Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Sharing the Bread: An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Story

Sharing the Bread: An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Story by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Jill McElmurry (Schwartz & Wade, 2015).

This is a great book about a traditional 19th century American Thanksgiving.  The illustrations are great, I loved looking at all the little details and historical touches. The story itself has a nice sentiment about everyone in the family sharing responsibilities in preparing for the meal and coming together to express gratitude. 

There is also a activity kit for the book available as a PDF here

I wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving! 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Gracias the Thanksgiving Turkey

Gracias the Thanksgiving Turkey by Joy Cowley, illustrated by Joe Cepeda (Scholastic, 1996).

This is a fun book about a young Puerto Rican boy named Miguel who lives in New York City with his abuelos and tia while his truck-driver father is on the road.  His father sends him a turkey to fatten up for Thanksgiving, but of course Miguel ends up attached to his new friend whom he names Gracias. He and Gracias have some fun adventures but Miguel is worried what will happen once Thanksgiving comes, but everything works out when the family decides to have chicken for dinner.  

Monday, November 16, 2015

Thanksgiving Treat

Thanksgiving Treat by Catherine Stock (Atheneum, 1990). 

This is a sweet book about a young boy who wants to help with Thanksgiving preparations but no one in his family wants his help because they think he'll just get in the way.  Until of course his grandfather teaches him out to collect chestnuts for roasting, and his family is appreciative of the yummy treat.  

Catherine Stock has written and illustrated numerous wonderful picture books, including Galimoto which was a Reading Rainbow book.  

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day by Anne Rockwell, illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell (Harper Collins, 1999). 

I'm going to be sharing several Thanksgiving books that I found at my local library over the next couple weeks.  I'm starting off with a popular book that, while well meaning, is quite problematic at times.

First of all, the good:  The illustrations are lovely and I like that they show a diverse range of children and multiculturally mixed families.  It's the story of a classroom learning about the first Thanksgiving and putting on a play.  The history that is taught is where it gets problematic.  The author refers to the Native Americans by their tribal name, the Wampanoag, which is great.  However, other than that, she portrays the whole situation as peaceful and caring between friends. Of course we want to promote sharing and kindness among children, but rewriting history to do so is not justifiable. 

One line that jumped out at me was: "Michiko was thankful that she and all the other Pilgrims were greeted kindly by the Wampanoag people, who shared the land with them." Saying that the Wampanoags "shared the land" with the Pilgrims is twisting the true history and making it seem like it's ok to just steal other people's land. I might still read this story to a child just because of the illustrations, but rewording or skipping the problematic passages.

Debbie Reese at American Indians in Children's Literature has a good critique of the book here, which also has the author's response.