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Anderson, Laurie Halse.
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2002
IL K-3, RL 4.4
ISBN 0689847874
Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Did you know that you have Sarah Josepha Hale to thank for the Thanksgiving holiday every November?  Born on October 24, 1788, Sarah Hale, widow and mother of five, persistently wrote to six American Presidents, lobbying for the necessity of a national holiday to commemorate the first American feast between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans.  In 1863, Abraham Lincoln finally came through, making Thanksgiving a national holiday. Laurie Halse Anderson’s wonderful, non-traditional informational picture book takes a humorous but perceptive look at the life of this forgotten American hero, arguing throughout that we should “Never underestimate dainty little ladies.” In addition to “saving Thanksgiving,” Hale wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and other children’s stories, was the first woman to serve as editor of an American magazine, and published famous authors like Edgar Allan Poe.  Matt Faulkner’s entertaining watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations provide funny asides (like a mountain of petitions sitting outside the State House behind Sarah and eight other irate women who converge on this building with “Go Away; We’re Busy” printed on its façade) will keep readers entertained while they learn history. Following the story, Anderson adds some pertinent factual information about thanksgiving celebrations that preceded the one in 1621, how the Thanksgiving holiday fared after Lincoln, how football and parades became a tradition, milestones of the year 1863, the Civil War, and a more detailed biography of Sarah Hale.  Known more for her Young Adult Fiction, Anderson makes a wonderful and informative contribution to historical non-fiction through this innovative picture book.  This is, by far, the best historical children’s picture book I’ve read in a long time. (Michelle Martin, South Carolina Book Awards, 2006)
SUBJECTS:     Thanksgiving Day -- History.
                        United States -- Social life and customs.
                        Hale, Sarah Josepha Buell, 1788-1879.


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