Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.
The Story of Our Official Thanksgiving Holiday
Celebrating Thanksgiving With Family and Friends and History of the Holiday
Children have celebrated Thanksgiving with their families for centuries, and have learned about this holiday in school, but many young readers may not know the true story of the official recognition of this special holiday. Denise Kiernan's Giving Thanks is a beautifully told and illustrated story of how the official recognition of the holiday came to be. Giving Thanks provides the opportunity for young readers to remember things that they are thankful for this year as they celebrate with their families and to learn a history lesson.
A woman by the name of Susan Josepha Hale can be given credit for the official acknowledgement of Thanksgiving as a national holiday in our country. She lived in the 1800's and thought it was always important ot be grateful She enjoyed writing stories. Sarah celebrated a day of thanks as did other families and she thought every family should have turkey with all the trimmings as did her family on this day. Sarah noticed that this special day of giving thanks did not always fall on the same day. It even happened sometimes in October or December. Some communities even celebrated in May. Sarah thought that this special day of thanksgiving should be at the same time every year in our country. She believed that this would bring our country closer together if everyone celebrated and gave thanks for things they were grateful for on the same day. She used her talent for writing to write ot the state governors and even the president of the United States. President Lincoln agreed with Sarah and he proclaimed November 26, 1863 as the first official Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving has since then been celebrated at the end of every November.
Jamey Christoph contributed his talents as an illustrator to provide beautifully colored illustrations for Giving Thanks. Young readers will see themselves in the illustrations of eating Thanksgiving dinner with their family. The text also provides the opportunity for young readers to think about the things that they are thankful for.
Giving Thanks was published by Philomel Publishers, a division of Penguin/Random House. It is recommended for ages 5-9 and has an ISBN of 978-0-593-40441-6.
Beautifully Colored Illustrations Tell the History of Our Official Recognition of Thanksgiving
Bring Giving Thanks Into the Classroom for Engaging Learning Activities and a History Lesson
It is often difficult to include a history lesson in an early elementary classroom. Children are not often interested in a boring history lesson. Picture books and stories can be a valuable tool for sneaking a history lesson into your classroom. I used picture books in my kindergarten and early elementary classrooms to include many history lessons for my young students through the years.
Teachers will soon be providing learning activities for celebrating Thanksgiving. Denise Kierman's Giving Thanks is the perfect choice for early elementary students to learn about the official recognition of this special holiday.
*Read Giving Thanks in a story time session. Call attention to the official day that we will celebrate Thanksgiving with our families. Have a calendar available for children to mark the day on the calendar.
*Provide the opportunity for children to discuss the things that they are thankful for this year. Engage the class in a discussion of being thankful and provide a group writing experience for making a list of things that each child is thankful for.
*Provide drawing paper, crayons, and markers for children to draw things that they are thankful for.
*Call attention to the facts of history that are included in the story. Have a picture of Lincoln available for students to recognize him as the President who designated the official day for celebrating Thanksgiving at the end of November..
*Denise Kierman also provides suggestions for other resources to teach the history of our Thanksgiving.
© 2022 Cindy Hewitt