A summary of Ann Grifalconi’s Village of Round and Square Houses (Handout 4) This text/selection provides the context for Teacher’s Modeling …to Develop Metacognitive Thinking
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A Summary of Ann Grifalconi’s Village
of Round and Square Houses (Handout 4)
This text/selection provides the
CONTEXT for Teacher’s Modeling …to Develop Metacognitive Thinking.
This work of fiction takes place in the remote village of Tos at the foot of ‘Mother Naka’ (mountain with dormant volcano) in the Cameroons of Central Africa.
The story is unraveled by a young girl who grew up there in the hills of Bameni.
While “the natural order of things” in Tos now is that the men live in square houses and the women in round houses, this was not the case until “Mother Naka spoke.”
As the story unfolds, the reader gains insight into various cultural customs including the “facts” that
Their work centered on cultivating the fields and harvesting the food.
The women and children always served meals first to Gran’pa, the eldest who was the closest to the ancestor spirits, and then to the others in descending order of age.
The topic of conversation over dinner (i.e., fish, game, yams, and fou-fou from cassava root) centered on what the children learned that day.
Routinely as the men ate first, they were the first to retire to their square houses for the evening, telling tales of the hunt, farming, and fishing.
This is when Gran’ma routinely lit her pipe and told tales to the women and children.
It was on one of these occasions when Gran’ma, who was the greatest story teller in the village, told how old Mother Naka burped and groaned after having awakened “from a long sleep,” spewing ashes and lava down her sides.
After what seemed an eternity, Mother Naka “spoke no more.” She had spared the ash-covered villagers, one round house, and one square house. Surely, this was some sort of sign, the villagers thought.
Being so happy that everyone was alive and safe and could restore the village, the village chief declared that from that day forth the ash-covered round “things" (women) would live in round houses with the children and the tall ash-covered “things” (men) would live in square houses.
And so, the young girl learned from Gran’ma that that became the natural order of things in Tos, in the hills of Bameni, in the Cameroons, in Central Africa.
While the book is designed for readers from 2
nd to 4 th grades, readers of all ages have expressed how much they enjoy this Caldecott Award winning book.