If You Lived During the Plimoth Thanksgiving

Scholastic. Oct. 2021. 96p. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9781338726374; pap. $8.99. ISBN 9781338726367.
Gr 2-5–A welcome addition to the picture book history collection. Newell is a member of the Passamaquoddy Tribe; Nelson is a member of the Leech Lake Band of Minnesota Chippewa. Together they provide an account of the arrival of the of English colonists to the shores of North America in a region where the Wampanoag, the People of the First Light, had been living for thousands of years. Providing alternating information from the perspectives of the Wampanoag (and other tribes and nations) and European colonists offers a more comprensive, full-circle look at these events and their devastating aftermath. The text does a remarkable job of giving larger context to the complexity of Indigenous life prior to colonization as well as the difference between the cultures regarding concepts such as land ownership and environmental stewardship. The author covers events through the creation of the holiday called Thanksgiving today and how other cultures give thanks, including a discussion of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Use of the present tense makes it clear that Wampanoag are still here and that the story of the U.S. is not yet finished; to better understand the past is to create a more equitable and inclusive future.
VERDICT This essential book should replace many established titles on the shelves; it never shies away from pitting hard history against a mythology that is not helpful to students living in the 21st century.

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