Showing posts sorted by relevance for query children, books. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query children, books. Sort by date Show all posts

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Civil War On Sunday - Young Readers Book Review

This review is of book #21 (Civil War on Sunday) in the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne 


Available on Amazon

Last week my son & family visited me in Savannah, Georgia. We did a number of 'tourist' type things in and around the area.  

One of these was a tour of Fort Pulaski National Monument, a Civil War landmark located on Cockspur Island between Savannah and Tybee Island, Georgia. 


Fort Pulaski National Monument


Naturally the tour ended up in the gift shop where my 7-year-old second-grade grandson David found a children's book about Civil War times that he fell in love with. Of course his dad bought it for him, as it's easy to agree to buying a book when you want to encourage reading in children. 

Well, you can't believe how this book excited David. Within the next 4 days he had read this 96-page paperback book all the way through twice and was on his third reading. 


David carried this book everywhere all week. He even insisted on taking it out to breakfast at a restaurant on River Street in Savannah, and it later got accidentally left behind in the Visitors Center bathroom as we walked the length of Savannah's famous River Street.  Luckily we figured out the last time anyone noticed he had been carrying it (right outside the Visitors Center) and looked there first before we left to drive home about two hours later.  

David was nearly in tears thinking his beloved book was lost and wanted to immediately return to Fort Pulaski to buy another copy! Happily the book was found safe & sound at the Visitors Center.


Chapter Book for Children

Magic Tree House List of Books (Children's Books Wiki)

The book "Civil War on Sunday" is part of the Magic Tree House book series by Mary Pope Osborne.  The series is numbered (this one is Magic Tree House #21) and features two children (Jack & Annie) who appear to have 'back in time' adventures through a Magic Tree House at their Frog Creek, Pennsylvania home. 

The Magic Tree House series are beginner chapter books for children in grade levels 1-4 who are just graduating to longer books and more exciting adventures. 

This particular book has Jack & Annie transported magically to a field near the Civil War fighting in Richmond, Virginia where they meet Clara Barton, become volunteer nurses and save the life of their very own great-great-great-grand-father. This story allows 6-9 year olds to learn the basics of Civil War history while enjoying an interesting tale. It's obvious this series of books is written in a way that will capture a young reader's attention, as shown by the immense and immediate interest my grandson David has shown.



Author Mary Pope Osborne


Mary & Will Osborne (Wikipedia Public Domain)
Mary Pope Osborne is a strong proponent of children's literature and her Magic Tree House series of books is highly regarded by parents, teachers and libraries for their power to instill a passion for reading in children.  Osborne has written over 100 books for children and young adults from novels to picture books and from biographies to mysteries.


The Magic Tree House Series

 

Magic Tree House Boxed Set

The Magic Tree House Series introduces the world to Jack and Annie, a brother and sister who discover a magical tree house filled with books. 

Mary's Magic Tree House books have been written in conjunction with her sister, Natalie Pope Boyce, and her husband, Will Osborne. The fiction series are supplemented by the Fast Tracker Series as the perfect way for kids to find out more about the topics they discover in their favorite Magic Tree House adventures. They are nonfiction stories designed to give young readers a fun and easy way to find out more about their favorite places, time periods, and subjects.  The series includes subjects from history (such as the Civil War, Revolutionary War and World War II), along with books about dinosaurs, Merlin and fairy tales, pirates and ninjas, animals like polar bears, lions and tigers, sports-related stories, and weather adventures like earthquakes and tornadoes! The range of topics is wide and diverse with subjects that appeal to all children.


For more information about all the books, along with games to play and suggestions for both parents and teachers, visit the Magic Tree House Website.



David is Now a BIG Fan of the Magic Tree House Series


David with his Civil War Book

Since acquiring this book about the Civil War at Fort Pulaski a little over a week ago, David  has become such a fan of the Magic Tree House Series  that his  parents have already ordered him two more books from Amazon and David has told me which one he wants next (Danger in the Darkest Hour - taking place in 1944 during World War II) as my birthday gift to him in April.  

With many, many books available in this series, I will have an easy time selecting gifts for him for some time to come. 
















Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, July 10, 2017

Best Gifts for Grandson - Books and Legos



Classic Brick Box - train instructions included
My grandson's birthday passed a couple of months ago. I have come to realize that he has really enjoyed gifts of both books and Legos. Because of his enjoyment of these two things, I will continue to add to his collections for several holidays and birthdays to come. Whether you are looking for gifts for boys or girls, aged 4 to 99, books and Legos are great ideas. But based on my grandson's reaction, books and Legos are most excellent gifts for grandsons.

Legos Building Sets and Basic Brick Box Sets


I am a long distance grandparent, so I experience many holidays and birthdays through photos, phone calls, and video chats. Even many states away and through photos, I could see the extreme happiness on my grandson's face as he held up the Lego Batman Movie - Joker Lowrider kit that he had received from his uncle.

Lego Batman Movie - Notorious Joker Lowrider


That was his first Lego kit. And after seeing the genuine smile on his face with that Lego kit, I sent him a Classic Medium Creative Brick Box. Soon after he opened his gift, my son sent a photo of the little train that they built together with the instructions included in the Brick Box. It was fun to know that my gift was something they had spent time together to build.

Legos Medium Classic Brick Box


Books to Encourage Reading and Quality Time Together


I have read to my grandson during video chats. And my son has spent a great deal of time reading to his son. As a result, books seem to be important and interesting to my grandson.

During this last video chat a few days ago, my grandson "read" his favorite book to me for a long period of time. He was focused and excited. He also took great care to hold the book up so that Gramma could see the pictures too. 

Bedtime reading to Gramma

It was a heart-warming and wonderful way to spend time together. The book he chose to read to Gramma was about creatures under the sea. Not only was he spending time with a book, he was also spending time teaching Gramma about his fascination of sea creatures.

You can be sure that Gramma will remember to send him books about creatures under the sea.

More Lego and Children's Books Reviews from our Contributors

Our contributors at Review This share reviews about children's toys and books. It seems that every one of us believes that nurturing children's interest in reading is a wonderful thing. And that providing toys that nurture creativity is also a very important thing. 

We can spend quality time with our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and other children who are important in our lives. Below are resources to find some of those books and toys. 

Our Wednesday Elf reviews children's books which have become classics over the decades. She reviews books that have endured over time as family favorites -Children's Classics that many of us have read to our children.

Toy Treasures is a gift guide for "Toys that Capture Our Attention and Hold Our Hearts". The site lists a variety of toy categories and the Lego category showcases a variety of specialized sets as well as basic collections.

The Holiday Gift Guide Directory is a compilation of gift resources and gifts reviews by our contributors. The all-occasion gifts in this list are honest reviews and reviews or placement in this directory cannot be purchased.

And last but not least, don't forget to check out the Toy Reviews tab on Review This for a variety of toy reviews for all ages and occasions. I have to admit, I am more than a little tempted to gift myself with the Lego Big Bang Theory set reviewed by our Beverly.






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Reviews of Picture Books for Teaching Difficult Math and Science Concepts

Picture Books Clarify Science and Math Concepts 

Big, small, tall, fast, heavy, old -- what do these words mean? Maybe each person has a different idea about them. Author and artist Robert E. Wells wrote a series of books, The Wells of Knowledge Science Series, that illustrates these concepts. Although they seem to be about math, math is so tied to science that readers will learn a lot of science as they grapple with math concepts. Even though these are picture books designed for children, I confess I also learned a lot from them. 

Reviews of Picture Books for Teaching Difficult Math and Science Concepts

What's Smaller Than  Pygmy Shrew?

Reviews of Picture Books that Help Children Grasp Difficult Math and Science Concepts

What does the word "small" suggest to you? A marble? A bee? Robert Wells introduces his world of the small with a pygmy shrew, which is three inches long. He then challenges readers to think of what's smaller. He contrasts the shrew with an elephant, which in comparison makes the shrew look very small indeed. He then contrasts the shrew with the ladybug, which is smaller yet. 

Then he introduces the creatures that can only be seen under a microscope -- the ones you might find in a drop of water. He explains what cells are and then shows us the animals with only one cell -- the paramecia and amoebas which are both protozoa. Wells' imaginative drawings will bring them to life for you and younger readers. Before Wells is through, he has explained and drawn bacteria, molecules, atoms and their parts, and has challenged readers to guess how many atoms are in a pygmy shrew. There is a small glossary at the end to help children remember unfamiliar words. 


Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is?

