How Many Days to America? A Thanksgiving Reflection
The title of this post comes from a picture book by Eve Bunting, with illustrations by Beth Peck. Back when I was teaching elementary school, I always read this book aloud to the students around Thanksgiving. The book tells the contemporary story of a family from an unnamed Caribbean island who flee their home by night to escape political persecution at the hands of government soldiers. They board a boat and endure many hardships on a journey that ends with a landing in Florida on Thanksgiving Day. Once safe on land, they spend their first day in America celebrating their freedom and safety with relatives on shore.
I love this book for many reasons, Bunting's spare, but vivid prose, Peck's wonderful crayon drawings, the joyous ending, but especially because it resonates so beautifully with the experiences of those other Pilgrims who celebrated the first Thanksgiving - escaping persecution to find freedom and safety in a faraway new land. I would usually back up this reading with a reading of Ann McGovern's classic, If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620,illustrated by Ann Devito.
Thanksgiving, that most American of holidays, rolls around this year as the meaning of the recent election begins to be revealed. I find myself thinking about how grateful I am for the diversity of peoples and cultures that make up the American family. This diversity has enriched my life in so many Russ on Reading: How Many Days to America? A Thanksgiving Reflection: