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How Music Came to the World: An Ancient Mexican Myth

Last updated Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Author: Hal and Carol Ober
Date of Publication: 1994
ISBN: 0395675235
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Mar. 2007

Synopsis: From School Library Journal: Putting aside their traditional rivalry, Tezcatlipoca, the sky god, convinces Quetzalcoatl, the wind god, to go to the House of the Sun and bring music back to Earth. Quetzalcoatl goes, and when the Sun and his musical servants ignore him, he becomes so angry that he stirs up a violent storm and carries the musicians back with him. The world comes to life as they wander around, spreading their melodies everywhere. This retelling is based on a poem from a 16th-century Nahua (Aztec) manuscript. The vibrant, cutout oil pastel drawings in vivid blues, yellows, and greens are full of Aztec and Mayan imagery and design elements.

Note to readers:
•  Look on the front page across from the publishing information. The authors note will give you some background information as well as help you with pronunciation!

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  How do you think music came into the world? What do you think the world would be like without music?
•  Where do you think this story takes place? When do you think this story takes place?
•  This story is a Mexican myth. What is a myth? Can you think of any other myths? Are they true?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What do the wind god and the sky god represent?
•  What happens when they fight? What happens when they work together?
•  What happens when you fight with people (Friends, siblings, cousins)? What happens when you work together with people (Friends, family)?
•  Why do you think the gods brought music to the world? How does music make our lives better?

Craft ideas:
•  Make an Aztec mask. Cover the eyes and the nose only. (see illustrations) Make a headdress as well using strips of construction paper
•  Make Aztec sun glasses. See page 21.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!