“Of Paradise and Peril” is Civil War-era historical fiction about the meeting of two men in what is now known as Tampa Bay, Florida. One man, Wade P. Hood, is a sailor from a southern barricade runner (small steamboat) who falls from his boat and swims to shore. The other man, Count Odet Philipi, is a black Frenchman who has built Florida’s first grapefruit orchard, and is a now a proud successful southern businessman during a time when southern businesses were all struggling. Count Odet cares for Wade and helps him return to his native Alabama, but the Frenchman also offers strong opinions on the nature of war, of integrity and of business.
- An introduction to the American Civil War and Florida’s involvement
- A history of trade with Britain and other countries from southern states
- The fascinating biography of Count Odet Philipi and all the anecdotal histories ascribed to him.
- History of big hurricanes through history
- The unique shape of Florida and where it fits with the other Confederate states
- Trade routes to Cuba, the Bahamas and then Britain
- A map of the Northern Blockade along the east coast and around Florida to the Gulf of Mexico
“Of Paradise and Peril” Study Topics
- Slavery and its relationship to the Civil War
- Trade before, during and after the Civil War
- The seeming contradictions that are a part of Florida – the sour and the sweet
From a Child Development Perspective
Though this is historical fiction and the characters have been developed to accommodate a story, their attributes and development may be useful as reference points and inspirations.
This is a story of finding value in the sour as well as in the sweet. We learn about finding fortitude in the face of confusion and exhaustion; of trusting in moments of doubt, and of the value of gifts that can come our way when we are open to learning from people whom we don’t understand, in trying new things.
In this story, your child might learn that:
Wade held on to the promise of light in the midst of the fear and pain of being thrown unexpectedly overboard. We learn from him that there may be something bigger than we are guiding us and giving us hope.
There are gifts to be had when we meet others with openness to what we don't understand. Count Philipi was like no other man Wade had ever met, and he was able to teach him as well as befriend him. From this example, our children learn to be curious and kind instead of fixed and closed when we encounter “differences” in skin color, political leanings or nationality.
“Before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you've depended on more than half the world. This is the way our universe is structured, this is its interrelated quality. We aren't going to have peace on Earth until we recognize the basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.
We are all interdependent. And there are so many other to be grateful for for that interdependence. There is not one thing that we eat, or one piece of furniture that we use, or one article of clothing that we wear that didn’t require “half the world” to get it to us. We get a taste of this as we hear a bit about the journey of the grapefruit from Key West to the bowl of fruit that was offered to Wade.
“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?" ~ Abraham Lincoln
The invitation to help an enemy for “your enemy today may be your friend of tomorrow.”
In addition to experiencing the “sweetness” of life, the value also of enduring a little hardship along the way, too. The grace of a “little bit of sweet” is balanced by the “resiliency” gained from “a little bit of sour.”
About the Authors
David Sewell McCann
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 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.