Teaching Children the True Story of Thanksgiving

November 21, 2011

Post image for Teaching Children the True Story of Thanksgiving

I know, I know, I know! I should have done this post weeks ago. To tell you the truth, I just wasn’t ready. MacGyver and I have been doing a study on the History of America. In November, I began reading Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick. There are two versions of this book. The first was written for adults and then a second adaptation was written for ages 10 and up. I have read from both versions and both are equally informative. I was hoping that I would be able to read aloud Mayflower to MacGyver. However, I found the book a bit challenging for an 8-year-old boy to sit through with all of its details, dates and people.

Let me make a bold statement: Mayflower is a book that EVERY American should read! This book has taken me way beyond my knowledge of the stereotypical story of the Pilgrims and their first Thanksgiving with the Indians. Philbrick has written a totally fascinating book about the voyage of the Mayflower and the history of Plymouth Colony. Based on the reviews I had read, I was expecting more of a “story” book. While the book is not what I was expecting by reading the reviews, it is thoroughly entertaining!

So what if Thanksgiving is about to pass us by. So what if you’re not studying the Pilgrims. Get this book and read it anyway. Book mark this page and some day when the time is right, refer back to these comments and links and read Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick!

If you know a history buff, Mayflower would make an excellent Christmas gift.

Pilgrims of Plymouth by Susan E. Goodman

Samuel Eaton’s Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy by Kate Waters, Photos by Russ Kendall

MacGyver, age 8, and Miss Engima, age 5, have especially enjoyed these photo books about the Pilgrims. These reenactment pictures helped transport the children back in time, bringing to life the very abstract concept of “History.”

The Discovery of The Americas by Betsy and Giulio Maestro

MacGyver began his study of American History with The Discovery of The Americas. When I find the perfect history book, I’ll let you know. While this book may not be perfect it does provide a good introduction to the discovery of the Americas. The text is simple enough for MacGvyer to read while covering important dates, places and people. The book begins with the Land Bridge and the Nomads that first settled in North and South America. From there the book chronicles the explorers from the Vikings to Columbus . . . John Cabot . . . Amerigo Vespucci . . . Balboa . . . Magellan.

The Discovery of The Americas helped MacGyver construct a basic timeline leading up to the Pilgrims landing in New England.

Jamestown, Virginia by Dennis Brindell Fradin

I have been searching for a book to help bridge the gap between the explorers and the Pilgrims. Finally, I ran across Jamestown, Virginia at our local library. The first section outlines the Exploration and Early Colonization of America by the Spanish and the French. The book then introduces England and its early failed attempts to establish English colonies in America. Finally, Jamestown Colony is introduced. This Chapter highlights important dates, locations and people such as Captain John Smith and Pocahontas. The book goes on to describe the extreme hardship experienced at Jamestown and the legacy that Jamestown became to the beginning of The United States.

I like the timeline approach to this book. It includes just enough information for an 8-year-old introduction to American History.


Christopher Columbus & Explorers

History of Jamestown

Jamestown Settlement


Colonial National Historical Park

See you tomorrow as we give thanks this Thanksgiving with The Giving Tree.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Natalie November 21, 2011 at 6:42 pm

I have to admit that I know relatively little about American history since I didn’t go to school here. I am looking forward to learning more as my daughter grows older.

Briana November 21, 2011 at 9:54 pm

Thanks for all of the suggestions. I’m starting a collection of Thanksgiving books and will have to keep a look out for some of these.

Jackie November 22, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Oh, I’ll have to check out Mayflower. That sounds like something I’d like! I used to love the Samuel Eaton and the girl one (Sarah Morton?) books when I was teaching. Such a great way to visualize the historical events.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: