As we were wrapping up our unit on Native Americans and Explorers last week, we needed a new read aloud. We stopped our last one mid-way through due to boredom. I pulled out a couple of books for our next topic (early settlers/colonists) and a couple non-history-related read-alouds and let Miss M pick. She picked Margaret Pumphrey’s Pilgrim Stories, revised and expanded by Elvajean Hall. It’s this edition on amazon. Apparently there are at least a couple modern revisions/expansions of this 1910 work available. I can’t compare this edition to the others since I don’t have any of those on hand.
This wasn’t a book that I originally had on my American History book list. However when I saw it at the Half Price books tent sale for a buck, it was a no-brainer to pick it up. There is no shortage of books about the pilgrims. Without much effort, I feel like half our history book basket is about Pilgrims, the Mayflower or the first Thanksgiving.
Margaret Pumphrey’s Pilgrim Stories turned out to be a fine opening for our studies on this topic. It’s a fairly easy-to-read chapter book with 17 short chapters. I could have very easily handed it over to Miss M for her to read herself. But I’m glad I didn’t. The book opens in 1606 with Queen Anne visiting what turns out to be the home of some of the separatists. A young girl gives away the secret that her family worships God not in the official church, but in their own meeting. Soon the separatists are hiding and being even more secretive to avoid capture by the authorities. Their journey takes them to Holland for several years as they pursue religious freedom (I must have slept through that part of elementary school history class – I didn’t know they went to Holland first!), before they eventually join with many “strangers” to take the journey to the New World.
In Pilgrim Stories we learn not only what the Pilgrim mothers and fathers were doing, but what the children were up to also –some making trouble and getting in the way, others being helpful and brave. The book follows the story of the Pilgrims through the first Thanksgiving and the arrival of another ship from England (The Fortune) shortly after.
As I put together our reading list for this unit, I noticed that many books leave the story there. I’ve found a lot of books about Jamestown and Plymouth, and then many more books that pick up the story of life in the colonies in the 1700’s.
We’re filling in the pieces of what life might have been like in New England about 15 years after the first Pilgrims landed in our next read-aloud: Puritan Adventure by Lois Lenski. I’m sure I’ll be sharing more about that book for a future Book Discoveries post.
I’m linking up with Read-Aloud Thursday @ Hope is the Word!