Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Friday, November 22, 2013

From the Backlist: Thank You, Sarah

Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving  
by Laurie Halse Anderson
illustrated by Matt Faulkner
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2002
ISBN: 0689847874
Grades 2-6

The reviewer borrowed a copy of the book from her school library.

Next week when Americans are sitting down to a meal of turkey, stuffing, and pie, images of pilgrims and Native Americans come to mind. However, many people don't realize that without the tireless effort of Sarah Hale, Thanksgiving wouldn't be a national holiday.

Laurie Halse Anderson makes the case for why Sarah Hale should be viewed as a superhero in the nonfiction picture book, Thank You, Sarah. Anderson points out to readers that Hale wasn't your typical superhero. She looked like "a dainty, little lady." Yet, she was also "bold and brave and stubborn and smart."

Young readers will be captivated by Anderson's feisty writing style that mirrors the personality of Sarah Hale. Hale, who composed "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and wrote for Ladies' Magazine in the 1800s, made it her mission in life to make sure Thanksgiving was celebrated across the country. When readers read that "Sarah Hale had a secret weapon," they imagine what it could be. The page turn reveals her weapon to be a pen used to write letters to government officials. This could lead to some rich conversations about how to bring about change with the power of writing.

Matt Faulkner's humorous ink, gouache and watercolor illustrations are a perfect match to the witty story. Children will especially like the illustrations of Presidents Taylor, Fillmore, Pierce, and Buchanan with oversized heads and grumpy facial expressions.  Be sure to read the additional facts in the back of the book. Anderson includes tidbits about the Macy's parade and Thanksgiving Day football games. Pair Thank You, Sarah with Balloons Over Broadway for a Thanksgiving story time.

Read Louise's review of Balloons Over Broadway.

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