Thanksgiving books for kids

Mar 19, 2010 at 1:57 p.m. ET

Ah, Thanksgiving. It's a time for families and food, and a lot of time off from school. Which means that you've got a lot of hours to fill with fun activities for your kids. At least part of that time can be spent reading some holiday-themed stories.

Much of the Thanksgiving story isn't quite the engaging material most young children enjoy. So instead of hitting the history tomes, check out some of the fun books that talk about the spirit of Thanksgiving, the gratitude we feel, and the family traditions we share. Here are some choices you might not have come across.

I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Alison Jackson

You remember the song you sang as a child, I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, right? This book riffs on the old song with a hungry relative who comes to the Thanksgiving meal and proceeds to eat everything on the table. Kids will enjoy the rhythm of the story as well as the artful illustrations. Of course, as the Old Lady eats, she grows fatter and fatter, which makes for fantastic kid humor. By the end of the tale, the Old Lady is a balloon float in the Thanksgiving Day parade. A charming story that will have you laughing along with your kids.

Thanks for Thanksgiving by Julie Markes

If you'd like to introduce your children to the concept of giving thanks and being grateful, this is a lovely story to start with. You can use the ideas presented in the book as a jumping off point to talk to your child about the things he is thankful for, large and small. This story is truly designed for small children, and it focuses on the things that matter in their lives. Curl up for a few quiet moments with your child, and enjoy thinking about all the things that make you happy.

The Perfect Thanksgiving by Eileen Spinelli

If you have an early elementary school age child who has started comparing your family to those of her friends, this story will ring true. The narrator compares her family's laid-back, somewhat frenzied celebration with that of her friend's more refined fête. The tale is told in rhymes and includes snide comments made by a runaway turkey, a fun addition for kids reading over your shoulder. And, of course, the narrator realizes although their celebrations are strikingly different, the members of the two families each love each other very much.

We Gather Together...Now Please Get Lost! by Diane deGroat

Tired of books that tell the same story the same way? This book is the antidote to sweet tales of Thanksgiving. On a Thanksgiving field trip, Gilbert is stuck with the class tattletale as his buddy, and he spends the story moving from one mishap to the next. When he's locked in the restroom, it's Philip who rescues him, and our Gilbert is forced to learn a lesson about gratefulness. This is a realistic story your kids can undoubtedly relate to, and it's unlike most kids' books. Give it a try this Thanksgiving

As always, take a few minutes to look through the books on your own to ensure they're appropriate for your child. Then sit down and read together. It's time well spent, and something to be thankful for!

More on thanksgiving for your kids:

Foam turkey Thanksgiving craft for kids
Thanksgiving Crafts & Fun
Thanksgiving Day: Kids in the kitchen