Human Sacrifice – juvenile fiction
So far, this is my favorite subject heading. The Baldwin Library is such a rich collection. I am finding many wonderful stories of historical figures to tie into social studies standards. The cultural aspect of the standards are problematic. Stories of adventures in other lands, books comparing children in different lands – these all are written from the viewpoint of the English colonialist. Any person of color is a “savage” or “heathen”. I found two neat, early books on Hawaii, but they were written by missionaries. There was little detail of the native Hawaiian culture – anywhere it was mentioned, it was pooh-poohed as quaint superstitions to be prayed out of the poor savage.
“From the following pages…you may…learn three Great Moral Lessons.
First, never to approach too near the edge of an active volcano.
Second, never to continue your intimacy with a man who deliberately and wickedly declines to pull you out of a burning crater.
And third, never to intrust the care of youth to a cannibal heathen South Sea Islander.”
The White Man’s Foot (1888), by Grant Allen
If these texts are to be useful, the stories have to be drastically adapted. Perhaps if I frame the stories in the second social studies standard of Time, Continuity, and Change the comparisons of our changing world view will set off some rich discussion. That would be most effective with upper elementary and middle school students. I’d love to hear suggestions, if anyone has ideas.
I can tell that the math standards will be the hardest to tie into. I am saving several days to focus on those standards alone. Science is proving surprisingly easy, with fact-based anthropomorphic stories like The Curious Adventures of a Field Cricket (1881). Physical and Earth sciences are covered in several story-based volumes called Madam How and Lady Why; or First Lessons in Earth Lore for Children (1872), written by Charles Kingsley, author of The Water Babies
I’ve been invited to speak at a local bookstore next Tuesday night. As I prepare for that (40 minute) presentation, it will force me to crystallize my thoughts and begin preparing for my (90 minute) workshop in July in Hawaii. I’m trying to learn to work smarter, not harder. This is such a wonderful adventure. I am grateful to the Bechtel committee for the opportunity.