The Thanksgiving Story

Simplicity and Goodness: The Thanksgiving Story

Carin HarnerCarin Harner, instructional coach for the Barney Charter School Initiative, loved reading The Thanksgiving Story when she taught early elementary students. “The story touches on three children that actually sailed on the Mayflower,” says Harner. “Their youngest brother was born on the voyage, and they called him Oceanus. If you look up the manifest and the list of names, you can find them—the Hopkins family—on there. It’s interesting to learn about what these children went through on the Mayflower voyage.”

Most importantly, Harner says, the book gives children examples of the type of person they want to become: “It’s important to know where you come from, but it’s also important for building character. Little ones hear those same themes over and over: never give up, be brave, be faithful, be friendly. All of those things help them understand the importance of being a good person without telling them directly, ‘You have to do this.’ It’s something they see within the story. My experience has shown that children are more accepting of it when it’s presented in that way.”

Harner greatly admires the author, Alice Dalgliesh, who also wrote The Bears on Hemlock Mountain and The Courage of Sarah Noble. Harner says, “All of her stories, The Thanksgiving Story included, are very simple but touch a child’s sense of what’s good.”


Written by Avery Lacey, ’20