For Kids and Their Grown-Ups: “The Mayflower” by Kate Messner
Review by Laura Frantz, collection development librarian
We think we know the story about the Mayflower, Plymouth Rock and the first Thanksgiving. But it’s not the whole story. In this exciting new series, Kate Messner fact checks some of the common misconceptions about major historical events.
Messner goes into detail about the Pilgrims fleeing from England. They did not head to America at first, they attempted to settle elsewhere in Europe but faced certain challenges. She captures what the journey was like when they set out for America — 101 people, some friends and some strangers, plus all of their belongings, as well as cats, dogs, pigs, chickens, and goats living in a small space for two months. Eventually they arrive in America and encounter the Wampanoag people. Many aspects of the book are relevant to current times, including discussions of epidemics and social injustice.
She examines primary sources with a keen eye and presents a lot of fun facts and sidebars to engage kids. The illustrations further enhance the text. This middle grade read is ideal for kids who love history and fans of “Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales.”