Saturday, September 18, 2010

Flashcards of My Life by Charise Mericle Harper


Flashcards of My Life by Charise Mericle Harper is an innocuous young adult novel, cute and a little quirky.  Told in the first person through words and little sketches, the premise is simple.  The protagonist, Emily, is given a gift by her aunt who has always encouraged her niece to keep a journal.  Rather than give her yet another blank book, the aunt gives Emily a deck of flashcards, each with a word, a sort of journaling prompt, and Emily then fills in the card with her own thoughts and images.

What I liked About This Book:
I could easily see using this book as a launching pad for journaling. In a classroom, flashcards like those Emily uses could be distributed throughout the class, perhaps three to five per person.  Duplicates are okay–the student would then be encouraged to write more than one thought or idea based on the cards word.  As the students read through the book, perhaps some would be inspired to ask for another card or even begin using illustrations to communicate things that they find difficult to put into words.  (I loved some of the drawings by Harper, including the “Boyfriend Obstacle Course” and the various fashion choices Emily faces at certain pivotal junctures.)

Outside of a classroom, a parent could easily encourage their child to do what Emily does, even suggesting that they both make some cards to fill out.  This could easily be made into a family scrapbooking or memoir writing project.  (I suggest creating one word prompts (or phrase prompts) and keeping them for after you run out of ideas from the book.  Google “Journal Jar” for suggestions of simple prompts you can use together or apart.)

What I Disliked About This Book:
It is cute but nothing more.  The “crises” Emily faces are typical and not very interesting to a more mature reader.  Will she call about the job?  Will she do well on the interview?  Will she survive the conflict between her friends?  Will she be kissed by the boy on whom she has a crush?  You either have to really care about Emily or you have to really enjoy the little drawings and journal flashcards idea to get to the end of the book. I doubt any boy would want to read this by choice.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Movie Reviews

I have been meaning to do more movie reviews and feel woefully behind.   Then I simply couldn't catch up, feeling overwhelmed by how many movies I had meant to review but hadn't.  So I am picking up, as best I can, where I left off.  How?  I am post-dating this post (something I confess I do quite frequently) to go "live" on Thursday.  Between now and then I will update whatever movies I watch.  On Thursday, I will create another post-dated post to go "live" one week from then. 


Enjoy!


The Madness of King George  I've wanted to see this movie since it came out (1994) and it obviously took me a while to get around to it.  Then I kept being interrupted and it actually took me three days to watch this from beginning to end.  Grrrrr . . .

This movie is simply too good to be broken up like that.  I am not sure how historically accurate some of the details are but it is definitely one of those guilty pleasures, a costume era movie that exposes some of the political tension of the time.  The love that the king and his wife share is inspiring.

It did get me to thinking about how much pleasure we seem to take in seeing the worst in our celebrities and in tearing down any potential icons/heroes we might have be exposing their worst.  We no longer try to protect our political figures and delight in seeing the famous suffer.  I sometimes wonder if we aren't doing ourselves and our society a great disservice by elevating gossip mongers and paparazzi to undeserved estimation.  Just because someone is famous, for whatever reason, doesn't mean that they are no longer human and deserving of the same honor as we would give to our neighbor, our best friend, or our own children.

But I digress and this has nothing to do with the movies I watched.  So let us return to the point of this post-dated post.


Amadeus is actually a "rewatch" but this time I chose to watch the director's cut because I wanted to see if I noticed any difference.  I didn't.  This was still a very gratifying movie, one that I realize plays with the truth but is sort of a vicious delight.

I remember when it was on Broadway and I heard Jane Seymour was starring in it (along with Ian McKellon and Tim Curry).  I desperately wanted to see it but could find no one else as interested in seeing it as I.  Later, Amy Irving would replace Jane Seymour and I wanted to see it all over again.

I never saw it on Broadway and every time I see the movie I wonder how the film differs from the stage production.  I can guess.  There are some scenes which have obviously been modified for film.  But I'm always curious what is lost and/or gained when a stage production is translated.  My step-father saw My Fair Lady on Broadway and says that they made some of the musical numbers last a lot longer, unnecessarily so in his opinion.

The Duchess . . . I really don't know what to say.

