Squanto's Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-06-27 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 51 user ratings

"Poignant book telling about the background of English and Native American relations before the 1621 harvest celebration (now referred to as the first Thanksgiving). Hearing about Squanto's kidnapping and subsequent role in fostering good relations with those who landed at Plymouth rock was a sad but inspiring tale. How sad what he suffered... but what an important mission he had to fulfill in the Great Creator's plan.

We loved this book. May be too long for young children... just right for my 6 and 8 year old. Good springboard for a discussion about the ongoing consequences of not treating others nicely (in the case of early settlers on this continent as well as some Native American tribes, the result was offensive behavior or pre-emtive strikes, which in many cases was justified by terrible behavior which totally broke down trust).
" said.

""Most American children know the story of the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving, but the Native American side of the tale is far less familiar. Joseph Bruchac, a prolific and award-winning author of Native American descent (The First Strawberries, A Boy Called Slow) describes life in 1620 for a man who was destined to save the Pilgrims even as he was losing his family and tribe. Told from Squanto's point of view, this historically accurate and detailed story brings to life one of the most important moments in America's past. Demonstrating how much his people (the Patuxet, the People of the Falls) value honor, Squanto befriends English traders, even after being kidnapped and taken to Spain. After much hard work, Squanto manages to sail back to his homeland, where, in spite of his discovery that many of his people have died from disease brought by white people, he acts as envoy between the English and his own people, and helps the pilgrims survive in their new world." (Goodreads Review)" said.

" Squanto’s Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving by Joseph Bruchac is a picture book intended for readers in grades two through five. I gave it four stars. “My story is both strange and true.” Squanto, a Native American, truly made the bridge of peace between the Native Americans and the white Englishmen who arrived on the Mayflower. Squanto’s journey led him many places, both to Spain in the chains of the white man to England as a friend of the white man. He was the peaceful communicator who led the Native Americans to befriend the white man at Plymouth, stating “Perhaps these men can share our land as friends.” It was he and his companions that taught the white man the way of the land and Earth, leading to the very first Thanksgiving. The illustrations in this text are true to the Native American and Plymouth culture and are very harvest-like colors, with many Earth tones of browns, greens, grays, and creams. The illustrations are gently drawn, almost demanding a peaceful and calm demeanor like that of Squanto’s. The author’s note explains his research and respect for authenticity in writing Squanto’s tale and the glossary defines Native American terms to help the reader. The theme of trust, friendship, overcoming hardship, and peace will speak to all readers, as they learn about how the “mighty” America got its humble beginnings with the help and teachings of the Native Americans." said.

