It was really hard for me last year when First Sprout learned about Thanksgiving at school. She came home from kindergarten talking about the pilgrims and Indians and how they were such good buddies that they sat down to a turkey dinner together. Seeing as how we were at a really progressive school (I thought), I was pretty shocked. My history-buff husband was angry. How could well-meaning people still be teaching the same inaccurate story that we learned as gradeschoolers?
I never confronted First Sprout's teacher about it because I was busy and tired, and oh, the teacher was my boss at the time. But I did decide that I would work hard to start putting together a better list of read alouds for Thanksgiving. I wanted to incorporate more of a Native American perspective (which was harder than I expected) and then supplement with books that approach the season from a perspective of gratitude.
Without further ado, here is my short list of Balanced Thanksgiving Reading for Children:
My list is still pretty short for now, but I am on the lookout for new books to add for next year. I know there are some decent books that share the First Thanksgiving story from the Pilgrim's perspective, but my sprouts seem to be getting that perspective from a lot of other places already. My goal with this list is to try finding balance with more mainstream messages about Thanksgiving (and no buckled hats). I also don't want to make our studies in November all about Native Americans, because I prefer to share those books throughout the year as they fit with other seasonal studies (e.g. The First Strawberries is a summer staple around here, and autumn wouldn't be the same without How Chipmunk Got His Stripes). Hopefully, my work in progress will give others some ideas on new ways to approach the Thanksgiving holiday with children.
What Thanksgiving books do you love to share with your families and students? I'd love to get more ideas to add to the list, so feel free to leaves some comments in the space below!