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

4.5 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1040 (What's this?)
  • 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: 8.5 x 0.1 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #251,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Pretty good, but doesn't hit the sweet spot in terms of number of words and the target age. It's sparse in words but not in concepts. Tons of great pictures, but not more value than just abbreviating a NGeo magazine article and adding in a few more pictures from the internet.
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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got his for my nephews and nieces and they said they enjoyed looking at it and reading it. It has great photos and they seem true to history. It's like a picture book of a show I wish I had seen at the movies or on TV. My 9th great grandfather was on the Mayflower, so I've seen a number of books on the topic and this one is so far my favorite for kids.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
a wonderful pictorial presentation of Plymouth life and history which gives more accurate information relating to the first settlement at Plymouth, and more information of the Wampanoag Indians and their valued assistance to the settlers and the first Thanksgiving
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