This is a pretty film.  I love Kiera Knightley.  I like Ralph Fiennes.  There is obviously an interesting story here but over all the whole effect is mostly unsatisfying.  Unless, of course, you want to see a movie for pretty people in pretty costumes.  Then you'll probably be thrilled.

Watching this film reminded me a bit of The Edge of Love, another movie that left me feeling unsatisfied.  (I still feel that this movie is rather like a "poor man's" Henry and June.)  Keira Knightley is one of the few super slender women whose luminous quality never leaves me shrinking in disgust.  I would watch her in anything and even if I don't like the movie, I still walk away thinking she is amazing.  Maybe I am being more forgiving of her because I think she's oh-so-pretty.  Is that a crime?

Just for fun, you can always try to figure out if there are any themes in the film choices I am making.  There usually is some rhyme or reason.  Every now and again I will watch something on a whim but there is often a reason for my moving from one movie to another, although sometimes I am not even sure the connection between the previous movie and the next one is anything but tenuous.



Quills


I must say that this is perhaps the most perverse movie I've ever seen without being vulgar.  It puts me in mind of Perfume but without the latter's poetry.  The movie is not a comfortable one to watch as every character is somehow seduced into a personal corruption.  There is not a single character that is sympathetic and yet the actors are so brilliant and perfectly cast that you don't walk away loathing many of them.  (There are a few that are simply irredeemable and inarguably unlikeable.)

Of course, I suppose some of this has to do with the fact that I pretty much love all of the main actors--Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix.  Not that I've loved all of them in everything in which I've seen them but I love them all in this.  But be prepared to be disturbed because this movie is not meant to be comfortable.

Girl 27


I think it's hard to appreciate, in this day and age, the courage it once took for a woman to step forward and say, "I was raped."

What happened to Patricia Douglas is heinous.  At 17 she told the truth and the repercussions of that one night did not simply go away but reverberated throughout her family.

And don't kid yourselves.  It's still a terrible thing for any woman to face her rapist (which, under the law, the accused has the right to face the accuser in a court of law) without being retraumatized as she relives the experience through the words of her testimony.

And yes, men are raped too.  This is not to negate the reality of sexual assault being without gender.  I am keeping it simple for myself.

Little Shop of Horrors (musical)


This movie is a surprise every time I watch it.  The first time I saw it I shrugged it off as silly with maybe one or two catchy tunes.  The only problem is the two tunes were really catchy.  And I also thought Ellen Greene was amazing.

So I watched it again.  The more I watched, the more I realized that this movie is a lot smarter than I initially gave it credit for being.  It uses elements of Greek theater in the form of a girl trio (a la The Supremes) to serve as a Greek chorus for much of the action.  One of the musical numbers turns into a sort of balcony scene (a la Romeo and Juliet).  And then on top of all of that, it's a straight up B-movie with music!!!


Seriously.  How can it not be fun?  It is.  Smart fun even.

Cry Baby


Where oh where have I been that I haven't seen this movie before?  Well, for one thing, and let's be honest, I'm not the biggest John Waters fan.  I mean, I "get" what he does but I don't always enjoy it.  What Waters does wonderfully is to cast people in surprising ways and, if you are a fan of his references, at least you can enjoy the many allusions littered throughout the films.

And who doesn't love seeing Johnny Depp?  (If you don't, go away.  I like living in my world where everyone loves Johnny.)

But . . . I woke up this morning and I'm not humming any of the songs.  Oops.  That simply will not do.  (What am I humming?  I'm still humming Little Shop of Horrors.)  But fun and kitschy can suffice.




Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Call to Acceptance


The other day my daughter-in-law posted this as her facebook status:

Scratch that-tolerance is out too. Acceptance is the new bliss.

I smiled when I read it, knowing what had inspired her to say these things.  It also made me pause and think because in its simplicity this is truly a profound statement.

I looked up “tolerance” and its etimology and found it comes from the Latin toleratus which means “to bear.”  The word tolerate means:  to allow the existence, presence, practice, or act of without prohibition or hindrance; permit.  (The secondary meaning is especially “telling” and the one that really made me want to dig deeper:  to endure without repugnance; put up with)

And now acceptance.  Accept comes from the Latin acceptare and apparently means the same thing because the dictionary didn’t offer any suggestions like “to bear” as in the above.  So accept means:  to take or receive (something offered); receive with approval or favor.

To receive with approval or favor.

