Author: Kathy-jo Wargin
Illustrator: Robert Papp
Format: Hardcover w/ Jacket
Page Count: 32
Publication Date: September 2008
I wanted to extend my sincerest thanks to Lindsey Rodarmer at Zonderkidz for giving me the opportunity to review Kathy-jo Wargin’s Mary’s First Thanksgiving: An Inspirational Story of Gratefulness.
We live at a point in time where very few people seem to have anything they are thankful for. When you consider the holidays that are a part of our calendar year, Thanksgiving seems to almost be forgotten. Retail stores immediately went from Halloween displays to Christmas displays. What happened to Thanksgiving? Because of this growing forgetfulness, books like Mary’s First Thanksgiving are very important.
Mary’s First Thanksgiving offers the reader a glimpse into the life of Mary and her family. This is their first Thanksgiving in America after leaving their home in Ireland to pursue religious freedom. They’re starting to feel more settled, but life is by no means easy. Mary’s father has secured employment shoveling coal, which allows him to put food on the table and heat their home. They have enough to get by, but there certainly isn’t anything in abundance. On the last day of school before Thanksgiving, Mary is dwelling on their situation as she hears the other children talking about the great feasts their families will be having for Thanksgiving. The more she dwells on it, the more she wonders if she has anything to really be thankful for. When Mary arrives home, her parents sense that something is wrong. She shares her feelings with her parents and they in turn tell her the story of the Pilgrims who came to America in pursuit religious freedom just like Mary’s family. Their first few years in America were far from easy, but they had much to be thankful for. Years after that first Thanksgiving, the colonists had a tradition of placing five kernels of corn on their plates to remind them of both the difficulties and blessings they endured when they first came to America. Just as the five kernels of corn represented five things the pilgrims had been thankful for, Mary’s family shared five things they can be thankful for in the midst of their current circumstances.
Your children will certainly enjoy Mary’s First Thanksgiving. The story accomplishes two important things. First it reminds us of the historical context of the Thanksgiving holiday. Second, it reminds parents and children that there is much we should be thankful for even in the midst of difficult life circumstances. Kathy-jo Wargin’s writing style makes this story a pleasure to read. Robert Papp’s beautiful illustrations bring the story to life right before your eyes. Be sure to sure share Mary’s First Thanksgiving with your family during this holiday season.
Kathy-jo Wargin is the author of more than twenty award-winning children’s books. She lives in Michigan with her husband and her son, Jake.
Robert Papp has illustrated numerous children’s books. He lives with his artist wife, Lisa, and their orange cat in historic Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Buy this book on Amazon: Mary’s First Thanksgiving: An Inspirational Story of Gratefulness
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