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Rivka's First Thanksgiving
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Rivka's First Thanksgiving

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  54 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
More than anything, Rivka wants to celebrate Thanksgiving. She has learned all about the holiday in school and knows her family has a lot to be thankful for in America. But Rivka's parents are Jewish immigrants from Poland, and they wonder what Pilgrims and Indians have to do with them. Is Thanksgiving really a holiday for Jews?Rivka's grandmother, Bubbeh, decides to take ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 1st 2001 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
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Feb 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
This fictional story is the retelling of the author’s introduction to the American holiday of Thanksgiving. As Polish immigrants in the 1910’s, nine year old Rivka and her family have never heard of the holiday. Diverse cultures from around the world immigrate to America. This is the story of how one little girl learned about Thanksgiving in public school and taught her family that it is a celebration for all Americans.

What she learns in school and shares with her family is that it is a big, ha
Jul 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: jewish
Ages: 8 - 10

"Rivka's First Thanksgiving" by Elsa Okon Rael tells the story a a young daughter of Jewish immigrants who learns about Thanksgiving in school and tries to convince her family to celebrate. In order for that to happen, they must consult with their rabbi. Eventually, Rivka prevails.

The basic message of this story, that different cultures can find common ground, is a good one. However, Thanksgiving remains a controversial holiday because, to many, it seems like an attempt to re-write
Jenny Williams
Oct 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a story of a Jewish girls discovery of Thanksgiving. Set in the 1910s this story shows a brave girl’s power to be able to show the Rabbi’s that Thanksgiving is a holiday for everyone and that Jews should celebrate it too. The story represents fear in the young girl when she goes before the Rabbi. Also, it shows her great understanding of the holiday and how she connects it to her family’s belief system.

This book portrays a young girl finding ways to incorporate the new culture in which
Taylor Kundel-Gower
Dec 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
The religious aspect of this did not resonate with me and I'm not fond of the "original" story of Thanksgiving, but the rest of it really sparked some emotion and everyone could use a bit of the contemporary Thanksgiving spirit. This is a powerful book to be reading so close to Thanksgiving with so much going on in the world. Perhaps Rivka says it best:

"In parts of Europe, terrible things happen to Jews every day--riots and pogroms. My father told me of the horrible things that are happening the
Nancy Kotkin
The story of a young girl trying to convince her family of Jewish immigrants from Poland that they should celebrate Thanksgiving, now that they are Americans. The illustrations of tenement life help to establish the setting and tone of the book. The pictures are realistic, but not squalid. The hues are muted, but not bleak.

Due to the amount of text, the inclusion of foreign words, and some of the concepts (i.e. the pogroms), this picture book is appropriate for upper elementary school students.
Nov 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a wonderful tale of an immigrant community truly embracing the meaning of Thanksgiving, through the context of their own experiences and beliefs. It's a sweet story and an inspiring one, where a little girl stands up and defends her position on the holiday. Our girls really enjoyed this story, and while the story is sweet, it led to a discussion of some of the bad things that have happened to the Jewish people throughout history and why, perhaps, this holiday could mean so very much to t ...more
Bvlmc Buchanan Verplanck Elementary School
A young immigrant Jewish girl learns about the Thanksgiving holiday at school and is determined to convince the Rabbi and her family that her immigrant community in America should celebrate Thanksgiving too. A wonderful look at determination, persistence, cultural exchange and the holidays that can bring us all together.
Apr 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Grades 3-4
Shelves: easyfiction
Lovely story of multicultural pride, perfect as a read-aloud. The elders of Rivka's Jewish community do not support American Thanksgiving because they think it is not a holiday for them, but brave Rivka convinces them otherwise.
Oct 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thanksgiving
Rivka learns about Thanksgiving in school and wants to celebrate, but her family doesn't thing Thanksgiving is a holiday for Jews. Rivka is determined to prove that Thanksgiving is a time for every American.
Nov 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Another book I read to my classes each year!
Dec 17, 2007 added it
Shelves: podcasted
Hear an interview with illustrator Maryann Kovalski on The Book of Life podcast's Thanksgiving Shout-Out Special, November 2007, at!
Jun 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mlis-texts
Models strength in conviction and never giving up. Shows that sometimes adults aren't right, and that traditions can be created as well as followed.
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