Publishing: Little, Brown, and Company, Boston, 1986
Awards: 1987 Caldecott Honor
Description: A little girl is told the story of why the men live in square houses in her village and the women live separately in round houses. According to the girl’s grandmother, the people used to live in any kind of house they wanted, until Mother Naka (the volcano nearby) erupted to show her anger, and the only houses left from the destruction were one round and one square. The people took it as a sign and the chief told the women to go stay in the round house and the men in the square one, and it has been that way ever since, with both sides coming together for dinner.
Programming: This has a lot of really great scenes and explanation about the culture of the village (dinner procedures, order of respect, foods served, etc). Have students research this village or others and discuss how their practices are similar and different to ours and to other cultures. For example, respect is an important concept in many Chinese culture as well.