Monday, May 2, 2011

England Week - Stonehenge

Okay, so a lot of attention has been on that island “across the pond” recently what with the royal wedding and all. But if you can hang in there for just one more week, I’d like you to focus on jolly ole England a tad longer.

My inspiration for this week’s theme came from reading Sarum: The Novel of England. This saga starts back before there was even an English Channel in the days of prehistoric man, and doesn’t end until the 1970’s. Even at 900 pages, it’s a page turner. The author has an amazing talent for creating interesting, believable characters as the history of England unfolds. I was keen on how Mr. Rutherford introduced people with similar traits to those in the past. The short and stocky Stonehenge mason displayed the same characteristics and talents as the stone cutter working on Salisbury Cathedral centuries later. Anyone with an interest in history will get a lot out of this novel.

And while you’re reading Sarum, how about getting your kids hands on some great books about Stonehenge, Queen Elizabeth, Cathedrals, the Plague and the Industrial Revolution? Then you and your children can discuss these topics while your enjoying your afternoon crumpets and tea.

For starters, If Stones Could Speak: Unlocking the Secrets of Stonehenge, is a fabulous book published by none other than National Geographic. It follows an archeologist as he tries to understand what possessed ancient Brits to place massive stones in a circle. After studying a predecessors notes he decides to look at it with fresh eyes and invites a Madagascar archeologist, who is unfamiliar with the site, to Stonehenge. This is a must own book for any child interested in archeology. They will learn how people are able to make contrasting interruptions and see how the ground contains hints of the past, if only you’ll look properly. As the author himself states,  “This is a book about questioning what others believe to be true, not accepting ideas just because famous people say they are right.” You’ll have to read the book to see what secrets were unlocked :-)

Ages: 9-12

Activity: Build your own Stonehenge. Here’s an idea using legos, and here’s a more ambitious backyard version.

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