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Children's Nonfiction General

A Pioneer Thanksgiving

A Story of Harvest Celebrations in 1841

by (author) Barbara Greenwood

illustrated by Heather Collins

Kids Can Press
Initial publish date
Sep 1999
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 1999
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 8 to 12
  • Grade: 3 to 7


Combining fiction and nonfiction, this dramatic story follows the Robertson family as they prepare for Thanksgiving in the year 1841. As with all Canadian pioneer families, Thanksgiving is a special day for the Robertsons, but this year they have more reasons than usual to give thanks. Each chapter of the story is enhanced by information about the pioneer period and how Thanksgiving was celebrated in the past. Children will learn about the wild harvest, harvest superstitions and how the First Peoples celebrated the harvest. The past comes alive through hands-on activities such as making a corn dolly or learning to play conkers. Historically accurate and beautifully rendered pencil illustrations make this a comprehensive resource for home or school.

About the authors

Barbara Greenwood is an award-winning author whose books include Gold Rush Fever, The Last Safe House and A Pioneer Thanksgiving. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Barbara Greenwood's profile page

Heather Collins brings Come Sit By Me alive with the colourful illustration style for which she has become known. Her popular children's picture book credits include Whoosh I Hear a Sound!, The Bare Naked and A Pioneer Story: The Daily Life of a Canadian Family in 1840 for which She won both the Information Book Award and the Ruth Schwartz Children's Book Award. When she's not illustrating in her attic studio in Toronto, Heather can be found spending time with her two children and her husband.

Heather Collins' profile page


  • Winner, Our Choice, Canadian Children’s Book Centre
  • Winner, Selected as Outstanding by Parent Council®
  • Runner-up, Book of the Year Award – Silver Medal, ForeWord Magazine
  • Short-listed, Alberta Children’s Choice Rocky Mountain Book Award

Editorial Reviews

Barbara Greenwood’s excellent story, illustrated by Heather Collins’ lush pencil drawings, tells about one family’s Thanksgiving celebration in 1841 — A Pioneer Thanksgiving can make any autumn day a festive one.

A satisfying and well-researched blend of fact and fiction about pioneer life. In this sequel to A Pioneer Sampler, Greenwood and Collins again recount the adventures of the fictional Robertson family, this time as they prepare to celebrate the harvest in the fall of 1841. Three stories are interspersed among descriptions of some on the staples of a traditional Thanksgiving meal of the time, recipes for making some of the food specialties, and instructions for making and playing some of the games. The narrative is carefully crafted to make the experience described equally valid for Canadians and for the residents of northern United States. The Native American neighbors and friends of the Robertsons are referred to as First Peoples, and the specific tribes mentioned as holding their own harvest feasts and festivals include the Iroquois and Ojibwa. The recipes and craft instructions are clear, measurements are given in both metric and U.S. Customary Units, and adult assistance is recommended where appropriate. The pencil drawings support the text and enhance its clarity. This entertaining title offers a different take on the holiday and provides solid information about the history and customs of celebrations dating back to the first North American Thanksgiving in 1578. A welcome addition to all libraries.

t is an admirable and useful addition to the growing store of reliable nonfiction about this era in our history.

Beautifully rendered charcoal and sepia-toned drawings match the story’s setting and provide visual instruction for the enticing crafts, games and recipes.

Other titles by Barbara Greenwood

Other titles by Heather Collins