Molly’s Pilgrim

My favorite Thanksgiving Children's Book

True confession, when I read this book out loud to students I cry. I cover it well, but every time it gets to me. Part of the pull for me is that Molly is a Russian refugee looking for a new home in America. My in-laws were also Russian refuges who fled Stalin’s Russia.

Molly is in 3rd grade when she hears the story of Thanksgiving and the pilgrims. In a heart warming story she comes to understand that she is also a pilgrim seeking religious freedom.

The story has the requisite mean girls who mock her accent and make fun of her Thanksgiving project, but in the end they all learn a bit more about what the spirit of Thanksgiving (and America) is really about.

This is a classic story, but if you have somehow missed it, I strongly suggest grabbing a copy.  Libraries are sure to have it, but it’s less than $4 on Amazon. Clicking on the photo above to purchase the book will earn me a small commission.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Hate history?

Ditch the textbooks and make history come alive!

 

Great article on teaching students to LOVE history. No more boring dry textbooksDo you hate History? Did you watch the clock tick off each minute as your teacher droned on? Did you suffer through dry readings, memorize meaningless dates, and answer pointless review questions? Do you dread subjecting your child to the same boring process?

If so, I’m sorry. Believe me, it doesn’t have to be that way!

While in college I have a vivid memory of sitting in the library studying with some friends  for an upcoming test for World Civilization. We were reviewing English history during the 1500’s.  My friends were struggling with dates, names and seemingly unrelated events.

I wasn’t struggling. The reason… in high school I had read a series of historical novels set in the courts of England. Nothing boring or dry there. There had been romance, court intrigue, religious conflicts, betrayal, heroes and villains. I’d cried for Queen Catherine as she watched her marriage and family crumble because she couldn’t produce a male heir, and was horrified as her daughter, Bloody Mary, turned her reign into one marked by revenge, fanaticism and bloodshed.

I wrestled with the issues that caused England to break from the Catholic church and was fascinated by the complex and fragile allegiances that were formed to consolidate power. The characters I met were complicated individuals who were forced to make decisions that would affect whole countries, individuals often beset with self-doubt and questions. I found myself caught up in their dilemmas wondering what I would do, what they should do…and rarely finding a satisfactory answer.

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