Milly and the Macy’s Parade
by Shana Corey, illustrated by Brett Helquist
Ages 8 & up, 40 pages
Milly and the Macy’s Parade is a delightful story about Milly’s idea to bring happiness to European immigrant families with a holiday parade. In 1924, Milly’s papa worked at the lovely Macy’s Department store in New York City. She loved finding treasures and played with toys at Macy’s. However, she noticed that some individuals appeared sad when they looked into the beautiful window displays. Papa and his coworkers missed the holidays from back home with instruments and caroling. Milly bravely told Mr.Macy himself that people were homesick and wanted a bit of everyone’s home to America. She proposed singing and strolling in the streets with a parade. Macy’s workers dressed and marched proudly in the parade on Thanksgiving day. Finally, people had a bit of their old country into an American celebration. The illustrations are beautiful and really capture a festive mood.
Milly and the Macy’s Parade is somewhat true. Mr. Macy died in 1877, which is long before the parade started in 1924. The parade idea wasn’t from a young girl, in fact it’s unclear where the idea originated from. The true story element is that the Macy employees themselves dressed and performed in the parade.
Facts about Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade:
- More than 1,000 Macy employees marched in the first parade with many cultures and costumes.
- It’s always been held on Thanksgiving Day, but the first year it was called Macy’s Christmas Parade.
- Animals from Central Park Zoo including elephants, camels, and bears marched in the parade, but this stopped in 1927 when animals frightened children.
- In 1927, the first Helium balloons replaced zoo animals. The balloons were produced by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. The balloons suddenly burst at the parade’s finish.
- In 1928, the balloons were redesigned with safety valves, so they could float for several days. Address labels were inside the balloon and lucky individuals could mail it back to Macy’s for a prize.
- In 1934, Macy’s balloon designers work with Walt Disney for the first Mickey Mouse balloon.
- In 1942- 1944, the parade was canceled due to World War II. The rubber balloons were donated as scrap rubber for the war effort.
- In 1947, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is on national television.
- The parade started at 145th Street and ended in front of Macy’s department store on 34th Street where Santa Claus welcomed the holiday.
- In 1947, the parade now started at 77th Street and Central Park.
- The parade charater with the most balloons is Snoopy.
- Every year about 3 million people watch the parade in person and 50 million people watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on television.
- In 2011, Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade marks its 85th anniversary.
Macy’s: The Store. The Star. The Story. by Robert M. Grippo
Macy’s: The Store. The Star. The Story. by Robert M. Grippo
Fun interactive Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade site about everything from the history, parade route, balloon info, and more
Clara and Mr. Tiffany
by Susan Vreeland
Historical Fiction, 432 pages
Clara and Mr. Tiffany takes place in New York City during the late 1890s. Clara Driscoll creates and designs leaded glass lampshades and stained glass windows under Louis Comfort Tiffany. Clara desires recognition, since none of the artist names are mentioned when featured at the Chicago World’s Fair or in Paris. Tiffany has a strict policy: He doesn’t hire married women. In a sense, Clara is married to Tiffany himself since she works closely with him getting creative feedback and strives to please him. She suggests the idea of a new glass lampshade, which they keep as a secret. Clara is head of the women’s department or the ‘Tiffany Girls’. There are different men in Clara’s life, but she’s committed to her artistic aspirations and knows that if she marries she can no longer work at Tiffany’s. Throughout Clara and Mr. Tiffany there are struggles between the men’s and women’s department. The women’s work isn’t always appreciated and they’re not in a union. Eventually, Clara must decide who she’s most devoted to. The book highlights New York City changes with skyscrapers being built and the subway. At times, I thought the book was slow. Often, I wanted to shake Clara since she was so attached to Tiffany. The book was enjoyable and I gave it four stars. Clara Driscoll’s life is highlighted with more details in the afterword.
Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey by Maira Kalman
Ages 6 -9, 48 pages
This is the inspiring true story of the John J. Harvey-a retired New York City fireboat reinstated on September 11, 2001. Originally launched in 1931, the Harvey was the most powerful fireboat of her time. After the September 11 attacks, with fire hydrants at Ground Zero inoperable and the Hudson River’s water supply critical to fighting the blaze, the fire department called on the Harvey for help.
The book provides brief history of events during Harvey’s prime in the 1930s. The pictures are beautiful and provide a unique story during a tragic event. It briefly explains what occurred without going into too much detail. The focus is upon the community’s involvement that creates a discussion about everyone’s role and the importance of coming together.
September Roses illustrated and written by Jeanette Winter
Ages 5 – 8, 40 pages (Very short book with about a sentence on each page with beautiful pictures)
As September 11th approaches, I wanted to highlight some children’s books that can be used to discuss the topic.
September Roses is a true story about two sisters from South Africa who grow roses. They traveled with over 2,000 roses to New York City for a flower show. Due to the attack on the World Trade Centers, the flower show cancelled and the sisters weren’t able to travel back to South Africa. So, they had no where to go and boxes of unused roses. However, there was a suggestion for how to use the roses. The sisters formed two towers of roses that helped others during this tragic situation.
The book does a good job lightly explaining what occurred without giving too much details for young ages. The story is lovely of how roses could help people’s emotion during a difficult time. The pictures are beautiful as they move from bright colors into darkness. It’s a good book to lead into discussion.
- opening page
As I looked down at the roses, a young man walked to where I stood and told me how they came to be there.