1. Thanksgiving Books

See what a day in the life of 9-year-old Pilgrim Sarah Morton was like! A classic Thanksgiving book, photographs of Plimoth Plantation interpreters show the chores, games, education, garments, and lifestyle of 1627 alongside the story of Sarah's friendship with her friend Elizabeth and her family's life with a new stepfather. 32 pages with glossary, softcover.

This National Geographic Kids picture book features classic photos of Plimoth Plantation re-enactors (including photos from Sarah Morton's Day and Samuel Eaton's Day) paired with simple sentences about Pilgrim life designed to help younger readers learn about the First Thanksgiving and early colonial life. Ages 4-8 / Grades PreK-3. 16 pages, softcover.

In cooperation with the Plimoth Plantation, a living-history museum in Massachusetts, National Geographic has recreated the first Thanksgiving. Photographs by National Geographic photographers of the recreation at Plimoth Plantation illustrate this book.

In 1621, in a small settlement on the edge of the sea, 52 English colonists celebrated their first harvest. The colonists were joined by 90 men of the Wampanoag tribe for a gathering that was to last three days in a town now known as Plymouth. Over the centuries, there have been countless versions of this story, creating a popular myth of the first Thanksgiving. Many Americans imagine brave, peaceful settlers inviting a few wild Indians over for a turkey dinner. But there was no pumpkin pie or cranberry sauce at this celebration. There were no Indians with woven blankets over their shoulders and large feathered headdresses. No pilgrims with somber black clothes and silver buckle hats either. The English didn't even call themselves Pilgrims.

This book puts aside that myth and takes a new look at our American history. It questions what we know and recovers lost voices of the Wampanoag people. True history includes the voices of all its participants. 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving invites young people to read, listen, and think about our shared history. The book also features a foreword, a section on the actual reenactment and the concept of living history, a chronology, an index, and a bibliography.

Discover what it would be like to cross the sea with the Pilgrims and set off to a new land. Richly detailed photographs illustrate what life would be like aboard the Mayflower, how they navigated the sea, and who and what they encountered when they finally reached their destination. 47 pages, softcover with index.

"This is the food, gathered and blessed, the corn and sweet berries, and wild turkey dressed, shared on the very first Thanksgiving Day.

Join author Rhonda Gowler Greene and illustrator Susan Gaber on a journey back to the very first Thanksgiving Day, when two societies came together to feast and honor the earth's bounty in peace. 32 pages. Hardcover. Ages 3-6

The Pilgrims' first Thanksgiving lasted three whole days. Ann McGovern's simple text introduces children to the struggles of the Pilgrims during their first year at Plymouth Colony and the events leading to the historic occasion we celebrate today.

Wouldn't it be great to be part of that famous Thanksgiving feast at Plymouth Plantation back in 1621?

Then join the Time-Traveling Twins as they sit down to an enormous THREE-DAY feast, complete with puddings, pompions, pottages, and, of course, turkeys. Meet Squanto and the other Native Americans. Help with the harvest. Find out what it was really like to be a Pilgrim.

Once again, historian Diane Stanley's fun and impeccably researched text is brought to life by Holly Berry's accessible illustrations. Word balloons, engaging characters, and all sorts of wonderful details about the beginning of this American tradition await the lucky adventurer who journeys back with the Time-Traveling Twins. Ages 5-10.

You'll recognize the beloved wit of Jean Fritz' writing as soon as you open Who's that Stepping on Plymouth Rock?. You'll discover how we our knowledge of the connection between the rock and the Pilgrims (or "First Comers", as they were called them) was due to a 95-year-old man carried down to the beach; what caused it to crack in two; what caused it to crack in two again; and how we honor it now. A must-read for Thanksgiving. 31 pages, softcover. Illustrations by J. B. Handelsman.

Young and old alike will enjoy this thoroughly researched and personable biography of the first governer of Plimouth Plantation. Read about Bradford's difficult childhood in England and see how he was being prepared by hardship and los to face the challenges of his adult life. 200 pages, softcover.

