This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills raised the subject of migration and challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a migration story.
Although Charli always provides suggestions, she also permits writers to go where the prompt leads, allowing their thoughts to migrate in whichever direction they choose. This is good for me as my thoughts always bring me back to early childhood education and, if I can somehow squeeze it in, butterflies.
Migration is a part of human history. We are told that humans originated in Africa, and that migration out of Africa began about 60 000 years ago (well, that’s one of the stories). That we are now spread across the world is no mean feat, particularly when we acknowledge that most of the migration occurred before the industrial age, long before steam ships and ocean liners, before motor cars and air travel.
But migration continues still, and our countries and cities become home to those whose lives began far away and who share different cultural traditions. The purpose of the National Geographic Society’s Genographic Project is to discover more about our shared genetic heritage. In an early childhood classroom, we, too, can discover how much we have in common and learn to appreciate our differences.
Mem Fox’s beautiful book Whoever You Are is great for encouraging children to recognise, respect, and appreciate each other, similarities and differences included.
This year sees Mem publish another beautiful book I’m Australian Too which shows appreciation for everyone who is part of our wonderful multi-cultural Australia. (Follow the links to both books and you can listen to her read them too!)
A number of readilearn resources support teachers in developing an appreciation for everyone’s heritage, including a history unit which helps children learn more about their own family history and traditions, and the histories and traditions of their classmates’ families.
Just as amazing as stories of human migration, are those of animal migration. I was surprised when I first heard of the migration of monarch butterflies from Canada to Mexico in the autumn, and back again in spring, a distance of over 4800 miles or almost 8000 kilometres. What a long flight for a butterfly, I thought, the poor butterfly’s wings must be ragged by the end of the journey. But the round trip involves at least four generations.
And although monarch butterflies are native to North America, they are now part of the Australian landscape, having arrived, possibly during the gold rushes of the mid-1800s.
Even longer, twice as long in fact, than the monarch’s migratory flight, is that of a dragonfly which, also over four generations, makes a complete circuit of the Indian Ocean – almost 1000 miles or about 16 000 kilometres. The story of how this tiny insect’s epic journey was discovered is fascinating. Who knows what one may discover when wonder is mixed with observation.
There’s obviously plenty of diversity from which to draw inspiration for a migration story. I’ve chosen to write a story set a little bit closer to home. I hope you like it.
Please pop over to Charli’s post to see where the prompt has taken other writers.
His bag was packed. He was ready. He stopped at the door for one last look, then stepped outside, pulling it closed behind him. At that moment, he was certain; he would never return. There was nothing for him here. Exotic places and untold adventures awaited. At the stop, he hailed a bus and climbed aboard. “Where are you off to?” asked the driver. “I’m on an adventure,” he said, tendering a fistful of plastic coins. “But only if you take me with you,” said his out-of-breath mother, smiling. “Okay,” he said. The driver winked as she climbed aboard.
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.
P.S. I’m excited to announce the launch of a new app for beginning readers created by my son, Robert. If you know anyone with young children who may be interested, please let them know about Word Zoo, available now in the App Store.