Book on first Thanksgiving printed

Published 10:54 pm Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Lisa Suhay recently released her second children’s book about Thanksgiving, and her book focuses on the history of the first Thanksgiving in Virginia and the intention of the holiday. Suhay will be reading the book and signing copies this Saturday in Suffolk.

She was asked to write the book because the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving next year, and they wanted this book to be broader than her first picture book so that it could be for both children and adults.

Suhay first learned of the first Thanksgiving after realizing that was what her children were learning in school after they moved to Virginia 15 years ago. She meets plenty of people that don’t know the true history of Thanksgiving, even in Virginia.

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“On the advice from a librarian from Slover in Norfolk, I decided to put a short history of Thanksgiving holiday celebrations on the back of the book,” Suhay said.
While Suhay was adamant about getting the history right, she wanted to make sure people remembered the intention of the first Thanksgiving.

“When I was asked to do this book, I thought that I didn’t want to make it about the food. I wanted to make it about the history, and we have to look at the intention of the holiday,” Suhay said.

The book focuses on the “attitude of gratitude” associated with the holiday, and Suhay believes that practicing gratitude every day is exactly what our country needs right now.

“I’d like to see them take away an attitude of gratitude. I think the country is in a place right now where we need to find more things and more people to be grateful for,” Suhay said. “I think it is so easy to spend so much of our time too focused on what we don’t have, and we forget to take inventory on what we do have.”

Suhay is proud of the work that went into the production of the book. Warren Stewart, a retired educator, independently funded the book, and Suhay made it a point to make sure the illustrations were based on real people in the community.

“We shot pictures of children and their families and sent them to our illustrator in South Africa,” Suhay said.

Savyra Meyer-Lippold was the illustrator.

Having the community illustrated in the book was important for Suhay, because she is so proud of how diverse that Virginia has become since the first Thanksgiving.

The book will be available at the event, but those that can’t make it can also purchase the book on Amazon. It is available as a paperback for $12.99 or $2.99 for the Kindle version.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Edward Jones Financial at 5501 Bennett’s Pasture Road.