Sunday, December 6, 2020

Daughters of Fire: Heroines of the Bible

I always find the Old Testament blocks to be really fun, because there are so many great resources for these ancient stories. This time around I am working with a child whose mother is Christian and whose father is Jewish, so we are really focusing on looking at Jewish holidays which tie in with Old Testament Stories. She is so curious about it all, and I'm learning a lot!

We are on the last week of our study and my long-awaited copy of Daughters of Fire: Heroines of the Bible by Fran Manushkin finally arrived! Turns out it would be an absolutely fantastic book if you wanted to only do ONE block on OT Stories (in Waldorf, traditionally done in Third Grade) and/or you have concerns about the Bible being overly patriarchal and/or you want a book that has a section at the end which explains how Jewish holidays and traditions tie in with the stories of these remarkable women.

Daughters of Fire: Heroines of the Bible

retold by Fran Manushkin
illustrated by Uri Shulevitz

So, even though I've just finished teaching this block I'm now eager to teach it again. I love finding great resources!

If you did frame your block around this lovely Jewish book, the stories are

Eve (the Garden of Eden, the Fall)

Sarah (Abraham, the Binding of Isaac)

Rebecca (Jacob and Esau)

Leah and Rachel

The Women of the Exodus (Miriam, Moses, the Plagues, the Exodus)

The Women in the Wilderness (the Ten Commandments, the Golden Calf)

Deborah and Yael (Joshua, the taking of Jericho, the Promised Land)

Hanna (mother of Samuel)

Ruth and Naomi (Ruth was the great-grandmother of David)

Queen Esther

If you wanted to you could also add in the Days of Creation, Noah and the Ark, the Tower of Babel, Joseph, King Solomon, Jonah and the Whale, Daniel in the Lion's Den, and Judas Maccabeus. And maybe even the story of Job. So you could find other resources and add in these legends. But you could also not and the block would be just perfect with only these 10 stories.

Noah's Wife: The Story of Naamah is a lovely picture book by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso which would be another good resource for retelling an Old Testament Story in a way that revolves around a central female character.

Now that I'm taking the time to research religious traditions which celebrate these stories besides Christianity, I'm getting curious about Islamic children's picture books that might add a whole new dimension to this study. Abraham, after all, is always said to be the father of three major world religions.

The prophets of Islam include: Adam, Idris (Enoch), Nuh (Noah), Hud (Heber), Saleh (Methusaleh), Lut (Lot), Ibrahim (Abraham), Ismail (Ishmael), Ishaq (Isaac), Yaqub (Jacob), Yusuf (Joseph), Shu'aib (Jethro), Ayyub (Job), Dhulkifl (Ezekiel), Musa (Moses), Harun (Aaron), Dawud (David), Sulayman (Solomon), Ilyas (Elias), Alyasa (Elisha), Yunus (Jonah), Zakariya (Zachariah), Yahya (John the Baptist), Isa (Jesus) and Muhammad.

So next time I'll look for some more resources to use in this block, to make it more culturally inclusive, and we can definitely talk about Eid al-Adha as it ties in with the story of Abraham and the near-sacrifice of his oldest son, although Ishmael is considered the oldest son in that tradition. I'd love to have suggestions of books for Muslim children around the prophet stories!

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