Reviews of Picture Books that Help Children Grasp Difficult Math and Science Concepts

In this book, Robert Wells explains to all ages the relative sizes of large from a blue whale all the way to the whole universe. The opening picture shows an elephant, horse, and lion standing on a pier watching the tail of a blue whale that is larger than all of them combined. Then he shows the same animals looking at a jar that contains 100 blue whales. He then puts two such jars on a platform with the animals between them. 

With the animals still standing on the bottom platform, Wells draws a stack of platforms ten high and then on the next page puts them on top of Mount Everest to show how small they are in comparison. By this time the animals are no longer visible. Wells goes on and on until he reaches the universe itself, having introduced numbers in the millions and billions along the way. Even adults will find this book, and others in this series fascinating.

What's Faster than a Speeding Cheetah? 

`Reviews of Picture Books that Help Children Grasp Difficult Math and Science Concepts
This book explores speed from that of the ostrich and cheetah to the speed of light. I love the illustrations which show the race between some children, an ostrich, a cheetah, a swooping peregrine falcon, and a propeller plane. Soon the children, ostrich, and cheetah are in the plane with a frustrated falcon trying to catch up. The falcon then lands on the tail of a jet and passes them. 

Readers then learn about the speed of sound and space travel as all the characters get into a rocket ship. Just as we see a meteoroid whizzing by, we learn that all of us have something that's even faster – something we can hold in our hands. The book concludes with is a chart comparing how long it would take at all the speeds from runner's feet to light to get from the earth to the moon.

These Books Are Great for Unit Studies in Home Schools


The Wells Knowledge of Science Series is Ideal for Unit Studies


When I was homeschooling, I was always on the lookout for engaging books that targeted visual learners. These books fit into that category. Jason understood what he could see better than what he only read or heard. He was a hands-on kind of child. He also loved animals, and all three of these books have some animal characters.

 One of more of these books could fit into a unit study about light, sound, astronomy, biology, chemistry, physics or transportation. Instead of just reading a definition for a word like protozoa, a child will see a large illustration showing its relationship to other objects it is part of, as well as things that are part of it.

See all the books in The Wells of Knowledge Science Series, which are recommended for ages 7-10. I believe they are good also for those over ten who want to understand these science concepts. The pictures are imaginative and fun and keep science from being dull. I suggest you get a physical edition rather than a Kindle edition because your children will want to pour over these books. I wish I'd had these for my own children, but they weren't written yet back then.

Find more of my reviews for picture books at Books to Remember.

If you found this page useful, please share it at Pinterest.

Reviews of Picture Books for Teaching Difficult Math and Science Concepts







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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Patricia Polacco Is a Storyteller with Heart: A Review

Why I Love the Books of Patricia Polacco


Patricia Polacco's books aren't just stories. They are connections to the hearts of her readers. You will see why in a moment. Polacco is not just a talented artist with a style that's easy to recognize, but she's a storyteller with heart.


Patricia Polacco Is a Storyteller with Heart: A Review



Patricia Polacco is only a year younger than I, but she led a much less sheltered life. Her parents had divorced when she was only three, and she and her mother had been living with her grandmother in many different towns until her grandmother died. In one of those towns, Union City,  Michigan, they had lived on a farm. Life on the farm with her Babushka (grandmother) provided Polacco with many of her story ideas when she later began to write.

Most of Polacco's stories relate to problems and fears that children have. In some a child has lost a beloved adult -- a grandparent or neighbor.  I have read many other children's books, both fiction and nonfiction, that deal with these issues, but none have made the connection with my heart that Polacco's did. I believe that in almost every one of her books I've read, and I've read lots of them, her own heart and feelings were involved. In others, her love of books and reading connected with me.

Polacco understands the importance of family relationships in both the nuclear and extended family. She understands the value of intergenerational relationships. In many of her books a child and a lonely elderly person make a connection that ends their isolation. Not all children have grandparents and not all widows and widowers have grandchildren. Polacco shows that these intergenerational relationships can be just as vital even when child and elderly person come from different races or cultures.


