By Lyda Whiting

The Journey of Tunuri and the Blue Deer
A Huichol Indian Story
By Christine James Endredy
Illustrated By Maria Hernandez De La Cruz and Casimiro De La Cruz Lopez
While on a journey with his parents, Young Tunuri strays off the path following a butterfly and soon is lost. The blue spirit deer appears to lead him home, and on the way Tunuri meets his nature family — Father Sun, Mother Earth, Brother Wind, Sister Water, and Grandfather Fire. Tunuri’s journey leads him to discover his task in life: to introduce his human family to the larger family of nature to which we all belong.

This charming story is an adaptation of a traditional Huichol story, not based upon legend but on the actual journeys that young members take to find their purpose in life. To the Huichol, the sacred butterfly is the herald of transformative visions, and the spirit deer is the guide and guardian of the sacred desert.

Still isolated in remote regions of the Sierra Madre Mountains of western Mexico, the Huichol maintain their traditional way of life. Their nature-based spiritual tradition is part of every aspect of their lives, as it is for Tunuri in this story. The Huichol elders and leaders work to preserve the sacred sites, and these sacred places that Tunuri visits on his journey are real destinations of Huichol pilgrimages today as they have been for generations.

The colorful and unusual illustrations in this book are actually yarn drawings made in the Huichol traditional way by skilled Huichol artists. The process begins with coating a board with beeswax by hand, and yarn is pressed into the wax to create the design. The pictures have a unique depth and texture, which softens and brings to life the vibrant colors. The pictures have a great feeling of movement and life, so the animals and people seem to move across the pages. The sacred symbols included are explained in the back of the book. Information about the Huichol people and the technique for making the pictures is also included at the back.

This book transcends folk tale to create a magic world of interconnected sacred life. This is a charming introduction to the Huichol people and their way of life. The book will appeal to adults as well as children of all ages, and even those too young to read will be able to follow the story through the vivid illustrations. Highly recommended.

Published by Bear Cub Books, this book is available at your local bookstores.

Daydream CD
By Wai Lana
Using yoga techniques, soft music, and soothing ocean sounds, Wai Lana helps children relax and rest in this CD suitable for nap or quiet time. The CD begins with guided relaxation, encouraging children to relax each part of their body and then to go on a restful journey to the beach. A well-known yoga instructor with a nationwide PBS television series and numerous yoga videos to her credit, Wai Lana expertly leads children into a visualization of the beach. She alternates speaking and singing, with gentle music and then ocean sounds in the background. Wai Lana’s soft voice is well suited to relaxation, and adults will find themselves drifting off with the children.

On Track 1, the sound of waves continue for approximately 30 minutes of rest, and then Wai Lai sings “Wake Up Sleepyhead” to gently bring children back to full wakefulness. Track 2’s identical relaxation session fades into the sounds of ocean waves and then ends, allowing children to sleep on.

This guide to natural relaxation will help children develop healthy habits of resting. The simple yoga and visualization techniques are a wonderful introduction to meditation as well. Adults can use this tape for one child or a roomful, for naptime or as a way to help children drift off to sleep after a busy day. This would be a particularly useful CD to take on vacation, when hectic activities and unfamiliar surroundings can interrupt children’s usual nap and sleep schedule. This CD would also be helpful during stressful times, although it could be used daily to make naptime a true rest time for all.

For bedtime, there is another Wai Lana CD, “Sweet Dreams.”  Approximately 75 minutes long, this CD helps children calm down after an active day and drift off into deep restful sleep.

With families struggling to maintain balance in their lives, and children as well as adults dealing with more stress than ever, these CDs are a great answer to finding natural relaxation and gentle safe rest. Highly recommended.
Wai Lana is expanding her offerings for children, which now include a charming coloring book of children in yoga positions, and fun game cards with five silly yoga games. There is also a wonderful Little Yogis Kit that includes a yoga mat, a yoga poster, and a children’s yoga video or DVD, as reviewed in the January/February issue of Awareness Magazine.

Published by Wai Lana Productions, Malibu, CA. See Wai Lana’s website at  for more information.

Bouncer and the Stream of Life
By Becki Balok
Illustrated by Richard F. Thomas

This cute book introduces a bouncing raindrop who discovers the power of his thoughts and bounces happily along the stream of life. The other raindrops try to convince him that he is wrong, but Bouncer learns to stay true to himself. He finds his connection to all living things when he meets another raindrop who believes in bouncing.
The simple, softly-colored illustrations suit the story, showing a world of smiling bees, ants and raindrops living in harmony together. On the accompanying CD, the author reads her story, and there is a song about Bouncer at the end.

This book is most likely to appeal to young children, and is a sweet way to introduce them to the spiritual principals of following your own heart and going with the flow of life. Reading this book together could lead to a discussion of how to hold to your principles when others criticize you, as well as how and why all life is connected.

Published by Becalm Publishing, Inc., this book is available at your local bookstores. 

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