I've always wanted to be one of those moms who is organized to have a collection of Thanksgiving books for kids ready and waiting to use during the month of November.
This year was finally that year!
I searched and curated all the best Thanksgiving kids' books for you and your children to enjoy during this Thanksgiving season. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
Pro tip: If you view any of these books on Amazon using a desktop computer, you will have the option to “Look Inside.” This option is not available on mobile devices.
History of Thanksgiving
These books will introduce your children to the history behind why we celebrate Thanksgiving.
1. The First Thanksgiving
An easy reader for grades 1-3, this book is a concise history of the Pilgrim's journey to America and their first winter.
2. Squanto's Journey
A brief history of Squanto's time in Europe, and how he used his knowledge of the English language and his skills as a native American to help the Pilgrims through their first winter in America.
3. Thank you, Sarah
A silly story that introduces children to the woman who worked tirelessly to make Thanksgiving Day a national holiday. Several pages of interesting historical facts and timelines are included in the back of the book.
These books share stories of modern immigrants, and describe their thankfulness to live in a country where they have freedom to worship God as the Pilgrims did.
4. Molly's Pilgrim
This is the story of Russian immigrants who learn about the American Thanksgiving holiday, and find that they relate to the same desire for freedom of religion that the Pilgrims had.
5. How Many Days to America
This story is about all immigrants, the difficulties they often face in their journey to America, and the thankfulness they have for the opportunity to move to a free country.
For Toddlers and Preschoolers
Of course I need to include some cute Thanksgiving picture books for the little ones!
I especially like this one because it specifically thanks God. Many books only say “I'm thankful for ___,” but this one specifically says, “Thank you, God, for ____.”
7. Squirrel Says Thank You
This one also specifically thanks God for the blessings we have, like trees, snowflakes, and family.
Counting our Blessings
Books that will cultivate an atmosphere of gratitude in your home.
8. Thanks for Thanksgiving
Although the words are very simple, this book includes captivating, detailed artwork on each page.
Another simplistic book with reminders of all the many things for which we can be thankful.
10. The Memory Cupboard
A sentimental book that reminds children that it's people and memories that are important, not things.
11. Thank you, God
This book is so beautiful and so much fun! Each page has an envelope or two containing a card of thankfulness written to God for something specific. My children really enjoy opening each envelope to find out what's written on the card inside.
Just for Fun
Reading about Thanksgiving for kids doesn't always need to be for the sake of learning. I hope your children enjoy reading just for the love of it!
12. An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving
How can you go wrong with a classic story by Lousia May Alcott?
How to purchase these Thanksgiving books for kids
Option 1: Purchase from Amazon:
You can click on any individual book above, or visit this link to see them all in one place on Amazon.
Option 2: Purchase from Book Outlet:
This is one of my favorite places to shop for books! I often find exactly the book I'm looking for at prices much less than other retailers. Go through this link to get a $10 off $25 coupon, then search for the title of the book you want. As of writing this blog post, they currently have many of the titles on the list above in stock for $2-$3 per book.
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One of the things I love about homeschooling is that our mornings feel so free and relaxed. We don't have to race to get everyone packed up and out the door for school. We can wake up slowly and enjoy our mornings together. But before I had a good morning routine for the kids, our slow and relaxed mornings could easily turn into “Not getting our homeschool day started till noon.” I don't want that! That gives everyone less time to play in the afternoon, pushes back dinner time, pushes back bed time, which means it's easier to sleep later in the morning and start the same cycle all over again.
When we all get up and going earlier, we have time to accomplish more, and spend more quality time together!
But just waking everyone up early is not enough. Before I implemented a morning routine for them, my kids would get up, wander around in their pajamas, eat something, make a mess that they didn't clean up, lay in their bed reading a book, and then when I was ready to start school for the day, I'd look around and realize that we had an hour's worth of cleaning to do because they had things strewn everywhere from their “relaxed and slow morning!”
It was stressing me out big time, and keeping us behind on everything all the time.
The thing is…kids are kids. They have to be taught. It's not enough to wake them up and tell them to get ready for the day. They need clear direction.
So I set out to make a morning routine for them that was so simple, they couldn't possibly neglect it without being outright purposely disobedient.
It was three things:
Three things. Anyone can remember that, and it's not overwhelming at all. In fact, I adopted the exact same morning routine for myself because who doesn't want life to be simple?
I created a little chart and hung it in each of the kids' rooms so that they would have no excuse in the mornings to be wandering around, taking forever to get ready for the school day.
I also created a room cleaning checklist so they would know my definition of the phrase “tidy your room.”
I have them independently do those three things, then I prepare breakfast for everyone, and after breakfast we complete the rest of our “morning things” together as a family (cleaning up our breakfast dishes, brushing our teeth, fixing our hair, etc.)
