J&P Voelkel

A Day with the Maya

Glyph codesI’m not an archaeologist, but I work with archaeologists to share their discoveries about the Maya with schoolteachers around the world. It all began when my husband and I were researching our Maya-themed adventures (The Jaguar Stones series by J&P Voelkel) and we realized that much of the easily available information about the Maya was out of date. Our books are aimed at middle-schoolers and are often used in classrooms, so it makes sense for us to help teachers access the latest archaeology through our website and free lesson plan CDs. Schools often plan whole semesters around the Greeks or Romans, but that’s harder to do with the Maya – so we spend a lot of time helping to plan cross-curricular units around this great American civilization.

Pyramid buildingToday, for example, we’re writing a website post about a fantastic Maya Day held recently by a middle school in Maine. It was the culmination of weeks of study and we went along to watch the fun. They had arts and crafts, pyramid-building, puppet shows, sporting events, treasure hunts and, of course, some delicious Central American food – including tamales cooked from a recipe in one of our books!

Also today, we’re finishing up some illustrations and back pages for the last book in the Jaguar Stones series, The Lost City, which will be published in February 2015. A lot of the story takes place in Cahokia, an amazing ancient American site just across the Mississippi from St Louis. In AD 1250, the city that stood here was larger than London, England, yet almost no one (except for archaeologists) has heard of it. So now we have a double mission – to share up-to-date discoveries about the Maya and spread the word about Cahokia!

If you’re interested to read about the Maya Day or get a free Maya lesson plan CD, we’re at www.jaguarstones.com