So many religions and politicians are crying out for “tolerance.”  From my own experience, typically this means to simply shut up and bear it.  Tolerance means to bear, after all, and if we are to tolerate this, that, and the other then I guess we may as well grin and bear it.

However, acceptance has a completely different meaning.  When I accept something, like another person’s political or religious beliefs, then I take and receive with approval and favor.  I don’t “bear it” nor do I endure it.

Perhaps this is merely semantics but let us imagine, for a moment, that your significant other were to say, “My father accepts you and my mother tolerates you.”  How would you feel towards the father?  Towards the mother?  Naturally, your ability to feel comfortable with the former would be easier than with the latter.

Do you want to be tolerated or accepted?  

The answer is pretty obvious and maybe it is time for politicians and religious leaders to stop settling for tolerance and start asking for acceptance–for themselves, for others, for everyone.  I think its high time, perhaps even overdue, for “tolerance” has a history of simply not working.  When the pogroms in Russia forced the Jews to move to Poland, Germany, Austria, it wasn’t long before the tolerance rand out and the persecution returned.

(The article in wikipedia on tolerance is also enlightening because the history of tolerance is deeply rooted in determining which groups will be allowed to continue and which will be persecuted.)

Of course, acceptance itself may not suffice but we haven’t really given it a try and I think it is safe, based on objective observation, that tolerance is simply not enough.  Lip service to such idioms as “love the sinner but hate the sin” typically result in less than loving attitudes and, whether we accept it or not, we are called to love, not tolerate, one another and from where I’m sitting, true compassion never grew out of tolerance (let alone intolerance) but often flourished where there was acceptance.

Acceptance may not be the answer but I believe it is closer to the answer than tolerance.

Here are a couple of links to help you find resources for further exploration on acceptance as a spiritual practice and as part of psychology.  I could write more and perhaps will but for now, this will suffice.
Search Amazon.com Books for acceptance
Search Amazon.com Books for acceptance and commitment therapy

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy ed by Gregory Bassham


The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy: Hogwarts for Muggles ed by Gregory Bassham is a book in the ongoing Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series and one I’ve been anticipating for a while, having read the first book of Harry Potter and Philosophy when it came out years ago.  At the time, there were only four books in the series published so there was still a lot of information about the characters and their stories left to be told.

This will very likely go down in my short list of books I enjoy from this series.  I wish I could find the first volume but I apparently am not getting any wiser from reading these books as I keep lending things to my children who, because they don’t have the same drive to read things in a timely manner, tend to misplace my books rather than actually read them.

But I digress.  The essays run the gamut from Plato to Heidegger, from feminist interpretation to political orientation.  I was especially looking forward to certain essays, including one on authorial authority, and another on identity and what determines the self.

I confess, there is one essay that has a concluding sentence I found so incredibly offensive as to make me put the book down altogether for an entire day.  I am genuinely disappointed that the editor did not ask that the conclusion of this one essay be modified to at least remove this one sentence and I would be surprised if I were the only reader who didn’t take offense.  I am choosing not to identify the essay in question to allow other readers to approach the collection with an open mind.

Where this book soars is in its ability to address deep philosophical issues in light of Harry Potter.  This is not a philosophy book for philosophers so much as it is a philosophy book for Harry Potter fans nor is it a fanbook about Harry Potter.  Other literary resources are mentioned in relationship to Harry Potter and/or the philosophical idea being addressed.  There are frequent quotes not only from Rowling’s writings but from the usual people one would expect to find in one of these books: Plato, William James, Aristotle, et al.  I learned a few surprising tidbits along the way about the series and Rowling’s intentions while having the supreme pleasure of seeing Harry Potter from slightly different perspectives.

Highly recommended to any Harry Potter fans who want to dip slightly into philosophy as well.

Monday, September 13, 2010

First Kiss


I am reading First Kiss which is naturally reminding me of my “first kiss” story.  Of course, the moment I think I know what I will write about a vague memory from when I am six years old and a boy named Carlos had a birthday party that included horse and buggy rides, I remember that there was this “other” first kiss.

