Milly And The Macy’s Parade

What It Is

Young Milly’s father worked at Macy’s Herald Square department store, one of the most exciting places in New York City back in 1924. “Papa” emigrated with his family from Poland and missed his country’s holiday traditions. It turns out that many of the immigrant workers had the same homesick feelings. Milly had an idea to cure the workers’ homesickness and bravely barges into Mr. Macy’s office to share her thoughts. Her idea was a parade that would be put on by Macy’s workers, who could each incorporate some of their homeland traditions. Mr. Macy liked the idea and staged the very first Macy’s Christmas Parade that very year. The parade was a huge success and, with many cultures represented, was a wonderful example of the “melting pot” that is America. Of course, just like today’s parade, on the very last float was Santa Claus!

Why It’s Fun

I decided to look at a more modern American tradition for this year’s Thanksgiving “Book of the Week.” While we all know the story of the first Thanksgiving, the origins of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade are likely unknown to most. What people may think began as a stunt to drive customer traffic to Macy’s, was really created as a way to boost employee morale. Though Shana Corey takes poetic license with some of the facts to make the story more enchanting (Milly is a fictional character and the “real” Mr. Macy died in 1877), the book captures the sentiment—and many of the facts—that inspired the parade. An author’s note provides the true story of the parade’s beginning which is only slightly different from Ms. Corey’s believable story. Brett Helquist’s illustrations effectively captured the larger-than-life feel of the Herald Square store, bringing back my own fond memories of roaming the floors as a child.

Who’s Going To Love It

This book, like the Macy’s parade itself, is for children of all ages. The Macy’s parade has touched generations, and we all enjoyed reading about the parade’s cultural origins, which may make watching the parade this year more special. The book may be tough to find in hardcover, other than at the library, but it is available for sale in paperback.

Reading Time

About 6 minutes

Read-It-Again Points

9 out of 10

Book Information

By: Shana Corey; Illustrated by Brett Helquist
Published by: Scholastic Press (2002)
Approximate retail price: $5.99 (paperback)
Publisher’s recommended ages: 5 - 7


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