Giving Thanks: How Thanksgiving Became a National Holiday

Philomel. Sept. 2022. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593404416.
Gr 1-5–Celebrating gratitude is what Sarah Josepha Hale set out to do in the 1800s when she started petitioning to turn Thanksgiving into a national holiday. Hale believed it was important for all Americans to share what they are thankful for on the same day each year. She wrote letters for years to different presidents petitioning her idea of a holiday, until Abraham Lincoln agreed. This book is full of interesting facts about the implementation of Thanksgiving that may be new to readers; for example, Lincoln’s son, Tad, is the reason the president pardons a turkey each year, and the first Thanksgiving was held during the Civil War. Educators can use the book in various ways for lessons plans, and there is an open-ended prompt at the end for educators and caregivers to share with children. Illustrations are soft, colorful, and beautiful—a reminder of what fall and Thanksgiving represent. This book also highlights different nationalities and ways to say “thank you” in different languages. Back matter includes more resources about the history of Thanksgiving.
VERDICT A great addition to any library, as it shares a new side of the story of Thanksgiving.

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