It was at sleep away summer camp and I was 12.  My mother was a single woman, raising me alone, and could hardly afford the luxury of summer camp for me but she had managed to find a camp where she would work as a dialysis nurse in exchange for my attending the camp the same two weeks she was there.  There weren’t many camps that had facilities for kidney patients and this was an opportunity for both of us.
young-jackie-earle-haley.jpg
Jackie Earle Haley
in The Bad News Bears

The object of my affection was Avery Bell.  He did not have kidney disease and he looked a lot like Jackie Earle Haley in The Bad News Bears, only this was two whole summers before that movie came out in theaters so all I knew was he looked like Avery to me.  We were about the same height and, truth be told, the same build.  He was 13, only slightly older but not yet showing signs of being masculine.  And I doubt we would have ever kissed if not for being goaded into it by older (and clearly not wiser) camp counselors who must have thought it would be cute and even funny to take the little children and push them into maturity.

We were hanging out on the path between the girls’ cabins and the main building where we would all gather for our meals and other indoor activities (when forced to be inside due to inclement weather).  Avery and I were sitting in a rock that was slightly higher on one side and he was more elevated than I as a result although, on level ground, we would have been nose-to-nose when face-to-face.  But we were not there alone.  At least two other people were there; camp counselors, probably junior camp counselors, possibly even more than two but no more than three, were there.  And they were teasing us, I think, or at least condescending in the way that one is towards puppies.

It was these older kids, with their teasing, who dared us to kiss and so we did, our mouths pressed together, lips closed and yet soft.  A tentative hand rose, touched a shoulder or elbow.  They bored of the game more quickly than Avery or myself.  We continued kissing, left alone to explore.  I don’t remember any tongue and the kiss remained both tender and tentative, a sort of self-daring while daring the other to end it first.  There was no need to come up for air or any of the cliche’s one thinks of when thinking of those first hungry, manic kisses.  The two of us were exploring and not aggressive, merely tilting our heads or lifting a chin to change the pressure for however long the kiss lasted.

At the time it felt like hours but it was probably only minutes, more than a few, enough to make my lips feel swollen and exposed.

For the rest of the summer, Avery was my “boyfriend” and when the summer ended, I wrote him a letter, maybe two.  He never responded.  I spent the next year unkissed, waiting for next summer when my mother and I would return to the same camp and maybe, just maybe, Avery would be there at the same time and if so, what would or could happen.

He was.  But that is another story altogether.

Rue The Day! � 30 Weird, Geeky and Cool Wedding Cakes

Rue The Day! � 30 Weird, Geeky and Cool Wedding Cakes
Yay! Geek Cakes!!!
http://conta.cc/c8SYXT
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2010 Wellness & Writing Connections Conference
Early Bird Registration NOW through Sept. 15
Now, more than ever, creative expression, writing and the arts are being used in medical settings to process experiences of illness and trauma. Research led by Dr. James Pennebaker has shown that the use of writing has physiological benefits to health and can aide in healing from a physical or emotional trauma.
How can you use writing for wellness effectively in your practice and community? Attend the annualWellness and Writing Connections Conference, held October 22-23, 2010 at the Georgia Tech Global Learning Center in Atlanta, GA.
This two-day conference brings together a number of powerhouse leaders in the field of writing for health and healing. Breakout sessions include writing and healing in wartime, writing and compassion fatigue, and writing in integrative medicine, in addition to topics in journaling, memoir, psychological journaling, student writings, and more.
The Friday evening keynote address will feature Roy Fox, Professor of English Education and Director of the Missouri Writing Project at the University of Missouri. The keynote address on Saturday evening will feature Brenda Stockdale, Director of Mind-Body Medicine for the Radiology Clinics of Georgia. Additional speakers include Lucille Allegretti-Freeman, Tim Blue, Susan Borkin, Angela and Dennis Buttiner, Claudia-Hill Duffee, Carolyn Graham, Claudia Hough, Elaine Handley, Leatha Kendrick, Laura Miller, Diana Rash, Jean Rowe, and Barbara Stahura.
Wellness & Writing Connections
Cover Image of Wellness & Writing Connections Book
Two of the top experts in the field of writing and wellness join with 15 others to show us how writing is used to heal physical illness, emotional trauma, and spiritual pain.
James Pennebaker, who was the first to research the connection between writing and wellness, and Cindy Chung present 25 years of experiments that demonstrate the benefits of writing to heal and point the direction for more studies. Luciano L'Abate discusses his use of writing and discusses how the techniques can be used to significantly lower health care costs. Debbie McCulliss shows how she uses writing to engage us, so we are able to examine an experience, compare it to other experiences, and apply the new insights to ourselves. Leatha Kendrick looks at finding our true voice to lead us to recovery. Gail Radley presents techniques to move us from feeling like a victim to finding solutions. Fran Dorf tells how she turned her grief into a best-selling book (Saving Elijah) and shows us how to use fiction to ease our pain. Emily Simerly gives us six starter chapters to show how we can adapt to our lives. Belinda Shoemaker proposes that the act of adding craft and style to our writing increases our understanding of what we have written. Noreen Groover Lape and Kristin N. Taylor continue Shoemaker's theme by describing their interaction as student and teacher, improving Taylor's writing and understanding. Diana M. Raab shares tips about her journaling that we can use to keep our precious insights from slipping away. Julie Davey shows how we can use the Writing for Wellness program she has been leading for cancer patients at City of Hope for the past seven years. Sara Baker reminds us that we can write about our hurts in ways that don't retraumatize us by telling it slant. Angela Buttimer describes the Cancer Wellness groups she leads at Piedmont Hospital and teaches us how to use some of her techniques. Austin Bunn describes the Patient Voice Project to teach expressive writing to the chronically ill. Lara Naughton champions the Voices of Innocence project, which demonstrates how we can help non-writers create written works that aid spiritual and emotional healing.
Copyright 2010 Wellness & Writing Connections.
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Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins


Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins is the third and final book in the Hunger Games trilogy.  The first book impressed me and even had me crying at one point.  The second book was not as emotionally intense and the conclusion, a cliff-hanger ending, left me completely unsatisfied.  I felt the author and publisher broke a contract created in the first volume where the story at least had some clear closure at the book’s end while the second book was obviously meant to immediately lead into the third.

So thank goodness the third book is finally published and if this third book still left me unwilling to cry over the events, it at least kept me turning the pages because I simply could not anticipate what could or would happen next.  Each character did something unexpected but nothing that was not genuine to the individual.  After all, people in real life can be very surprising and when people are put into extraordinary circumstances they are all the more likely to do extreme things.

The novel works as an exploration of propaganda, of how war and power corrupt, and how manipulation can wear down the spirit of anyone.  The first book is dark and this book is all the darker as many of the implications and innuendos of the previous two books are brought out even more harshly into the light of day.  The flaws of the characters are all the more harsh against the backdrop of desperation.  When even the most pure characters are compromised or lost, the reader is left with a brutal reality.  The ending is stark for that reason–the psychological implications of what these characters face, if not something with which the average reader can ever empathize–is solid and none come through the experience without descending into some form of hell.  Redemption is realized but nobody comes through unscarred.  A compassionate reader would hardly close this book without feeling some sense of sadness rippling beneath the deep satisfaction of an honest, if not pretty, ending.

Edit:  After writing the above, I realized that I never addressed the issue of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  It is a rare thing to see a young adult novel deal with such adult issues as violence for entertainment, the superficiality of celebrity, corruption of power, propaganda and manipulation of the media, and war and PTSD.  All of these issues are explored honestly and through it all are the importance of choices one makes, relationships and redemption, and how surviving doesn't mean coming through an experience unscathed.  Remarkably, Collins doesn't pander to her young adult audience by offering simplistic answers to the complex story she had already created.  The fact that I am stirred to add to the above suggests that this book's themes are many and lingering.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Caldecott Medal Winners

Ashanti to Zulu is visually beautiful and I wanted very much to recommend it without reservation.  It lends itself wonderfully to further exploration.  Geography.  Culture.  And so very much more.  However, I would caution any parent to be careful.  One of the letters talks about a tribe and the children's initiation rites.  Anyone who knows anything about some (not all) tribes in Africa are probably aware that the initiation rites can be somewhat brutal and there is a growing movement to make some of these rituals, specifically as it relates to young girls, illegal.  So I won't make any "for further exploration" recommendations because I would not want to be responsible for exposing anyone, let alone a child, to information that may be distressing or inappropriate.  Pretty pictures.  Interesting content.  Not a book I would enthusiastically recommend so much as cautiously recommend although I would definitely encourage the child to look at the map at the back of the book and perhaps learn more about the geography of Africa and its people.


