Giving Thanks: The 1621 Harvest Feast

Last updated Thursday, February 27, 2020

Author: Kate Waters
Illustrator: Russell Kendall
Date of Publication: 2001
ISBN: 0439243955
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Nov. 2004

Synopsis: Sometime between September 21 and November 9, 1621, the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people shared a harvest celebration that has become known as the First Thanksgiving. This is the story of what happened during those days, as told by dancing Moccasins, a fourteen-year-old Wampanoag boy, and Resolved White, a six-year-old English boy. Photographed in full color at the Plimoth Plantation, this accurate reenactment will let you experience a time when early English colonists settled on the rich and fertile land of the Wampanoag people.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What do you know about the Pilgrims, Indians, and the origins of the Thanksgiving feast?
•  What kinds of foods do you eat on Thanksgiving Day?
•  How is Thanksgiving celebrated or recognized at your school?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What kinds of foods did the Pilgrims and Indians eat during their feasts? What do you think they talked about during dinner?
•  What is an icebreaker? How can icebreakers be used to introduce strangers to each other? Give examples.

Craft ideas:
•  Make Indian headbands/jewelry and Pilgrim headwear as depicted in the story.
•  Fold a piece of paper in half. On the left half, draw a picture of the settlers and natives enjoying a feast featuring foods depicted in the story. On the right half, draw your family enjoying Thanksgiving dinner. Discuss the similarities and differences between the two scenes.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!