Today I’m sharing my all time favorite Thanksgiving story.
Title: How Many Days to America, A Thanksgiving Story
Written by: Eve Bunting
Illustrated by: Beth Peck
Clarion Books, 1988, fiction
Suitable for ages: 6-9
Themes/topics: refugees, immigrants, Thanksgiving, family
Opening: It was nice in our village. Till the night in October when the soldiers came.
Brief synopsis: Refugees from a Caribbean island embark on a dangerous boat trip to America where they have a special reason to celebrate Thanksgiving.
Links to resources:
- Compare and contrast the story of the original Thanksgiving with this one.
- Invite immigrant students or friends to share the experience of their journey.
- Activities and Standards ( Social Studies, Communication Skills, Language Arts) http://www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/readers_guides/bunting/america.shtml#activities
- Several units are available on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Why I like this book: To me, the beauty of Thanksgiving is that it is all-inclusive, embracing all races, ethnicities, and religions. This story brings the spirit of the first Thanksgiving to different characters and setting. The gentle narrative flows with suspense, family love, and touching illustrations.
Even though the book was written more than 25 years ago, it remains timely year after year. Today it brings to mind the plight of Syrians fleeing the conflict in their country. Readers come away with a deeper gratitude for blessings in their lives and a better understanding of others in the world.
The story offers valuable opportunities for English Language Learners (ELLs) to connect text to self, and also to build relationships among students.
Visit author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books for a plethora of picture books listed by title and topic/theme, each with teacher/parent resources.