Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Sarah Gives Thanks

Sarah Gives Thanks

Albert Whitman & Company, 2012   ISBN: 978-0807572399

Sarah Josepha Hale was not your typical person. Unlike so many other women living in the United States in the early 1800’s she had been educated. Though she had not been able to go to college because women were not allowed to do so, she cajoled her college-educated older brother to teach her what he had learned at Dartmouth College.

   Sarah was lucky enough to fall in love with and marry a man who encouraged his wife to read, and think, and speak her mind. He also encouraged Sarah to submit some of her poetry to magazines and a few were published. Sarah was pleased to see her name in print, but when her husband died, her writing ceased to be her hobby and became a means to make much needed money. Sarah had to earn a living so that she could provide for her children.

   Sarah worked hard and soon magazines in Boston were publishing her writings. In 1822, just four years after the death of her husband, Sarah was earning enough that she could give her children a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration.

   In those days Thanksgiving was not a national holiday, which Sarah felt was a big shame. Every year around Thanksgiving she would write about this issue in one of her articles. In her view Thanksgiving was a feast day that reminded people to be thankful for what they had and to appreciate the blessings in their lives. It was a day that should be a national holiday.

   Sarah’s writing work caught the attention of people in the publishing world and she was offered a job as an editor for a women’s magazine. Then she got a job in an even more prestigious lady’s magazine and she became “a household name.” From her position of influence Sarah tried to get people to support her efforts to make Thanksgiving a national holiday that would be held on the last Thursday in November.

  In this wonderful picture book the author tells the true story of a strong willed and intelligent woman who found a way to create a career for herself at a time when few women were allowed to have careers. She was also a woman who refused to give up on a cause that she held dear. At the back of the book an author’s note provides readers with more information about Sarah Hale and her life.

   Throughout the book the engaging text is paired with wonderful illustrations that show us what Sarah and her world were like.