Title: Thank You, Sarah
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Major Themes: Sarah Josepha Hale, Thanksgiving Day
Synopsis: This lovely picture book biography tells the story of the woman who saved Thanksgiving Day as a holiday for the United States.
After I read a story about Sarah Hale to my daughter for her history study today, I looked in an online library to see if they had the picture book biography, Thank You, Sarah, which was recommended to go along with what we had just read. It was there! So, we enjoyed reading that story, as well.
Everyone knows about the origins of Thanksgiving Day, with the Pilgrims in New England. Did you know, though, how the United States almost didn’t have the holiday known as Thanksgiving Day? The custom of having a special day of thanksgiving had died out—it needed a superhero to revive it! Who would that superhero be? A very unlikely person, indeed: A widow with five children from New Hampshire!
Sarah Josepha Buell Hale loved books, and she loved to read, and she loved to write. She wrote and edited ladies’ magazines, and she wrote letters! She wrote thousands of letters, to influential people, and especially to one president of the United States after another, trying to get them to declare Thanksgiving Day a national holiday. As you know, she succeeded—but it took a lot of persistence!
The story of Sarah Hale is told in a very interesting way. I love the words that are used—the vocabulary in Thank You, Sarah is amazing! It is a great story for many ages. The illustrations are special, too. They are just slightly cartoon-style, just enough to emphasize the points that the author wants to make. I especially liked the one of President Buchanan and all the things he had on his mind! It’s funny. The biographical information in the back of the book, for older readers, is valuable, as well. It includes a section about the way Thanksgiving Day has evolved into what it is today. I found it quite fascinating.
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9