Gifts of the Heart by Patricia Polacco


In this precious Christmas story, young Patricia and her brother have been living with their mother and her parents on a farm in Michigan. When Patricia's grandmother dies, her grandfather wants to sell the farm and move because the house is so full of memories. Meanwhile, Grandfather has hired a woman who says she is Kay Lamity to look after the children, as their Babushka used to do, while their mother went to work. Patricia's brother, especially, rebels at the thought that anyone can replace their Babushka. Rather than me summarizing the story, I will let you listen to the book be read aloud in this video. You will also see Polacco's wonderful illustrations as you listen, and you will also see what I mean by stories that have heart in this Christmas picture book for children 5-8. I really think it's for all ages.




A Gift for a Child with Dyslexia: Thank You, Mr. Falker


My brother had the misfortune to have dyslexia before anyone knew what it was. Born into a family with a mother and sister who loved reading and read to him all the time, everyone assumed he'd also become a reader. Except he didn't. As much help as he had from a mother who was a teacher and a sister who wanted to help, he just became more frustrated when books didn't make sense to him. Like Patricia, he didn't get help until he was in middle school. Like Patricia, he thought he must be dumb. He never told me what he might have suffered from teasing by his classmates. This is a book every teacher and parent should read -- especially if they have a child with a reading problem. Listen to Jane Kaczmarek read it on YouTube and see if you can keep your eyes dry. I couldn't




If you know a child who needs this book, please get Thank You, Mr. Falker for him or her. I recommend a physical book for all the picture books to enhance the reading experience.



My Favorite Polacco Book: Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair

This my favorite because I can't imagine a life without reading.  I've loved reading since I was three years old, and I loved being read to even before that. I've never been a great fan of TV, either. So I can imagine how it would feel to be Eli's Aunt Chip, the Triple Creek librarian, when people stopped reading to watch TV. Television was the center of their lives and they always had it on. Pretty soon even school teachers were replaced by television.

Although Aunt Chip still faithfully showed up to work every day, no one came. Finally the library was demolished and replaced by a giant TV tower, and Aunt Chip took to her bed. She told told the mayor and the townspeople there would be consequences to replacing books with television.

When Eli arrived on the scene, he loved his Aunt Chip. He did think it strange she'd not left her bed since he'd known her, but she told wonderful stories. Finally he asked her one day where she got her stories. She replied, "Some come out of thin air. Some come out of my dreams. Some come right out of books!"

Eli asked how you would get a story from a book. All he'd seen books used for were patching holes in the street, sitting on, building things, and even shoring up the dam. Never for reading. This is when Aunt Chip discovered that not only Eli, but no one else in the town could still read. So she showed Eli the inside of a book and explained about writing.

'Now look at this. Those are words. They tell about ideas, dreams, and feelings. They take you to places far from here....Books are a treasure. All you need is the key.'
Patricia Polacco Is a Storyteller with Heart: A Review
Photo Courtesy of Pixabay, edited on PicMonkey


I don't want to give the story away, but Aunt Chip leaves her bed and the town soon learns the consequences of their rashness in closing the library and replacing books with television. I think the ending will make you happy, and you will love what happens to Eli. This book is not a tear-jerker like the others I reviewed. Give it to anyone who thinks reading isn't important.

I finally found a video of someone reading this aloud, so if you don't mind a spoiler, enjoy the story.


Give a Child You Love a Patricia Polacco Book 

Here are more of my favorites. There's a story for almost any child in this group of books. You can find more detailed reviews of the books below and many others, as well as more about Patricia Polacco's life and inspiration in "Patricia Polacco and Her Books" at Books to Remember.  You will also find study guides and readers' theater scripts for the most popular of her books.




Find more reviews for children's books here at Review This!

***


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Saturday, February 4, 2017

Library Lovers Day Review


Courtesy of Pixabay
February 14th is more than just Valentine's Day - it's also Library Lovers Day.  

This is a day to honor libraries, librarians and all us bookworms who love libraries and the books they hold. 

Some say that the whole month of February is a time to celebrate libraries.  I say ANY day is a time to visit a library!


Celebrate Library Lovers Day on February 14th


With vast knowledge available at your fingertips on the internet, and with the invention of e-readers, one might think that public libraries are on their way out. But wait.... libraries are more than just places with books to borrow. They are places for meetings for groups of hobbyists or shared-interest groups.  There are regular story hours for toddlers. There are magazines and periodicals, movies and music, and the availability of microfiche of local newspapers for research purposes.  And, in keeping up with today's technology, most libraries have computers available for use.  

