November 25, 2013

Sarah Hale is America's Thanksgiving Miracle

Have you ever heard of Sarah Hale? No? Well, until last year when I stumbled upon this wonderful book, I had never heard of her or her courageous life story! I have not done extensive research on her, but after reading this book to my kids and reading up on her life, I have concluded, that Sarah Hale was outstanding! 
She is absolutely the reason we have Thanksgiving as a holiday. Most of the country had stopped celebrating Thanksgiving by the 1830's. Sarah Hale believed it was important to our country to keep the tradition alive, to remember our history, and have a day of thanks with family. She wrote thousands of letters to 4 Presidents over the span of 38 years before Abraham Lincoln said "Yes!" Thank You, Sarah is a beautifully illustrated book, that tells the courageous story of Sarah Hale, a widow with 5 young children.

Hale's story is actually more profound than her Thanksgiving gift to us all. She fought many other important fights. She argued against slavery, fought for education of girls, for women's colleges, for female doctors, and even against spanking children. She was a proponent of historical monuments, playgrounds, and encouraged women to put away the corsets and the bustles for more comfortable clothing!

Sarah Hale wrote children's books, novels, and composed "Mary Had a Little Lamb." She even published authors such as Edgar Allan Poe and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. She wrote for two different women's magazines during her life and finally retired at the age of 89.

Unlike other women who were also making a difference in the country during those days, Hale did not support the growing women's movement. She disagreed with women like Susan B. Anthony and the feminist extremist viewpoint. Instead, Hale stood for upholding the traditional role of women in the family. She encouraged wives and mothers to support their husbands and keep the household running. Although she still maintained that women and girls should be able to have equal education, equal career opportunities, and voting rights.

I believe that Sarah Hale is an unsung hero. She is someone that young girls and boys should read about and study as they do so many other pivotal figures in our history . My sons are fascinated by the influence she had on America, and enjoy reading this book again and again.
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