Tree of Life Mothering Picture Book of the Week: Thank You, Sarah the Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving



Did you know that….

  • Thanksgiving used to be a holiday that only some states celebrated, not all of them? It’s true that George Washington declared that the last Thursday in November be a “Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving.” As the decades rolled on, only New England states celebrated the day. Mid-Atlantic, Southern, and Western states did not celebrate it.


  • the woman who wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb” was the one who had the vision for Thanksgiving to be a national holiday?


  • this woman, Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, worked tirelessly for years on her grand vision?


  • Sarah worked on this vision by writing letters to a variety of people: newspaper editors, magazine readers, politicians,  even the president of the United States?


  • Sarah wrote not only to one, but five U.S. Presidents: Taylor, Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan, and Lincoln? She patiently worked for her dream to become true.


  • Sarah used the divisiveness of the War for Southern Independence as a reason why Lincoln should declare Thanksgiving a national holiday?


  • Sarah ran this campaign for Thanksgiving all while being a widowed, full-time, breadwinning mom to five children? Her husband died when she was pregnant with her fifth child. She made hats during the day and wrote at night.


  • Sarah waited 38 years for this vision to become a reality? In 1863, Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday, to be observed the fourth Thursday in November.


  • Sarah was the first female magazine editor in America? As such, she was the forerunner of today’s mommy bloggers. She was probably the first female influencer of mass culture for women, as editor of the Ladies’ Magazine, the most popular magazine of the day. She later went to work for Godey’s Lady’s Book.


  • Sarah was a proponent of women but disagreed with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony about the burgeoning women’s movement. She believed that men and women had different roles.


You will learn all this and more by reading the above book by Laurie Halse Anderson. I love how Ms. Anderson plays up Sarah’s determination and her power of the pen to change history and be a true superhero, who literally saved Thanksgiving as an American national holiday.  Sarah is truly a powerful example of what one mother can do! So, mothers of the world, never underestimate the power of what you can do too as you pursue your God-given vision, never letting go of your mothering vision as well!

This is such a wonderful book! It’s a fabulous combination of history, inspiration, Americana, and the power of the female, mothering mind. The illustrations by Matt Faulkner are absolutely beautiful. I give it five out of five stars!

P.S. If you don’t have a vision of  what you want to contribute to the world, like Sarah did, or a vision of your mission in life, I suggest you listen to this presentation by Brad Wilcox and read the book I show in that post. 

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