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1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving
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1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  355 ratings  ·  97 reviews
Countering the prevailing, traditional story of the first Thanksgiving, with its black-hatted, silver-buckled Pilgrims; blanket-clad, be-feathered Indians; cranberry sauce; pumpkin pie; and turkey, this lushly illustrated photo-essay presents a more measured, balanced, and historically accurate version of the three-day harvest celebration in 1621.
Paperback, 48 pages
Published October 1st 2004 by National Geographic Children's Books (first published September 1st 2001)
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4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  355 ratings  ·  97 reviews

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Sep 14, 2011 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: native-american
Summary: This book is a combination of photographs and text that reexamine the common understanding of "the first Thanksgiving" an try to tell a more accurate version of the 1621 harvest feast.

Response: From the very title, this book represents not just a correction of the details but rather a global shift in perspective. To call the book 1621 is to focus on what happened then; to call it "the first Thanksgiving" is to discuss this event from the perspective of a later retelling. In the Foreword
Nov 26, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reference
This is a quick read but definitely informative at best on basic truths omitted, and certainly twisted, from our modern day tradition celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday. Wampanoag, a tribe previously unknown to me, were the native people who previously lived in Plymouth before a European plague had killed most of them long before the arrival of the Mayflower. Mainstream education about the roots of this holiday needs to be retaught and relearned so we never forget the Wampanoag people and thei ...more
Nov 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book focuses on the Wampanoag people, the Indians who lived in the Plimoth area when the 1620 Pilgims arrived. This book gives nice insight on how the first Thanksgiving in 1621 really "went down". This book is found in the Juvenile section of the library and it targeted to probably a 5th grader?? Quick (15 min.) and insightful read. Really enjoyed it!!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Denise Menger
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thanksgiving, history, First Nations
Link to Magic Tree House, We're Still Here series
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
A reasonable attempt to tell the real story of the meal that occurred after the English invaders had survived one year on Turtle Island (mostly due to the largess of the Wampanoag leader Massasoit who had given food to the colonists during the first winter when supplies brought from England were insufficient). On the day of this presumed harvest feast, many English went shooting for rabbit. In this book it is theorized that all of the shooting brought the large number of Wampanoag males, armed f ...more
Barbara Bryant
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
The history and legends of Thanksgiving become so much more meaningful by including the Wampanoag perspective. Photos of re-enactors at Plimouth Plantation bring the story beautifully to life. And quotes from the original settlers, a timeline of events, recipes, and thoughtful commentary make this both easy to read and inspiration for deeper thought.
Nyckalas Harvey
This tells of the true story of thanksgiving involving the pilgrims and natives that meet on the soil of the now United States. I think that this is a great book that brings up valid and historical points that aren't always brought up during this season in a readers life. I think that these points and ideas that Grace talks about are important to understanding the true history and giving readers a new look on a tradition that we have Americanized. The reading is more relaxed and light because of ...more
This is a good book for the whole family. Young children will enjoy looking at the detailed, historically accurate photo spreads, while older children and adults will gain a new perspective on the 1621 "Thanksgiving" -- both its myths and its realities.
Nov 19, 2018 rated it liked it
It's a quick read, and informational, though it feels a bit dated as it has a relatively old design style. The photographs of the reinactments are very helpful in offering a view of what life was like for both the English and the Natives during the mid-17th century.

