Tuesday, September 22, 2009
And It Is Still That Way
Every once in a while, something strikes me, and even though it has little to do with fiber, I just have to share. This is one of those times.
The title of this post is also the title of the book I'm reading to my son. And It Is Still That Way is a compilation of "Legends told by Arizona Indian Children with notes by Byrd Baylor." What I love about this book is that they are legends that have been passed down to the children and then the children have written them down in their own words. Often the stories are much shorter than the original legend. They are the parts that the children remember and the parts that were meaningful to them. This makes them very easy to read and for other children to understand.
Another thing I love about this book is that Byrd Baylor has written an introduction telling about how the book came together as well as a little history of how legends are shared in the different cultures. "Here in Arizona, Indians don't tell their stories in summer. The old people say snakes don't like to hear them and sometimes it makes them angry and they come and bite the storyteller. So stories are saved for the winter when the snakes are sleeping." Personally, I think I may be taking a risk reading this book to my son at the end of September. I am watching out for snakes.
Here is my favorite piece of wisdom. "Indians say no one is supposed to fall asleep while a storyteller is speaking. In the old days even the littlest children had to pay attention to every word or the storyteller would stop. So it used to be that whenever he would pause every person would quickly make some sign that he was listening. The Papagos always repeated the last word they had heard. The Hopis answered with a soft Hopi sound, barely louder than a breath. Each tribe had its own way of saying to the storyteller, 'I am listening. Go on.'" I absolutely love this! What a wonderful way to encourage active listening. I have adopted the Papago way. Every so often I pause while reading and look at my son. He immediately repeats the last word I said. He has come to enjoy this so much that he reminds me if I don't pause frequently enough.
I checked out my copy of this book from the library, but I was happy to see that it is still in print and available at Amazon. Byrd Baylor has many other books as well. I would also like to thank the Howard Terpning Gallery for the use of this picture.