When I first got the invitation to join in the blog book tour for This Is The Feast by Diane Z. Shore, illustrated by Megan Lloyd, I wasn’t entirely confident as we here in Canada have long passed our Thanksgiving holiday.
But, all it took was opening the package, personally sent from Shore, with a handwritten note, a signed copy of her book and a real sense of caring that this story mattered to her to sell me on a story about thankfulness.
I’m a sucker for that personal touch. Even though Shore and I have never done more than exchange addresses, I felt like I had gotten a book from a friend.
She would be a friend who talks very frankly – in child-sized ways – about a tale that’s been told for generations – that of the pilgrim’s journey to America.
As you read through the story, it seems a bit more real than some of the watered down versions we get during happy holiday celebrations. There’s plague and struggles, confusion and mistrust. There’s perseverance and a wary combination of people. All of which could have taken place anywhere from PEI to Rhode Island.
I enjoyed the book, and appreciated the chance to talk to our daughter about the traditions and holidays that half of her family celebrates in November instead of October. Canadian Thanksgiving is a time for quiet reflection, more of a harvest party, the last chance for the family to get together before Winter weather starts to kick in. American Thanksgiving – which is celebrated next Thursday – is a huge event that kicks off the holiday season.
But, more than looking at the differences in cultures, I appreciated Shore and her take on gratitude for food and family, friendship and understanding.
As we in Canada kick our holiday season off with the lighting of trees, Santa’s arrival in town and the bit of madness that comes from the bustle and business, I will remember her handwritten note and lovely story about gratitude.
When I get frustrated with the screaming preschooler and realize that the long-overdue library books are still in the back of the truck, I’ll take a moment and breathe, remembering that we are safe and well-fed and comfortable, unlike the pilgrims, the early settlers and the First Nations people whose lives were turned upside down by their arrival.
And, when I think about all of the shopping and wrapping, notes to Santa making requests and general expectations that modern holidays can bring, I’ll slow down and thank Shore a bit for the space to remember that it’s not what we have, but who we share it with, that makes this season so very special.
Check out what other bloggers on the tour are saying about This Is The Feast by Diane Z. Shore, illustrated by Megan Lloyd:
A Mom Speaks
All About Children’s Books
Becky’s Book Reviews
Cafe of Dreams
Looking Glass Reviews
Maw Books Blog
Never Jam Today
Our Big Earth
Reading is My Superpower