Three Thanksgiving Reads for the Upper Elementary Classroom

I recently borrowed seven books about Thanksgiving from my local library, I will be sharing three with you that are engaging and historically correct. I do not wish to share books that are not appealing to our students nor provide stories in which share incorrect information about our past, the clothing styles of Pilgrims, or the wrong headdress of Native Americans.

First, a biographical picture book of Sarah Josepha Hale - a woman who did not take no for an answer. Sarah Gives Thanks by Mike Allegra is an incredible story of a persistent woman who persuaded Abraham Lincoln toward the declaration of the National Holiday, Thanksgiving. For more than thirty years, she wrote letters to presidents, legislature, and other government officials; as well as wrote editorials for magazines to create a much needed holiday of thanks. The end of the book includes an authors note which gives more information about Sarah Josepha Hale and the various other accomplishments she made throughout her life. 

Second, Celebrating American Holidays: Thanksgiving by Barbara Balfour & Jordan McGill. This non-fiction book tells the history of Thanksgiving and provides crafts for students to complete based on what they learned: 

  • History, Pilgrim Puppets (I would recommend allowing children to use bright color clothing in addition to black)
  • Holiday, Draw Sarah Josepha Hale (I recommend reading this section after the reading of the first book, Sarah Gives Thanks)
  • Celebrating Today, Garland of Thanks
  • Cornucopia, Creating a Cornucopia of Candy (great treat snack or gift for the family on Thanksgiving Break)
  • Turkey, Making a Pumpkin Turkey (good use of leftover pumpkins from Halloween)
  • Cranberries, Making a Cranberry Wreath 
  • Poem of Thanks, Write a Short Poem
  • Pumpkin Pie, Making a Pumpkin Milkshake (another good use of leftover pumpkins).
When you have access to the book, you are provided with a website and code to gain more knowledge about Thanksgiving. Once you have entered the code, it will have you verify a random word or phrase from the book, to make sure you have the book with you. Here are a few of the outside resources the book shares:

Last (but not least), Turkeys, Pilgrims, and Indian Corn: The Story of the Thanksgiving Symbols by Edna Barth. This is another informative book for kids that would make an incredible read aloud. There are 18 short chapters that would make good reading for one a day or choose a few to read over the week before Thanksgiving break. I really enjoyed learning about all of the symbols that we relate to Thanksgiving and why they are included in our celebrations.
I read these books as a part of my #ReadtheRainbow Reading Challenge, inspired by Donalyn MillerMy goal is to read at least one children's literature book from various genres every weekday and share my thoughts here on my blog. Please feel free to subscribe or connect with me on social media to follow my journey through the books I read. Until next time ...

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