Homeschooling

Finding Accurate Thanksgiving History Books for Kids

Finding Accurate Thanksgiving History Books for Kids

Finding Accurate Thanksgiving History Books for Kids

Looking for accurate Thanksgiving history books for children can be difficult. So many of them have been romanticized to the point of falsehood. Stories about the Pilgrims and the colonial times overall  are often problematic anyway. Many of the books which do provide a truly accurate account contain content unsuitable for sensitive children. Child-friendly volumes, on the other hand, often take liberties with history, since the true story of the colonies’ tragedies and trials isn’t a child-friendly topic. And of course (and this is a biggie) many books about Pilgrims depict Native Americans in a incredibly offensive way. (I’ve written more about the way Native Americans are depicted in children’s literature.)

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Thankfully, Squanto’s Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving is one of those rare early American history books. It’s accurate and compelling while still being child-friendly. In fact, it’s the only picture book about the first Thanksgiving I recommend. With empathy and strength, the author — who is of Native American ancestry himself — tells Squanto’s story in the first person.  I love how he begins not with the First Thanksgiving or with planting corn, but with Squanto’s first difficult journey away from North America to England. Squanto is portrayed as a man of courage, and Bruchac masterfully writes of Squanto’s difficult role in Patuxet-turned-Plymouth. With a book as solid, factual, and beautiful as this, there’s no reason to turn instead to watered-down inaccurate stories about this misunderstood man. Definitely add it to your library request queue or your bookstore wishlist if you haven’t already.

Another book which handles this difficult time period fairly tastefully, but not perfectly, is Three Young Pilgrims by Cheryl Harness.  This is a good choice to give children a broad overview over of the Pilgrim perspective during the early colonial years,  since it shows various trials, hardships, and joys the Pilgrims experienced while adjusting to the New World during and after arrival.  Kids will love the large, illustrated primer format, and the wealth of hand-lettered facts incorporated into the rich, brooding illustrations. But there’s a caveat: the author admits in the foreword that Three Young Pilgrims only tells “part of the story”,  and hopes it will “lead the reader to study further”.  I agree. It’s beautiful and touching, but glosses over a few details and romanticizes a bit, so definitely read it alongside Bruchac’s book.

And talk to your kids! Like Cheryl Harness said, that any book we read only tells “part of the story”.  As children take in the folklore surrounding the holiday this Thanksgiving, let’s begin conversations to help kids sort out legend from historical fact. I’ve created a series of discussion prompts to help you talk about real Thanksgiving history with your kids.

Click here to read 10 Thanksgiving History Conversation-Starters for Kids on the iHomeschool Network blog

What resources are you using to delve into Thanksgiving history this year?

 

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Life in Photos

LIFE IN PHOTOS :: Everyday things

“Everything is fine —

the first bits of sun are on

the yellow flowers behind the low wall.” -Billy Collins
WEB_Oaxacaborn_Life_in_Photos_Waking_Up

WEB_Oaxacaborn_Life_in_Photos_Cranberries

WEB_Oaxacaborn_Life_in_Photos_Coffee_Sugar

“Report from the subtropics:

for one thing, there’s no more snow

to watch from an evening window…

no hexagrams of frost to study

on the cold glass pages of the bathroom.

No black sweater to pull over my head

while I wait for the coffee to brew…..

And the birds with those long white necks?

All they do is swivel their heads

keeping an eye on me as I walk along.” -Billy Collins

WEB_Oaxacaborn_Life_in_Photos_Acorn_Art

WEB_Oaxacaborn_Life_in_Photos_Vintage_Tupperware

“This love for everyday things,

part natural from the wide eye of Infancy,

part a literary calculation” -Billy Collins

WEB_Oaxacaborn_Life_in_Photos_Sweet_Potatoes

WEB_Oaxacaborn_Life_in_Photos_Charlie_Lola

“yes, there would be enough light

to read a book or write a letter at midnight” -Billy Collins

WEB_Oaxacaborn_Life_in_Photos_Incredibles_Japanese

“the day mirled and clabbered

into the thick, stony light” -Billy Collins

Poetry & Words

We did it! We had Thanksgiving.

We did it. We had Thanksgiving. Honestly, I don’t know how it happened. I’m tired just thinking about it.

Somehow, on Wednesday at 3pm, even though I was still sick, I found myself buckling Aveline into a grocery cart.

I definitely sounded like a chain-smoking blues singer, but I was determined that our little family’s first Thanksgiving wasn’t going to be lame.

(I’m very stubborn.)

The shelves were already looking really sad and empty, but I was able to track down the last of the essentials, like an extremely frozen turkey. And sage. And celery. And sweet potatoes. And cranberries. And a whole cart full of other ingredients. (P.S. I didn’t even go over our grocery budget. BOO-YA!)

When Josiah got home from work on Wednesday night, he found me in the living room watching a cheesy Christmas drama…chopping rutabaga, sweet potatoes, celery and onions. The make-ahead mashed potatoes were already done, and the sweet potato chunks were roasting in the oven.

I kept on cooking, and Josiah kept on washing dishes…what an amazing man! Aveline’s room is next to the kitchen, and all the cooking would have woken her up, so we let her stay up late. :-) Don’t you remember that about holidays when you were a kid? Staying up too late? Well, that, and getting up super early. ;-) Good thing all three of us were able to sleep in a bit on Thanksgiving morning.

And what a beautiful Thanksgiving it turned out to be! I thought I was going to be really hard because we weren’t near family. And I did miss our families — a lot — but my day with Josiah and Aveline was just all kinds of wonderful. The weather was beautiful enough to open the windows, and we had a long leisurely morning, watching the parade and drinking coffee and laughing. No coffee for Aveline, although she did eat an entire banana for breakfast. Oops.

And then in the afternoon, we all feasted on glorious food.

Oh, and you know Josiah is the only person in this house who eats turkey, right? Yes. Twelve pounds of turkey for one dude.

Guess who doesn’t have to make dinner for a long, long time?

Poetry & Words

A “more different” start to Thanksgiving week

This is Thanksgiving week, the very first time in which the entire meal preparation falls to me…the very first time it’s just our little family for the holiday.

I was planning to take Monday — this week — by storm. I was planning to finish painting the letters on a handmade Happy Thanksgiving banner, package up another order and head to the post office, then drop off the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. Then I was planning to break down the Thanksgiving preparation list into today’s, tomorrow’s, and Wednesday’s tasks, figure out what other ingredients I still need to pick up from the grocery store, and start cooking. Visions of pumpkin pie, orange-cranberry sauce and roasted garlic mashed potatoes were dancing in my head.

Instead, I’m sitting here wrapped in a blanket, coughing and sniffling. The Thanksgiving banner just says “Happy”. Aveline is yelling in an ear-splitting manner while she gleefully beats a wooden spoon on a cooking pot. Maybe I can just toss some ingredients in her pot and hope for the best?

Aveline cooking Thanksgiving dinner

Inspiration

quietness and rest

beautiful rain. a long, long saturday afternoon nap. a quiet and content (sweater-wearing) little dog. candles on the coffee table. a kicking little baby, whom i can’t wait to meet in just 6 weeks (hopefully not 7 or 8 weeks, HA!). new yarn for Christmas presents. an Elf evening planned with the family.

In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength. Isaiah 30:15

and now, to put some biscuits in the oven. biscuits and (leftover thanksgiving) gravy, here we come.