The Mayflower, the First Thanksgiving, Plymouth, Pilgrims, Separatists, and Squanto Homeschool Resources

Pilgrims, Separatists, the Mayflower, Plymouth, and the First Thanksgiving Supplements and Resources

Dates covered: 1620-1622

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Sonlight Selection: 

American History Easy Make and Learn Books:

  • Interactive 3D Maps: American History
    • Voyage of the Mayflower, Pages 34-37
    • Slave Ships Cross the Atlantic, Pages 38-41
  • The Pilgrims, the Mayflower, and More
    • Exchanging Worlds Trifold Diorama, Pages 5-8
    • Moving Mayflower Map and Peek-Inside Mayflower, Pages 9-16
    • Pilgrim Town and Wampanoag Village, Pages 17-31
    • Pilgrim Vegetable Patch and Wampanoag Garden, Pages 32-37
    • Hunt for Food Match-Up and Trap a Fish, Pages 38-43
    • What’s Cooking? Double Diorama, Pages 44-49
    • Wampanoag Basket-by-Numbers, Pages 50-53
    • Who Wore What? Wardrobes and Make & Wear Wampanoag Pouch, Pages 54-62
    • Make & Wear Wampum, Pages 63-65
    • Harvest Feast Fun-Fact Scroll, Pages 66-70

Arts and Crafts: 

Books (All Ages): 


Long Before the Pilgrims: The First Thanksgiving, El Paso del Norte, 1598 Long before the Pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving at Plymouth in 1621, a similar feast of thanks was shared in the New World. In the 1500s, Mexican conquistador Juan de Oñate led an expedition north of the Rio Grande into an area now known as Texas. To celebrate his successful journey, he and his colonists joined Native Americans in a feast on April 30, 1598-the First Thanksgiving. Bilingual with both English and Spanish translations. Younger to Middle Students.

Younger Children and Picture Books


  • Across the Wide, Dark Sea Picture book accounting of the Mayflower voyage.
  • My Life as an Early Settler  Easy to read look at reenactors living life in ancient Plymouth.  Level 2.9. Massachusets.
  • P is for Pilgrim a nonfiction alphabet book with a short rhyme for each letter, and then more text with details on the side for older students if they wish. Level 6.0, for the longer text. 


  • One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims, picture book, set to the tune of a song, but refers to the Native Americans as “Wampanoags” instead of “Indians.”
  • Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving – A Lift-the-Flap Book Fun look at Pete the Cat putting on a Thanksgiving Play. Level 3.2. Younger students. 
  • Squanto’s Journey Longer picture book, level 4.2
  • Thanksgiving Is… Early Reader introduces young readers to the challenging lives of the Pilgrims and their first bountiful harvest, for which they gave thanks with a feast of wildfowl, salted fish, and corn. Level 2.3. Younger students. 
  • Thanksgiving Mice! A group of theatrical mice have some problems when they put on a play to commemorate the first Thanksgiving, but everything works out alright in the end. Level 1.3. Younger students. 
  • This First Thanksgiving Day Count along and follow the Pilgrim and Wampanoag friends as they prepare for a great feast, and along the way look for the bold turkey on every page. And for the very sharp of eye, there are all sorts of surprises hidden in the art! Level 3.4. Picture book. Younger students.
  • The Very First Thanksgiving Day Join us on a journey back to the very first Thanksgiving Day when two societies came together to feast and honor the earth’s bounty in peace. Picture book, reminiscent of the story The House that Jack Built. Level 3.9. Younger students
  • The Thanksgiving Story. Sonlight HBL D. Picture book, level 4.1. Massachusetts. 
  • The Very First Thanksgiving Day Easy Picture Book. Level 3.9
  • This is the Feast Rhyming picture book, Level 5.7 


Younger to Middle Students (Includes picture books and early readers)


Don’t Know Much About the Pilgrims Now you can discover a wealth of cool and astonishing facts about the Pilgrims. Did you know that they made the long ocean journey in a cramped boat, or that the friendly Indians helped the Pilgrims survive that first winter? Would you have liked being a child in Plymouth? You wouldn’t have gone to school, but just read about the chores you would have done!

