Sarah Gives Thanks (Mike Allegra)

Hello friends, and Happy Thanksgiving! To celebrate, our book today is Sarah Gives Thanks, written by Mike Allegra and illustrated by David Gardner, the story of writer and “editress” Sarah Josepha Hale, who spent three decades campaigning for Thanksgiving to become a national holiday.

On Thanksgiving Of 1822, Sarah and her five children were solemn as they sat down to supper. They had just come from mourning their late husband and father David. To cheer her children up, Sarah asked them to share stories of David and why they had been thankful to have him in their lives. From this point on, Sarah – a determined, self-educated, passionate writer and poet – held a special place for Thanksgiving in her heart. As she rose from saleswoman to successfully publishing her poems and novels, eventually becoming a taste-making editor for two national women’s magazines, Sarah continued to campaign for Thanksgiving to celebrated nationwide. Persistent and stubborn, Sarah wrote editorials in her magazines and letters to five sitting Presidents. At last, hoping to bring some unity in the midst of the Civil War, President Lincoln agreed, and we have celebrated Thanksgiving as a nation ever since – all thanks to the indefatigable Sarah Hale.

This was such a pleasant surprise! I was expecting the story of how Thanksgiving become a national holiday, and in addition we got a lovely biography of a pioneer self-made female journalist who rose from humble beginnings to become a lifestyle luminary of her time. The illustrations do a wonderful job of bringing Sarah and the era she lived in to life, and while the length may be a bit much for smaller bookworms, JJ was very interested in the language of the text. This was a wonderful way to not only celebrate Thanksgiving, but also a strong female historical figure, and we loved it. Baby Bookworm approved!

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