Ever heard the story of the frog sisters on the Moon? Maybe the one about Coyote scattering the stars, or the magical fishhook in the sky that pulled the islands out of the ocean?
Storytelling (digital and live) is a natural program tool for libraries. Traditional sky lore has multi-cultural dimensions that can enrich your programs with stories of the sun, moon, and stars from around the world.
In addition to books your facility may have, a variety of online resources can help you tell your own stories or encourage the children and tweens to perform them:
- The Lunar and Planetary Institute received NSF funding to create SkyTellers, with Native American stories about the objects in the sky (told by Native American storytellers), each followed by a science story. Some of the stories are available online; others are freely available upon request.
- Mythological stories from a myriad of cultures are available at WindowsToTheUniverse.
- There are recordings of stories about the Moon from around the world (originally from NASA Huntsville’s Wonder-Full Moon DVD).
- Perform your own search for astronomy, sun and moon lore for ancient Egyptians, Chinese, Mayans, Norse, Greek, Indian, Native American, and others.
You may want to connect stories with current events, such as the Chinese New Year, the next full moon, the Japanese summer festival of Tanabata, the latest mythological-based book by Rick Riordan, or the total solar eclipse coming up on August 21, 2017.
A note of caution: many peoples regard their cultural stories as sacred; the telling of stories and any related activities should celebrate the related cultures without any criticism or disrespectful comments. Similarly, because a culture’s stories is part of their heritage, some may be offended when an outsider tells their story; when possible, invite a storyteller from that culture to tell the story.
There are a few other resources that you may want to connect with:
- Contact a local astronomy club and see if they will be willing to come and host an evening observing session, or set up a solar telescope during the day.
- See if a local school or museum has a portable planetarium they can bring and set up to view the constellations.
- Use free software such as Stellarium or the WorldWideTelescope to project the sky on a screen or use with phones and tablets.
With some time, a little research, and creativity, the sky’s the limit!
Today’s guest blogger is Christine Shupla. Christine is the Education Lead at the Lunar and Planetary Institute, leading LPI’s professional development and materials development for librarians, teachers, camp programmers, and informal science educators. Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.
Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.
If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.