9 Turkey-Friendly Children’s Books for Thanksgiving

by Marsha Rakestraw


Traditionally, stories involving Thanksgiving end up with a turkey on the table, but as more families are celebrating Thanksgiving by seeking more mindful and compassionate choices, they’re also looking for children’s stories where the turkey has a happy ending.

Here are 9 turkey-friendly picture books.

  1. Over the River: A Turkey’s Tale by Derek Anderson
    2005. Grades PreK-3.
    Provides some new twists to the traditional song, as a turkey family is traveling to Grandma’s and must outsmart a young hunter on the way.
  2. Turkey Surprise by Peggy Archer
    2007. Grades Pre-K-2.
    A turkey being hunted for Thanksgiving dinner tries to hide from two brothers. When one of the brothers decides he’d rather not eat a turkey, he convinces the other that pumpkin pie would be so much tastier.
  3. A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting
    1995. Grades K-3.
    Mrs. Moose asks her husband to bring home a turkey for Thanksgiving, but what they turkey doesn’t understand is that they want him to join them FOR dinner, not BE the dinner.
  4. Albuquerque Turkey by B.G. Ford
    2005. Grades PreK-3.
    A rhyming story (that can be sung to the tune of “My Darling Clementine”) in which a man prepares a Thanksgiving feast for his pet turkey.
  5. Run, Turkey, Run! by Diane Mayr
    2009. Grades PreK-3.
    Turkey manages to camouflage himself from the farmer until he gives up and spares the turkey from being dinner.
  6. ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey
    2004. Grades PreK-3.
    Follows what happens when a group of school children visit a turkey farm and decide that the turkeys shouldn’t become anyone’s Thanksgiving dinner.
  7. The Best Thanksgiving Ever! by Teddy Slater
    2007. Grades PreK-2.
    A rhyming tale of a turkey family who comes together to celebrate Thanksgiving.
  8. Happy Thanksliving!: A Coloring Zine by Nathalie VanBalen
    2011. All ages.
    A coloring zine for all ages, with a delightful rhyming story featuring a joyful, compassionate Thanksgiving feast.
  9. Turk and Runt by Lisa Wheeler
    2005. Grades PreK-3.
    “Runt” has figured out why people come to the turkey farm in November, but no one believes him at first.

Image via Kim Seng/Flickr.