If You Lived During the Plimoth Thanksgiving by Chris Newell, illustrated by Winona Nelson

Published by Scholastic

If You Lived During the Plimoth Thanksgiving: Newell, Chris, Nelson,  Winona: 9781338726374: Amazon.com: Books

Summary:  Those of us who grew up reading Scholastic’s books like If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620 or If Your Name Was Changed At Ellis Island will recognize the question-and-answer format of this book that traces the history and culture of the Wampanoag people, the Europeans who sailed on the Mayflower, and what happened when their paths crossed.  This story does not end with the 1621 harvest feast that these groups shared, but continues on to what happened in the years afterward as Europeans increasingly moved onto indigenous lands and killed many of the people with wars and disease.  It also tells how Thanksgiving came to be a national holiday, more than 200 years after the event it purports to celebrate, and concludes with a discussion of American holidays  (or the lack of them) that recognize indigenous people.  Includes a glossary.  96 pages; grades 2-5.

Pros:  I enjoyed these books as a kid, and this one provides a much-needed correction to the traditional Thanksgiving story, with a greater emphasis on the Wampanoag history and culture, and a look at some of the history after 1621.  Definitely a resource that should be added to elementary school classrooms and libraries where Thanksgiving is part of the curriculum.

Cons:  Given the many, many questions around the traditional telling of the history of Thanksgiving, I was disappointed that this book didn’t include source notes, additional reading lists, or any information about the author. 

November 25, 2021 at 04:39PM Janet Dawson