Hi everybody! Are you busy planning your family's Thanksgiving feast? Frantically searching for side dishes on Pinterest? Me too! I need to confess something. Every year, we set out happy pilgrim and Indian decorations at my house, and this year, my preschooler has been assigned the role of an "Indian" for his class's Thanksgiving program. This means that as you read this, I am busy cutting the bottom of a brown t-shirt to look like fringe and making a headband with a feather on it out of construction paper, and frankly, it makes me a little uncomfortable. It's tradition, and it's totally innocent, and I'm not going to chose my four year old's preschool program as my place to make a stand. That would probably be over the top as far as good judgement goes, but still, the classic tale of happy pilgrims and the BFFs, the Native Americans isn't exactly accurate. Here are a couple of books that portray a more historically-accurate version of the feast we celebrate each year.
We are sharing two more picture books that bring history, great pictures, fascinating text, and plenty of reasons to be thankful to the table - If You Sailed on The Mayflower in 1620 by Ann McGovern and Anna DiVito and 1621: A New Look At Thanksgiving by National Geographic.
If You Sailed is part of a series of history picture books that if you aren't familiar with yet, go check them out! Other titles include If You Lived in Colonial Times, If You Grew Up with George Washington, and If You Traveled West in a Covered Wagon. What makes this series valuable is the way they place the young reader in the shoes of children who lived throughout history. In this selection from the series, we see not only the specifics of the Mayflower ship and who exactly sailed to the new world, but we also learn fascinating details about the lives of the Pilgrim children. For example, two troublemaker brothers named the Billington boys were constantly getting into trouble throughout the Mayflower voyage, and one of their pranks almost burned down the whole ship! Another fun fact is that things like chairs, eating utensils, and bowls were precious in the first Pilgrim homes, so most kids ate their dinner standing up and eating food from one plate using their hands. (Don't kids do that now? Oh, it's just my lovely children? Okay, moving on) recommended ages: 6+
In 1621, the information is wonderfully detailed and informative, but the star of the show is the collection of photographs that are so historically accurate that they make the reader feel like the photographer had a time machine! The faces of the Pilgrims and Indians are sincere and work to remind us that these were real events and real people.
What do you think? Do you have a great book for kids that shows them the history behind the Thanksgiving feast?