Pacific Island Legends: Tales from Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia, and Australia

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9781573060844: Pacific Island Legends: Tales from Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia, and Australia

Did you ever wonder why mosquitoes suck blood? Are you curious about where and why the Maori first learned the art of tattoo? Or how various islanders remember the story of the creation of the world? Legends recount tales of magic and the supernatural as well as addressing themes like family, love, respect, nature, courage, rites of passage, history and tradition -- some in this case involving cannibalism.

Now the legends that have embodied the culture and values of Island people for centuries are available in one beautifully illustrated, easy-to-read volume: Pacific Island Legends: Tales from Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia and Australia by educators Bo Flood, Beret E. Strong and William Flood, with culturally accurate woodcut illustrations by Connie J. Adams.

Everyone interested in the Pacific Islands will appreciate the beauty and depth of this volume – residents, visitors, scholars, military and armchair travellers alike. The forty-four legends from all over the Pacific are a window into an often overlooked part of the world. Perfect for teachers, the book is also a literary companion to two popular Bess Press textbooks, Pacific Nations and Territories and Pacific Neighbors. The teacher’s manual includes valuable background on each of the islands, educational activities, a thematic index, and resources for further information.

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About the Author:

BO FLOOD, Ph.D., has published several books for children, including a collection of Micronesian myths, From the Mouth of the Monster Eel. She is the 1997 winner of the CNMI Governor's Award in the Literary Arts and an instructor at Northern Marianas College.

BERET E. STRONG holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Brown University and an M.F.A. in poetry from Warren Wilson College. While teaching on Saipan and serving on the CNMI Council for the Humanities, she co-produced and directed, with Cinta Matagolai Kaipat, the documentary film Lieweila, about the Refalawasch (Carolinians) of the Northern Mariana Islands.

WILLIAM FLOOD received his M.D. from the University of Minnesota. He writes a weekly health column and has a private pediatric practice in Saipan.

CONNIE J. ADAMS is a well-known Saipan artist who has won numerous regional and national awards, including the Governor's Award in the Visual Arts.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 6 Up-This anthropological tour of the Pacific Islands through legend is as seductive as Bloody Mary beckoning from Bali Hai. Flood acknowledges the paradox of freezing oral stories in print, and attempts to capture each geographical area's history and culture in introductory sections written in a crisp, expository manner. The tales that follow are told in a simple, conversational style. Stories include creation myths, explanations of events, and healthy doses of romance and intrigue where the ocean is the defining element that binds islands and life together. "Micronesia" includes tales from geographically isolated areas (Guam, the Mariana Islands, Palau, the Marshall Islands). From "Melanesia" (Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, and others), with over 1000 native language groups, come stories of magical powers, cannibalism, and self-sacrifice. Tales from "Polynesia" explain life, love, and death. Only Australian aboriginal myths incorporate landlocked legends about the sun, the kangaroo, and the origin of frost. Intended as a companion volume to anthropology textbooks, Legends stands nicely on its own as an introductory overview, and interested readers can locate additional legends from specific islands through the extensive bibliography. Sidebar definitions and pronunciation keys assist with unfamiliar vocabulary. Woodcut illustrations are beautifully rendered and culturally evocative; unfortunately, there is no map of the islands. Nevertheless, given the quality and scope of the work, this is an admirable collection.
Mary R. Hofmann, Rivera Middle School, Merced, CA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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