Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Thanksgiving with Author Trinka Hakes Noble + Giveaway

Dear Readers,

Our guest author, Trinka Hakes Noble, has written a very special story of gratitude and historical significance in an unusual Thanksgiving story set in 1918. Trinka’s text and David C. Gardner’s illustrations offer up a scrumptious feast for readers of all ages. You’ll want to own a copy of this poignant story for your family as a cherished read aloud during the Thanksgiving season.

Trinka is generously donating an autographed copy of, Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade. All you have to do for a chance to win is leave a comment below. The winner will be announced in one week.

And now, please welcome my friend, Award winning Author, Trinka Hakes Noble. . .

Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade – A Thanksgiving Story 
by Trinka Hakes Noble

Sometimes a story gets started with just one word, and for Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade that word was ragamuffin.

When I was growing up with my seven brothers and sisters, my mother endearingly called us little ragamuffins when we came inside from rambunctious play, with our hair a mess, our faces, hands and bare feet dirty and our clothes disheveled. I’ve always loved that word...ragamuffin.

So when I learned that there was something called the Ragamuffin Parade, which took place in New York City many years ago, I was captivated.  I learned that on Thanksgiving morning the children of New York City would dress up like beggars and hobos, smudge coal on their faces and parade down Broadway with their hand out asking, “Have ya’ anything for Thanksgiving?” People called them ragamuffins and would give them a penny. 

On busy street corners people would throw hands full of pennies in the air and the children would scramble for them. It was called a penny scramble and it could get rough. The immigrant children who lived in the tenements on the Lower East Side loved the Ragamuffin Parade because they could fill a pocket with much needed pennies. 

But as years went by, Halloween became more popular in America. Children dressed up in costumes, marched in Halloween parades, and went trick-or-treating for candy. The Ragamuffin Parade fell out of favor.

Many of those immigrant children who fondly remembered the Ragamuffin Parade grew up to be employed by Macy’s department store in Midtown Manhattan. Some historians believe that these employees asked Mr. Macy if he would sponsor a parade for the children of New York City on Thanksgiving morning. And so, in 1924, the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade took place.  

Iinterior Illustration
I just had to write a story using this information, and so I created a nine-year-old immigrant girl named Loretta Stanowski, whom everyone called Rettie, and placed her on New York’s Lower East Side, in a tenement apartment during World War I and the 1918 influenza pandemic that swept across America. In those trying times, Rettie managed to keep her younger siblings from going to an orphanage and take care of her sick mother while her father was away at the war. The only thing that kept her going was the hope that the Ragamuffin Parade wouldn’t be cancelled due to the influenza pandemic. But, triumph she did! On Thanksgiving morning Rettie proudly marched in the Ragamuffin Parade and got enough pennies to buy something special for their Thanksgiving dinner. In this uplifting Tales of Young Americans story, this young immigrant girl not only found her strength but also found the true spirit and meaning of an American Thanksgiving. 

Other Tales of Young Americans books by Trinka are The Scarlet Stockings Spy - A Revolutionary War Tale and The Last Brother - A Civil War Tale.  

Learn more on Trinka’s website at www.trinkahakesnoble.com 

The series, Tales of Young Americans, is published by Sleeping Bear Press. Learn more at www.sleepingbearpress.com 

Reviews of Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade – A Thanksgiving Story

“Noble’s tale of parades and tenement life positively brim to over flowing with good cheer, culminating on Thanksgiving Day, 1918. Gardener’s full-color illustrations depict a bustling community where good spirits overcome bad happenings. All ends well in this parade filled with good spirits and optimism.” – Kirkus Review, July 2017

“Vivid art work and a descriptive narrative re-create a vibrant 1918 New York City populated by immigrants struggling to survive an influenza pandemic at the tail end of World War I.  VERDICT An excellent historical fiction picture book for the older reader interested in U.S. history or Thanksgiving celebrations, and this is a timely selection as this year marks the U.S.’s centennial commemoration of World War I.” – School Library Journal, September 2017

“It is slim pickings when it comes to Thanksgiving focused books. Those out there are more oft about turkeys, inaccurate pilgrim stories or pumpkins, but Trinka Hakes Noble has given us a real Thanksgiving story, with a focus on gratitude and connection to modern day traditions.” – Odds and Hens; Reach and Read, November 2017

 Trinka Hakes Noble is the award-winning author of over thirty picture books. The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash, (ALA Notable, PBS Reading Rainbow feature, Booklist Children’s Editors’ Choice, IRA Children’s Choice, American Book Award, Scholastic Book Club Selection), illustrated by Seven Kellogg, just celebrated its 37th year in print. Three more Jimmy’s Boa books complete the series. Meanwhile Back At The Ranch (PBS Reading Rainbow feature, American Book Award, Arizona Young Readers Award, North Dakota Flicker-Tail Award) is celebrating its 30th year in print. Apple Tree Christmas, which she wrote and illustrated, (Cricket Magazine, The Golden Books Treasury of Christmas, Junior Literary Guild Selection) is presently in a Holiday Classic edition.    

