Thank You, Sarah

The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving

Thank You, Sarah

Illustrated by: Matt Faulkner
For Ages: 5 - 8
  • 4
We the people of the United States...
Almost Lost Thanksgiving
Yes. That's right!
Way back when "skirts were long and hats were tall" Americans were forgetting Thanksgiving, and nobody seemed to care!
Thankfully, Sarah Hale appeared. More steadfast than Plymouth Rock, this lady editor knew the holiday needed saving. But would her recipe for rescue ever convince Congress and the presidents?
Join acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson on a journey of a woman and a pen that spanned four decades, the Civil War, and five presidents, all so you could have your turkey and eat it too!
  • Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | 
  • 40 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780689851438 | 
  • October 2005 | 
  • Grades K - 3 | 
  • Lexile AD350L


Reading Group Guide

Thank You, Sarah

The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving

By Laurie Halse Anderson

Illustrated by Matt Faulkner

Sarah Hale, a determined widow, magazine editor and author, wanted Thanksgiving declared a national holiday. She launched a letter writing campaign to presidents which lasted thirty-eight years until she finally persuaded Abraham Lincoln to recognize the day.


Have readers discuss the difference between fiction and nonfiction. Then have them classify Thank You, Sarah, taking hints from the cover of the book.


  • Study the artwork on the cover of the book. What is the historical period?

  • Foreshadowing is a literary or art technique used to provide clues about something that might occur in the story later. Notice the quill and inkwell on the cover of the book, and the quill on the dedication page. Discuss what this foreshadows about Sarah. Find other examples of foreshadowing in the book. Hint: The bust on the pedestal on the fifth double-page spread.

  • Point out the first reference in the book to the way some families spend Thanksgiving today.

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About the Author

Laurie Halse Anderson
photograph courtesy of the author

Laurie Halse Anderson

Laurie Halse Anderson is the New York Times bestselling author who writes for kids of all ages. Known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity, her work has earned numerous ALA and state awards. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists. Chains also received the 2009 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, and Laurie was chosen for the 2009 Margaret A. Edwards Award. Mother of four and wife of one, Laurie lives in Northern New York, where she likes to watch the snow fall as she writes. You can follow her adventures on Twitter @HalseAnderson, or visit her at