Vanishing Cultures: Down Under

By Dr. Gay Ward, University of Wisconsin

The Vanishing Culture series is one of the best teacher resources I have found in a very long time. Beautifully illustrated and crafted stories immediately engage the students as they get to know a family in the vanishing culture. I have used the books to explore fundamental needs and to inspire critical thinking by comparing cultures. Participants also engaged in problem solving as we discussed what we could learn about sustainability from these ancient cultures. They have also been a wonderful resource for both physical and political geography since cultures are represented in varied continents and biomes and inspire contrasts such as the mountains of Nepal to the arid country of outback Australia. There is no better way to bring a culture to life than stories about real people. Each of these books has two - a story of a family beginning with earlier generations and the story of the author’s journey into the focus culture. I have been teaching an Australian studies course for some time. Down Under is a wonderful resource to introduce students to a very rich and very ancient culture.