1621: A New Look At Thanksgiving (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

1621: A New Look At Thanksgiving (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

by Catherine O'Neill Grace, Margaret M. Bruchac

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Discover the real Thanksgiving through photographs from a recreation of the true Thanksgiving by Plimoth Plantation.


Discover the real Thanksgiving through photographs from a recreation of the true Thanksgiving by Plimoth Plantation.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Grace (the I Want to Be... series) and Bruchac (an adviser for the Wampanoag Indian Program at Plimoth Plantation) provide a well-researched, smooth account of the Wampanoag side of the Thanksgiving story. Arguing that "a number of today's assumptions about that event are based more on fiction than on fact," the authors explain a map that shows Wampanoag territory and the ways in which they acted as "caretakers" never owners of the land, and fascinating facts (e.g., the first Bible printed in the New World was in the W pan ak language). Though some readers may object to the strong tone (e.g., "The history of the English colonies in America is a history of European people imposing their culture, politics, and religion onto Native people"), the authors posit a provocative and convincing view of what actually happened that first Thanksgiving and note that many modern descendants of Native peoples observe the holiday as a national day of mourning. Crisp, clear photographs taken at Plimoth Plantation showing actors in period dress with 17th-century artifacts, coupled with a perspective that children may never have heard, make this the most memorable Thanksgiving volume of the season. Ages 8-12. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
The process of historical investigation is here presented at its best, in a way that elementary school-aged children, who often study Thanksgiving as part of their curriculum, can understand. The modern photographs, unusual in historical work, serve to illustrate the differences between the legendary, romanticized, and culturally biased depictions that have evolved over time, with what might have actually happened. The foreword begins with the acknowledgment that our source of information comes from one brief paragraph written in 1621. Throughout the book, there is an emphasis on the process of re-interpretation and re-thinking the event, on stripping away layers of received opinion, and on elucidating the way interpretations have been culturally and politically determined. Such questions as how we know what we know and how history is interpreted are linked to concrete details of clothing, housing, and food. There are two chronologies, an index, and a brief but nicely organized bibliography, including a link to the Plimoth website. The photographs are engaging and clear, the layout is attractive, the text clearly written, and the complicated tasks of historical research, documentation, re-enactment, and analysis are nicely integrated. 2001, National Geographic Society,
— Linnea Hendrickson
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-A considerable amount of information is packed into this pictorial presentation of the reenactment of the first Thanksgiving, held at Plimoth Plantation museum in October, 2000. Countering the prevailing, traditional story of the first Thanksgiving, with its black-hatted, silver-buckled Pilgrims; blanket-clad, be-feathered Indians; cranberry sauce; pumpkin pie; and turkey, this lushly illustrated photo-essay presents a more measured, balanced, and historically accurate version of the three-day harvest celebration in 1621. Five chapters give background on the Wampanoag people, colonization, Indian diplomacy, the harvest of 1621, and the evolution of the Thanksgiving story. A brief introduction and an afterword serve to set the stage and bring to a conclusion the story of incipient race relations in 17th-century Massachusetts, the impact of which is felt to the present. While debunking the Thanksgiving story as it is most frequently told, this recounting in no way detracts from the historical importance of the holiday. Pair it with Kate Waters's Tapenum's Day (Scholastic, 1996) for a penetrating alternative look at a uniquely American celebration.-Ann Welton, Grant Elementary School, Tacoma, WA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Thanksgiving, the myth, surrenders to Thanksgiving, the real story, in this collaboration of historians, scholars, and descendants of the Wampanoag people. The original event, attended by 90 Natives and 52 colonists probably lasted for three days and was held for political reasons. The village, Pauxet, now called Plymouth, was empty of its Native people who died of plague and left their fields, stores of corn, and supplies of baskets and pots. When the English arrived, they used the materials and saw them as God's providence. The Wampanoag interpreted their use as stealing. Nevertheless, a relationship developed between the decimated Wampanoag and the settlers based on the need for a military alliance of mutual protection against neighboring tribes. A gathering to celebrate the harvest was traditional to both peoples but was unlikely to be called Thanksgiving or to have a religious base. Neither turkey nor cranberries were eaten at the feast. Thanksgiving as we know it today evolved from this first gathering but hardly resembles it. This handsome volume is liberally illustrated with color photographs taken at the Plimoth Plantation with its staff in costumes of the period recreating the early days. Although the explanatory text indicates that the photos are of actors, the captions often do not, which may lead to some confusion. Despite this flaw, the story is well told and brings current scholarship to young people in an accessible form. A chronology, index, and brief explanation of the historical fact-finding process increases the usefulness to teachers and students. For another example on this same subject, see Kate Waters's Giving Thanks (below). (foreword, bibliography, photocredits) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Product Details

Demco Media
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
8.60(w) x 10.60(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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