It is 1941, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt has just made Thanksgiving a national holiday in the United States. Takari’s family is coming from near and far to celebrate together.
While helping her mother prepare Thanksgiving dinner, eight-year-old Takari breaks a platter that belonged to her Japanese grandmother. The platter had been an important part of her father’s family heritage, used traditionally by Takari’s grandmother to serve chestnut rice on the Japanese day of Thanksgiving.
Angry, her mother shoos her away, telling her to go visit her best friend, Little Sparrow, whose family is Native American. He is making a special cornbread just like the one served at the first Thanksgiving dinner eaten by the pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians at Plymouth Plantation. In the process, Takari learns about the history of the holiday and that a similar day of gratitude, when people give thanks for their blessings, exists in many countries, including in her father’s homeland, Japan.
The theme of The Thanksgiving Dinner Platter can be summarized with a quote from it — the rest of the book is developing a storyline to depict how true this quote really is — and that quote is “That’s part of Thanksgiving—not only being grateful for good fortune but helping others less fortunate.”
“That’s part of Thanksgiving—not only being grateful for good fortune but helping others less fortunate.”
Thanksgiving is a time of reflection for many people. Not only that, but people are at different ends of the spectrum on fortune. Some of us have tons of it to go around while others are just hanging in there and need the help from those who can offer it. Through a series of characters and dialogues, this book sets families up to better understand what Thanksgiving is really about. Different traditions and expectations begin to clash while the root of the matter threads throughout … be thankful for what you have and help those with less.
Give this book a read and share it with those people who are close to you and need shaped into being people who are kind and compassionate. This is a great read from a great author. Keep up the good work, Randa!