Whether it’s dinner prep entertainment that you need, or just a little down time with your family, these Thanksgiving audiobooks will set the tone for a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. The books on this list celebrate friendship, family, immigration and the diversity of America. You can find books of all lengths so if it’s a new audiobook for car rides during the month of November, or a quick laugh while you set the table, there is a Thanksgiving audiobook selection for everyone!
TIP: While the books on this list feature traditional Thanksgiving themes, for specific Thanksgiving stories, scroll to the end of the list.
Note on age recommendations: these are listening ages.
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A Year Down Yonder
by Richard Peck, read by Lois Smith
In this companion book to A Long Way from Chicago (one of our favorite read alouds), 15-year-old Mary Alice narrates a year’s events while staying with her eccentric Grandmother in rural Illinois during the Great Depression. Because each chapter operates as more of a stand-alone short story, this is a great pick when your family doesn’t want to have to turn off the audiobook on a suspenseful note. 3 hours, 21 min. Ages 6 and up.
I Can Make this Promise
by Christine Day, read by Kyla Garcia
Edie lives in a loving family, but she knows her mother doesn’t like to talk much about her own ancestry. Her mother, of mixed Native American heritage, was adopted by white parents. One day, Edie discovers a box of letters signed “Edith” and wonders who her mysterious namesake is. The story follows Edie’s journey as she learns the truth and reconnects with her Suquamish/Duwamish heritage. I can’t recommend this book enough! Be sure to talk with your kids about how important it is to read and listen to stories which counteract the harmful stereotypes of American Indians that are too often taught in school. 5 hours 46 min. Ages 8 and up.
by Sarah Weeks, read by Kate Rudd
Set in 1955, this wonderfully quirky mystery will have the whole family thankful for each other and ready for desert. Aunt Polly was the “Pie Queen of Ipswitch.” Upon her death she bequeathed her famous pie recipe to her cat, Lardo, and Lardo to her niece, Alice. With the help of her friend, Charlie, Alice is now trying to figure out how to get the pie recipe “out” of Lardo so she can will the town’s coveted “Blueberry Medal.” 3 hours 42 min. Ages 6 and up.
Children of the Longhouse
By Joseph Bruchac, read by Elaina Erika Davis
November is Native American Heritage Month, as well as a good time to read a bit more about the American Indians than the fact that some of them attended the first Thanksgiving. This is a historical novel narrated in alternating viewpoints between Ohkwa’ri and his twin sister Otsi:stia. The siblings are Mohawks living in the 15th century in what would later become upstate New York. Ohkwa’ri tells the elders he heard another boy planning activity that would break a peace accord with a neighboring tribe. His resentful new enemy plans to get revenge during a game of what we might call lacrosse. There is so much wonderful information about Native American life, culture and traditions in this book. 3 hours 34 min. Ages 7 and up.
Granny Torrelli Makes Soup
by Sharon Creech, read by Donna Murphy
This story of friendship, forgiveness and intergenerational relationships centers around the kitchen. Rosie narrates her hot and cold feelings for her best friend, Bailey. Her Italian grandmother, Granny Torrelli, helps both Rosie and Bailey put things into perspective as she teaches them the secrets of her cooking and regales them with stories of her youth. Simply marvelous! 1 hour 46 min. Ages 5 and up.
by Linda Sue Park, read by Emily Woo Zeller
A stellar, thoughtful alternative to the Little House books (or in addition to them), Prairie Lotus, is about Hanna, a 14 year old half-Chinese girl who dreams of being a dressmaker. She and her white father have moved to a new town in Dakota territory where her father is opening a dress goods store. Hanna is excited about going to school for the first time and graduating, as her mother dreamed for her. She faces the racism of the town’s white folks, but Hanna is determined. Hanna’s strong inner voice, the memory of her Mama and a few new friends help her stay strong and succeed. Absolutely wonderful. 5 hours 18 min. Ages 9 and up.
Other Words for Home
by Jasmine Warga, read by Vaneh Assadourian
This free-verse novel begins in Syria around the start of the Arab Spring. Jude and her pregnant mother decide to emigrate to live with her uncle in America. Her older brother, caught up in the protests against the government, stays behind with their father. In America, Jude meets new friends and discovers an interest in theater. With unflinching honesty and a keen perception, Jude describes the transition from Syria to her experiences adjusting to living in America. A splendid book. 3 hours 50 min. Ages 9 and up.
Roll with It
by Jamie Sumner
Ellie loves to bake! Her cerebral palsy means her mom is a bit overprotective, and that she has to spend more time than she would like with doctors. Ellie’s grandfather has Alzheimer’s disease and so Ellie and her mom move in with her grandparents to help out. Starting a new school means Ellie finally finds some good friends and feels like she fits in somewhere. Roll With It is a marvelous book, tackling so many themes, but with good humor and likable characters. 4 hours 30 min. Ages 8 and up.
The Birchbark House
by Louise Erdich
Find it: Audible
The Birchbark House takes place on an island in Lake Superior in 1847 where 7-year-old Omakayas, “Little Frog” and her Ojibwa family live. Erdrich describes the daily life and experiences of the Ojibwa as well as their sorrows and joys. May be a little intense in part for your youngest listeners. 5 hours 26 min. Ages 8 and up.
An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving
by Louisa May Alcott, read by Jim Ellis
This short story from Alcott’s book, Aunt Jo’s Scrap Bag, is a nice selection for families who are looking for a traditional, classic story. The March girls from Little Women make a Thanksgiving dinner when their parents are called away. 38 minutes. All ages.
The Hoboken Chicken Emergency
by Daniel Pinkwater, read by Daniel Pinkwater
Find it: Audio CD
Arthur’s mom sends him out to find a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. When no turkey are to be found, brings home a 200-lb live chicken. Hijinks ensue. Besides being a bit on the totally hilarious side, this is a story of loyalty and friendship. Ages 5 and up.
The Jack Prelutsky Holiday CD Audio Collection
by Jack Prelutsky, read by Jack Prelutsky
This collection of humorous poetry can be enjoyed for many holidays, not just Thanksgiving. A fun way to get in some quick audiobook time with the kids and help them develop an appreciation of poetry. All ages.
Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade
by Melissa Sweet, read by John McDonough
The signature spectacle of the Macy’s Parade was actually spearheaded by British immigrant, Tony Sarg. Sweet’s marvelous cut paper and mixed media collages illustrate the story of Sarg’s life as a puppeteer, from his boyhood inspirations to his invention of the “upside-down marionettes” we’ve come to know and love as the iconic gigantic helium balloons in the Macy’s Parade. 15 minutes. All ages.
MORE Thanksgiving reading: