Here are just a few of my favorite book recommendations for children (and their parents) to read at Thanksgiving time: (I found these in our multi-county public library system, and requested them online to be sent to our local library, where they arrived in just a few days. Perhaps you can read them this week.)
…If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620
by Ann McGovern
This little Scholastic paperback book is filled with answers to questions every child wants to know about the Pilgrims, such as, “Who were the Pilgrims?” “How many people sailed on the Mayflower?” “What kind of ship was the Mayflower?” “Where would you sleep?” “Would you have had any fun on the Mayflower?” and questions about life once they landed, like “Were there special jobs for boys and girls?” “What did the Pilgrims wear?” and “Did children go to school?” With the addition of color cartoon-like illustrations, the Pilgrims become very approachable, and well, people just like you and me–and history comes alive!
Eating the Plates
A Pilgrim Book of Food and Manners
by Lucille Recht Penner
Very interesting facts about everyday life for a pilgrim family, before and after sailing on the Mayflower! For instance, did you ever stop to think that the people who came over on the Mayflower had “tried to bring enough things to last a lifetime”?!
Or what about food?? “What did the Pilgrims eat during their long voyage? Most of the food on the Mayflower was cold and dry. There were moldy cheese and dried peas. Salty beef and dried fish. And there were ship’s biscuits–as hard as rocks. Hundreds of these biscuits had been carried onto the boat before it sailed. They were stacked in huge piles.”
After arriving in America, what was dinnertime like? Well, “later, when the Pilgrims had more time–and more dishes–food was brought to the table on large round platters called chargers. No one had his or her own plate. Instead, two people would share a trencher–a bowl carved or burned out of a block of wood…Some poor people didn’t have wooden trenchers. Instead, they used pieces of stale bread as plates. They put the food on top. Then, after they had eaten the food, they ate the bread plates!”
Fascinating facts like these make the Pilgrim families come alive for children and adults alike. The language is easy and the print large and you will be tempted to read the 107-page paperback book in one sitting, but it will be more fun to spread it out–don’t worry, your children will be begging for more!
Samuel Eaton’s Day
A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy
by Kate Waters
Photographs by Russ Kendall
This is a charming book about a 7-year-old boy, Samuel, who lived in 1627. “Photographed in full color at Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and based on real people of the time, here is a charming and accurate portrayal of life in seventeenth-century New England.” (Description taken from the back cover.) The story follows Samuel, “a grown boy in breeches,” on his first day “aiding with the harvest” of rye beside his father and his father’s friend and neighbor, Robert Bartlett. Told from the boy’s perspective, and with the large full-color photographs, and explanations of all that transpires, this is an intriguing and entertaining look into a Pilgrim boy’s life. Says Samuel, “It is my task to gather and bind the rye. Robert Bartlett shows me how to bind.” (Photos abound.) There is a wonderful glossary in the back of the book to help you with words such as “bind,” which your children will learn means “to tie.” Also, did you know that “gammy” means “clumsy”? Samuel discovers that man’s work is not as easy as he thought. “At first I am gammy and fall behind. To watch is easy. To do is hard.” Be sure to look for and request the book by the same author about a day in the life of a Pilgrim girl–the companion book to Samuel Eaton’s Day–entitled Sarah Morton’s Day.
These are the “living books” that make Homeschooling so much fun!