Years ago a friend loaned me a book that became lost in one of my closets. I only found it recently when I was cleaning that closet. I’m finally reading the book. While reading the book I came across the word “wampum” and decided to look up more information. That’s one of those words that I remember learning as a child. I think most children learn the word and are told that it refers to beads that Native Americans used as money. But now, as an adult, what I found when I began looking was that wampum belts were, yes, woven of beads but that they contained meaning, information, and that many communities had a person who was trained in reading the wampum belts. That was really interesting to me because it reminded me of the knotted cords–Quipu–that were made by the Inca, and were used to record information. Each village had a quipu reader who spent a couple of years learning how to read them. So after reading that wampum were used to record information and could be read by certain trained people, I was curious about the beads themselves and what they were made of. I read that typically they were made from two things—whelk, a type of snail with a beautiful shell, and quahogs, a type of clam. From the spindle core of the whelk they made white beads and from the clam shells they made purplish beads. I read that supposedly our slang term for money—clams—comes from the use of clam shells for making wampum. I don’t know if that’s really true or not but that made me curious about why, out of all the shells in the ocean, those two were used. So I looked up about those two creatures and discovered that the whelk snail feeds off of those clams. Very interesting, I thought, so there is actually a relationship between those two creatures, predator and prey. And there is, I believe, a deeper meaning there. So many interesting things to ponder in the world. Anyway, this was the source of the inspiration for One Hundred Clams, One Hundred Whelks from the Bureau of Imagination series.