Other titles include The Scarlet Stockings Spy, (ILA Teacher’s Choice, Chicago’s Crystal Book Award of Excellence, Learning Magazine Teacher’s Choice Award), The Last Brother, (IPPY Award Bronze, PLA Carol Field Honor Book, Storytelling Magazine Honor Award, Scholastic Book Club Selection), and The Orange Shoes (ILA Teacher’s Choice, NAPPA Honors, Jefferson Cup Award Nominee, CBC Best Books).  

Her latest titles are The Legend of the Jersey Devil (2013), Lizzie and the Last Day of School (2015), The Legend of Sea Glass (2016), and Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade (Fall/2017).  

Ms. Noble graduated from Michigan State University with a BA in painting, and went on to study children’s book writing and illustration in New York City at Parson’s School of Design, the New School University , Caldecutt medalist Uri Schulivitz’s Greenwich Village Workshop, and most recently at New York University.

Ms. Noble is a board member of The New Jersey Center for the Book, The Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature, The Author’s Guild and the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators.  In 2002, she was awarded Outstanding Woman in Arts and Letters from the state of New Jersey for her life-time work in children’s books along with letters of accommodation from The US House of Representatives, the US Senate and the US Congress.  She was also awarded Author of the Year, 2016/2017, by the New Jersey Association of School Librarians.  She lives in a circa 1780 house in historic Northern New Jersey.  Learn more at www.trinkahakesnoble.com 


Thank you, dear readers, for spending time with us here. I am truly grateful for your encouragement and support of authors and good books! I’ll be back in one week to announce the winner of Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade.   ~Clara


  1. Count me in this giveaway, please. Sounds like a great book for one of my granddaughters! A Ragmuffin Parade--who would have thought? Trinka--I love the boa book!!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Carol! Your name is entered for a chance to win Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade!

  2. What a beautiful story! It sounds like a perfect way to encourage kids to think about need and gratitude.

    1. I agree, Marileta. This is a beautiful story that will encourage kids to think about need and gratitude.

      Your name is entered for a chance to win Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade!

  3. Thank you for another wonderful children’s book, Trinka. As a teacher, I had all of the Jimmy’s Boa books & as an author, was inspired by The Scarlet Stockings Spy for my own Revilutionary War/Colonial Philadelphia children’s ��. I’d love to add Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade to my collection.

    1. Gayle, I can’t think of anything more wonderful for an author than to have their books used in a classroom or that one of their books inspired your novel, Twice Betrayed. Thank you for sharing that with us!

      Your name is entered for a chance to win Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade!

  4. What a wonderful book! This is one I HAVE to share with my grandchildren, who on one memorable year marched with this high school band in the Macy's Parade--and I got to see them.

    1. Thank you for stopping by and sharing a memory of the Macy’s parade. I’d love to include you in the giveaway. Email me with your name if you’d like to be included in the drawing for the autographed book. (claragillowclark(at)gmail(dot)com) Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. First of all I love a parade big or small. I rarely miss the Macy's day parade and actually record it before I travel. Thanksgiving is not Thanksgiving without watching the Macy's Day Parade and eating turkey and all the trimmings. I can't wait to see Macy's Parade unfold this year since I have learned some history about The Immigrant children so many years ago and how this parade help them have a better Thanksgiving. I would love a signed copy of Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade to invision through a child the excitement of participating in a parade. My grandchildren are a little young yet for this book but would love to put it on their Library Shelf.
    On another note at age 66 I can still recall my parents calling my sister and myself a ragamuffin after playing outside making mud pies when we lived on a farm. This caused dinner to be delayed while we tried to clean up in the kitchen that only had spring water coming into our house. Water had to heated on a wood stove and we sponged ourselves clean. (No bathroom with a tub, just an outhouse that was a "two-seater". I have not thought of the word ragamuffin in a very long time and brings back some great memories. We survived a good childhood. Patty Crisman @frontiernet.net

    1. Oh, Patty, you have wonderful stories of your own. Thank you so much for sharing about your childhood life and memories.

      Your name is entered for a chance to win the autographed copy of Rettie and the Ragamuffin Parade.