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1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving (I Am American) Paperback – October 1, 2004


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1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving (I Am American) + Mayflower 1620: A New Look at a Pilgrim Voyage + Sarah Morton's Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl (Scholastic Bookshelf)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Series: I Am American
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books (October 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0792261399
  • ISBN-13: 978-0792261391
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 8.3 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Grace (the I Want to Be... series) and Bruchac (an adviser for the Wampanoag Indian Program at Plimoth Plantation) provide a well-researched, smooth account of the Wampanoag side of the Thanksgiving story. Arguing that "a number of today's assumptions about that event are based more on fiction than on fact," the authors explain a map that shows Wampanoag territory and the ways in which they acted as "caretakers" never owners of the land, and fascinating facts (e.g., the first Bible printed in the New World was in the W“panƒak language). Though some readers may object to the strong tone (e.g., "The history of the English colonies in America is a history of European people imposing their culture, politics, and religion onto Native people"), the authors posit a provocative and convincing view of what actually happened that first Thanksgiving and note that many modern descendants of Native peoples observe the holiday as a national day of mourning. Crisp, clear photographs taken at Plimoth Plantation showing actors in period dress with 17th-century artifacts, coupled with a perspective that children may never have heard, make this the most memorable Thanksgiving volume of the season. Ages 8-12.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Gr 3-5-A considerable amount of information is packed into this pictorial presentation of the reenactment of the first Thanksgiving, held at Plimoth Plantation museum in October, 2000. Countering the prevailing, traditional story of the first Thanksgiving, with its black-hatted, silver-buckled Pilgrims; blanket-clad, be-feathered Indians; cranberry sauce; pumpkin pie; and turkey, this lushly illustrated photo-essay presents a more measured, balanced, and historically accurate version of the three-day harvest celebration in 1621. Five chapters give background on the Wampanoag people, colonization, Indian diplomacy, the harvest of 1621, and the evolution of the Thanksgiving story. A brief introduction and an afterword serve to set the stage and bring to a conclusion the story of incipient race relations in 17th-century Massachusetts, the impact of which is felt to the present. While debunking the Thanksgiving story as it is most frequently told, this recounting in no way detracts from the historical importance of the holiday. Pair it with Kate Waters's Tapenum's Day (Scholastic, 1996) for a penetrating alternative look at a uniquely American celebration.

Ann Welton, Grant Elementary School, Tacoma, WA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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This is a great book that will be enjoyed by both parent and child alike.
Marco Antonio Abarca
This text is very accurate historically and includes pictures from a re-enactment, making the historical event come alive to children.
Danielle, Ph.D.
Great resource to accompany Tampenum's Day, Sarah Morton's Day, Samuel Eaton's Day and other books about Plymouth colony.
M. E. Pesko

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Michael E. Roberts on October 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a Tlingit father, i am constantly having to show up at my childrens' schools every year to educate principals and teachers and tear down stereotypes and outdated bulliten board charicatures.

And while the season from Columbus Day to Thankgiving (November is Native American History month) is frought with mis-information and stereotypes about Indians that I, and my children, seemingly have to protest and endure, this book is a welcome relief to the revisionist history that is usually taught in schools.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautifully written and exquisitely photographed book about the first Thanksgiving celebration in 1621 (according to the Western calendar). The photos were taken during re-enactments at Plimoth Plantation, and are historically accurate as well as lovely to look at. The text gives the Wampanoag perspective on the event with sensitivity and vibrancy. All in a book that is clearly successful in engaging young readers, no matter how much or how little they already know--or think they know--about the history of Thanksgiving.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Joan on November 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Since none of us were there, none of us exactly what happened and even if we had been there, we still would only know our small part of the total experience -- this can be said about other historical events. No history books is flawless and totally complete. That said, this is a well researched beautfully illustrated book.

The illustrations are photographs from a reenactment of the 1621 event at the Plymouth Plantation living history museum. Actors are Native Americans (Wampanoags and others) and Plymouth Planation staff. The illustrations are probably the closest we are going to get to provides a look at what it really looked like. The book itself an attempt to provide context to the myth attached to the holiday of Thanksgiving. It discusses the myth, the Wampanoag people, the people involved in the event that inspired the myth, and the existence of other harvest/thanksgiving type celebrations.

If I could only have one book to use to discuss Thanksgiving with children, it would be this one. It may not be perfect, but its very good and the illustrations it provides are unique, not found in other books about Thanksgiving.
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31 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Rick M. Mcgarry on March 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
What did they really eat at the first Thanksgiving?

Venison, roast duck, roast goose, clams and other shellfish, succulent eels, white bread, corn bread, leeks and watercress, wild plums and dried berries, wild grape wine.

How did the pilgrims come to find an Indian that spoke English when they arrived in the New World?

Tisquantum, also known as Squanto, had been kidnapped by earlier explorers, but had managed to return to his home in what is now called New England.

Was the first Thanksgiving really in 1621?

In the fall of 1621 the Pilgrims spent 3 days celebrating their first harvest in the New World with at least 90 Native American guests, but the pilgrims never referred to this as a day of thanksgiving. It was in 1623 when a two month drought ended after their fervent prayers that the first recorded religious thanksgiving day occurred. This day focused more on worship than on feasting.

The book 1621 A New Look at Thanksgiving is published by the National Geographic Society, which is evidenced by the excellence of its photographs. It was put together with the help of the folks at Plimouth Plantation, a living history museum of 17th century Plymouth, located in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

The information is not primarily in the form of a story. The chapters are short, just a few pages, rather like photo essays, and they tend to stand by themselves, allowing the reader to pick and choose.

The authors believe they have significant new perspectives to share.

" There was neither cranberry sauce nor pumpkin pie at the 1621 harvest celebration. There were no Indians with woven blankets over their shoulders and large feathered headdresses cascading down their backs.
Read more ›
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Jane Steele on November 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I highly recommend this book. As the daughter of a Cherokee-English African-American woman,educator and grandmother I was always taught the truth along with my brothers about this very important holiday/harvest festival. Early on we were taught to share what we had with the less fortunate and to give to others who really needed something. Also my grandmother the late,great Hattie Little-Tabor who was my mom's mother fed homless people who stopped by her home during the Great Depression. This book brought back full circle the fact that we must all strive to work together to overcome greed to serve all in need. I highly recommend this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Marco Antonio Abarca VINE VOICE on March 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
I grew up before there was an Internet. Every single cliche about the first Thanksgiving shaped my mind's view of the event. I thought the Pilgrims wore large hats with buckles and that the Indians wore feathered war bonnets and trade blankets. I imagined some sort of a serious dinner around a large table. It turns out that almost all of the cliches I grew up with were wrong.

The beauty of "1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving" is that it is filled with beautifully shot photographs of modern day reenactors. These reenactors are meticulous in their desire to carefully recreat the material culture of 1621. It is a real delight to look at their clothes and all their various possesions. I am so pleased that my children will grow up with a more realistic idea of what happened at the first Thanksgiving. This is a great book that will be enjoyed by both parent and child alike. Highly recommended.
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