Freedom: William Bradford and the American Pilgrims Audio CDs

Four hundred years ago, 102 men, women, and children crowded between decks of a small cargo ship named The Mayflower and set out for the New World. Who were these people, willing to risk everything and move to a wild, untamed land? Why did they go, what did they do, and does any of it even matter today? Using talented voice actors with dramatic sound effects and including recent historical discoveries, Freedom: William Bradford and the American Pilgrims tells a riveting and timely tale of determination, endurance, and conviction. In the 6-episode Part 1, the story begins with young William Bradford and continues through the trials of fleeing England, living in Holland, then preparing for and living through the voyage to America, and the first days in the New World. In Part 2, 7 episodes continue the story with the hardship and sorrow of the first winter in the New World through meeting Squanto and finding new ways to fish, hunt and grow crops, Massasoit’s healing by Edward Winslow, Myles Standish, and the first Thanksgiving. Part 1 is over 2 hours on 2 audio CDs. Part 2 is over 3 hours on 3 audio CDs. Ages 12 and up.

When Bartholemew, Remember, and Mary Allerton and their parents first step down from the Mayflower after sixty days at sea, they never dream that life in the New World will be so hard. Many in their Plymouth colony won't make it through the winter, and the colony's first harvest is possible only with the help of two friends, Samoset and Squanto. Richly detailed paintings show how the pilgrims lived after landing at Plymouth, through the dark winter and into the busy days of spring, summer, and fall. Culminating with the excitement of the original Thanksgiving feast, Three Young Pilgrims makes history come alive. Recommended for ages 5 to 10.

In 1620 an English ship called the Mayflower landed on the shores inhabited by the Pokanoket, and it was Squanto who welcomed the newcomers and taught them how to survive. When a good harvest was gathered, the people feasted together--a tradition that continues almost four hundred years later. 32 pages. Grades K-3.

The Voyage of the Mayflower Graphic History, tells the story of the colonists who traveled to North America in 1620 on the Mayflower, their reasons for coming, and how they started Plymouth Colony. Written in graphic-novel format. 32 pages, softcover. Grades 3-4. Ages 8-14.

The First Thanksgiving Feast: The Pilgrims' first harvest festival in 1621 was a time for playing games, singing, and dancing as well as feasting. Here is a fascinating re-creation, accurate in every detail, of that famous event.

Seeking religious freedom, the pilgrims fled England and traveled to Holland in 1608. In 1620 they sailed to America. Women, men, and children were willing to leave their homes to brave a wild, new land. They had no shelter but what they built with their own hands. No food but what they grew and shot. No laws but those they made. The Plymouth settlers faced hunger and disease. Not all the Indians they met were friendly. Their supplies ran out. The crops failed. Some colonists gave up and went home. For three years, the colony's survival hung by a thread. But a small core of believers struggled on to establish a new life for themselves in the New World.

Pilgrim Stories was originally written in the early 1900s for the purpose of encouraging student interest in the lives of the Pilgrims; it has been newly edited and expanded to include a horizontal history of the world of the Pilgrims of the early 17th century. Drawing upon a number of primary sources, including William Bradford's Diary, Of Plimoth Plantation, and Good Newes from New England, these edited stories are presented through the eyes of the children who were there. A narrative of faith, courage, and joy, this engaging living book will draw children into the events of the past. 182 pages, softcover. Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Filled with maps, paintings, and historical illustrations, this fascinating biography by Gary Schmidt introduces readers to the dramatic story of the William Bradford, the founder of Plymouth Colony. From his early life, to his growing reputation among Pilgrim and Stranger alike on the Mayflower to his days leading the fledgling colony, this engaging account of his life opens a new perspective on Plymouth. 200 pages, softcover.

Learn about the joys and hardships the Pilgrims faced in the New World as seen through the observant eyes of a young girl. Little Mary and the Pilgrims come to an America today's children would not recognize. Desolate and cold, there are no homes, no churches, no stores, no crops, no livestock. How did the Pilgrims build homes in the bitter cold of a New England winter? What did they eat? How did they construct a fireplace with no bricks? What did they use to make candles and eating utensils? What about elections...church services...Indians...table manners...cooking...new foods? It's all here in fascinating detail. Included is a Bulid-Your-Vocabulary Glossary of some 174 words with definitions, all cross-referenced with their page numbers in the story.

Mary Chilton was one of the 102 passengers who stepped on board the Mayflower in the fall of 1620 for their long-awaited journey to the New World. This odd collection of "saints" and "Strangers" sailed bravely together into the unknown.

All Mary can think about is finally finding a home--a place to belong. As she experiences the adventure and hardship of the ocean voyage, the struggle of starting the new Plymouth colony, and the happiness of the first harvest festival she learns that home has a bigger meaning than she thought. Recommended for ages 8 to 12.

Join the Pilgrims as they set sail on a perilous journey to the New World in search of religious freedom. Taken from the journal of William Bradford (Governor of Plymouth), this audio production brings the trials and tribulations of the Pilgrims to life. Dramatic presentation of the events that led up to their sailing from Southampton, England in 1620.