Librarians


Librarian Original Search Engine Coffee Mug
Librarian Original Search Engine Coffee Mug

by empireofthecat
Librarians must have a degree in Library Science, thus making them invaluable in helping you find everything from obscure information to the latest best seller.  

And just as borrowing a book is free, so is a librarian's assistance. 

Children and Libraries


Many libraries have a section just for children where they can play quietly while older siblings and parents look for books to read.  



Tyler at the Library (c) Elf

In a Cincinnati suburb near my son's house, such a play area at their local library is a favorite of my grandsons. There are small tables & chairs where they can read a book or play with jigsaw puzzles.

Library Play Area (c) Elf
There are also computers set up just for children.  The play area is light and airy located near big windows and also has comfy soft chairs for the parents to sit with a book while the children play.  

On a recent visit, I enjoyed a wonderful hour there with my grandsons.  Their mom takes them to this library at least once a week.  The library even has a coffee bar for adults to enjoy.



 

 

 

Did You Know....

 

Library of Congress. Image Source: Pixabay

The Library of Congress in Washington, DC is the largest library in the world. Within its collections, there are literally millions of books, recordings, photographs, newspapers, maps and manuscripts.  The 164 million items are stored on some 838 miles of bookshelves.  It also has the world's largest law library, with more than 2.9 million volumes, and contains United States congressional publications dating back to the nation's founding. 


Library of Congress (Image Source: Pixabay)
The Library of Congress was founded in 1800 and is the oldest federal cultural institution in the nation.

It also is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.





Books, Books, and More Books....


New Library Near Me (c) Elf

If you are looking for a good book to check out at the library and read, you'll find a wide range of Book Reviews to aid you in your selection from the following sources:




*Our own BarbRad reviews books here on Review This!  Barb also talks about educational and children's books on her blog Books to Remember.

*Other members of Review This! frequently review books for ReviewThisBooks.com

*Reading is a pleasure beyond words.  I described how much my family loves books and reading in "For Love of Reading", along with a list of our favorite books.

 

How to Celebrate!



There are many ways to celebrate Library Lovers Day:
  • Visit your local library and check out a book.
  • Volunteer at a library book sale.
  • Take your child or grandchild to a library story hour or help a child get their very first library card. You will open a magical world to them through the joy of reading.



If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.


– Marcus Tullius Cicero



Library Lovers Day Review by:

~Wednesday Elf~




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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Easter and Church A Simple Way to Make It Easy for Children

Children and Faith, Our Duty as Christian Parents and Grandparents During this Holiday Season.

In the last 30 years Church attendance has dropped significantly.  Christians still want to attend services at special times of the year and one of them is coming up very shortly.  There are two major celebrations in the Christian community.  Christmas being the first.  Easter is the Second.  Both of these times in the year are  Holidays, and important in the life of a Christian community.  Christmas we celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ and at Easter, we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus from the Tomb.  Both of these "Holy Days" are usually marked by increased attendance at your local church's worship services.

Easter Church Services

Attending Church services with our family is one of the most wonderful times in a parents and grandparents lives.  It's a great time for us Parents and Grandparents to acknowledge our faith and share it with our families. 

The Question remains, how do we get our children (many of which haven't participated in regular Church Services) to sit quietly at the Services we are attending?  Every parent enters the church with trepidation and fear that their little ones will be disruptive during the Easter Service.

I'm here to tell you that with a little planning ahead, children can and will behave in a way that will not put you to shame.  But it does take some planning.

So let's get to it. Prepare, prepare, prepare!


First of all let's find out how long the church service will last.  Sometimes it will be 30 to 45 minutes and other services may last a few hours.  Knowing how long you need to keep your children engaged will help you plan better. 

Let's assume that services will be about an hour long.  That 60 minutes of quiet time that your children need to get a handle on.

