Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving

( 6 )


We the people of the United States...
Almost Lost Thanksgiving
Yes. That's right!
Way back when "skirts were long and hats were tall" Americans were forgetting Thanksgiving, and nobody seemed to care!
Thankfully, Sarah Hale appeared. More steadfast than Plymouth Rock, this lady editor knew the holiday needed saving. But would her recipe for ...

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We the people of the United States...
Almost Lost Thanksgiving
Yes. That's right!
Way back when "skirts were long and hats were tall" Americans were forgetting Thanksgiving, and nobody seemed to care!
Thankfully, Sarah Hale appeared. More steadfast than Plymouth Rock, this lady editor knew the holiday needed saving. But would her recipe for rescue ever convince Congress and the presidents?
Join acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson on a journey of a woman and a pen that spanned four decades, the Civil War, and five presidents, all so you could have your turkey and eat it too!

Relates how Sarah Hale, a magazine editor and author, persuaded President Lincoln to transform Thanksgiving Day into a national holiday.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
For most of us, the story of Thanksgiving evokes thoughts of Pilgrims and Native American enjoying a colonial feast. But the story and the celebration might be unknown to us but for the tireless efforts of a little-known woman. For 38 years, persistent patriot Sarah Hale tirelessly wielded her pen, writing public office holders in support of a national holiday for Thanksgiving. Finally, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation making this day of Thanksgiving a national holiday. Written by a National Book Award finalist, Thank You, Sarah! pays tribute to a letter-writing heroine.
Publishers Weekly
This tale of a little-known historical heroine touts the power of the pen and persistence. With an irreverent tone ("You think you know everything about Thanksgiving, don't you?") and caricatures that play up past Americans' laissez-faire attitude, Anderson (Speak) and Faulkner (The Amazing Voyage of Jackie Grace) chart the progress of Sarah Hale, whose relentless letters and 38 years of petitioning presidents, secured Thanksgiving's status as a national holiday. A hilarious spread of presidents Taylor and Filmore passing the buck to Pierce (Lincoln finally makes the day official in 1863) typifies the balance of humor and history in this snappy volume. An afterword offers additional delectable facts (e.g., FDR tried moving up the holiday in 1939 and '40 to extend the holiday shopping season; Hale also wrote "Mary Had a Little Lamb"). Ages 5-10. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-Anderson turns a little-known historical tidbit into a fresh, funny, and inspirational alternative to the standard Thanksgiving stories. Alarmed that the observance was dying out since many states did not observe it at all and those that did had no agreement as to date, Sarah Hale began 38 years of letter writing in support of making it a national holiday. Ignored or refused by administration after administration, she persisted until at last, President Lincoln, possibly persuaded by her argument that it would help to reunite the union, declared the fourth Thursday in November as a national holiday in 1863. The writing sparkles and is well matched by the spirited and irreverent caricatures (including Native people and pilgrims with feathers in their headbands and hats). Lively and provocative sentences involve readers. Anderson doesn't state the facts; she reveals them, unveils them, and celebrates them, and her text certainly shows that persistence and eloquence can succeed. Faulkner takes every opportunity to provide visual humor. He draws Sarah and other ladies storming the doors of the state house with a giant quill pen as a battering ram. His busts of recalcitrant presidents and his graphic depiction of the "other things" President Buchanan had "on his mind" convey complex historical concepts while adding to the humorous tone of the book. A "Feast of Facts" gives more information on Thanksgiving, Hale, and the year 1863, and ends with the exhortation: "Pick up your pen. Change the world."-Louise L. Sherman, formerly at Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The impish Faulkner (The Monster Who Ate My Peas, 2001, etc.) illustrates this rousing account of Sarah Hale's campaign to make Thanksgiving a national holiday with crowds of caricatured celebrants in buckskins, football equipment, and every style of dress in between. ("Thanksgiving Canceled-No Football Today.") Anderson (Catalyst, p. 1300, etc.), in a really silly mood, tells the tale with wide open theatricality: trumpeting, "WE ALMOST LOST . . . THANKSGIVING!" across a spread of dismayed diners and relieved looking turkeys, she introduces "a dainty little lady" as the holiday's champion. An unlikely hero? "Never underestimate dainty little ladies," the author warns, launching into a portrait of a 19th-century supermom-novelist, educator, magazine editor, widowed mother of five, eloquent supporter of many social causes and, yes, author of "Mary Had a Little Lamb"-who took on four Presidents in succession before finding one, Lincoln, who agreed with her that Thanksgiving, which had been largely a northeastern holiday, should be celebrated nationwide. "When folks started to ignore Thanksgiving, well, that just curdled her gravy." Dishing up a closing "Feast of Facts" about the day and the woman, Anderson offers readers both an indomitable role model and a memorable, often hilarious glimpse into the historical development of this country's common culture. Thank you, Anderson and Faulkner. (bibliography of sources) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689847875
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 10/1/2002
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 803,854
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Laurie Halse Anderson

Laurie Halse Anderson is the New York Times bestselling author who writes for kids of all ages. Known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity, her work has earned numerous ALA and state awards. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists. Chains also received the 2009 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, and Laurie was chosen for the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award. Mother of four and wife of one, Laurie lives in Northern New York, where she likes to watch the snow fall as she writes. You can follow her adventures on Twitter @HalseAnderson, or visit her at

Matt Faulkner is a talented and clever picture-book maker whose dazzling ink and watercolor illustrations have graced dozens of well-loved picture books. On his inspiration for A Taste of Colored Water, he says, "When I was a boy it would've surprised me to learn that the word COLORED hung over a water fountain didn't mean that this was a magical place where fruit-flavored water flowed on demand." This story has grown out of his lifelong exploration of race and societal intolerance and the questions these institutions raise. His more recent work features several titles that focus on United States history, including Thank You, Sarah by Laurie Halse Anderson and You're on Your Way, Teddy Roosevelt by Judith St. George. He lives in Oakland, California, with his son.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 2, 2010

    Great Read-Aloud Book - wonderful history!

    I took this book to my daughter's 1st grade class for 'Mystery Reader' day right before Thanksgiving and the kids LOVED it! The teacher and I enjoyed it too - neither of us were really aware of how Thanksgiving became a national holiday.

    The illustration makes the book wonderful to read aloud to a group and the writing is excellent for 1st and 2nd grade readers. I would recommend this book for parents and teachers of young children as an excellent Thanksgiving story - something over and above the history of the pilgrims which gives an added facet to the celebration of the holiday.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2012

    Nonfiction picture book at it's best

    Entertaining and educational. The art is fabulous and the narrative engaging.

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  • Posted November 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Book!

    When I was in fourth grade we did a play on this book! It was just my classroom that did the play but all the other fourth grade classes came and saw it! I am really into theatre so I got Sarah, the main part. I just realized that this was the book that our play was based on! I remember that it was a great book!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2009

    Great story for kids to undertand every day heroes

    I bought this last year for Thanksgiving. My son (5) really enjoys it. It teaches him that anyone can be a hero if they stick up for what they believe in.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2005

    History & Humor with Outstanding Illustrations

    This book combines history and tradition, is politically correct, and somehow still manages to be interesting and really funny. The illustrations are excellent- flamboyant yet realistic, with characters ranging from presidential caricatures to the improbable Thanksgiving hero 'Turkey Dude'. The story is related in a chatty tone that appeals to kids, and yet the subject is a little-known piece of history even for most adults, who will enjoy discovering this with their children.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews

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