Friday, November 11, 2016


 My sister teaches music in an elementary school.  Half of one of her early elementary classes is made up of first generation Americans.   In explaining the words of "My Country 'Tis of Thee", my sister told those children that they were today's pilgrims.

As we prepare for Thanksgiving, let's remember those who come here to find sanctuary from persecution, poverty, and discrimination. We all came from somewhere else, no matter what some people want to believe.
Right now, this is my favorite Thanksgiving book.  Puppets, balloons and pageants - the birth of an American tradition.

Some of my favorite Thanksgiving books, new and old.

Molly's Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen.  This classic was turned into an Academy Award-winning short film.  Third grader, Molly, asks her mother to make a Pilgrim doll from a clothespin.  Her mother, who was born in Eastern Europe, doesn't know what a Pilgrim is.  Molly explains that a pilgrim is someone who came to this country to worship freely, and to escape hard times.  Her mama makes a doll that looks like a Russian girl.  Molly's doll helps the teacher explain that America still welcomes pilgrims for all kinds of reasons.

A Strawbeater's Thanksgiving by Irene Smalls.  Jess, a slave, looks forward to the corn shucking party.  He hopes to be the special boy chosen to keep time for the fiddler by beating on the fiddle strings with a pair of strong wheat straws.  Hopes don't always come true and Jess works hard to make his hope become a reality.  Melodye Rosales provides beautiful illustrations for this story.

A Turkey For Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting.  Mr. Moose is determined to deliver a turkey to his wife for Thanksgiving.  Turkey is equally determined to stay away.  No worries, happy endings abound, all around.  And Diane de Groat's pictures are colorful and adorable.

Balloons over Broadway by Melissa Sweet.  Tony Sarg, a German-born puppeteer, was the artistic genius behind the first Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.  He designed it to mirror the parades and processions of many of Macy's immigrant employees.  This picture book biography, written and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, is my FAVORITE Thanksgiving book right now. 

Thanksgiving Poems by Myra Cohn Livingston.  If you are looking for something short to read before you stuff yourselves, take a look at this collection.

Over the River and Through the Wood by Lydia Maria Francis Child, with illustrations by David Catrow.  You MUST get the version with pictures by David Catrow.  The poem is lovely but the pictures are hilarious!

There are more, so many more.  I might add to this list in the next week or two.  Just remember to be kind to everyone you meet.  Stand up for people who need defending.   Give thanks for what you have. 

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