Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

How We Saw the World

Taylor, C.J. (Author/Illustrator)
Tundra Books 1999. 32 pages
First published: 1993
ISBN: 9780887763731 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book
Book genre: Folklore

Text Elements:

setting, structures and features

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

The stories in this collection, drawn from the traditions of nine different tribes, provide insight into how North America was seen by its first inhabitants. Selected by Mohawk artist C.J. Taylor, the legends describe the origins of tornadoes, forest fires, butterflies, horses, Niagara Falls and more. The final story, focusing on the Great Beaver, is a sober explanation of how the world will end if we don’t keep nature in balance.

Stories are told in accessible, straightforward English to encourage read-aloud or independent reading. Some are serious in tone while others have a humorous bent, such as the Mohawk tale about a colossal mix-up that occurs when the Great Creator tries to make the rabbit and the owl.

The evocative, richly-detailed, mural-like tableaux depicting the overlap of the natural and spirit worlds have a surreal quality.

Taylor’s introductory remarks explain that she chose these particular stories because “they illuminated her people’s relationship to nature in an exciting, informative, and even humorous way.” Descriptions of the nine tribes are included at the back of the book.

  •  

    What is a legend? How do legends help us understand a culture? How would they help a culture understand the world?

  •  

    Before reading a story, examine the illustration and ask Why questions such as: Why is the horse in the sky? or Why has the eagle captured the people? Read the story. Are your questions answered?

  •  Select one story and learn a few facts about the native tribe from which it originates. Share your learning with the class.
  •  

    Working in a group, divide one of the legends into its paragraphs and draw a picture for each. Add speech bubbles and captions as needed. Assemble and present your graphic tale.

  •  

    Read the front and back covers of the book and the introduction on page 5. What myths and legends do you already know? Read page 32. Locate the tribes of Native peoples on a map of North America

  •  

    Practise reading the stories aloud. Determine the meaning of new words from the context and illustrations or a dictionary. Which words have the same meaning in French?

  •  

    Compare the settings, characters and events. What elements do they have in common? Give examples of Native peoples’ love and respect for Mother Earth.

  •  

    Research the natural phenomena mentioned in the stories (Niagara Falls, the Pacific Islands, tornadoes). Share the scientific explanations for their origin.

  •  Write your own myth to explain a phenomenon of nature.
  • To communicate appropriately
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Ethics and Religious Culture