As Thanksgiving draws near, I was challenged to find a children’s picture book that represented the first Thanksgiving from a Native American perspective. Sadly, there weren’t a lot to choose from, but my favorite was “Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message” by Jake Swamp. This text is an adaptation of the Mohawk Thanksgiving address, and at the end of the book there is a condensed version of the English text translated into the Mohawk language or kaniakehala.
Chief Swamp’s words are straightforward and easy for children to understand, and the entire book is a beautiful and elegant way to take into account everything from the fish in the sea to the stars in the sky. I highly recommend getting this book on audio so that you can hear the traditional words at the end. However, the print edition has bold illustrations that are a wonderful companion to the powerful sentiment expressed.
Practicing gratitude is something I try to do all year long, but it is especially meaningful during this time of the year. For a simple way to help your little ones understand and express gratitude for the people and things around them, you can create your own gratitude garland.