Robyn Gioia

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It has been a good thing that I have always loved to read. It certainly helped that my mother didn’t approve of too much television, because it introduced me to the wonderful world of books. A person could learn anything they wanted and could visit far away worlds. And a natural part of being an avid reader is becoming a writer. Writing is the instrument that lets you play inside those extraordinary worlds.

It was my good fortune to live in England for three years where I joined a group of eclectic writers, and I’ve been dabbling ever since. As a teacher, learning along with the kids is an adventure. So, when I attended a weeklong teacher workshop in St. Augustine, Florida, and the historians boldly stated that St. Augustine was the site of the REAL Thanksgiving, I came home and wrote a book to tell the kids. This was important stuff! That also made turkey out and cocido (garbanzo beans and pork) the real meal of the day.

People sometimes ask if I’ve done anything else. In a nutshell, I’ve been a co-owner in a top-ten restaurant, teacher, Gifted and Talented Coordinator, program specialist, Florida Writers Association board member, children’s book reviewer, book contest judge, and speaker.

America's REAL First Thanksgiving

America's REAL First Thanksgiving
Pineapple Press, 2007
ISBN 978-1-56164-389-9
ages 9 to 12

When most Americans think of the first Thanksgiving, they think of the Pilgrims and the Indians in New England in 1621. But 56 years before they celebrated, Spanish explorer Pedro Menendez arrived on the coast of Florida and founded the first North American city, St. Augustine. On September 8, 1565, the Spanish and the native Timucua celebrated with a feast of Thanksgiving. The Spanish most likely offered cocido, a rich stew made with pork, and the Timucua may have brought wild turkey, venison, or even alligator, along with corn, beans, and squash. Learn about our real first Thanksgiving. Learn about Spain and Florida in the 1560s. And make your own cocido from a recipe provided in this important and groundbreaking book.

Requested by the Florida Governor’s Mansion for display in the new library

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