Let's Pack a Church Bag* to take with us to services.  Inside will be all kinds of quiet activities that your children can do when they become restless.  So these are the things I would take along:

*Contents of a great Church Bag

  1. Books, depending on the age of your children, they can be picture books or story books.
  2. Stickers and some paper for them to make their own picture of the Bible story they  will hear.
  3. Coloring books with crayons. (if you have more than one child, make sure you have a book for each one of them!)
  4. Puzzle books, find the words, or crosswords are great!
  5. Small soft Easter type toys, stuffed bunnies, chicks or eggs. You can find some really cute ones here at Coastal Crochet Crafts! 
DO NOT PACK Candy of any Kind.  That would be setting you up for a sugar rush and you don't want to have that during this quiet time.   You should prepare your children ahead of time.  Make it a game to see how long they can be quiet at home, before the Church event happens.  Small rewards for being able to be quiet can help you to increase the time span.  Tell them that they are practicing for the quiet time that they will have to adhere to while Church services are happening.  Practice whispering to each other if conversations need to be had.   Bringing electronic toys to church is not a good idea.  They are very distracting to your child and to others around them.  Even adults are distracted by electronic toys.  Better to stick to bringing a book or two.  Picture books are great and children are always enchanted by stories that they can read.  I happen to like Easter Books that tell the Story of the Resurrection.




There are several available and they will help you to explain to your children what this Season of Easter is all about too!  Children learn from their parents and grandparents about their faith beliefs and it is up to us to encourage that faith.    After Church Services are concluded, I'm sure there will be time for the infamous Easter Egg hunt.  Children especially like this part of the Easter festivities.  Dinner on Easter Sunday will be a gathering of all the family at the table to share in the wonderful foods and desserts that have been lovingly prepared for us.  After all Easter is a whole season of REJOICING!  Everything is new including the seasons.  Everything is in bloom or will be soon.

Please know that most Christians are very happy to see the little ones at church services!  They are a delight to us older folks who remember all to well taking our own children to Services.


Happy Easter to all, The Lord is Risen, He is Risen indeed!




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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews

What's the Truth about the Pilgrims?

When I was in school, I learned that the Pilgrims had come to the New World from England to flee persecution for practicing their Separatist religion. After a hard journey on a small ship called the Mayflower, they founded a colony at Plymouth (Plimoth) under the leadership of William Bradford and William Brewster.

The Pilgrims arrived on the Mayflower on December 21, 1620, and made Plymouth Rock famous. No one who landed on that day, though,  wrote anything about it's being the place where they stepped into the New World.

5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews

What I Learned about The First Thanksgiving in School

By the time the Pilgrims celebrated what we now call the First Thanksgiving, about half their number had died of sickness. Those who had survived had a great feast to thank God for all He had done to preserve them.  Native Americans gave them some corn and taught them how to plant it for an abundant crop. When they harvested their crops, they invited their Native American friends to share their feast as they thanked God for the food they had been able to grow. Both in school and in the Pilgrim journals, the Native Americans were called Indians. A friend of mine who knows a lot of Native Americans say they still don't mind being called Indians.


5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews
Replica of Mayflower at Plimoth Plantation, photo edited from Pixabay


What Some Children Learn in School Now about the First Thanksgiving 

Unfortunately, my curriculum materials that are used in schools today aren't accessible as I write this, so I did some research online to see how the teaching about that first Thanksgiving has changed. The first thing we learn is that we shouldn't call it aThanksgiving feast at all since there was no such holiday back then. The purpose of the feast was to celebrate the harvest. Only in retrospect do we call this the First Thanksgiving.   

I did some of my research on the Plimoth Plantation website where children can research the holiday for themselves with interactive activities. Here are a couple of telling remarks from the Teacher's Guide, which has all the text from the activity pages. 

Fact or Myth?
Many people think that "history" and "the past" are the same thing. But they aren’t! The past is what actually happened. The past can never change. You would’ve have to have lived at the time to truly know about the past. History is how we think and write about the past. History is always changing. So events that occurred in 1621 (the past) will never change. But how we think about these events (history) has already changed a lot!

Culminating Activity
A few years ago, historians at Plimoth Plantation decided to look at the 1621 harvest celebration in a whole new way. They knew there was more to the story than the "Pilgrims" and "Indians" having dinner together. They decided to set aside what they thought they knew and look at the event with fresh eyes. They also realized that it was important to look at the events of 1621 from both the English and Wampanoag sides of the story. A lot of their research and new ideas about 1621 have gone into the creation of this web site.
5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews
 Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, MA. Photo courtesy of Pixabay


The gist of this is that historians can't change history -- what actually happened, but they can change the way it's interpreted and taught to match whatever political view prevails in the education establishment. What I learned in school may not have been completely accurate, but neither is the current curriculum in many schools. We now live in a more secular and multicultural society that cares much more about the Native American culture than the culture and beliefs of the Pilgrims who lived at Plimoth Plantation.