If You Were a Kid on the Mayflower Learn what living conditions were like aboard The Mayflower, what dangers the Pilgrims faced at sea, and much more. In 1620, a group of Pilgrims left Europe aboard a ship called the Mayflower. They sailed toward North America, hoping to make a new home where they could practice their religion freely. Readers (Ages 7-9) will join Hope and Theodore as they set sail on a 66-day journey across the Atlantic Ocean.

On the Mayflower Picture Book with full-color photos throughout of children and adults reenacting the voyage of the Mayflower.

Pilgrim Cat The story of a Mayflower cat and his life in the New World, picture book. Level 3.8

Poet, Pilgrim, Rebel: The Story of Anne Bradstreet, America’s First Published Poet picture book biography. Lexile 690.

The First Thanksgiving  Graphic Novel. Budding historians will look at the story of the first Thanksgiving in a whole new way. Historically accurate depictions of clothing, home styles, and the kind of foods that would have been served will help students picture what it was really like for the Pilgrims and Native Americans of yore.

The Journey of the Mayflower Graphic Novel. Can you imagine spending weeks on a boat? Can you imagine leaving behind everything you knew to start over in an unknown wilderness? Curious minds need not imagine any longer—the details are all here. The journey of the Mayflower Pilgrims is retold in a way that will help young readers connect to history like never before.

The Littlest Pilgrim, Mini is too little to help prepare the Thanksgiving feast, too small to help bake or hunt or sew.  But not too little to find a friend. Easy picture book, level 2.2. Massachusetts. 

The Pilgrims at Plymouth Long picture book, level 4.8

The Story of the Mayflower Compact Searching for religious freedom, Pilgrims flee England on the Mayflower and head for the New World. Led by Miles Standish, they settled in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620–now free to worship as they please. But how can they survive in this desolate wilderness? There are no towns, no houses, and nobody to help them–they might starve or be killed by Indians! The first winter is hard and many die. This is the story of how a few survive and launch a new form of government which years later will become known as a democracy. Cornerstones of Freedom series.

The Story of the Pilgrims small picture book, level 4.4

The Thanksgiving Story Sonlight D. In this festive Caldecott Honor–winning picture book, Alice Dalgleish brings to life the origin of the Thanksgiving holiday for readers of all ages. Level 4.1. Massachusetts. Younger to Middle students. 

The Voyage of the Mayflower is a graphic novel accounting of the voyage.  Level 3.6. Massachusetts.

Three Young Pilgrims Picture book, mentions a lot of deaths. Younger to Middle students. 

Who’s that Stepping on Plymouth Rock? A comedic book about the history of the actual rock at Plymouth and its journey into history not so much about the settlers themselves, level 5.0, Jean Fritz


If You Lived During the Plimoth Thanksgiving Scholastic’s If You Lived… series answers all of kids’ most important questions about events in American history. With a question-and-answer format, kid-friendly artwork, and engaging information, this series is the perfect partner for the classroom and history-loving readers. What if you lived when the English colonists and the Wampanoag people shared a feast at Plimoth? What would you have worn? What would you have eaten? What was the true story of the feast that we now know as the first Thanksgiving and how did it become a national holiday? Chris Newell answers all these questions and more in this comprehensive dive into the feast at Plimoth and the history leading up to it. Carefully crafted to explore both sides of this historical event, this book is a great choice for Thanksgiving units, and for teaching children about this popular holiday.

If You Were a Kid at the First Thanksgiving Discover what happened during the very first Thanksgiving! As one of the few young children living in the Plymouth colony, Miles Allterton is always looking to make new friends. In a nearby Wampanoag settlement, a girl named Aquina wants to hunt with her father and brothers. When the two children meet during preparations for a harvest feast, they quickly strike up a friendship. Readers (Ages 7-9) will follow along as the children and their families attend the first Thanksgiving celebration.

If You Were at the First Thanksgiving, nonfiction look at pilgrim life, level 4.9

Feast of Thanksgiving, The First American Holiday; A Play A two-act play depicting a Pilgrim family’s preparation for the Thanksgiving celebration with the Indians. Includes parts for 10 people. Younger to Middle students. 

