Happy Thanksgiving Month! For the past few weeks, my kids and I have been reading many English and Chinese picture books about gratitude, harvest, and the American Thanksgiving holiday.
Since Thanksgiving is a North American holiday, finding Chinese Thanksgiving picture books 感恩节绘本 / 感恩節繪本 (gǎn’ēn jié huìběn) is challenging. Many of our favorite English books on the topic have no translation, but I’ve include the best that we’ve read in this post!
Compared to the heavily-biased, Eurocentric books I read as a child, I’m relieved that our kids now have Thanksgiving literature with more historical balance. In order for our children to understand that history is written from different perspectives, it’s important to read books from various authors.
To help you find these Thanksgiving books, I’ve included ISBN information and links to popular English and Chinese bookstores.
Some books are available in both English and Chinese; others are in English only.
Also remember to check your library to see if these books are available locally or via inter-library loan!
As always, I’ve also include photos of the inside of each English and Chinese book to help you decide whether the book is the appropriate reading level for your child.
English and Chinese Thanksgiving books 感恩节绘本 / 感恩節繪本
- 作者 (Author): Gail Gibbons
- Simplified Chinese / ISBN: 978754471294
- English / ISBN: 9780439806831
As with all books by Gail Gibbons, this one has gorgeous illustrations.
The overview of Thanksgiving begins with a brief overview of harvest celebrations in other cultures, such as the Greeks, Jews and Chinese.
Then, the American Thanksgiving holiday is explained from the perspective of the pilgrims.
In the Chinese version, a few words have Pinyin.
Depending on your child’s reading and comprehension level, this book is geared for children ranging from Kindergarten to mid-elementary school age.
- 作者 (Author): Jane Yolen
- English / ISBN: 978-0152013899
The Encounter book is part of my daughter’s 1st/2nd grade curriculum at school. However, since the book is deep and has quite a bit of figurative language, this is one to keep for children of all ages.
The author tells the story from a perspective of a young indigenous child who has a unsettling feeling about Columbus’ arrival. However, his fears are dismissed by the elder tribe members.
The ending is rather abrupt but perhaps reflective of how their civilization was quickly disrupted.
3. Squanto’s Journey: Story of the First Thanksgiving
- 作者 (Author): Joseph Bruchac
- English / ISBN: 9780152060442
This is another recommended book for all ages, especially middle to upper elementary children.
From the perspective of the native Americans, Squanto’s Journey gives a history of the events that surrounded and lead up to the first American Thanksgiving.
Beautifully illustrated, eye-opening book about the first American Thanksgiving.
4. 感恩 Give Thanks
- 作者 (Author): Stan & Jan Berenstain
- Simplified Chinese / ISBN: 9787547007860
- English / ISBN: 9780310712510
This Chinese Berenstain Bears book is part of their series about faith (生命之光系列丛书全8册) . The famous famous anthropomorphic bear family talks about the history of Thanksgiving.
If you’re interested in the full set and listening to the Mandarin Narration on Ximalaya, read my review of the Chinese Christian Berenstain Bears books!
5. The Very First Americans
- 作者 (Author): Cara Ashrose
- English / ISBN: 9780448401683
This Thanksgiving picture book is part of my daughter’s 1st/2nd grade curriculum at school.
The descriptions about the first Americans are introductory, with a general overview of tribes such as the Sioux, Hopi, and Plains people.
English and Chinese books about gratitude
1. 市場街最後一站/市场街最后一站 Last Stop on Market Street
- 作者 (Author): Matt de la Peña
- Simplified Chinese / ISBN: 9787508663098
- Traditional Chinese / ISBN: 9789863209812
- English / ISBN: 9780399257742
**Luka Reading Robot narrates this story in both Mandarin Chinese and English!
Last Stop on Market Street is not a Thanksgiving book per se but a wonderful book about gratitude, perfect for the season.
Last year, we read it in English as part of my daughter’s school curriculum. Since we loved it so much, we had to buy the Chinese translation!
While riding on a bus from church to a soup kitchen, a little boy asks his grandmother questions about their circumstances, like why they don’t have a car or iPod.
Grandma’s heartwarming answers help children see the positive around us and cultivate a thankful heart.
2. Thankful for Thanksgiving
- 作者 (Author):
- English / ISBN: 9780060510985
This beautiful book is great for parents to read to toddlers/preschoolers or for independent reading for budding readers.
- 作者 (Author): Eileen Spinelli
- English / ISBN: 9780310761402
Books about Thanksgiving season
1. The Pumpkin Book
- 作者 (Author): Gail Gibbons
- Simplified Chinese / ISBN: 9787544725910
- English / ISBN: 9780823416363
Through this cheerfully-illustrated book, Gail Gibbons teaches children about pumpkins (how to plant, growth cycle, varieties) and their special role at Thanksgiving celebrations.
2. In November
- 作者 (Author): Cynthia Rylant
- English / ISBN: 9780152063429
This book and it’s cozy illustrations takes children through the seasonal changes of fall and transitioning to winter.
Animals seek shelter and food while families and friend gather to celebrate Thanksgiving blessing.
Chinese Thanksgiving books on our wish list
Here are some books that we are going to buy and will share in the future if we recommend them!
- The Thanksgiving Story 感恩节 (English | Simplified Chinese)
- Magic School Bus First Thanksgiving 第一次感恩节 (English | Simplified Chinese)
What are your favorite English and Chinese books about Thanksgiving?
What are your family’s favorite English and Chinese Thanksgiving books?
We would love to learn more about your book recommendations!
Please share in the comments below so all readers can learn from you!
More Thanksgiving Activities and Resources for Children
I put together a list of 11 Thanksgiving 感恩节 YouTube Videos for Kids in Mandarin Chinese!
These Chinese YouTube videos given an overview of the history of the American Thanksgiving. I’ve also included a cute Chinese Thanksgiving song and poem!
English & Chinese Christmas Books
Christmas is right around the corner! If you’re getting ready for the next holiday, check out our favorite Christmas picture books in Chinese and English!
FREE CHINESE AUDIOBOOKS
Ximalaya FM has thousands of Chinese stories, and I highly recommend their free Chinese audiobooks for all kids!
Since the entire website and app is in Chinese, please refer to this guide on How to Use Ximalaya if you cannot read Chinese.
RECOMMENDED ARTICLES ABOUT HOW TO TEACH KIDS CHINESE
If you need tips on how to teach your child Chinese, these posts are for you!
- Teach Your Child a Second Language at Home with 5 Key Steps
- How To Get Your Child To Speak the Minority Language
- Raising Multilingual Children as a Non-Fluent Parent: 7 Lessons Learned
- 15 Ways to Get Your Child to Read Throughout the Day
- 6 Fun Ways to Assess Reading Comprehension With Kids!