This way, the kids are learning some independence and becoming more skilled at preparing themselves for the day without my help, but it's not so much that's it's overwhelming to them where they shut down and do nothing.
I can't begin to tell you what a difference this simple change has made for our mornings! The kids know exactly what they need to do without feeling overwhelmed. When our morning gets off to a smooth start, our whole day goes better!
Would you like to use our morning routine and room cleaning charts for your own family? (There is a whole set that matches the one shown above.) Imperfect Homemaker email subscribers have access to these charts (and many other homemaking printables!) for free!
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Do you desire a deeper prayer life? Do you know you should be praying more, but aren't quite sure what to pray for?
As father's day approaches, I've been thinking about some specific ways I can pray for my husband, the father of my children.
The more specific we are in our prayers, the more specifically God can answer them!
Coming straight from scripture, here are 10 ways to pray for your children's father:
1. Pray that he will be a man of integrity.
The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him. (Proverbs 20:7)
2. Pray that he will teach his children gently yet faithfully.
And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)
3. Pray that he would encourage rather than discourage his children.
Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. (Colossians 3:21)
4. Pray that he will lovingly discipline his children.
He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. (Proverbs 13:24)
5. Pray that he will teach his children the truth of God's Word.
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (3 John 1:4)
6. Pray that he will train each of his children according to their unique needs.
Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
7. Pray that he will lead his children in serving the Lord.
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)
8. Pray that he will notice opportunities through daily activities to teach his children God's Word.
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deutoronomy 6:6-7)
9. Pray that he will be strong in the Lord and always keep his spiritual armor on.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints (Ephesians 6:10-18)
10. Pray he will remember that his children are a blessing and a gift from God.
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. (Psalm 127:3-5)
I've designed a printable that you can use with your prayer journal or as a stand-alone list. My email subscribers have instant access to the download.
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“We're done, mom!” Three children stand beaming at me from their version of a clean kitchen.
One glance around the room tells me they are far from done.
Now I have a choice. Do I berate them for being lazy and doing a sloppy job? Or do I calmly and kindly say, “Well, I can tell you all have been working hard, but mommy's going to show you a few things that can make the kitchen even cleaner, okay? First, you want to make sure you squeeze the water out of the cloth really hard so there won't be water dripping all over the table when you wipe it…”
I think we would all agree that it is only fair to remember that little children must be taught how to do things before they should be expected to do them the right way.
And yet, so often, we as parents forget that children are learning so many new things every day, and we could stand to cut them a little more slack. (Read: The Thing Most Parents Forget About Their Kids)
I have noticed some additional deficiencies in Christian parenting skills that most of us could stand to improve (myself included for sure!)
1.Laziness/inconsistency – We've all done it. We call our child and they don't come, so we call them again. They still don't come. We call a couple more times, more loudly each time, until finally they hear, “GET IN HERE, NOW!!!!”
If we would get up the first time they don't come and take care of the problem immediately, our children will never have to wonder if we mean what we are saying. We will never work ourselves up to the point of anger due to repeating ourselves and continuously being ignored.
We can more honestly teach our children that they ought to obey because God says to, rather than by our actions teaching them to obey because mom or dad will eventually get angry if they don't.
2. Lack of Thoughtfulness – Does God clearly teach children to obey their parents? Certainly. But never does God give parents permission to be slave drivers, never giving heed to the fact that the little person you are teaching is also a fellow human being.
What tone of voice do you use when speaking to your children? Would you speak to another adult that way?
Does “Be ye kind one to another” apply only to other adults?
Yes, we need to teach our children to obey. But we must remember that we have other jobs besides teaching – nurturing, comforting, helping. When too much focus is placed upon obedience, it's easy for things to get out of balance.
3. Lack of clarity – When you are giving a command that you expect your child to obey, don't phrase it as “Why don't you…?” “You should…” “Can you…?”
I've been reading Parenting is Heart Work (affiliate link), and they say that you need to phrase commands in a way that the child is positive it is a command and not a suggestion.
Use phrases like, “You need to…” instead.
Once again, if a child is not clear about the command, the child is not likely to obey, and the parent is likely to become angry – neither of which are the desired outcome.
4. Lack of Follow-through – Ouch! This is the area where I have the hardest time.
I tell the kids to clean their room and later see them playing. “Did you clean your room?” I ask. (Of course they answer yes!) At bedtime, when I see that their room is not thoroughly clean, I get irritated because their room is a mess, but I don't want them to stay up any later to clean it. I should have gone to check it immediately when they were finished.
Parenting is Heart Work makes it clear that there are 2 sides to the responsibility when a command has been given. The child has a responsibility to report to you when they are finished, and the parent has the responsibility to follow-through with making sure the job is done and done correctly.
