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Sparkle Schoolhouse
FIFTY Study Page: Colorado “One Hundred and One Nights”

August 1, 2017
FIFTY Study Page: Colorado “One Hundred and One Nights”

Lester and Allison Clark make a good team. Between his gift of storytelling and her follow-through, they make a plan to leave London and set up a tailoring business somewhere in the American Wild West. Everything goes to plan and ten years later the ambitious couple and their twin daughters begin their biggest adventure: traveling along the Sante Fe Trail. Little do they know what hardship awaits — but lucky for them, storytelling and fortitude eventually win the day.


COLORADO HISTORY - History of the American West and Southwest as it shifts from Spanish to Mexican to American control - The development of the Sante Fe Trail and other western trails - Biography of William Bucknell and other adventurous traders and packers

COLORADO GEOGRAPHY - Map of the Santa Fe Trail with its “Mountain” and “Cimmaron” routes - Map of the Great Sand Dunes of Colorado and study into how they came to be - Track the Clarks from London to NYC to Saint Louis to Santa Fe

“One Hundred and One Nights” Study Topics

How storytelling exists in every culture around the world and is almost a common language.

Topics for Reflection

From a Child Development Perspective:

In this story, your child might learn that:

  • It's so fascinating that there are so many different personalities in the big fat world — let alone within one family — let alone between twins! Although Ada and Lily are identical twins, there is so much that is unique about each of them.

  • In addition to celebrating the differences that create the beautiful tapestry of humanity, it is essential that we continually seek that which connects us. One of the ties that binds for Lily and Ada is their love of their father’s stories.

  • There is so much that is profoundly valuable about the bedtime story. We Sparklers know how important a story is, and we know how important routine is, and we know how special rituals are, and we know how important bedtime is! Put all that together — and you have the bedtime story! It is no small wonder that Ada and Lily look forward to theirs every night. And to their father’s credit, he chooses just the right adaptation of just the right story!

  • Hearing just the right story at just the right time can be a powerful guide in our lives. If we pay attention and listen carefully, clues can await us within a story that can help us to answer questions about our lives that we may otherwise struggle to find our way through. Those clues may also give us inspiration! If we look for the "signs," they are there! Allison feels strongly that the tale of Al-Nadim is their family’s message to travel West.

  • Listening to or reading stories can be a profound exploration into understanding the ways of life and beliefs among various cultures. This is so important in our world today. When Lester and his family come to the head of the famous Santa Fe Trail, he learns about the world by telling and listening to stories from all corners of the globe — from the past and the present.

  • Whenever you travel or explore a new adventure, whether it requires packed bags for a long journey,or maybe even a backpack for your first day of school, it's important to put a few stories on your packing list. Stories are essential for any adventure. Lester and Allison know that. They feel confident that with fortitude and a few good stories, they will be fine as they travel the Santa Fe Trail.

  • Once we set out to reach a new goal or arrive at some destination, we can find that the path ahead is more perilous and challenging than we originally expected. However, with determination and healthy distractions to take our minds away from the immediate discomfort, we are eventually supported to reach our goal. When Adam and Lily complain to their father that the trip is taking longer and is harder than they expected, Lester offers a healthy distraction, telling the girls that once the story of Al-Nadim is finished, they will be there. In this way, the magic of the story can distract us from our discomforts, especially when the story mirrors our own experiences.

  • Be receptive to magic happening as you listen to a story. If a story calls to you in some way, chances are very good that it is telling you something about your life. This is absolutely case with the Clark family and how many parallels they find between their adventure and the Al-Nadims’.

  • Dunyazad, the mother of the Al-Nadi family, says this: "Never forget the magic. In this world the most unexpected things can always happen." The Clark family experiences one magical moment after another on their adventure, but perhaps the most magical of all is how the story of the Al-Nadim family mirrors their own.

  • When you give up hope, find a story that restores it. The story of The Arabian Nights gives the Clark Family just that!


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About the Authors

David Sewell McCann

Story Spinner

David Sewell McCann fell in love with spinning stories in first grade – the day a storyteller came to his class and captured his mind and imagination. He has been engaged in storytelling all of his adult life through painting, film-making, teaching and performing. Out of his experience as a Waldorf elementary class teacher and parent, he has developed a four step method of intuitive storytelling, which he now shares through workshops and through this website.

Meredith Markow

Sparkle Schoolhouse Head of School

Meredith has been working with adults and children of all ages for the past 25 years as a Waldorf Teacher and Educational Consultant. She received a B.A. with a focus on child development and child psychology from the University of Michigan, in 1984, an M.A. Ed from Washington University in 1987, and her Waldorf Teaching Certificate from the Lehrerausbildung (Teacher Training) in Nurnberg, Germany in 1989. She was certified as a Living Inquiries Facilitator in 2014, and she completed her formal teaching certification with The Enneagram Institute in 2014. Her work in the classroom and with individuals and groups is designed to help people of all ages to drop self-limiting beliefs to live a more joyful and compassionate life.

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