The age old question from children, “Are we there yet?”, causes parents to just sigh. Even Hollywood jumped on the theme and created movies from it. We can all relate.
Eve Bunting grabbed hold of the question and created a book with a more somber mood. How Many Days to America?: A Thanksgiving Story is about a family from the Caribbean who flee the country. The story is told through the oldest son’s viewpoint. Kids can relate. They have listened to their parents whisper in the night like these children. Hopefully, most kids have not had to go through the difficulties that this family goes through.
I believe twe need to teach our chldren to be compassionate to others and to be grateful for what we have. Eve Bunting has created an avenue for discussion on this issue through this book. She has also authored other books around sociological issues. Using picture books, you can promote conversations and provide an avenue for synthesizing the story. (Fly Away Home is another book to share.
Eve Bunting dedicates the book to “The children who came and to Marilyn Carpenter who shared their stories.” I wonder who they are? What I do know is that their stories inspired her to write this book. Share that with your kids.
Side note: I came across a website that has some teacher plans on multiculturalism. It gives more detail that relate to How Many Days to America?: A Thanksgiving Story. http://www.palmbeach.k12.fl.us/Multicultural/curriculum/Haiti/4th%20Days.pdf
Savorings for reading and in writing for How Many Days to America? A Thanksgiving Story:
- Wonderings – How would it feel to leave all your special things behind?
- Inference – “‘I must have your wedding ring’, My father told my mother. (…)She did not speak.”
- Repeating line – “How many days to America?”
- Tension – “We were an hour from shore when the motors stopped.”
- Connection/Compare – “Long ago, unhappy people came here to start new lives.” Compare to the present day settling of the refugees coming to America.