Teaching Social Studies Reaction #5 (The Legend of Mexican)
The story The Legend of Mexican by Jo Harper is worth reading in a classroom social studies lesson in order to explain the historical background of the Mexicans. The book has a gripping narrative, giving a full description of how the Mexicans came into being. The flow of the story is also well phased. The book touches on the element of geography, history and the culture of the Mexicans. The story covers dreams, adventures, and vast geographical features which children recognize.
This book falls into History strand of social studies. It uncovers the origin and settlement of the Mexicans. The dream of Mexican comes true, “On the cactus, there was an eagle with a serpent in the beak. When they came nearer, the eagle flew into the sun. Mexicatl’s heart soared with delight” (Harper 3). The words in Mexicatl’s dream reflect back to him after he decides to command his people to work while he remains at the shade. The working culture of the Mexicans is vivid when they refuse to work under Mexicatl. After he had agreed to work with them, they were co-operative, “Together we will plant. Together we will build. Together we will harvest” (Harper 3).
This book can help teach a number of Texas Essential and Knowledge Skills. The historical part can help the children understand the origin of different people, their ethnic values and customs. The book can also help teach about culture. The role of women is also evident when Mexican’s mother challenges him, “You have to set yourself above the other people. This is not the best way of harmony” (Harper 3).
Jo Harper is an American writer with a number of books to his name. He is the author of Bigfoot Wallace and Delfino’s Journey as well.
Harper, Jo. The Legend of Mexican. New York: Turtle Books, 1998. Print.