Earth Tales from Around the World
Michael J. Caduto
Stories comes from around the world, but they grow from the very earth upon which they are first told. Michael J. Caduto invites readers to listen while the Earth tells these stories through his lyrical retelling of tales.
Tales can take on many forms and offer variations on the characters. A prime example from Polynesia is Maui. Refer back to Why the Sky is High on page 17. You may also know Maui from the Disney movie Moana. Take a listen and watch the video from Moana below. Compare and contrast the character from the movie from the tale in the book. What are the similarities and differences about what you know from the movie and then what is described about him in the tale? Take some time to look for other variations of the tale about Maui and write down all the commonalities and differences you see between them.
Throughout the tales, there are many animals represented. Look through some of the tales (such as Golden Angel Egg, Hare Rescues the Sun, Hummingbird and the Selfish Fox, The Coming of Seeds and Gardens, etc.) Make a list of characteristics and traits described about the animals. How many of those traits are familiar to you and are still associated with those animals today? Helpful hint! Think about common sayings such as "Sly as a fox" or the "wise old owl".
In many cultures, animals are still used to represent traits of people based on when they were born - either by year or month. For example, the Chinese Zodiac uses animal signs for the year in which people are born. Use this fun website to find our Western Zodiac, Chinese Zodiac, Native American Zodiac, and Celtic Zodiac. What animals can you find that represent you, according to these traditions? Do you see any common themes or are they different? Write out a summary of qualities that you agree and disagree with.
Choose one of the following activities found at the back of the book:
- Search the stories in this book for the appearance of number four and number seven. Why do you think these numbers are so important? What do they mean in these stories? Look for those numbers in other stories you read. What other numbers do you find in the stories in this book? Do any of these numbers appear in more than one story? What do you think is the meaning of these numbers?
- Find and share with others a story from the culture(s) that is in your family. Write this story out in your own words. Combine this story with those of other people you know. Copy and bind these into a book. Make a copy for each person who's story is included in the book.
- Create crafts based on the kinds of things that would be found in the culture and time period from which a story comes from, such as poetry, weavings, illustrations, jewelry, and models of buildings.
Supplemental Videos and Materials
Learn more about the art of storytelling here!