The Truth about The Pilgrims


The truth is somewhere in the middle. We need to recognize how God brought Squanto to the Pilgrims, along with Massasoit, Chief of the Wampanoag tribe. Squanto taught the colonists how to produce food in their new land and gave them some corn to plant.  Massasoit signed a treaty to live in peace with the Pilgrims, and that peace lasted for fifty years.

So, yes. The Native Americans did play a big role in the survival of the colony. But so did the faith the Pilgrims had in their God, whom they trusted daily to provide their needs. They saw the friendship of Squanto and Massasoit as part of God's providence, a way He was meeting their needs. A reading of the primary sources, such as Of Plimoth Plantation by William Bradford will make it clear what the Pilgrims believed. It is this faith element and God's providence that contemporary teaching often leaves out.



Children's Books about the Pilgrims that Strike the Right Balance

5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews

I have chosen these five books as the best for teaching children about this period because most draw heavily from the primary sources. Some almost paraphrase parts of them in language children can understand.  Those sources are Of Plimoth Plantation, linked to above, and Mourt's Relation, a journal usually attributed to Gordon Winslow and William Bradford. Both were eyewitnesses to the beginnings of the Plimoth colony.

The First Thanksgiving Feast by Joan Anderson

5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews
This book brings the Pilgrims and Native Americans to life through the black and white photos taken by George Ancona at Plimoth Plantation. It has a comfortable print size for its intended audience in grades 5-7. I believe many in lower grades would also be able to read this independently. 

The first part of the story is told through quotes from actual colonists.  The last part of the book is narration by the author drawn from the source material. The last page discusses the development of the tradition of the American Thanksgiving and is not actually part of the story.  This book is out of print. You can get it at Amazon or at eBay.  



Pilgrim Music for Thanksgiving

It is likely that when the Pilgrims gave thanks they sang a hymn. The one churches still sing today that the Pilgrims probably sang is from the Genevan Psalter that dates from 1562 and was used by the Separatists. We know that hymn today as "Old Hundredth," and the Doxology sung in many churches has the same tune.  This version is probably close to what the Pilgrims sang.



You can find this version at Amazon in digital form.
You can find the CD form at eBay. 

I think it ironic that I found the same hymn being sung (different arrangement) at Westminster Abbey in a service commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth. It shows much of the ceremony that the Separatists despised and separated themselves from. As the processional of the choirs and the Queen and other dignitaries came down the aisle, I was temporarily taken aback, wondering who that bewildered looking younger person in the black and white clip with the crown was. It took me a minute to realize it was a clip of  the Queen on her actual Coronation Day superimposed on the processional.



Pilgrim Voices: Our First Year in the New World  Edited by Connie and Peter Roop

5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews
The clear, easy-to-read, double-spaced type tells the story of the Pilgrims’ first year in the New World as a series of diary entries written in the first person. The primary sources the authors drew from were Mourt’s Relation and Of Plymouth Plantation, sources authored by Edward Winslow and William Bradford. The editors modernized the language and changed Bradford’s journal from the third to the first person for unity of voice. About half of the 45 pages in this God-honoring history are gorgeous color paintings by Shelley Prichett, making this volume a feast for the eyes. The book, suitable for all ages past preschool, also contains a forward full of historical background, the text of the Mayflower Compact, a glossary, a bibliography, and an index.

This, too, is out of print. It is available in a Kindle edition or used at Amazon or used at eBay. Many of the used eBay copies have free shipping, and many of the Amazon cheap copies don't.


Three Young Pilgrims by Cheryl Harness

5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews
This paperback book for children 5-10 is my personal favorite because of its visual appeal. It is also based on Bradford’s writings. The author and illustrator, Cheryl Harness, has created a panorama of paintings that captures the Pilgrim story.  It focuses on three young children, Mary, Remember, and Bartholomew Allerton.  Their mother, Mary, along with her new baby, died in 1621.

We first meet the children in the middle of the ocean on the Mayflower and follow their life in the colony. Young Mary Allerton grew up and died of old age in 1699.  She grew older than anyone else who came over on the Mayflower.  

If your children are visual learners, you’ve got to get this book. The first major painting is a map of the Atlantic Ocean showing the sailing Mayflower with geographical notes tracing the adventures of the Pilgrims from the time they fled England for Holland until they settled in Plymouth. The next double-page spread is a cross-section of the Mayflower showing the people and supplies crowded onto the various parts of the ship. 