Giving Thanks: The 1621 Harvest Feast A look at the first Thanksgiving from the perspective of two children, one English, one Wampanoag. Contains reenactment photos; and a picture book.  Level 3.9

Keepunumuk: Weeâchumun’s Thanksgiving Story, the story of the first Thanksgiving from the viewpoint of the Native Americans, Lexile 560. Massachusetts. Picture book. 

New Friends in a New Land: A Thanksgiving Story a look at the holiday through the eyes of a young girl, Damaris Hopkins, sister of Oceanus Hopkins. Level 3.3. Massachusetts. 

The First Thanksgiving, Eary Reader, Step into Reading, Level 2.9

The First Thanksgiving (Fact Vs. Fiction in U.S. History) Every November, the United States celebrates Thanksgiving Day. But what actually happened at the first Thanksgiving? And when did it happen? Discover the facts and find out the fiction surrounding one of America’s favorite holidays.

The Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving Graphic Novel Retelling, Level 3.4

The Pilgrims Party: A Really Truly Story not quite as really truly as the title implies, but a short read-aloud in an easy-to-understand format. Younger students. 

The Plymouth Thanksgiving Picture book style. It tells of the Pilgrims’ courage as they became acquainted with the Indians and produced food from the New England soil in 1620. Younger to Middle students. 

Middle Students


  • Homes in the Wilderness: A Pilgrim’s Journal of Plymouth Plantation in 1620 Learn about Plymouth from the journals of a person who actually lived there. An account of living history kept by Governor William Bradford and others of the Mayflower company, chronicling the adventures of the Pilgrims’ day-to-day life after arriving in the New World. Homes in the Wilderness, first published in London in 1622, conveys the struggles of this gallant company of a hundred through the first long, hard winter of 1620, and the building of their settlement at Plymouth in the spring of 1621. The old language was modernized just enough in 1939 by the beloved author of Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown while preserving the flavor of the original King James English. This edition for young people includes a list of Mayflower passengers, a glossary of old words, and several maps. Profusely illustrated by Mary Wilson Stewart.
  • If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 Nonfiction informative book about many aspects of the lives of the people on the Mayflower, level 4.2
  • John Alden: Steadfast Pilgrim Easy to read biography, Nonfiction. 
  • John Alden: Young Puritan Childhood of Famous Americans series. 
  • Mayflower Treasure Hunt (A to Z Mysteries series) Follow 3 present-day children as they visit the Mayflower II reconstruction, the Mayflower Museum, and other historical sights as they try to solve the mystery of what happened to one of the original settler’s jewelry. Reader, Level 4.1
  • Myles Standish: Adventurous Boy, Childhood of Famous Americans series
  • Science on the Mayflower No experiments, but science behind ocean currents, food preservation, and other scientific principles that made the trip possible. Level 5.4. Massachusetts. 
  • The Landing of the Pilgrims – Landmark In England in the early 1600s, everyone was forced to join the Church of England. Young William Bradford and his friends believed they had every right to belong to whichever church they wanted. In the name of religious freedom, they fled to Holland, and then sailed to America to start a new life. But the winter was harsh, and before a year passed, half the settlers had died. Yet, through hard work and strong faith, a tough group of Pilgrims did survive. Their belief in freedom of religion became an American ideal that still lives on today. 
  • The Mayflower: The Perilous Voyage that Changed the World DK nonfiction longer picture book, Lexile 860
  • The Mayflower Compact Easy to understand nonfiction book. Learn about the Mayflower Compact, one of the most significant documents in U.S. history. Find out about those who were involved in its creation and why studying this primary source is so important. Level 6.0. 
  • The Mayflower Compact Dramatic and defining moments in American history come vividly the life in the Cornerstones of Freedom series. Fun text and lots of images help bring history to life.
  • The Mayflower: History Smashers In 1620, the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock and made friends with Wampanoag people who gave them corn. RIGHT? WRONG! It was months before the Pilgrims met any Wampanoag people, and nobody gave anybody corn that day. Did you know that the pilgrims didn’t go straight from England to Plymouth? No, they made a stop along the way–and almost stayed forever! Did you know there was a second ship, called the Speedwell, that was too leaky to make the trip? No joke. And just wait until you learn the truth about Plymouth Rock. Through illustrations, graphic panels, photographs, sidebars, and more, acclaimed author Kate Messner smashes history by exploring the little-known details behind the legends of the Mayflower and the first Thanksgiving. Kate Messner serves up fun, fast history for kids who want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Level 7.1. Middle to Older students.
  • The Mayflower Secret: Governor William Bradford, Part of the Trailblazer series  by Dave and Neta Jackson about famous missionaries and church leaders, a young girl travels to Plymouth with Governor Bradford and is witness to his story.  Middle students. 
  • The Pilgrims Cornerstones of Freedom series. Discusses the daily life of the Pilgrims in Plymouth Colony.
  • What Was…The First Thanksgiving (Part of the Who Was/What Was series), nonfiction easy-to-read accounting of the event, level 5.0
  • William Bradford: Pilgrim Boy Read-aloud style book, Childhood of Famous Americans series.  Massachusetts. 


