Today I'm hosting Nonfiction Monday. This is a weekly roundup of blogs that highlights nonfiction children's literature. If you wish to have your blog's posting added to this week's list please leave your link in the comments box or use Mister Linky's Magical Widgets found at the end of this posting and I'll add them throughout the day.
This is one of those books that kinda get my synapses snapping, a ‘feeling’ you might say, of ‘potential’.
First, the format: This is what grabbed me right off the bat. It is a rectangular-shaped book that unfolds downward, accordion-style as it tells the story. It represents a scroll (more about that in a moment).
Second, the story: Well, it’s not really a story. It is a recounting of the 2004 tsunami that devastated large areas of
South East Asia and killed thousands of people. Though it does tell of the event, it more aptly conveys the feeling of loss and desperation that was left in its wake. It is described as ‘dirge-like in tone’ and as a ballad.
Now back to the scroll aspect. The description on the back of the book says it best: “The Patua is a form of narrative graphic art, comprising a series of panels, stitched together to form a scroll. It belongs to a performance tradition of
Bengal when song-writer and artist went from home to home, showing pictures and singing out their stories. Traditional stories and local news was part of their repertoire. Now contemporary artists also look to events reported in the mass media, especially drawn to news that is dramatic and emotionally charged…”
Third, the illustrations: Wow! Can’t miss them. The colours, yellow, red, green and black are incredibly vibrant, bordering on the garish. The books are all handmade, from the making of paper to the silk-screening process to the assembling of the book. See video as to how this is accomplished. Very cool.
The first panel/page shows a fearsome, open-mouthed, fanged demon. The open mouth has a river-like flow of water, representing the water from the tsunami, filled with people, animals, homes and debris. Along the ‘banks’ of the mouth we see mostly mourners and a couple of journalists. The text of the narrative also flows along beside the “water’s tongue” poetically describing the “tragic story that I sing Of the wave that took everything. Tsunami! Swallower of the living…”
And finally, the potential: I can see connecting this book to art, language arts, social studies, science and health. Everything but the kitchen sink, you might say.
For art, the whole book itself can be used to look at the process of hand making a book. Looking at this traditional form of storytelling could also tie into the arts.
For social studies, there is the grade 3 social studies curriculum in
Alberta that looks at . At higher grades, looking at global issues such as how the international community responds to crisis is possible. Tied to current events, like the recent earthquake in India , it provides a venue for comparing situations. Haiti
Language arts can connect into narrative styles as well as how the story was physically told (accordion scroll) and what this contributed to the telling. Students could potentially use this as a basis to model some of their own work.
For science, extreme natural events often hold a fascination for kids. Adding this to a unit on earthquakes, volcanoes and drought would be a natural fit and provides a way to engage and introduce cross-curricular connections, too.
Whew! I wonder what else? I know this is one that I’ll keep in mind and find opportunities to promote – whatever the subject.