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Molly’s Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen

Cover to Molly’s Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen

It’s the early 20th century, and Molly and her family have moved to the small town of Winter Hill from New York City. In the city, there were many immigrants like themselves, but, in Winter Hill, Molly is constantly teased by her classmates for the way she looks, talks, and dresses.

Everything is new to her, and some days are very hard. When the teacher gives the class an assignment to make a pilgrim doll from a clothespin, Molly’s mother helps her make it, but it doesn’t look like the others. The doll looks like a member of Molly’s family because Molly’s mother knows they are pilgrims, too. As Jews, they faced danger when they were no longer allowed to live peacefully in Russia because of their faith—much like the pilgrims leaving England for the New World.

Molly is afraid that, because her doll is not like the other pilgrim dolls, her mean classmates will be even meaner.

Molly’s Pilgrim, by Barbara Cohen, has become a favorite for Thanksgiving, and the short film version won an Academy Award. The story is based on one handed down in the author’s own family of Jewish immigrants.

Another favorite book to share at this time of the year is Louisa May Alcott’s An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving. This edition has been adapted for younger readers and listeners.