November 24 -Thanksgiving Day

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About the Holiday

The American holiday of Thanksgiving dates back to 1621 and a harvest feast shared by a group of colonists, who had sailed from England in 1620 to “the new world” seeking freedoms and prosperity, and the Wampanoag tribe, who had helped the settlers survive the harsh conditions of their new home. The feast, organized by Governor William Bradford, was held to give thanks for the success of the colonist’s first crops and their settlement. During America’s early years, days of thanksgiving were proclaimed periodically by Congress and Presidents to celebrate particular important events.

In 1817 New York became the first state to proclaim an official day of thanks. Other states followed. In 1827 Sarah Josepha Hale began a 36-year campaign to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. Abraham Lincoln finally signed a proclamation in 1863, making the forth Thursday in November the official holiday. Today, the holiday is celebrated by families with a traditional dinner of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, vegetables, and other goodies, and is finished off with pumpkin pie, apple pie or other favorite sweets.

This Little Turkey

Written by Aly Fronis | Illustrated by Migy Blanco

 

Perhaps you know about “this little piggy” and his cohorts and the way they spend a day, but have you heard of “this little turkey” and his friends and their shenanigans on Thanksgiving Day? Well, let me tell you! “This little turkey went to market”… Wait? Isn’t that what the first little piggie did? Do you think they might have met there? What do you think they bought? Oh, right, I’m getting off track. What about the second little turkey?

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Image copyright Migy Blanco, text copyright Aly Fronis. Courtesy of little bee books

“This little turkey swept the floor.” And did it need it! Wow! So much dust! And the sneezing! Maybe it’s best to see what the third little turkey’s up to. Awww!—“This little turkey drew some pictures” while a little snacking turkey “wanted more.” Elsewhere, a creative turkey is preparing for cold weather, and a sneaky turkey is up to a little mischief!

At home the dinner table is being set in a most entertaining way, but will there be enough plates left for all the little turkeys? You’ll have to read on to see…. Finally, a little turkey calls, “‘Let’s eat!’” and all the turkeys come running to say, “we…we…we…wish you a happy Thanksgiving!’”

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Image copyright Migy Blanco, text copyright Aly Fronis. Courtesy of little bee books

Little ones love the excitement of a holiday! Special planning and traditions mingle with delicious, sometimes once-a-year aromas, and relatives and friends gather to have fun and swap stories. Aly Fronis’s sweet take on the familiar “This Little Piggie” rhyme invites the youngest children to take part in the preparations and enjoyment of Thanksgiving with phrases that are joyful to read and easy to memorize for read alongs. Young readers will giggle at the foibles and tricks of these little turkeys and recognize common activities they partake in themselves during the holiday weekend.

Migy Blanco’s vibrant pages, populated with an array of cute turkeys and their squirrel and bird friends, are whimsically eye-catching, perfect for the book’s young audience. Depicting the traditions of the holiday—from cleaning and cooking by older family members to drawing and table setting by younger members—each scene is both cozy and playful. Kids will love the small details, such as family portraits hinting at the family’s history, and the tiny plates for the bird and squirrel on the festive dinner table.

Young children will love repeating the holiday-themed verse in This Little Turkey. Drawing turkey faces on children’s fingertips could also turn this book into a fun game that kids will gobble up!

Ages 2 – 5

little bee books, 2016 | ISBN 978-1499803020

Discover more books and illustration for children as well as for adults by Migy Blanco on her website!

Thanksgiving Day Activity

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Hats Off for Thanksgiving! Fun Pages

 

Here are two holiday activity sheets to have fun with on Thanksgiving!

Pilgrim Maze | Turkey Coloring Page

Picture Book Review

June 14 – Flag Day

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About the Holiday

Flag Day commemorates the day in 1777 when the “Stars and Stripes” designed by Besty Ross was adopted as the official flag of the United States by the Second Continental Congress. Through early efforts by BJ Cigrand, a school teacher in Fredonia, Wisconsin, in 1885 and George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City in 1889, observances celebrating the flag’s birthday were initiated. Three decades of remembrances followed, and in 1916 President Woodrow Wilson officially established the holiday. It wasn’t until President Harry S Truman signed an Act of Congress on August 3, 1949 that June 14 was designated National Flag Day. Today, people are encouraged to display the American flag. Special events and ceremonies also take place on this day.

Why Are There Stripes on the American Flag?

Written by Martha E. H. Rustad | Illustrated by Kyle Poling

 

The school bell rings and the kids in Mr. Gomez’s class get ready to say the Pledge of Allegiance. Charles raises his hand with a question. Suddenly all the kids have questions about the flag and the words of the Pledge they say each morning. Mr. Gomez is enthusiastic about answering the kids, and the class starts a discussion that includes a bit about the Revolutionary War and how the original 13 colonies became the first states. The new government, Mr. Gomez says, wanted a symbol for the country.

In 1777, Mr. Gomez continues, the American leaders decided to use the colors red, white, and blue. The red stands for courage, the white for goodness, and the blue for fairness. The Flag Act of 1777 decreed that the flag have 13 stripes, alternating red and white, and 13 white stars on a blue field. Stars were chosen to represent the states because the founders believed America was “like a new group of stars shining in the night sky.” Mr. Gomez shows his class pictures of how the flag changed over the years as states were added to the union.

Next, the kids want to understand the wording of the Pledge of Allegiance better. Line by line, Mr. Gomez defines the more difficult words. Allegiance he explains means loyalty or friendship and that in the first line of the pledge we are promising to be loyal to and respect the flag. Respect is shown when we stand and place a hand over our heart while reciting the pledge, obey the rules of raising and lowering the flag, and other requirements. Mr. Gomez then explains what a Republic is and the idea that America is indivisible in that her people live and work as a team, staying together even when we disagree. The concepts of liberty and justice are also defined.

The class is excited with their new knowledge and before heading out for recess, they say the Pledge of Allegiance together.

A Make Your Own Flag activity follows the text along with a glossary of words used in the book and resources for further study.

Martha E. H. Rustad has written a primer about the American flag and the Pledge of Allegiance that will engage kids and teach them about these important patriotic concepts. Words such as symbol, justice, liberty, and more are described through the give and take between Mr. Gomez and his students, using familiar examples from the playground and classroom. Each page also includes facts about the US flag, the Flag Act, the design of early flags, flag etiquette, and more.

Kyle Poling’s friendly and colorful illustrations depict a diverse class where the concepts being discussed are clearly visible. Young readers will feel right at home in Poling’s classroom environment and be excited to learn about the origins of our most familiar symbol.

Ages 5 – 8

Millbrook Press, 2014 | ISBN 978-1467744652

Flag Day Activity

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Star-Shaped Word Search

 

The stars on the American flag represent the country’s 50 states. In this printable Star-Shaped Word Search you’ll find words about the origins of the US flag and the Pledge of Allegiance.