WE GATHER TOGETHER (YOUNG READERS EDITION) – Denise Kiernan – “Thanksgiving History Unfolds!”

A turkey is a type of bird.

By Denise Kiernan ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 26, 2023

This adaptation of Kiernan’s 2020 book for middle graders is largely a biography of Sarah Josepha Hale, who fought for the establishment of an annual national day of thanksgiving. She filled Godey’s Lady’s Book with mentions of Thanksgiving and wrote to presidents, starting with Zachary Taylor in 1849. Although the date is omitted, readers will find 12 full stanzas of “Over the River, and Through the Wood” taking up 2 1/2 pages.

Hale and her contemporaries are often quoted at length, with little regard for children’s reading abilities, while the surrounding narrative is simplified. An example of this is the expansion of one sentence on Queen Victoria’s wedding dress into a six-sentence passage ending with an exclamation mark. There is worthwhile information, such as an account of how the 1621 gathering of Wampanoags and Pilgrims became part of the national mythos, but readers may become exhausted before they reach it.

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Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023
ISBN: 9780593404386

Page Count: 304
Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2023