Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Thanksgiving Dinner Platter by Randa Handler

It's 1941 and Thanksgiving has just been declared a national holiday.  Takari, an 8 year old Japanese American girl, is very excited about it because for the first time all her relatives are coming for Thanksgiving dinner.  Takari just wants to help her mom get ready, but when she accidentally breaks Grandma Toshi's big white platter used in Japan to celebrate a similar day of thanksgiving, she gets told to go visit her friend Little Sparrow instead.

When she tells Little Sparrow about the platter, he suggests she bring the pieces over to see if his dad can mend it.  Meanwhile, Little Sparrow is making cornbread using a tree stump and thick stick as a mortar and pestle to grind the cornmeal, just like the Wampanoag did for the first Thanksgiving with the  Pilgrims.

Little Sparrow is bringing his cornbread to the patients at VA hospital with his neighbor General Williams and his friend Samoset, who is actually a Wampanoag Indian from Massachusetts.  The Thanksgiving dinner at the VA hospital is a success and as everyone tells why they are grateful that day, Takari begins to understand that the real meaning of Thanksgiving is indeed gratitude, sharing, and helping.

The Thanksgiving Dinner Platter is an interesting multilayered, multicultural picture book for older readers (age 6+).  It includes lots of information about different traditions among people.  Takari learns about how in Japan set aside a day for giving thanks for one's blessings and eat traditional food, just as she does in America on Thanksgiving Day.  Little Sparrow tells Takari about some American Indian traditions and the history behind them.

But, the story also demonstrates how people can help each other, even in little ways.  Little Sparrow's dad fixes Grandma Toshi's valued platter; he helps Little Sparrow with his cornbread by turning the stove on and taking the cornbread out of the hot oven; Takari helps Little Sparrow clean up the kitchen and both children help General William's serve Thanksgiving dinner at the VA.

Both of these are great messages for kids to read about.  This would make a great read aloud at home, at school and for home schooling because there are some many teachable moments in the story.  But it is a nice pleasure read as well and kids will most likely get the point on their own.

The Thanksgiving Dinner Platter would be an ideal book to share with your kids on Thanksgiving Day.  And Little Sparrow's cornbread recipe is included in the story.

This book is recommended for readers age 6+
This book was provided by NetGalley

I wish everyone a happy and bountiful Thanksgiving.  

1 comment:

  1. Hello Alex, Happy (belated) Thanksgiving.
    I like the sound of this story and have just added it to my granddaughters TBR list. Zoe will be 4 in January so it won’t be long before she is enjoying stories like this.


Imagination Designs