  • First Thanksgiving Cornerstones of Freedom series. Discusses the history of New Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts, the relationship between the colonists and the native Wampanoag people, and the harvest festival which would later become Thanksgiving Dy using photos and creative text.
  • If You Lived At the Time of Squanto, and If You Lived series book, nonfiction. Middle Students. 
  • Problems in Plymouth The Imagination Station from Adventures in Odyssey takes Patrick and Beth back in time to the first Thanksgiving.  Level 3.1
  • Squanto and the First Thanksgiving Chapter book style, level 3.6 

Middle to Older Students


Stink Alley The year is 1614. Recently orphaned Lizzy Tinker has lived half of her twelve years in Holland and belongs to a small congregation of religious refugees who have fled England to worship as they choose. The Dutch people enjoy a free and easy lifestyle that Master William Brewster constantly admonishes. Although the Brewsters took Lizzy in when her father died, she doesn’t feel at home with them. Her undisciplined tongue always seems to get her in trouble. Lizzy has a talent for cooking, and her kitchen craft has landed her a job cooking for a Dutch family whose precocious eight-year-old son has a stubborn nature, artistic talent, and nose for trouble even greater than Lizzy’s own.  With meticulous research and great imagination, Jamie Gilson has created an authentic, entertaining story that brings to life seventeenth-century Holland and the unique culture that fostered both the Mayflower Pilgrims and master painters such as Rembrandt.



  • 1620 Year of the Pilgrims Children’s non-fiction by Newbery Award runner-up, Genevieve S. Foster. The book relates what was occurring in the Old and New World at the time the Pilgrims made their first settlement in America. Includes a look at famous people and places around the world in 1620. 
  • Shadows in the Glasshouse (American Girl History Mysteries) Historical fiction of a girl kidnapped and sold to be an indentured servant for a glasshouse in the New World. She makes friends with another glasshouse worker, only to find danger around every corner. A different look at life in early Jamestown. Level 5.3


Older Students


  • 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving is a longer book, nonfiction, but it provides a lot of recent understanding of the history around Thanksgiving and a look at the world of 1621 from the Wampanoag point of view as well as clears up common misconceptions, level 7.1


  • The Mayflower and the Pilgrim’s New World While most books about the Mayflower stop shortly after the First Thanksgiving, this well-researched and well-written book keeps exploring through the next 50 years, going into details about life in the new colony as well as info on King Philip’s War. Level 8.3. Older students. 
  • Poison in the Colony, the sequel to Blood on the River, from Sonlight D, this book covers more harsh and difficult topics that might require trigger warnings, including various forms of child abuse. Historical fiction for mature students only. I would personally wait until high school or adult.  

Coloring Pages/Drawing/Activity Books and Pages: 


Lapbooks/Notebooking Pages/Unit Studies/Paper Dolls: 

Movies (20 Minutes or Longer): (See Also: Videos)

Museums/Field Trips (including virtual): 


  • Book: American Indian Cooking Before 1500 Discusses the everyday life, cooking methods, common foods, and hardships and celebrations of American Indians before 1500. Includes recipes for multiple items, including Maple-Glazed Turkey Legs and Baked Wild Rice, Acorn Cakes, Squash Stew, Snow Cream with Raspberries, and more.
  • Book: Food and Recipes of the Pilgrims, a short book that discusses planting, cooking, and baking in pilgrim days, along with four authentic recipes. Level 4.8



Videos (1-20 minutes): (See also Movies)


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