Looking for Atlantis

by Colin Thompson (Julia MacRae Books Random House London1993)

contact information:  colin@colinthompson.com

peace with ourselves-peace with each other-peace with the environment

recommended but unavailable - maybe a copy in your local library


Stories about Atlantis have been circulated for centuries. Plato was the first to document his impressions but many people believe and still believe it was a place imagined but not real. The stories reveal a time in prehistory, a time when different laws and different ways of living were considered. It was a time when different technologies than we have available today were used either wisely or as the age old story goes, to the demise of the Atlanteans. Colin invites our imagination to journey to this lost time and place. This imaginative and heart warming story about a boy and his grandfather is for all ages to enjoy and share together and it contains many peace-building elements:

  • happy endings

  • everyone winning

  •     nonviolent resolution

  • imaginative and creative

  •    challenges existing stereotyping

  • faith and hope

  • peace with the environment

  • finding personal peace

  •     ..and element that supports the idea that peace is possible

The boy's grandfather was a seafaring man who spent most of his life upon the oceans. In his last days he invites his grandson to journey beyond all that he knows and trusts and can see. He beseeches his grandson:

"You have to learn how to look for it?"

The boy began to imagine and tried to dream of the wonder of Atlantis and all the amazing treasure such a place promised. But he knew that no-one would believe him.

"You have to shut your eyes....and open your heart.

When you do that everything you ever wanted will be right in front of you."

All the boy could see was what he could see, which was not Atlantis. Sadness enters the story but grief enables a miraculous transformation to occur.

The story ends happily and the boy ...

"....learns that hopes and dreams are not just inside your head."

Our imaginations are powerful places.

We can imagine Atlantis and we can imagine a new peace loving world.

Critical questions to explore with children

  • What kinds of stories do you think the grandfather told his grandson?
  • Which story characters normally are accompanied by parrots?
  • Why did the grandfather decide to tell the boy about Atlantis?
  • Why did the boy think others would not believe his grandfather?
  • Where did the boy first look for Atlantis?
  • What happened to the old parrot?
  • Why was the boy sad?
  • Does the story have a happy win-win ending?

Creative questions to explore with children

  • Do you think Atlantis ever existed?
  • What might life have been like for the people who lived there?
  • Why would people not want to believe Atlantis never existed?
  • What happened to Atlantis?
  • Where do people believe it existed?
  • Would you have liked to have lived in Atlantis?
  • What would children have done who lived in Atlantis?
  • Could Atlantis ever exist again?

go to: Atlantis classroom activities

Teaching and Learning for Peace Foundation October 2005

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