5. Forgetting to teach them how to do a job – This goes along with what I was talking about at the very beginning of this post. We must remember that they are children, that they are learning lots of things, and that we must invest lots of time teaching (and reviewing) things before we can expect them to do it perfectly.
Sometimes teaching children is as simple as playing a role-playing game where they come to you when you call them. Parenting is Heart Work explains in detail how to do this.
6. Praise for a job well done – Should children be expected to obey? Certainly! But I think that because many parents expect just that, so when the job has been done they say no more about it.
I don't know about you, but I love it when someone acknowledges my hard work, whether it was something I was supposed to do or not.
Is it my part of the family responsibilities to put supper on the table every night? Sure, but it's so nice when people tell me thank you and that they enjoyed it.
Our children have emotions just like us, and we can provide so much encouragement to do right just by giving them some positive reinforcement.
Which of these mistakes do you need to work on the most?
“Charity suffereth long, and is kind.”
“Charity suffereth long, and is kind.”
“Charity suffereth long, and is kind.”
(Isn't that what God's word is supposed to do? It's sharper than any two-edged sword. Amazing that it does what God said it would do.)
As I read those words I knew exactly what God what telling me. And I could do nothing other than to bow my head and say, “Yes, Lord. You're right. I haven't been very long suffering or kind to my children lately.”
Oh, I'm very familiar with I Corinthians 13. I know that it's saying that it's pointless for a person to do great things to spread the gospel if they don't have Christ-like love for people while they're doing them. Then it goes on to describe exactly what Christ-like love is.
It starts with the words, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind.”
The reason that hurts so much is because I was hit with the realization that spreading the gospel isn't something that just happens “out there somewhere.”
And if I'm not being long suffering and kind with my children, all my efforts to spread the gospel to my children are pointless.
“But, Lord, it's so hard! My physical issues make it seem impossible to be longsuffering some days. My anxiety and stress levels are through the roof, especially when the kids seem determined to get on my every last nerve!” (Read: Why your physical health affects your ability to be a gentle parent.)
“My precious child. This is my will for you, and I will not require anything of you that I will not give you the strength to do.” (Philippians 4:13)
All I can do at this point is to humbly thank God for his living Word. It shines a light into the dark corners of my heart to point out where I'm wrong. And it gives me hope that I can do right through the power of the Holy Spirit.
So today I'm asking him to give me the strength to be long suffering and kind with my children.
This post is part of the Parenting with Gentleness series.
“Your kids sit so still during church! Mine are so wiggly!” she told me after church.
In my typical fashion, I couldn't think of anything non-dorky to say in the moment, but after the fact I thought of all the things I could have said to encourage this other mom.
Instead of making a lame joke, here's what I wish I would have told this sweet mom:
First, thank you. I sincerely appreciate the compliment.
I'm sure you know as well as any other mom how it feels to work day in and day out to teach your children all the things they need to know and feel like you're not getting anywhere. It's lovely when someone with an outside perspective can step in and let you know that you actually are getting somewhere.
Also, don't worry about your wiggly kids because I'm going to tell you a little secret. When you commented on how still my kids were, what you didn't know was that I had already finger-motioned my youngest child up to where I was at the piano three times before the service so I could tell him to calm down. What you didn't see was how many times he really did wiggle during the service. What you didn't hear were my whispered admonitions to my older children to open their Bibles and stop daydreaming.
I'm sure I would have noticed if your children were a distraction during the service. They weren't.
I wish I could tell you that I have some kind of fancy routine where I sit them down at home and have church practice sessions. Or that I always review with them before we go to church exactly what is expected of them. Or that I always remember to follow through with talking to them after we get home about any ridiculous stunts they tried to pull during church.
But I'm just a normal mom. A mom who tries to give my kids a heads up about how they need to behave but forgets to do it a lot too. A mom who has whispered, “Sit up and pay attention” more times than she can count. A mom who has a hard time paying attention during every single service because a little guy wants on my lap. Or off my lap. Or back on.
And my kids? Oh, I think they're pretty super, but I guess they're pretty normal too. They have a hard time sitting still just like all kids do. They have to be reminded of things countless times before they actually start remembering to do them.
No, mama. Don't you worry a bit about your wiggly kids. It takes so much patience and repetition to teach kids to sit still in church. But as they get older and start understanding what the pastor is saying a little better, it will get easier. Keep teaching. Keep reminding. Keep insisting that they pay attention, even when they can't fully understand all that's being said. Eventually it will stick. But for now, you're doing fine. It feels so much worse when you are the one responsible for making sure they don't turn around and make silly faces at the lady behind them or get ink on their dress from the pen you let them use or announce very loudly that they need to go potty.
But in reality you're doing great and so are they.
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