Monday, November 09, 2009

Mayflower 1620 A New Look At A Pilgrim Voyage

Mayflower 1620 A New Look At A Pilgrim Voyage by Plimoth Plantation with Peter Arenstram, John Kemp and Catherine O'Neill Grace; Photographs by Sisse Brimberg and Cotton Coulson. National Geographic. Library copy.

The Plot: A look at the myths and legends of the Mayflower voyage and founding of Plymouth. Full of gorgeous photos from some of the sailing done by the Mayflower II.

The Good: How do you bring to life a time in the past that existed before photography, let alone color photography? By well done recreations, including the ones done by the Plimoth Plantation organization that are based not on wish fulfilment, myths, or legends, but on research. And the actual journey wasn't redone in the new ship; but the Mayflower II has traveled up and down the East Coast of the US.

This book is full of interesting details, and always sticks to the facts. It explains, simply, that "history is complicated. People sailed on the Mayflower for different reasons." A list of provisions is included, but it's clearly noted that the list is from a 1629 ship making a similar voyage with a similar number of passengers and mariners. It sorts myths from reality; and yes, it clearly states that the corn was stolen. The chronology starts 4,000 to 1,000 years before 1620.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, as I've mentioned before in My 2006 Thanksgiving Post. I like the turkey; I like the history. But even with a favorite, one has to acknowledge its faults and consider the whole picture; the bigger picture; and what it means to people besides me.

So, must-reads for keeping attitudes and teaching about Thanksgiving real are American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving (10/2009) from Debbie Reese (aka the blog American Indians in Children's Literature); American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving, PDF, from National Museum of the American Indian (link from Reese); for use year round, Teacher and Librarian Resources for Children's and YA Books with Native Themes from Cynthia Leitich Smith; and Native Youth Literature widget from JacketFlap; thanks to Cynthia Leitich Smith for reminding me of this widget, which is on my sidebar for the month of November.

Nonfiction Monday is at Abby (the) Librarian.


Beth F said...

I like the sound of this middle reader history book. I'm going to recommend it for my nephews.

Susan T. said...

Liz, thanks. I will look for this one. Have you made it to Plimoth Plantation yet? I went many years ago, and was hoping to take Jr. this fall.

Monica Edinger said...

The Mayflower II is one of the exhibits at Plimoth Plantation, an outstanding living history museum which does an excellent job addressing all aspects of this mytholized story. (BTW, I've been doing a unit on this for ages, written about it in books and articles --- lots on my blog and classrom blog if people want to know more.)

Liz B said...

Beth, hope they like it.

Susan, I went when I was just a few years older than Jr. I would LOVE to go again as a grown up.

Monica, do you have a specific URL (or using a specific tag) so that I can add that link/info to my post? So that I can send them to a particular post/posts?

Monica Edinger said...

Can I do URLs here? Let's see:

For my class stuff:

Old Scholastic piece on Thanksgiving sites:

Might also try to find my article, "The Pilgrim Maid and the Indian Chief" (Educational Leadership, v63 n2 p78-81 Oct 2005). I've also got chapters in my books Seeking History and Far Away and Long Ago books on the topic.

Anonymous said...

With this kind of book, it is helpful to have an age range. My first grader might love this or it might be way over his head. (I may get it for me and save it for him!).