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Molly's Pilgrim
Barbara Cohen
Illustrated by Daniel Mark Duffy
Ages 6 to 9
HarperCollins , 2005, 0-688-16280-0
  Molly is miserable at her new school. Because she looks different and because her English is not perfect yet Molly is horribly teased. One girl in particular, Elizabeth, goes out of her way to make Molly feel unhappy, isolated and unwanted. Molly tries to explain to her mother what is going on but in the end she decides just to keep quiet about her school situation.
  Then one day Molly is asked to read about the first Thanksgiving. She has never heard the story before and when she is asked to make a pilgrim doll for a class activity she is excited to participate. Molly's mother is eager to help and she makes a doll for Molly which looks just like a young Russian Jewish girl complete with a headscarf and long skirt. In fact the doll looks just like a photograph of Molly's mother.
  Poor Molly knows that her doll does not look like the other pilgrim dolls that the other children made and she is sure that she will be teased. True to form Elizabeth makes fun of Molly's pilgrim until the teacher steps in. Then all the children learn that Pilgrims come in all shapes and sizes.
  This story of a how a Jewish Russian immigrant tries to find her place in her new country is both sad and heartwarming. Anyone who has had to move to a new place will understand Molly's difficulties and at the same time it is fascinating to learn that the idea of Thanksgiving goes back to the ancient Jewish harvest festival of Sukkoth. We are reminded that that Pilgrims are not only the English who came to America in the 1600's - they are also every immigrant who came to the New World seeing religious freedom and the right to live in peace and safety.
  With a powerful message of acceptance and understanding, this is wonderful book for the Thanksgiving season

Molly's Pilgrim


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