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Thanksgiving Books Celebrating History of the Holiday

In addition to preparing dinner, feeling thankful, and giving back, we’ve got learning history on our Thanksgiving to-do list. Primerrily knows there are few better ways “to do” learning than through story, so at the top of our storybook list is The Story of the Pilgrims:

“Learn the story of the Pilgrims in this picture book that's a perfect fall read-a-long! From the dangerous voyage across the Atlantic to the first harsh winter to the delicious Thanksgiving feast, all the excitement and wonder of the Pilgrims' first year in America is captured in this vivid retelling for the youngest historians. Colorful and appealing illustrations bring history to life!”


From the King of England to the Mayflower, from uncertain challenges to unexpected friendship, to learned skills and merged cultures, we love the range covered in this pint-sized book. It touches on broad themes and values such as religious freedom, taking risks, friendship, and the idea that things aren’t always what they seem. For example, in spite of the Pilgrims hearing that the people native to this “new” land were not friendly, they actually were friendly! Beyond that, because of the support from the Natives, the Pilgrims were able to survive their first winter -- and the winters thereafter -- in this “New World.” Samoset and Squanto are specifically featured historical figures in this beautiful story.


The story goes into just enough detail for curious kids, but maintains a level that’s digestible for growing minds. It also maintains the focus on the positive accounts and aspects, rather than the distraught dynamics between Pilgrim settlers and Native Americans. Like the story of Christopher Columbus, who 128 years earlier landed a bit south of the Pilgrims, we save the tragic accounts and complexities for a developmentally-appropriate time.


Written by Katharine Ross and illustrated by Carolyn Kroll, this historical-based, kid-friendly Thanksgiving story credits the Plimoth Plantation Museum for its research. For a deeper dive into the research behind The Story of the Pilgrims, a tour of Plimouth Plantation is a fascinating educational experience. Understandably, if an outdoor visit isn’t in the cards for your family this year, take a look at the Museum’s variety of virtual tours