"Oh wow, it’s in his perspective. How interesting!
‘My family were leaders of the Patuxet people and I, too, was raised to lead.’
‘It goes toward the falls that gave our people their name. We were the Patuxet, the People of the Falls.’
‘Pilgrims landed in the Freezing Moon of 1620.’
Squanto is a little feminine looking in the face, and the nose doesn’t look Native American at all.
Oh, John Smith! (colin farrel from the New World). ‘I liked the way Dermer shook my hand.’
‘Smith had learned much from dealing with other Indians in the summer land of Virginia. He knew we valued honor.’
The other captain was Thomas Hunt. He’s the one that asked the Indians to come for a feast aboard his ship. We know he’s the one that led them on!! I can’t believe we know the name!
I wonder if Squanto was married or had a family.
I like little details of how they would have talked then, like calling the ocean ‘salt waters.’
Oh right, like Squanto a Warrior’s Tale with Adam Beach. They took them to Spain (I thought it was England), and there they met Brothers, or monks, who helped him sail to England. He was a pniese, a man of courage. He told his people stories and told them to stay strong.
He sailed back with Thomas Dermer, one of John Smith’s officers. He said that ‘things were not well between my People of the First Light and the English.’ Never heard them referred to as People of the First Light.
He also said that a lot of his people were killed because of disease.
‘The sickness had come down upon Patuxet like the blow of a war club.’
‘my wife, my children, my parents, and all those closest to me were gone.’ that answers that. I didn’t know he had his own family!
‘I will not say their names now. I will speak them again when my own feet climb the highest mountain and I walk the Road of Stars to greet them.’
As him and Dermer kind of negotiated between different tribes and the white people, an English captain invited more indian’s on board and they were killed. Epanow and his warriors attacked them, and Dermer was wounded. He escaped, but Squanto was taken captive by the Pokanoket.
I’m hearing tribes I haven’t heard before. The Narrangansett asked the Pokanoket and Nemasket to pay them tribute. Their tribe hadn’t been touched by the disease from the white people.
‘I spoke to Massasoit, the sachem of the Pokanoket, as a pniese should, with respect and honor.’
The page with Squanto talking to Massasoit, with the ship in the backgrounds, and the pink clouds is pretty.
Samoset came to visit, a sachem from the Pemaquid people, who lived farther up the coast.
“Let me talk with the Songlismoniak.” Who is that?
It was cool how he showed them arrows in his hand, one with flint, the other removed. It was a symbol for war or peace.
“The food was so good,” Samoset said to me later, laughing as he spoke, “I decided to spend the night.” I wonder if he really thought that!
Samoset looks more Indian, the nose and everything. What happened with Squanto?
It’s supposed to be Samoset and Squanto walking into the village, but neither look like themselves. ‘Though much was changed, I knew that I at last had returned to the land of my home.’ It’s odd he goes back to find his people dead, then later goes back to find these new people taken over, and renamed it. &yet feels like he’s returned home. Then says ‘”Perhaps these men can share our land as friends,” I told my brother, at my side.’ Odd to call him brother, cuz they’re not related. &odd to wanna share the land with them.
‘The Pokanoket freed me to be a guide and interpreter for the English.’ I forgot he was still captive all this time!
‘It had always been the job of the Patuxet women to care for the crops while men such as myself hunted.’ Love hearing of their culture!
‘I told them when it was the Moon of Hoeing.’
‘The three sisters--the corn and beans and squash.’ Never heard that terminology before.
He mentioned looking at the beans growing up the corn stalks. I read in another book that he told them to plant the beans beside the corn so it would grow up the stalks.
‘this feast for all our people.’ I like that line.
I like the page where he said ‘I am Squanto. I am known to all those who gather here: English, Pokanoket, Nemasket, even a few of my own surviving Patuxets. I speak to you as a pniese, a man of honor. I will never leave this land. I give thanks for all of our people to the Creator of All Things.’
He mentioned surviving Patuxet. Who was it?
I like the picture of him standing in the sun, with his arms raised.

Authors note: ‘as a person of native american new England descent.’ Wow!
‘Our native people have always believed that the land talks to us when we listen. I have stood on the same ground where Squanto walked three centuries ago, feeling the sea breeze in my face and smelling the smoke from cooking fires, where the same foods he would have eaten were being cooked in the traditional way. As I stood there, I, too, heard the whisper of the earth, a song on the wind reminding me that those ancient voices will never be gone.’
" said.

" This book fits our social studies curriculum very well. " said.

" My third-grade son and I read this book on Thanksgiving. He really liked it because it was from the perspective of a Native American. It may not be a perfect book, but it did help my son understand the non-European viewpoint of Thanksgiving. " said.

" A biographical look at Squanto- before the Mayflower and after (the normal Thanksgiving story). I appreciate that it was factual and from a different perspective. It is a bit dense and less of a story due to the biographical nature, but I know Kai will like it (age 6) because he’s always asking if the stories we read are actually right. " said.

" Beautifully written and illustrated life of Squanto. The speaker is the man himself; the book is full of authentic idioms and makes you feel like you're sitting at the table in Plymouth with him, listening to him tell his story. A great Thanksgiving readaloud for home or school (or both at once). Bruchac always bats a thousand, as does Shed. " said.

July 2018 New Book:

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