Learn the Real History of the Pilgrims and their Journey with History Smashers Book--free printable lunchbox notes


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

It is hard to believe it is November. That means it is our month to be thankful and grateful! But why is this the month of Thanksgiving? Do you know the real history? I have done so many posts about the Pilgrims, Wampanoags, Mayflower, and Thanksgiving. You would think I know it all, but guess what I didn't. Today I get to share with you another History Smashers book. This one is History Smashers: The Mayflower by Kate Messner and illustrated by Dylan Meconis.

We all know the story don't we? The Pilgrims were persecuted in England for their religion. They wanted to practice their religion and not the King's. They hopped on the Mayflower and sailed to America. They landed on Pilgrim Rock and were met by Squanto who helped them survive in America. We celebrate the friendship between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans every November. Or do we? Kate shares real facts of what we know and what has become legends of the story we learned in school. The book starts with the Pilgrims in England and why they wanted to leave. They of course leave and don't come to America right away. They stop in Holland or what we now call the Netherlands. After spending years there they decide they want to be able to bring their kids up English and speak English so they make the tough decision to leave for America but experience many problems. Although Messner does not share about John Howland or some of the other specific passenger stories. However she does go into more of the details about what they encountered and how long it really took for them to settle in Plymouth. 

One of the things I appreciate in this book is the truth and the explanations of the truth (and lies we have learned). Messner does an amazing job explaining how the Native Americans were treated and somewhat why. I actually learned about Wampanoags I haven't heard of and want to go research (stay tuned)! I also loved how Messner pointed out that if the white people did not pretend the Native Americans were savages they could not justify taking their land as well as other crimes against them. 

The book takes us through the Pilgrims first year and up to what we now call the first Thanksgiving. Messner does a great job of explaining that the autumn feast was not actually a day of thanksgiving for the Pilgrims. A day of thanksgiving meant a day spent in religious services and not partying. Messner also does an amazing job talking about the bias of some primary sources and in many history sources. Although this book's title implies it is about the Mayflower it is a book about the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags. It is written in an entertaining way and is full of interesting facts that at times contradict what we have always been told, but Messner gives us the proof behind what she is presenting.

I found this book to be an easy and interesting read. There is humor throughout it and I could see kids enjoying it. Plus I am sure they would love to tell their parents the real story of the Pilgrims. 

To go with this book I took some of the most interesting facts to me and made Did You Know... lunch box notes that are perfect for the days leading up to Thanksgiving. I hope you will enjoy them. Please remember they are for personal use only. If you would like to share them, please share a link to this post. 

I hope you will check out this fun book. It is perfect for the home library as well as every classroom!! It is recommended for ages 8-12.