The writing isn't terribly engaging, but I believe this is considered a children's book, so perhaps that's why; it may be written in simple language in an effort to make it comprehensible to a younger audience. I think it could have
Becky Johnson
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: eng261, nonfiction, 5-8
This nonfiction book informs readers of the true meaning of Thanksgiving and the real reason of why we celebrate it still to this day. I rated it 4 stars because it was very informative and interesting to hear the real reason of the holiday celebration. However, I thought it was boring at times. Good for readers grades 5-12.
Simone Short
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great dive into the true history of Thanksgiving. My husband and I read it in one sitting together and brought it with us to our church's Thanksgiving dinner.
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
This is fabulous. I've heard for years everything I know about Thanksgiving is wrong, but no one elaborated. This explains it well. I'd read it aloud beginning in kindergarten.
Mikayla Brown
In this book we learn the truth behind the first thanksgiving and how is wasn’t as happy of an occasion. I would recommend this book to 6th to 7th graders because it does deal with the horrible truth of how the pilgrims treated the Indians, and there are a couple phrases written in the dialect of the time which would be confusing to younger readers, it was to me. I gave this book 4 stars because I found it to be very informative, but at the same time a very interesting read. For the most part wh ...more
Kayla Capps
Nov 06, 2018 rated it liked it
This original book is the true story about the Natives and the Pilgrims living in New England. The books talks about all the hardships that the Native Americans had to go through. This book is great at showing the true story about what happened in the past. This is a good book for 4th-8th grade.
Alexis Tesch
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
A New Look at Thanksgiving is a non-fiction book that reflects on the true story of the Pilgrims and the Natives living on the land of New England New Plymouth. It tells the story of the English taking over the Native land and the hardships the Native Americans endured as a result. The theme of this book is the truth and reflecting and teaching how not all history is factual but rather, a myth. I gave this book four stars because I really enjoy the pictures and the history contained in this book ...more
Gayle Swift
Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving a National Geographic Society publication by Catherine O’Neill Grace and Margaret M. Bruchac revisits the traditional myths surrounding the first Thanksgiving observance. Stepping beyond the Euro-centric slant, it strives to incorporate a more balanced view of the historic event and to give equal billing to the Native* people who joined with the Pilgrim settlers. It asks readers to consider that “Unquestioning acceptance of biased interpretations can affect the w ...more
Stephany Hensley
Nov 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This story gave an insight on Thanksgiving that not many people realize. A view from the Wampanoag people and their side of the events of Thanksgiving. This event was actually three days long but much betrayal between the settlers and Wampanoag people had happened prior to this event. Many settlers took the people under captivity and they ended up getting sick with the plague and many people died. This story would be intended for children nine and up who can understand that the story they might ...more
Nov 23, 2014 rated it did not like it
"Join us for a new look at the REAL history behind the event that inspired the myth of the The First Thanksgiving" (quoted from the back cover, emphasis added to highlight the laughable lack of self-awareness).

Debunking one mythology in favor of another: there are certainly worse examples of that phenomenon than this, but that doesn't excuse the thinly papered-over historical bias apparent here. Many of the same corrections to the conventional Thanksgiving story can be found elsewhere - e.g., th
Sarah VanDyke
I liked this book because it had facts about the real history behind Thanksgiving. I was aware that Thanksgiving was not what it is made out to be, but did not know specific details such as the date and how they never called it Thanksgiving. I think this book is biased because it focuses on the Wampanoag tribe which I believe makes sense. However, both perspectives should be considered because there was not nearly as much information about the English and their motives. The book has photographs ...more
Mary Ann
This book delves into the history of the Wampanoag people and the English settlers in Plimoth to describe the actual events of the "first Thanksgiving." In looking more closely at the history, a more complex and textured look at these people develops than the traditional stories told in schools across the country. Co-authors Catherine O’Neill Grace and Margaret M. Bruchac worked closely with Plimoth Plantation historians to tell the whole story by including the voices of all who were involved.

Elisa Maher
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I definitely think this would be a fifth or sixth grade reading level. It was a great informative book of the real history of of the first thanksgiving. Growing up in the American school system we are taught the myth of the happy Thanksgiving were pilgrims sat at the table with Native Americans who graciously shared there food. This book gives a real history of both sides, not completely going against one or the other but a good factual background! For example, did you the Native Americans the E ...more
Sarah Harmon
Apr 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
A New Look at Thanksgiving is a great book! It goes into awesome detail about how the holiday, Thanksgiving, came to be. It shows examples of how Thanksgiving was on the first day to how it is now days.
I thought this book was good. The pictures are quite engaging and really help you get an idea for what things and people might have looked like back then.
I think my students would love to have access to this book. I will definitely have this in my classroom.
Sarah Zarymbski
Dec 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: eng261
1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving is all about Thanksgiving, from the story to different recipes to try. I thought this was a very good book, because it has many different aspects included, so it doesn't feel like you're reading a textbook. I think this a book that kids would really enjoy, especially leading up to Thanksgiving. I would say this book could be for mid-upper elementary. I classified this as non-fiction.
Dec 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was a real look on what actually happened during. It is interesting book that is filled with picture throughout that kids would be fascinated with. I think this would be a great book to use for the classroom around thanksgiving. It shows on scholastic that the reading level is about 7th grade, which I agree with. The interest level is 4-6th.
Victoria Salzmann
This is an informative book of the real, first, thanksgiving. It is interesting to children because it is so different to what they have been told growing up. This book is definitely worth having in my upper elementary school room because it teaches children history in a fun and upbeat way. This biography is a must have in my future classroom.
Jonathan Balun
If you have not heard the real story of thanksgiving, give this a shot. It has big text and full color photos. It is a quick read and worth the time. 1621.. could be a good way to help children really understand the relationship between early English settlers and the native people who lived here upon their arrival. Probably not the best for young children.
Katie Clark
Dec 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: informational
I read this book around Thanksgiving and I found it to be very enlightening. The contains several pictures and historical references about the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth Plantation, in 1621. This is very good book to use to introduce fourth and fifth grade students to real story behind the first Thanksgiving.
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