The main story is illustrated by spectacular paintings showing life on the Mayflower and in Plymouth. Then there is a labeled picture-map of Plymouth Plantation with a timeline of earlier New World explorations along the bottom and an illustrated chart on the far right showing what else was going on in other parts of the world while the Pilgrims were having their adventures. The last pages in the book contain labeled pictures of all the Mayflower passengers, with one double-page spread allotted to the Saints, and another to the Strangers, and the difference between them is explained. The Indians get their own double-page spread which is bordered with small drawings of native plants, animals, and sea-life. The last page is a bibliography. This book is, fortunately still in print and available new and used at Amazon. You can also find it on eBay if you prefer to look there. 


The Pilgrims at Plymouth, a Landmark Book by Lucile Recht Penner

5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews
The illustrations by S.D. Schindler are as appealing as those in Three Young Pilgrims.  These illustrations are on the edges of the pages, accompanied by small bold text to differentiate it from the larger text in the story.

The author tells the story of the Pilgrims' struggle to create a new home in the wilderness of a new land and how both the settlement they founded and the principles they established helped to shape the new American nation. Each double-page spread deals with one aspect of the Pilgrims' adventure, beginning on the Mayflower and ending with the Thanksgiving feast. This book states that Mary Allerton Cushman died in 1704, which contradicts most other sources I've seen. The text of this book was copyrighted in 1996 before the term "Indians" was deemed politically incorrect. 

The Pilgrims at Plymouth offers more details about daily life in the Plymouth colony than the previously mentioned books, including an accurate portrayal of the Pilgrims' faith. It also goes into more detail on the life of Squanto. Both this book and Three Young Pilgrims are good supplements to the more journal-like books first reviewed. They answer more of the questions about details left out of the other books.  44 pages. For grades 2 and up. This book is out of print but is available from both Amazon and eBay.


Daily Life in the Pilgrim Colony 1636 by Paul Erickson

5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews
The author and photographers who created this book paint a captivating portrait of an early Pilgrim settlement. Many of the photos come from Plimoth Plantation, where history is still alive. I have been there and watched as my rebellious daughter was called out by one of the adult male enacters who heard her talking back to my husband. The "Pilgrim" told her she'd never get a husband with that rebellious attitude. She was in total shock. No one she knew would have dared tell her such a thing.
In the book, Paul Erickson describes the duties of each family member -- even the children -- and their roles in the community as a whole. We watch people at work through the seasons as the women tend to the home, animals, and garden. The men do the heavy work in the fields and handle trading and defense. Children help their parents with their daily chores. We watch the activities of the family as they start their day, get dressed, work, and get ready for bed at night. 

Education was also handled at home. Parents taught their children to read so they would be able to read the Bible, which was considered the most important book. Children also learned practical skills as they helped their parents cook, farm, garden, and make clothing from the wool to the finished garments. 

The book explains how the government worked and how the colony was founded and organized. The author also describes a typical worship service in the meeting house. That couple of paragraphs is about all we learn about the religion of the colonists, except the importance of the Bible in their lives. We also learn a bit about health and how illnesses were treated. 

The author describes celebrations and special occasions. He gives three paragraphs total to what we now call the first Thanksgiving. Part of that is a recipe for the traditional Plymouth Succotash.  

Unlike the books I reviewed above, this one doesn't  tell us a story or let the characters themselves say much. It has a more academic tone, showing and telling us about life in the colony. The last page analyzes the Pilgrims' place in history. Readers will learn what happened but probably won't relate to it as much as they will by identifying with the characters in the other books.  Vivid full-color photos and drawings along with smaller black and white drawings show us a family and the items they would have used in their home and in the fields in Plymouth. 

The book also features a timeline of the colony from 1455, when Guttenberg finished printing the Bible to 1863, when Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday. There is a reproduction of a 1635 map of the world so students can compare it to maps depicting today's world. We also see a color diagram map of Plymouth Colony. A glossary and index are also included. This book is the most secular in tone of all the ones I review here. Like most of the others, it is out of print. It is available at Amazon or eBay. For ages nine and up. 48 pages. 

5 Best Kids Books on Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving: Reviews
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