Jamey Christoph Giving Thanks

Jamey Christoph

A new kind of Thanksgiving story.

Pastoral opening spreads invoke old-timey illustrations with an updated spin: rolling farmland, an elder embracing a child, and four vignettes of children expressing gratitude for things in their lives in French, Algonquin, Twi, and Korean. The story then transitions, with somewhat lengthy blocks of text, to explain how Sarah Josepha Hale, a 19th-century White feminist writer and activist, agitated through five presidential administration to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. By describing older, localized thanksgiving festivals, the somewhat universal concept of gratitude, and President Abraham Lincoln’s efforts to unite America in the midst of the Civil War, this story provides an accurate recounting of how an inconsistent regional tradition became a federally recognized day. By not even nodding toward the more popular but historiographically flawed mythology of the Wampanoags and Pilgrims, Kiernan—author of a similar book for adults—helps to rewrite harmful narratives in an age-appropriate way for a new generation. The soft illustrations ably depict both bustling historical scenes and contemporary multiracial groups of people. This will be hugely useful for parents and educators looking for better materials to describe this time of year. Kirkus Review by Denise Kiernan