General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 8 May 2021/9 Flower
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Moctezuma’s Zoo: A Tale from an Enchanted City
Moctezuma’s Zoo: A Tale from an Enchanted City
Delightful short story, with teachers’ notes, on how M’s zoo came to be. For KS1.
Aztec teacher graphic

Ideas for STORIES...

(Remember to have a look at our main Aztec Stories Page, where you’ll now find, among others, the story of the famous Aztec New Fire Ceremony). We begin with one story we would particularly like to recommend... (Written/compiled by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore)

... Star Snake. Here are a few lines of introduction from the translator: ‘”Star Snake” is a short story about a young Aztec warrior and a short history of the rise of the Aztec Empire. It was written by the Austrian writer Martin Auer as part of his collection of “stories of peace” and dedicated to the UNESCO’s “Manifesto 2000 for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence.” In the introduction to these stories, the author compares Star Snake with another story, Arobanai, and says, “These two stories contrast one of the most peaceful and loving societies that has ever lived on this planet with one of the most cruel and war-like.” “How is it possible for beings of the same species to be so different in their feelings, thoughts, and in their actions?” But Martin Auer is not out to vilify the Aztecs. He shows great compassion for the young warrior and his people and devotes careful attention to its life-style and history. His intention is to provide young people, parents and educators with a way to think about and discuss the root causes of war...’ It’s a story that goes deep into the Aztec psyche, and is a rich resource.

Runaway slave...
Runaway slave...

• Get the kids to write a story! Why not focus on the ‘runaway slave’ anecdote (follow link below) and use the illustrations to fire kids’ imagination...

‘The Sad Night’ by Sally Schofer Mathews
‘The Sad Night’ by Sally Schofer Mathews (Click on image to enlarge)

• Use some of the excellent Aztec story books around as a stimulus for children to create their own artwork... Take the example of the stunningly illustrated children’s book The Sad Night (we’ve reviewed it in our Reviews pages). Kettlefield CP School in Suffolk used it as just one of their source books to inspire children. We reproduce here one of the pages from the book with an illustration by one of the pupils whose imagination was clearly fired by the image of the fleeing Spanish...

Firing a child’s imagination...
Firing a child’s imagination... (Click on image to enlarge)

• For younger readers we strongly recommend The Shawl by Yvone Winer (Martin International Pty, Australia, 1991) - with attractive b/w line illustrations by Jim Tsinganos: a simple, well-written, almost moving, adventure story with a moral, based on the old myth of long-lost Aztec treasure; less than 50 pages long and with large text, we guarantee neither you nor your pupils will put this down once started!
Follow the link below to see how one school, Oak Farm Junior School, Hillingdon, used The Shawl to excellent effect in developing artwork based on the illustrations in the book - and of course the story itself...

‘The Flame of Peace’ by Deborah Nourse Lattimore
‘The Flame of Peace’ by Deborah Nourse Lattimore (Click on image to enlarge)

• Following the theme of peace set by Star Snake, we would also recommend The Flame of Peace: a Tale of the Aztecs written by Deborah Nourse Lattimore (Harper & Row, 1987). Beautifully illustrated, it’s a satisfying and uplifting tale of a Mexica boy, Two-Flint, who sets off on a dangerous journey to reach the Hill of the Star where Lord Morning Star would reward him in his quest for peace after his father is killed in battle. Based loosely on the peaceful period in Aztec history that followed the formation of the Triple Alliance with neighbouring kingdoms, it’s a sensitively written story for 5-8 year olds.

‘The Shawl’ by Yvone Winer
‘The Shawl’ by Yvone Winer (Click on image to enlarge)

• For a Day of the Dead story, click on ‘Ideas for the DAY OF THE DEAD...’ in the menu list on this page, top right.

• For a teacher’s version of 3 Aztec myths, carefully re-written for children, follow the link below to Lorna Dils’ page on Aztec Mythology, part of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute resources (USA)...

• For a long (60 mins) but beautifully created (back in 1988) cartoon version of the famous Maya Popol Vuh creation book, watch it on Youtube in 7 parts. The first part includes the playing of the ritual ballgame between gods and the Hero Twins (link below).

‘The runaway slave’

Our review of ‘The Sad Night’

See more of Kettlefield CP School’s inspiring Aztec displays...

Oak Farm Junior School and ‘The Shawl’

Citlalcóatl - Star Snake
Aztec Mythology by Lorna Dils
Youtube: cartoon version of the Popol Vuh, Maya creation myth
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