A National Thanksgiving Day
Americans did not have a national Thanksgiving holiday until 1863 when President Lincoln announced the whole country would celebrate a day of prayer and thanksgiving on November 26th. But the President did not come up with the idea: Sarah Josepha Hale had been advocating for a national holiday for nearly 50 years. It's important to understand Hale was one of the original influencers long before homes had electricity - she was the editor of Godey's Lady's Book, the most widely circulated magazine prior to the Civil War.
Kiernan's Giving Thanks is the children's companion book to her 2020 We Gather Together: A Nation Divided, a President in Turmoil, and a Historic Campaign to Embrace Gratitude and Grace.
Both books emphasize the unity which can be fostered through gratitude while revealing the origin of this national holiday had little to do with what we call the "first Thanksgiving." In We Gather Together, Kiernan does not flinch from the absurd, illogical image created by the juxtaposition of the nation's policies towards the First Peoples and the creation of a national thanksgiving holiday in the midst of the Civil War, but her focus is still on the idea of unity through gratitude.
Ideas for Making it Real
Focus more on giving thanks rather than the Thanksgiving Holiday!
The Stories Matter
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