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I love learning the history behind the holidays with my kids. Learning about the history of Thanksgiving has shaped the way that we choose to celebrate it in our home. Here are some of my favorite resources that we use and love. Some of these books and videos we read and watch year after year during Thanksgiving week as part of our family tradition. I hope you find this list helpful and inspiring too!
Pilgrims – Magic Tree House Research Guide
Written by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce
Pilgrims is a Nonfiction companion to the Magic Tree House book #27 Thanksgiving On Thursday. It is full of information about the pilgrims and the natives. This book includes short biographies, lots of pictures, and other events in the history of Thanksgiving that influenced how we celebrate it today. Pilgrims covers historical events, daily life, clothing, people, and random fun facts. In the back of this book there is a guide to doing more research which includes lists of other books, videos, museums, websites, and software/CD-roms all about Pilgrims. I highly suggest this book as a resource for your Thanksgiving Curriculum. It is an easy read and appeals to children ages 7 and up.
You can find Pilgrims at your local library or you can buy it on Amazon.
Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving
Written by Eric Metaxas & Illustrated by Shannon Stirnweis
Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving is a book about the life of the Native American Squanto. He is well known for helping the pilgrims survive their first year in America. This is the story of how he learned English and was prepared to help the pilgrims through his life experiences. This book is written from a religious perspective and demonstrates how there would have been no pilgrims or Thanksgiving without Squanto and God. I highly suggest this book as a resource for learning about how Thanksgiving came to be, years before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth.
You can find Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving at your local library or you can buy it on Amazon.
Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade – A Thanksgiving Story
Written by Trinka Hakes Noble & Illustrated by David C. Gardner
Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade is a book from the Tales of Young Americans Series. It is a story of a young girl living in New York during World War 2 in November of 1918. This book covers some key aspects of US history including: World War I, the influenza pandemic, and the Ragamuffin Parade. Some historians believe that the Ragamuffin Parade was the inspiration for the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924. I highly suggest this book as a resource for learning about these important events in US History. I love that this book is written from the perspective of a 9 year old girl. It demonstrates the struggles of her time in a very real and touching way.
You can find Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade at your local library or you can buy it on Amazon.
William Bradford – The First Thanksgiving
An Animated Hero Classic Film by Nest Family Entertainment
This is a 35 minute video about William Bradford, the second governor of Plymouth, MA. This video recounts his experience from the voyage on the mayflower to surviving the first year in the new world. Nest Family Entertainment always does a good job at including music, great animation, and christian values. I loved watching this video with my kids and learning new things about William Bradford and his role in the First Thanksgiving. I recommend this video as an entertaining way to learn about an important man in our nation’s history, and the history of Thanksgiving.
This is America, Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyagers
In this 24 minute video the peanuts gang travel with the pilgrims aboard the mayflower to the new world. They recount the experience of the journey aboard the mayflower and the struggle to survive during the first year in Plymouth. This is a fun movie if you like Charlie Brown and the rest of the members of the peanuts gang. I love how historically accurate and educational this video is. I highly recommend this video as a way to learn about the first Thanksgiving with your kids.
You can watch The Mayflower Voyagers on Amazon Prime.