Beto and Gaby anxiously wait for their relatives to arrive for Thanksgiving dinner. One by one, each guest calls to inform them that they will not be able to attend because of a great snowstorm. Thanksgiving without Grandma and the rest of the family is just not the same. What will they do with so much food? What they don’t suspect is that their grandmother has a surprise or two, or three.
The history of the Thanksgiving celebration in the United Sates is complex. Having a celebration to give thanks for a good harvest or surviving a perilous situation was an established practice in European countries, unfortunately during the colonization of the United States this practice was also extended to the celebration of victories after battles with the indigenous people of the land, on several different occasions. What for some was a moment of triumph, for others was a moment of defeat and the perpetuation of great injustice.
The complexity of the history behind this celebration needs to be explained to children at the appropriate moment.
Using this day to express our gratitude for life and life’s gifts and as an occasion to reflect on the need for solidarity and the determination to fight against injustice would give the celebration a valuable meaning.
An overview of Thanksgiving celebrations including the Thanksgiving celebration which took place in El Paso, Texas years before the one in Plymouth and a history of how Thanksgiving became a national celebration. Includes numerous informative photographs.
Each of the twenty four books in this collection dedicated to some of the most important holidays and festivities celebrated in the United States is the combination of two books in one. The first part is an engaging realistic fiction story beautifully illustrated by a diversity of illustrators. The second part is a non-fiction piece that explains the history and significance of the holiday or celebration. This second part is illustrated with bright and unique photographs that will allow children to witness the celebration.
The festivities addressed include:
- Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- Celebrate PowWow
- Celebrate Chinese New Year
- Celebrate Halloween & Day of the Dead
- Celebrate Mardi Gras
- Celebrate Thanksgiving
- Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
- Celebrate Hannukah
- Celebrate Cinco de Mayo
- Celebrate Kwanzaa
- Celebrate Fourth of July
- Celebrate Christmas & Three Kings Day
For more details in the series and the values it presents see the series description: Series Stories to Celebrate / Cuentos para celebrar. There is also an individual page, like this, for each of the books in the series.
Lesson plans and questions to guide the Creative Reading Dialogue can be found on the SantillanaUSA website: www.santillanausa.com/cuentosparacelebrar.htm
There are two CDs with the readings of the twelve stories in English and two CDs with the readings of the twelve stories in Spanish.
The CDs will allow children to follow a professional reading aloud individually or in groups.
They can be beneficial to children learning a second language, whether English or Spanish, since they will be able to read the book in their stronger language and then listen to the recording in the second language, or vice versa.
When my family arrived in the United States they embraced the Thanksgiving celebration as an opportunity to reunite with family that was dispersed through various states.
It was always a time of inclusion for both immediate and extended family and friends were always welcomed. It was that capacity to always include one more friend that inspired my book In the Cow’s Backyard or La hamaca de la vaca.
The feeling of gratitude is, for me, one of the most important. I believe in the value of living in constant gratitude, and nurturing this feeling has for me become second nature.
I try to breathe purposefully, giving thanks for the gift of life which each breath signifies.
I appreciate the opportunity to get together with family to reflect about our blessings and express our gratitude for them. As I write these lines, Thanksgiving Day is just a week away. I am thankful that once more we will have immediate and extended family, and friends, to celebrate together the joy of life.
A different view to Thanksgiving celebration is presented in Turkey for Thanksgiving? No, thanks or –¿Pavo para la Cena de Gracias? –No, gracias. The dissenting voice in that book is that of the turkey. For the turkey becoming the dish of the party is not a good idea.
While the book reads as a fun story, it is my intention that by presenting a different point of view in this way, children will begin to realize that every situation can be seen from different angles, depending on the position of those involved.
Since I am one of the two authors of this book, I can share my side of the story. You can visit www.isabelcampoy.com to read what the other author has to say.
Many readers are intrigued about how two authors collaborate to write a book. If you share this curiosity you may enjoy reading how Isabel Campoy explains this experience in the chapter authored by her “Writing in Collaboration: One plus One is One or Two” in the book Alma Flor Ada and You, volume II published by Libraries Unlimited.
This book can be correlated with another Thanksgiving book: Turkey for Thanksgiving? No, thanks or –¿Pavo para la Cena de Gracias? –No, gracias. from the series Stories the Year ‘Round or Cuentos para todo el año.
Children reading in Spanish may enjoy these poems from the anthology Días y días de poesía:
Dia de Gracias
Alma Flor Ada
Pernil de puerco,
arroz con pollo,
¡me gusta todo!
Alma Flor Ada
tortillitas de maíz,
“Acción de Gracias”,
¡qué día feliz!
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