Unabridged audio CD; approximately 51 minutes; 1 CD; performed by Jerry Robbins and The Colonial Radio Players.

American Exceptionalism says that America is special because it's unique in the history of the world; that we alone are built upon the concepts of true freedom and individual liberty. But what is it about our history that gave us these values?

Go back in time with "Rush Revere" and his talking, time-portal-jumping horse "Liberty" and find out! "Rush Revere" brings his entire classroom back in time to learn the real truths about the Puritans as they discover the group in Holland, follow them to England, cross the sea on the Mayflower, and finally start to settle in Massachusetts.

212 glossy, faux-parchment pages. Full-color illustrations and photographs are included throughout. 18 review questions in the back. Hardcover with dust jacket. Ages 10-13.

Your 4- to 8-year-olds will be amazed to discover that the real hero of the first Thanksgiving was not English or Indian---but God. The remarkable story of how he brings together the struggling Pilgrims and a lonely brave who knows their language and shares their faith is a true American history miracle.

Introduce your 2- to 5-year-olds to the true story behind our annual Thanksgiving Day celebration! Featuring fresh illustrations and small-hands dimensions, the tale of the Mayflower's voyage and the Pilgrims' feast with the Native Americans is told in 200 simple words. An engaging way to help even the youngest readers understand the holiday's significance.

How much fun was life aboard the Mayflower?Did Pilgrims dance with Indians to Plymouth Rock?If there was no football to watch on TV, what did people do during the first Thanksgiving?Thanksgiving today is a time for families to say grace and gobble turkey. But why did the Pilgrims start this tradition? And who were these people anyway?Now you can discover a wealth of cool and astonishing facts about the Pilgrims. Did you know that they made the long ocean journey in a cramped boat, or that the friendly Indians helped the Pilgrims survive that first winter? Would you have liked being a child in Plymouth? You wouldn't have gone to school, but just read about the chores you would have done!Kenneth C. Davis delivers another outstanding picture book in the Don't Know Much About series. With his trademark question-and-answer format and S. D. Schindler's detailed artwork, you'll get an insider's view of the Pilgrims' life. It wasn't easy, but they helped make America what it is today. Now that is something to give thanks for! 45 pages, softcover.

A great interactive board book for kids to introduce them to the first Thanksgiving. Life up flaps on each page provide a surprise for children as they read through the book and learn about the Pilgrims and how the Native Americans helped the Pilgrims adjust to living in a new land.

This audio drama brings to light the story of one of America's early legends — "Squanto." History remembers Tisquantum as the Native American who taught early settlers to fish and farm. He's even credited with the first Thanksgiving. But few hear the story of the condemnation that dragged him outside America to a life in chains and what he discovered after his exile. It's an inspiring true story of this little-known early American that triumphed over injustice and changed what would become the United States.

Did Columbus believe that God called him west to undiscovered lands? Does American democracy owe its inception to the handful of Pilgrims that settled at Plymouth? If, indeed, there was a specific, divine call upon this nation, is it still valid today?

The Light and the Glory answers these questions and many more for history buffs. As readers look at their nation's history from God's point of view, they will begin to have an idea of how much we owe to a very few--and how much is still at stake. Now revised and expanded for the first time in more than thirty years, The Light and the Glory is poised to show new readers just how special their country is.

Huddled aboard a small ship plowing the Atlantic, 102 passengers sailed their way into history in 1620. Carpenter's well-researched narrative captures the physical hardships, spiritual challenges, and emotional toll William Bradford, Miles Standish, Samuel Fuller, William Brewster, and other Mayflower voyagers experienced as they struggled to found a Christian settlement in an untamed land. 117 pages, softcover.

The events behind America's most iconic holiday in a single accessible volume.

The Pilgrims' celebration of the first Thanksgiving is a keystone of America's national and spiritual identity. But is what we've been taught about them or their harvest feast what actually happened? And if not, what difference does it make?

In The First Thanksgiving Robert McKenzie tells the captivating story of the birth of this quintessentially American holiday, and helps us to better understand the tale of America's origins--and for Christians, to grasp the significance of this story and those like it. McKenzie avoids both idolizing and demonizing the Pilgrims, and calls us to love and learn from our flawed yet fascinating forebears.

The First Thanksgiving is narrative history at its best, and promises to be an indispensable guide to the interplay of historical thinking and Christian reflection on the meaning of the past for the present.

