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Molly's Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen
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Molly's Pilgrim

by Barbara Cohen

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Molly (1)

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Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
Set before the Russian Revolution. Molly is a Russian refugee fleeing religious persecution living in a small town in the USA. The story tells what happens when Molly 's Pilgrim doll for a class assignment and receives a wonderful reaction from the teacher. "It takes all kinds of Pilgrims to make a Thanksgiving". Beautiful story. A tear jerker. ( )
  RaskFamilyLibrary | Dec 20, 2018 |
A young Russian-Jewish immigrant girl in the early years of the twentieth century must contend with bullying and the ridicule of her peers when her family moves away from New York City to a smaller town. Here, at the school in Winter Hill, Molly's differences really stand out, especially when the mean Elizabeth is always there to comment on them. When her teacher gives her class an assignment to make little doll-sized Pilgrims or Indians, to be included in the model they are building of the First Thanksgiving, Molly shares the task with her mother. Called upon to explain what Pilgrims are, she describes them as people who "came to this country from the other side," looking for "religious freedom...so they could worship God as they pleased." Molly's mother identifies strongly with this description, and makes a doll that looks just like her, when she was a little girl. For her part, Molly is dismayed, sure that her "Pilgrim" will not find favor with her class and teacher. Fortunately, her teacher, Miss Stickley, uses the incident to explore what it really means to be a Pilgrim, and draws a parallel between the American holiday of Thanksgiving, and the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkoth....

First published in 1983, Molly's Pilgrim is probably one of author Barbara Cohen's most well-known books, and has remained constantly in print since it was first released. I believe that a new edition, with new cover art, was just released earlier this year (2018). That said, although long aware of it, and although a fan of some of Cohen's other books - notably, her Seven Daughters and Seven Sons, which is a particular favorite of mine - I never happened to pick it up before now. A brief thirty pages, it is neither a picture-book (too much text, and too few illustrations), nor a beginning chapter-book (too short, no chapters), but something in between. It is really an illustrated short story, in book format. Its narrative addresses issues of bullying, immigration, social inclusion, cultural knowledge, and religious freedom, using the traditional Thanksgiving story to highlight the message that (as Miss Stickley says), Pilgrims are still coming to America. I found the story here quite moving, even tearing up at a few points, and think that it could be used as a starting point for classroom discussion of so many themes, from bullying and how to deal with it, to the ways in which "history" (even if highly mythologized history, like the "First Thanksgiving" story) has so many parallels in contemporary events. Recommended to anyone looking for children's stories about Thanksgiving, and the meaning it may have for a diverse range of people, but most especially, for new immigrants to America. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Nov 23, 2018 |
I remember reading this as a kid; this version says text copyright 1983, illustrations copyright 1998. This cover doesn't look familiar, but the illustrations do, so it may be the same version. Regardless, it holds up well; a Russian Jewish immigrant, Molly, is being made fun of at school for her accent, appearance, and lack of American cultural knowledge. Though her classmate Elizabeth is mean, Molly's teacher is kind; she explains Thanksgiving to Molly. For homework, the children are supposed to make a pilgrim or Indian doll. Each child makes their doll with the traditional costume, but Molly's mother helps her make a doll that looks like her - after all, Molly's mother reasons after Molly tells her about the Pilgrims, "A Pilgrim is someone who came here from the other side to find freedom. That's me, Molly. I'm a Pilgrim!" Elizabeth, of course, makes fun of Molly's different doll, but Miss Stickley defends her; she puts Molly's doll on her desk where everyone can see, saying "It will remind us all that Pilgrims are still coming to America." ( )
  JennyArch | Nov 8, 2017 |
I like this book because it is a good transition book and it teaches a great lesson. This book is a great transition book because it has big text with pictures. The pictures aren't colored, and the text goes with them, but it feels more like a chapter book although it is a short story. For example, on page 2 and 3, there is a picture aiding the text, but there is still a good chunk of text and the main focus isn't on the picture. I also like how the author uses this book to teach a lesson. It is very powerful and relatable for young students. For example, the book ends with, "I decided it takes all kinds of pilgrims to make a Thanksgiving." The moral of the story is that every culture celebrates holidays differently. ( )
  adietr3 | Mar 2, 2017 |
In my opinion this is a good children's book. Like many others, it talks about a serious topic in a child friendly and almost lighthearted way. The main characters mom moved to America from Russia. The book doesn't really state the reason for her move but WW2 would have been going on during that time in history. Instead the book focuses on Molly bringing a doll dressed in Russian clothes to her classroom for an assignment. Her classmates were mean to her and she felt embarrassed of her mother and the culture that surrounds her at home. Students can relate to this no matter if they are the different student or the main group of students, kids can tell when people stand out. In the end, the girl in the book finds pride within herself through the help of her family. She also discovers that their are many different types of pilgrims that all can contribute to the Thanksgiving holiday. I like that this is a multicultural thanksgiving book, because there aren't many of those. The moral of this story is to be proud of your heritage. ( )
  Kacie11 | Dec 1, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barbara Cohenprimary authorall editionscalculated
Duffy, Daniel MarkIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
As Molly nears her first Thanksgiving in the New World, she doesn't find much to be thankful for. Her classmates giggle at her Yiddish accent and make fun of her unfamiliarity with American ways. Molly's embarrassed when her mother helps with a class Thanksgiving project by making a little doll that looks more Russian refugee than a New England Pilgrim. But that tiny modern-day Pilgrim just might help Molly to find a place for herself in America.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0688162797, Hardcover)

Sparkling new illustrations refresh this Thanksgiving classic based on the true experience of a member of Barbara Cohen's family. The touching story tells how recent immigrant Molly leads her third-grade class to discover that it takes all kinds of pilgrims to make a Thanksgiving. Originally published in 1983, Molly's Pilgrim inspired the 1986 Academy Award winning live-action short film.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:26 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Already teased by her classmates because she is different, Molly is embarassed when her mother tries to help her out by creating a doll for the school Thanksgiving project who looks like her mother did when she arrived in the United States seeking religious freedom.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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