Squanto's Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving


In 1620 an English ship called the Mayflower landed on the shores inhabited by the Pokanoket, and it was Squanto who welcomed the newcomers and taught them how to survive. When a good harvest was gathered, the people feasted together—a tradition that continues almost four hundred years later.

Squanto recounts how in 1614 he was captured by the British, sold into slavery in Spain, and ...

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In 1620 an English ship called the Mayflower landed on the shores inhabited by the Pokanoket, and it was Squanto who welcomed the newcomers and taught them how to survive. When a good harvest was gathered, the people feasted together—a tradition that continues almost four hundred years later.

Squanto recounts how in 1614 he was captured by the British, sold into slavery in Spain, and ultimately returned to the New World to become a guide and friend for the colonists.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Told with respect and dignity."—The Horn Book
"History from the Native American viewpoint."—Booklist
Children's Literature
Squanto, friend of the Pilgrims, who taught them how to survive in the New World, has been remembered every November in classrooms across America. Little is known, by most children or adults, of his life and sacrifice. Now Joseph Bruchac tells us the whole story in a beautifully illustrated picture book. He sets the record straight about those hats and the food we continue to eat on Thanksgiving Day, but, more importantly, he makes us aware of how close we came to losing the colony. The book helps us to better appreciate, and to be forever grateful to, this man of honor, who believed in the wish of the Creator of All Things to bring together the white men and their families from over the ocean and the native people onto whose land they stumbled. Author's note and glossary are helpful. 2000, Harcourt Inc./Silver Whistle, Ages 6 to 10, $16.00. Reviewer: Margarette Reid
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-A picture book that focuses on the young Indian who helped the Pilgrims survive the brutality of the New England winter. When he was 24, an English captain abducted Squanto along with 20 of his tribesmen and took them to Spain to be sold as slaves. Spanish friars helped him escape to England where he learned the language and dreamed of going back to his native land. When he finally returned, he served as translator and mediator between the English colonists and the other Indian tribes. He convinced Samoset, a sachem of the Pemaquid, to accept and work with the white settlers. It was this cooperation that helped the tiny Plymouth Colony to survive. Many authors have given the Native American credit for his role in the survival of the colony. What distinguishes this first-person account is the authenticity of detail. In his author's note, Bruchac describes the research that he used to flesh out the story with dates and names. However, because of the wealth of facts, the text has a stilted quality. Shed's full-page gouache illustrations are beautifully executed in golden, autumnal tones. There is a richness of detail in the pictures that echoes the passion for historical accuracy in costume and interior-and-exterior dwellings. However, the full-bled illustrations tend to overwhelm the text and the uniformity of their size and placement can become somewhat tedious. Still, most libraries will want to own this version.-Barbara Buckley, Rockville Centre Public Library, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
The author, of Abenaki descent, presents perhaps for the first time a historically accurate Native account of Tisquantum, popularly known as Squanto, and his part in aiding the people of the first New England colony...The text and illustrations—lushly rendered in warm, autumnal tones—have been carefully researched and dispel many of the myths and stereotypes that have clung to this story through its many previous retellings. Young readers will be well served by the deeper truths and human values revealed in this thoughtful Native version.
Kirkus Reviews
Does every child need a book on every subject in which the facts are set within a fictional frame? Young children and unwary adults, too, may be confused by what is fiction and what is fact, despite Bruchac's excellent historical note (which is well beyond the textual level of the main story). The note is meant for the adult, but the attractive book will catch the young reader with its generous, full, facing-page gouaches, albeit somewhat static in its autumnal colors. The paintings depict the characters portrayed in a text that sketches the life of Squanto ("Tisquantum" before his capture from the Virginia region and his kidnap to Europe). Upon his return to the New World, he landed in a new colony that was to become New England. Bruchac lets Squanto tell his story and the story of the first Thanksgiving in the New World as well as his interactions with the Pilgrims. Important details about what people wore (and didn't wear) and what was eaten (and what wasn't) abound. The story is eminently readable, thanks to a clear, widely leaded typeface, but if the notes and glossary are not consulted, confusion about names, tribes, and geography will remain. A map of Squanto's travels and the homelands of the native groups would be of enormous assistance, as would a pronouncing glossary since some of the terms may be difficult for young—and older—readers. Nonetheless, every teacher and librarian who works with school-age children will want to purchase this less-than-perfect book because it offers two important topics—Native Americans and the first Thanksgiving in the New World—from a noteworthy storyteller. (Fiction. 6-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152060442
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/1/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 382,684
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: 560L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 11.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.10 (d)

Meet the Author

JOSEPH BRUCHAC is a poet, storyteller, and author of more than sixty books for children and adults who has received many literary honors, including the American Book Award and the PEN Syndicated Fiction Award. He is of Abenaki and Slovak heritage, and lives in Greenfield Center, New York.

Greg Shed is the illustrator of many children's books for children including Squanto's Journey, by Joseph Bruchac, and Dandelions by Eve Bunting. He lives in San Diego, California.

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 5 of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great Educational Book to Help Inform Children on the Native Americans During the Mayflower Time Period

    I used this book for a lesson on Thanksgiving and multiculturalism. I myself learned new information from the book and found it to have great illustrations. I would recommend this book for grades 2 and up.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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