Elsa Marston
children's author

Some comments about SONGS OF ANCIENT JOURNEYS....


"Marston's poems are both lively and dignified. ...An excellent choice for reading aloud or as an introduction to poetry for independent readers...a book that can be thoroughly enjoyed by readers of all ages." Multicultural Review

"An intriguing blend of imagination and information, this small volume has broad curriculum connections to Native American studies, natural history, desert ecology, art and poetry."
Kliatt

"This elegant, wise volume blends poetry and ancient art . . . Brava, Elsa Marston, who has taken a fascinating subject and added her own poetic observations to further connect us to the mysteries of the artwork left by the ancestors."
Jane Yolen, author of WILD THINGS and many other books of poetry, fantasy, and fiction



"Elsa's book is testimony to the ongoing power of imagery. As the animals painted and pecked on stone resonate across the ages, they link humanity from all times and places. I am pleased to be able to endorse the book."
Polly Schaafsma, author of INDIAN ROCK ART OF THE SOUTHWEST and other volumes

Forthcoming in 2014:
Fiction, young adult
An adventure in ancient Egypt
Poetry
poems inspired by animals depicted in Southwestern rock art
history, political science
Nonfiction
a look at the variety of women's lives in the Middle East and North Africa
History
Stories in Y-A collections
in FIRST CROSSING AND OTHER STORIES OF IMMIGRANT TEENS
in MEMORIES OF SUN: STORIES OF AFRICA AND AMERICA (2004)
in SOUL SEARCHING: THIRTEEN STORIES ABOUT FAITH AND BELIEF

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Songs of Ancient Journeys: Animals in Rock Art

Elk, bighorn sheep, turtle, man . . . can you see them all?

Long ago, Native Americans made intriguing images and signs--including many images of animals--on boulders and canyon walls all over the Southwest. What might the mountain lion, lizard, or rabbit say to us today? Or the turtle, dog, or bear? In these poems, they sing about moving through their lives . . . their ancient journeys. At the same time, by appealing to us today, they can move into our lives.

Child-friendly, but for all ages, the poems are illustrated by photos of actual animal images by professional photographers. In addition, for each poem a note discusses possible meanings of the images, and the way the real-life animal leaps, slithers, trots--or however it gets around. The book thus combines poetry, Native American beliefs, and nature study into a new way of looking at that ever-fascinating treasure of the American Southwest: rock art.


Some questions to think about. . . .

If you were a cat, a goldfish, or some other familiar animal, what kind of song would you sing as you move about your daily business?

Which of the "song animals'" ways of moving appeals to you most? Would you like to run really fast, or perhaps move noiselessly? Or do you think humans' abilities are just about right?

Imagine yourself living in a society with no written language. Can you think of three or four signs to suggest "going somewhere"?

Do you think it's appropriate for people of one society (such as ours) to try to explain another society's culture?