Exploring Social Studies through Multicultural Literature: Legend of the St Ann's Flood

Type Journal Article - The Social Studies
Title Exploring Social Studies through Multicultural Literature: Legend of the St Ann's Flood
Volume 100
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2009
Page numbers 85-92
URL http://scholarworks.boisestate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=cifs_facpubs
The search for literature that is high quality, high interest, written at age-appropriate
levels for adolescent readers, addresses social studies topics, and presents multicultural
perspectives can be daunting. Legend of the St Ann’s Flood is a novel that meets all of
these goals. Its setting in Trinidad and Tobago provides the opportunity for students to
learn about a country and region that are frequently overlooked in social studies
curriculum in the United States. This article provides historical and cultural background
information about Trinidad and Tobago, an overview of the novel, and specific teaching
suggestions that integrate reading and writing into social studies instruction.
Every teacher knows a child like Joseph – he struggles in school and is always in trouble. Conventional
instruction rarely motivates him, and his struggles challenge us to expand our teaching repertoire in order to
help him succeed. When Joseph appears as the unlikely hero of a trade book written for middle-level readers,
Legend of the St Ann’s Flood by Debbie Jacob (2004), the result is an opportunity to study culture,
geography, global connections, and character education. Joseph’s kind heart and intelligence shine through as
readers become engrossed in his adventures with his good friend Jaya. The book captivates readers through
rich folklore that excites the imagination and likeable characters middle schoolers can relate to because they
know – or even are – boys like Joseph and girls like Jaya. This article reviews Legend of the St Ann’s Flood
and then describes how it can be used to: a) help students develop reading and writing skills through literacy
activities that allow students to explore social studies themes and character education issues presented in the
book, b) provide students with the opportunity to study global issues, and c) enrich a multicultural social
studies curriculum. To begin, background information
about the story’s setting, the deadly flood that
inspired the legend, and Trinidad and Tobago’s history and culture is provided.

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