiving books that can enrich your classroom this season.

1. “Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message” by Chief Jake Swamp

This beautifully illustrated book shares a timeless message of gratitude from the Native American perspective, reminding readers of the importance of appreciating nature and acknowledging our connections.

2. “The Sharing Circle: Stories about First Nations Culture” by Theresa Meuse

This collection of stories explores First Nations culture and traditions, providing insights into how Indigenous people celebrate thankfulness and foster a sense of community.

3. “Squanto’s Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving” by Joseph Bruchac

Learn about Squanto, the Native American who played a significant role in helping the Pilgrims survive and who facilitated the famous First Thanksgiving.

4. “1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving” by Catherine O’Neill Grace and Margaret M. Bruchac

Delve into the history of Thanksgiving with a focus on the relationship between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people. This thought-provoking book challenges traditional narratives and encourages critical thinking.

5. “Thanksgiving in the Woods” by Phyllis Alsdurf

Based on a true story, this heartwarming picture book depicts a community coming together to celebrate Thanksgiving in a woodland setting, emphasizing the joy of unity and companionship.

6. “Thank You, Omu!” by Oge Mora

Omu, a kind-hearted Nigerian grandmother, shares her love and her stew throughout her neighborhood, symbolizing the spirit of generosity and gratitude.

7. “Gracias Thanks” by Pat Mora

Discover how a multigenerational Mexican-American family celebrates Thanksgiving while embracing and appreciating their cultural heritage.

8. “The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us About Loving God and Learning from History” by Robert Tracy McKenzie

Challenge conventional narratives of the First Thanksgiving by examining historical records and understanding the complexities that surrounded this event.

9. “Apple Cake: A Gratitude” by Dawn Casey

Through a delightful story and vibrant illustrations, this book emphasizes the importance of expressing gratitude for the simple blessings in our daily lives.

10. “Sweet Potato Pie” by Kathleen D. Lindsey

Join a young girl as she contributes to her family’s Thanksgiving feast by making a sweet potato pie. This book celebrates the significance of family traditions and culinary heritage.

11. “Bear Says Thanks” by Karma Wilson

Be inspired by Bear, who learns the power of gratitude and the joy of sharing when his friends bring food to the communal feast.

12. “Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving” by Laurie Halse Anderson

Introduce students to the historical figure Sarah Hale, who tirelessly campaigned for making Thanksgiving a national holiday. This book highlights the role of perseverance and advocacy.

13. “The Very First Americans” by Cara Ashrose

Explore the rich diversity of Native American cultures before the arrival of Europeans, emphasizing the concept of giving thanks for the lands and resources we enjoy today.

14. “What is Thanksgiving?” by Harriet Ziefert

In this engaging book, children immerse themselves in the history of Thanksgiving through simple yet informative text, depicting the significance of harvest celebrations and gratitude.

15. “Ten Thankful Turkeys” by Angela Muse

Join a group of charming turkeys in counting their blessings while learning to express gratitude for the wonders of nature.

16. “The Thanksgiving Story” by Alice Dalgliesh

Travel back in time with Pilgrims William and Mary as they embark on a journey to the New World and experience the hardships and triumphs that led to the first Thanksgiving.

17. “Thanksgiving Rules” by Laurie Friedman

Learn about Percy Isaac Gifford’s Thanksgiving rules as he hilariously shares his peculiar traditions, ultimately discovering the true essence of the holiday.

18. “Thanksgiving Is for Giving Thanks!” by Margaret Sutherland

A delightful rhyming book that encourages children to reflect on everything they are grateful for during Thanksgiving and beyond.

19. “Giving Thanks: Poems, Prayers, and Praise Songs of Thanksgiving” by Katherine Paterson

This anthology of poems, prayers, and songs offers diverse perspectives on gratitude from various cultures and religious traditions, making it a beautiful resource for embracing diversity.

Incorporating these books into your Thanksgiving curriculum will expose students to different cultures, traditions, and perspectives, fostering empathy, respect, and understanding. By exploring the richness of the Thanksgiving holiday beyond traditional narratives, we can help create a more inclusive and thoughtful classroom environment. Happy Thanksgiving!

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