"It was Philip who led me to the Pilgrims." One loose end, beckoning to be followed through the tangle of early American history, is what led Nathaniel Philbrick to follow leads and untangle knots, to gather together into one smooth skein the narratives, histories, letters, documents, and poems written by the early settlers of New England. From these, and from the revealing records kept by two very different men---the pious and stalwart Plymouth governor William Bradford and the audacious and proud Indian-fighter Benjamin Church---he has woven a spectacular tapestry filled with images of the triumphs and tragedies of humanity.

We've all heard at least some version of the story: how, in 1620, the Pilgrims sailed to the New World in search of religious freedom; how, after drawing up the Mayflower Compact, they landed at Plymouth Rock and befriended the local natives, who taught them how to plant corn and whose leader, Massasoit, helped them celebrate the first Thanksgiving. From this inspiring inception came the United States. But the story of the Pilgrims does not end with the first Thanksgiving. When we look at how the Pilgrims and their children maintained more than 50 years of peace with the Wampanoags and how that peace suddenly erupted into one of the deadliest wars ever fought on American soil, the history of Plymouth Colony becomes something altogether new, rich, troubling, and complex. Instead of the story we already know, it becomes the story we need to know.

Traditionally, the Pilgrims have symbolized all that is good about America; more recently, they have been decried as evil Europeans who annihilated the innocent Native Americans. What you will discover as you follow their story is that the real-life Indians and English of the seventeenth century were too smart, too generous, too greedy, too brave---in short, too human---to behave so predictably. Given the unprecedented level of suffering and death during King Philip's War, it is not surprising that both the Indians and the English began to view each other as subhuman and evil. What is surprising is that even in the midst of this hellish conflict, there were Englishmen who believed the Indians were not inherently malevolent and there were Indians who believed the same about the English. These were the ones whose rambunctious and intrinsically rebellious faith in humanity finally brought the war to an end, and they are the heroes of this story.

Here is a fresh and extraordinarily vivid account of one of our most sacred national traditions by an internationally renowned author. From the Mayflower's arduous Atlantic crossing to the eruption of King Philip's War between colonists and natives decades later, Philbrick chronicles this dramatic history that is at once tragic and heroic, and that still resonates with us today.

The idea of covenant was at the heart of early New England society. In this singular book David Weir explores the origins and development of covenant thought in America by analyzing the civil and church documents generated and signed by seventeenth-century New Englanders. Unmatched in its breadth of study, this volume takes into account all of the surviving covenants in all of the New England colonies. Weir's comprehensive survey of seventeenth-century covenants leads to a more complex picture of early New England commitments than what is portrayed in famous civil covenants like the Mayflower Compact. His work shows covenant theology being transformed into a covenantal vision for society, but also reveals the stress and strains on church and state relationships that eventually led to more secularized colonial governments in eighteenth-century New England. He concludes that New England colonial society was much more "English" and much less "American" than has often been thought, and that the New England colonies substantially mirrored religious and social change in Old England.

Thanksgiving Curriculum & Colonial Resources

Additional Thanksgiving Resources

Kids & Holiday Books

  1. A Turkey for Thanksgiving, Softcover
    Eve Bunting
    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt / 1995 / Trade Paperback
    Our Price$7.19 Retail Price$7.99 Save 10% ($0.80)
  2. The Thanksgiving Blessing - Picture  book
    Meadow Rue Merrill
    Rose Publishing / 2019 / Other, N/A
    Our Price$8.99 Retail Price$11.99 Save 25% ($3.00)
    5 out of 5 stars for The Thanksgiving Blessing - Picture book. View reviews of this product. 1 Reviews
  3. Happy Thanksgiving, Curious George -  tabbed board book
    H.A. Rey
    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt / 2010 / Hardcover
    Our Price$8.09 Retail Price$8.99 Save 10% ($0.90)
  4. Breath of Joy!: Ah, Autumn (Autumn  and Harvest)
    Kathy Joy
    Capture Books / 2018 / Hardcover
    Our Price$25.19 Retail Price$27.99 Save 10% ($2.80)

Early Colonial Primary Documents

  1. The Mayflower Papers
    Nathaniel Philibrick, Thomas Philbrick
    Penguin Classics / 2007 / Trade Paperback
    Our Price$8.99 Retail Price$17.00 Save 47% ($8.01)
  2. Puritans in the New World: A  Critical Anthology
    David D. Hall, Editor
    Princeton University Press / 2004 / Trade Paperback
    Our Price$59.38