Orion the Skateboard Kid

Orion the Skateboard Kid, by Juanita & Leland Raymond; 6x9, 64 pages; paperback w/color illustrations. Recommended for families & grades 4 - 5. ISBN: 978-0-9672585-0-8; $9.95; Publication date, June 2001

Copyright © 1998, 2001 by Juanita S. & Leland F. Raymond

Cover photograph copyright © 1995 by Till Credner, AlltheSky.com

Orion the Skateboard Kid is a fictional work that grew out of our experiences teaching young people Astronomy. We found that young people have difficulty recognizing the constellations--the basic means of locating objects in the sky--because the traditional, mythological figures of Orion the Hunter, Ursa Major and Ursa Minor (Big Bear and Little Bear), or Pegasus mean nothing to today’s young people. They are unable to see Orion the Hunter because the shape looks nothing like today’s hunters.

Orion the Skateboard Kid is offered as a solution to this problem. Just as ancient peoples identified shapes in the night sky that had meaning in their lives, people today can identify shapes that have meaning in their lives. When we tell young people, “Picture a kid on a skateboard doing a jump into the air, arms up for balance and knees bent,” they have no problem seeing the shape of Orion in the sky; the shape is one they recognize instantly. If identifying the mythological shapes of the constellations poses a problem, simply create a new modern mythology.

In Orion the Skateboard Kid, Orion Hunter represents any child of any ethnic culture: Her parents, teachers, neighbors, authority figures, friends and community all play a vital role in this story because they are so important to the welfare of each child. It is, after all, society’s responsibility, as well as the parents’, to provide the right paths for kids to follow as they grow. Values such as safety, courtesy, and respect for family, community and country are as old as mythology and as modern as a skateboard.

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