Squanto’s Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving
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Most American children know the story of the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving, but the Native American side of the tale is far less familiar. Joseph Bruchac, a prolific and award-winning writer of Native American descent (The First Strawberries, A Boy Referred to as Slow) describes life in 1620 for a man who was once destined to save the Pilgrims while he was once losing his circle of relatives and tribe. Told from Squanto’s point of view, this historically accurate and detailed story brings to life probably the most important moments in The united states’s past. Demonstrating how much his people (the Patuxet, the People of the Falls) value honor, Squanto befriends English traders, even after being kidnapped and taken to Spain. After much hard work, Squanto manages to sail back to his homeland, where, despite his discovery that many of his people have died from disease brought by white people, he acts as envoy between the English and his own people, and helps the pilgrims live to tell the tale in their new world.
During this moving tale, Squanto’s belief that “these men can share our land as friends” poignantly shines through. Greg Shed’s gouache illustrations capture the warmth and dignity of Squanto and his friends. Young readers will be fascinated by this lesser-known perspective on the Thanksgiving tradition that remains strong today. (Ages 6 to 10) –Emilie Coulter
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