One of my favorite resources for books for teaching kids about history and literature were written in the late 1800s. There is a great website, mainlesson.com, if you don’t know already that is a project making these gems more available- they are free to read online. I use their books regularly for our out loud read together time, and assign the kids to read them as part of their history and literature study. There are a lot of interesting ones. You can also purchase them on amazon:
Years ago we discovered Stories of the Pilgrims by Margaret B. Pumphrey. It is the story of the Pilgrims beginning in England when they were first persecuted for not joining in the local church services, following to their escape to Holland and eventually to establishing a brand new community in New England. It is a great book to read around Thanksgiving time, and we enjoyed it so much, I am reading it again to the younger kids who probably don’t remember it. The story of the Pilgrims is a great story full of courage and faith.
My husband has also read William Bradford’s journal. One of the striking truths that he described was how the colony was at risk for starving when they had all things in common. As they were about to starve, William Bradford had everybody just work their own land, and the following year after everybody was responsible of their own piece was when they had abundance and the first Thanksgiving and the establishment of a permanent colony. Here is the closest to the original of his journal- really good reading:
And here is a great video by John Stossel explaining this concept- the tragedy of the commons, we had our kids watch it last year- we’ll have them watch it again this year :
I highly recommend both books and watching this video!
And here are some links on amazon to some Thanksgiving picture books that I like:
(fyi: this post contains affiliate links)