Stories for Thanksgiving

This year is the first year that Bean is somewhat aware of Thanksgiving. He knows that he’s going to eat turkey but also thinks that he’s going to feast on fish, hot dogs, and finish up with a Sprite.

Bean has asked about why we celebrate Thanksgiving and honestly, I’m having a hard time figuring out how to explain it to him.

I know when he gets to school, he will most likely get the happy story about how the Native Americans and the Pilgrims worked together for a bountiful harvest in 1621.

But I can’t tell him that story.

I also can’t tell him that English explorers came to America, captured Native Americans and had them shipped back to England for enslavement.

He’s not the age for the whole truth, yet.

So, this year for Thanksgiving, I’m choosing not to focus on the actual Thanksgiving story, but instead, I am fosusing on Native American stories, as they’re passed down in the Native American communities.

I vividly remember a handful of books from elementary school that introduced us to the Native American culture. The tone and content was so different than the other books that were read to us in school.

The Great Race of the Birds and Animals
by Paul Globe

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Star Boy
by Paul Globe


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The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush
by Tomie dePaola

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The Legend of the Bluebonnet
by Tomie dePaola


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How the Stars Fell into the Sky
by Jerrie Oughton

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Between Earth & Sky
by Joseph Bruchac

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The First Strawberries
by Joseph Bruchac

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The Rough-Faced Girl
by Rafe Martin

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Raven: A Tricksters Tale from the Pacific Northwest
by Gerald McDermott

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I also have deep memories about the book, Anansi the Spider by Gerald McDermott, for the same reason.

With a little bit of research, I also found these websites that compiled the myths, folklore and legends of many different tribes.

War Paths 2 Peace Pipes not only offers folklore and legends, but also delivers the histories of important tribal figures, battles and traditions. Not all of it will be understandable to a child, but it is a fountain of information.

Mr. Donn is a student-teacher site that offers social science lessons and has a dedicated section for Native American culture.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links for the books mentioned. These books will be readily available at your local library since they are written by very celebrated authors. 


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