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.
What you need:
- Colored paper
- Hole punch
What you do:
- Cut out several shapes. You can use any shape this time of year. Leaves and hands are fun choices.
- Use a marker to write what you are thankful for (mom, dad, cupcakes, narwhals, the possibilities are endless).
- Hole punch the shapes and thread the string through the hole. This is a great way to practice lacing skills. As an extra challenge, you could also tie a knot around the hole so your shape stays in place on the garland.
- This makes an excellent Thanksgiving decoration, so hang your garland up for all to see. You can even make this a family activity and encourage your guests to add their own shapes.
In the spirit of this book and this time of year, I would just like to say I am thankful for Daniel Boone Regional Library and its shelves filled with great books, my wonderful co-workers who help inspire me on a daily basis, my family and friends whom I love and cherish and all of you dear blog readers that keep coming back for more!