Presenting Buffalo Bill provides an excellent opportunity to teach differentiation between fiction and nonfiction, mythology and fact, as well as the discernment, research, and discussion skills that are naturally born out of this type of close reading. Buffalo Bill’s life and Wild West Show are exciting and the author makes them all the more vivid and engaging with her writing. In her sections on “Panning for the Truth,” the differences between myth (or storytelling or marketing) are called out for further examination.
Our perceptions of the Wild West have changed as we have listened to voices from many cultures, sharing their experiences, opening our eyes, communicating in ways those who immigrated to America didn’t have available. Westerns, movies and books set in the “Old West” can now be looked at with different eyes and more understanding minds. Thoughtful papers on then and now can encourage heightened awareness. A Tall Tale Contest might point out how exaggeration and deception work in marketing and internet articles.
We’ve included books on truth and lies, mythology versus authenticity, as well as fiction and nonfiction written at various points in our history. There are excellent resources in the back matter of Candace Fleming’s book as well. We trust you will find inspiration and resources aplenty to accompany your study of Presenting Buffalo Bill.
You’ll find more information about Candace Fleming on her website.
Buffalo Bill. He was once one of the most famous men in the world. Hundreds of dime novels were written about him. Several versions of his autobiography are available. Many authors have chosen to chronicle his life and his Wild West Show. We’ve chosen a few that will provide a means for students to contrast and compare. Online resources will add depth to research.
Art of the 19th Century. Buffalo Bill’s most famous portrait was painted by the French artist Rosa Bonheur. Hundreds of posters from the Wild West Show can be studied to reveal how they tell a persuasive story or influence the audience to attend the shows.
Exaggeration, Lies, and Storytelling. One of the most thought-provoking aspects of Presenting Buffalo Bill is the attention Candace Fleming pays to the veracity of the stories Will Cody told and others told about him. We’ve included current books about truth, lying, deception, and marketing. An in-depth study that caroms off Candace’s book will fascinate your students.
Mythology versus Authenticity. Comparing other myths to that of the Wild West, including folk heroes of the same era such as Davy Crockett, and modern-day myths such as Star Wars and Star Trek, will help with comparative analysis.
Native Americans. Buffalo Bill employed hundreds of American Indians in his Wild West shows. He interacted with famous chiefs and brought entire families into his show encampments. We’ve included biographies of heroes such as Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, and Red Cloud, as well as contemporary novels and nonfiction.
The West During Bill Cody’s Lifetime. Fleming sets the Wild West Show and Bill’s life within the context of geography, history, and politics. The Bookstorm includes books about the children, women, men, and politics of Bill’s life, those who lived in the authentic West.
Let us know how you are making use of this Bookstorm™. Share your ideas and any other books you’d add to this Bookstorm™.