This charming book, written by the wonderful poet Donald Hall, tells a simple story of a man and his family and how everything they do throughout the year leads up to a trip  he makes to a nearby town where he sells things they have made, grown, or gathered. The illustrations are perfect, with a folk art sensibility that compliments the text.  I genuinely like the idea of the story, of how a family works together throughout the year.

For Further Exploration

  • Look at some other examples of folkart paintings and illustrations and then invite the child to create some for herself, perhaps even making one for each month of the year which you can then copy and use to create calendars for gift giving.  
  • There are several activities the family do--from shearing to spinning wool to knitting--that can be experienced if you don't live too far from places where you can see someone doing these things.  Even if a field trip is too difficult, learning to weave paper (a Chinese tradition) can be fun and have your child weave strips of paper into pretty patterns.  (Look online for some truly beautiful inspiration.)
  • Talk about how the family keeps what they need and sell the rest and then consider looking around your own home to see if there are things perhaps you no longer need and could sell.  Why not have a yard sale?  
  • Wintergreen Lifesavers give off sparks when you bite into them!  Go into a dark room or closet and try to bite into a piece of the candy without closing your mouth.  Yes, it is rude but it is dark and nobody will see what you are doing.  I never met a child who didn't find this fun.  And now you can sit down and find out why this happens.  http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/question505.htm
There isn't a lot of text in this mostly picture book.  The drawings are fun and a little quirky.  I'm not sure how thrilled I would have been by the illustrations that show the animals that aren't on the ark slowly sinking below the rising water.  Usually with a book that doesn't have words I think it's a great idea to have the child write out a story to go along with the pictures.  Unfortunately, there really isn't much you can say about these pictures.  

For Further Exploration
  • Read about the flood from the Bible (Genesis 6-9) and the Quran (Sura 11) 
  • Read other flood myth stories including the ones found in The Epic of Gilgamesh, Norse mythology, India, etc.  Almost every culture has some variation of the flood story in its mythology.
  • For the child learning to count, choose a page that has several different types of animals on it and encourage him to count all of the dogs, then the horses.  For the child already learning to add, perhaps ask, "How many would you have if you only had the dogs and the horses?" 
(To be honest, I don't think I would want this book in my child's collection but I can see where some parents would and probably appreciate it more than I.)


This is another book we had in our personal library once upon a time.  The illustrations are gorgeous and the story is fun to read.  There is, however, a moment in the story, which may be upsetting for smaller children.  Then again, I don't necessarily feel it is wise to protect children from anything and everything.  So I would read this book with discretion.  Heed the child's preference.  If asked to read the book again, do so.  If not, then let it sit on the shelf for a while.

For Further Exploration

  • Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories are a natural compliment to this text.  I would try to find one that either has lovely illustrations or none at all.  Find one without illustrations and encourage your child to draw a picture to go with the story.
  • Discuss truth telling and truth stretching and the consequences of being less than honest.  Children often go through a phase of stretching the truth without intending to lie altogether.  This story is a perfect cautionary tale, especially in light of what mosquito learns or does not learn by the story's end.
  • Study about the different animals represented in the story--mosquito, iguana, python, etc.  Draw pictures of each or stick flags on a map showing the different areas where different species can be found.  For instance, mosquitoes are pretty much ubiquitous but lions are not.
  • Talk about onomatopoeia, words that imitate sound, and write a story of your own using this writing technique.
Almost all girls seem to go through a time when they love horses--My Little Pony, unicorns, etc.  This story from a traditional Native American story, is beautiful to look at and to read.  There is something especially wonderful about the more enigmatic myths which allow children to experience the story on a more spiritual level and this book is one that will resonate deeply.

For Further Exploration

  • Study the Native American tribes and choose a few to study more closely.  There were many tribes and trying to study them all would take a lifetime.  However, taking the time to read about one or two tribes can be enjoyed over a lifetime as well.  If you live in North or South America, you may want to choose a group that once lived where you live.  
  • Study the mythologies of various Native American groups, taking the time to find where each lived on a map.  Illustrate one or more of the stories.  Search Amazon.com for native american mythology
  • For the older child, Ovid's Metamorphoses is a collection of traditional Greco-Roman myths that include transformations.  Share these and myths from other traditions, looking for similarities across cultures.