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THANKSGIVING by Penny Colman

THANKSGIVING

The True Story

By Penny Colman

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-8050-8229-6
Publisher: Henry Holt

After surveying “competing claims” for the first Thanksgiving from 1541 on, in Texas, Florida, Maine, Virginia and Massachusetts, Colman decides in favor of the 1621 event with the English colonists and Wampanoag as the first “because the 1621 event was more like the Thanksgiving that we celebrate today.” She demonstrates, however, that the “Pilgrim and Indian” story is really not the antecedent of Thanksgiving as we celebrate it today. Rather, two very old traditions—harvest festivals and days of thanksgiving for special events—were the origin, and this interesting volume traces how the custom of proclaiming a general day of thanksgiving took hold. Yet, since many Thanksgiving celebrations in towns and schools are still rooted in the “Pilgrim and Indian” story, which the author calls “true and important,” but which many Native Americans find objectionable, a more in-depth discussion of it is warranted here. The solid bibliography does include some fine resources, such as 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving (2001) by Catherine O’Neill Grace and Margaret M. Bruchac. (author’s note, chronology, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)