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Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message (Reading Rainbow Books) Paperback – May 1, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The flat planes and saturated colors of Printup's highly stylized acrylic paintings form a handsome backdrop to this ancient Iroquois message of thanksgiving, adapted for children by a chief of the Mohawk nation. A salute to Mother Earth and all her beauty, the "good morning message" is traditionally delivered at the beginning of each day and at special ceremonies. Its simple, timeless language bears witness to the Native American reverence for the natural world and sense of unity with all living things ("We give thanks to green grasses that feel so good against our bare feet, for the cool beauty you bring to Mother Earth's floor"). The gifts of the earth ("good foods... our life sustainers"; "Grandfather Thunder Beings") are richly depicted in paintings of wildlife and bountiful harvests. Horizontal bands of color suggest receding landscapes, pristine skies and oceans. This eye-catching book, a debut for both author and artist, would pair well with Susan Jeffers's Brother Eagle, Sister Sky for a story-telling session. All ages.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3?Drawing on Six Nation (Iroquois) ceremonial tradition, the text speaks concise thanks to Mother Earth, to water, grass fruits, animals, to the wind and rain, sun, moon and stars, to the Spirit Protectors of our past and present, "for showing us ways to live in peace and harmony," and to the Great Spirit, giver of all. The simplicity and familiarity of the message do not diminish the moving effect of the lengthening catalog of blessings. At first glance, the art, while colorful and very legible, seems overly conventional; closer inspection, however, reveals an interesting use of pattern in the faces of both humans and animals, variation between distant landscape and close-up still-life composition, and a satisfying buildup of momentum to the dramatic, fire-lit night scene of the final invocation to the spirits. The entire text is reproduced in Mohawk on the last page (without a pronunciation guide, alas). A brief prefatory note makes the very valuable suggestion that the giving of thanks should be a daily, rather than a rare, activity. This book is not just for the "Native American shelf": its contribution is more inspirational than ethnographic.?Patricia (Dooley) Lothrop Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 11 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Lexile Measure: 680L (What's this?)
  • Series: Reading Rainbow Books
  • Paperback: 24 pages
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books (May 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1880000547
  • ISBN-13: 978-1880000540
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 7.5 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Jen B on October 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
What a lovely, touching book. I think I'll read this at the table this Thanksgiving, although it is a book for everyday thanks, not really for Thanksgiving, the American holiday.
I was disturbed by the one critical review and I cannot help responding to it.
Yes, this book is written as a Native American message, and while I am not Native American, I love wisdom, spirituality, love, and reverence from all traditions. It doesn't threaten my beliefs, nor will it confuse my child, for me to share knowledge of other cultures. How sad to refuse that opportunity, in fear.
I was very saddened to hear a reviewer say that since they follow/love Jesus, the book wasn't for them. When one's spirituality becomes so divisive, I think it is time to wonder if Jesus, or Mohamed, or Buddha, or any person of God would really want us to disregard beauty and prayer from other traditions, and to separate ourselves from each other. It really bothers me to see such a stance. It is this kind of attitude that gives religion a bad taste for many.
This is a book with Native American words of thanksgiving, which one could easily discern from the title. If you don't want to see beautiful pictures of Native American people and nature, don't buy it. If you don't want to read an uplifting message because it didn't come from your tradition, don't buy it.
If you do want to teach your children to love, unconditionally, and to treasure this earth and the animals and people on it, this book is for you. I love it and am going to buy a copy for each of our friends.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 15, 1997
Format: Hardcover
I am an early childhood teacher who wanted to read books having to do with gratitude. Believe it or not, there are very few children's books on the subject, other than anthologies of children's prayers. It is a wonderful book to read for Thanksgiving, with an ecology unit, or simply to promote wonder and thanksgiving. I am delighted to be able to incorporate this book into my classroom.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I was blown away by this book and was proud to add it to my bookshelf. I am glad that publishers are letting REAL Native American writers and artists tell our own stories our own way. The Thanksgiving Address is a central component of Mohawk culture and I was proud to see this in the hands of my children. This and SKYWOMAN by Joanne Shenandoah, Douglas George, John Fadden and Dave Fadden have set a new standard in the publishing of Native American culture and art. Now, if only some publisher would accept the challenge to do the same with Native American history...(hint hint!)
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 14, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Chief Jake Swamp and Erwin Printup Jr. combine their talents to create a book that will be an instant bedtime favorite. The traditional Mohawk thanksgiving address is translated into easy to understand words (the original address, written in Mohawk is included at the back of the book). Richly colored illustrations bring the words to life and invite more than a fleeting casual glance.

Chief Jake Swamp has brilliantly captured the essence of his heritage without losing site of his target audience. Each portion of the address is simply stated, and easy to understand. "Giving Thanks" could easily have become redundant, but the words are translated in such a way that encourages children to "join" their parents in reading out loud.

Erwin Printup Jr. has created illustrations that capture the eye of both young and old. While the younger set will find the pictures simple and pretty, the older set will often find a picture within a picture. The style of Mr. Printup's illustrations is perfect for this type of book, and could easily stand alone in art gallery.

These two Native Americans have allowed the rest of the world to see an important part of their heritage. The pictures and words will be remembered long after the last page is turned
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Xavier de la Foret on July 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
A simple but truly beautiful and wonderful book. To read with your children every morning and express thanks to the world, promoting connectedness and deep respect of all things. Teaching our children these important words will doubtlessly take us through these rough times and make the world as beautiful and peaceful as it was intended to be.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Kate on November 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
Charming illustrations and meaningful text intrigued my 2 1/2 yr old granddaughter. We read the book over and over. Teaching children to be thankful for all of creation is our responsibility and this little book is a lovely way to get the message across to young...and old...alike.
M. Kate
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By zoomer on November 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a simple book to read through for younger children. Written by native Americans it is a "thanksgiving" book from their point of view, why native americans have always celebrated thanksgiving. It has no mention of pilgrams or not fully proven, overly romanticized stories as most thanksgivings are but simply a beautiful description of the season, the great harvest and respect for the world around them. A book of why the Native Americans Gave thanks during this beautiful season.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lori Calabrese "Children's Books Examiner" VINE VOICE on November 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
Thanksgiving is just days away and elementary students are learning about Native Americans and the importance of giving thanks. Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message (Reading Rainbow Book) is the perfect complement to any Native American lesson plan.

Written by Chief Jake Swamp, an educator and environmentalist who founded the Tree of Peace Society, the book is based on the Thanksgiving Address, an ancient message of peace and appreciation of Mother Earth and all her inhabitants delivered by the Native people known as the Iroquois.

The message gives thanks for all the gifts of life--Mother Earth, the deep blue waters, the green grasses, fruits and berries, animals, trees, sun, moon and more. And the rich paintings by Erwin Printup, Jr. beautifully add to the Native American feel and history.

It's the perfect time of year to share this Native American Good Morning Message with young readers and what better way to teach them to greet the world each morning by saying thank you to all living things?
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