It is 1941, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt has just made Thanksgiving a national holiday in the United States. Takari’s family is coming from near and far to celebrate together.
While helping her mother prepare Thanksgiving dinner, eight-year-old Takari breaks a platter that belonged to her Japanese grandmother. The platter had been an important part of her father’s family heritage, used traditionally by Takari’s grandmother to serve chestnut rice on the Japanese day of Thanksgiving.
Angry, her mother shoos her away, telling her to go visit her best friend, Little Sparrow, whose family is Native American. He is making a special cornbread just like the one served at the first Thanksgiving dinner eaten by the pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians at Plymouth Plantation. In the process, Takari learns about the history of the holiday and that a similar day of gratitude, when people give thanks for their blessings, exists in many countries, including in her father’s homeland, Japan.