on the popularity of the original Eagle Books series, the Native
Diabetes Wellness Program (NDWP) is developing a series of novels
for middle schoolers in Native communities. The novel, Coyote and
the Turtles Dream, is the first in a series of three books
that will include a four-volume graphic novel based on the same
story. The book features characters from the original series, but
also expands the characters to include family members, teachers,
store owners, other residents of a small reservation town, and an
elderly box turtle. Adding to the understanding of type 2 diabetes
presented in the original books, Coyote and the Turtles Dream
introduces the character of Arianna, a young girl with type 1 diabetes.
To encourage readership and healthy choices
among middle schoolers, their families and communities, the novels
employ entertainment-education (EE) as a communication strategy.
Applying EE principles, the books appeal to middle schoolers by
using the genres that have proven successful with this audienceadventure,
fantasy, and mystery. The stories use relationships and emotion
to lend authenticity and context to the characters motivations
and behaviors. EE-based storytelling creates believable characters
that can serve as effective role models for healthy living. EE promotes
problem-solving at community and individual levels, an extremely
important ability for an age group that is exploring its own sense
of independence and self-efficacy.
Added to this formula is the most important
EE element, the seamless interweaving of health and educational
messaging into the plot. In Coyote and the Turtles Dream,
type 2 diabetes prevention messages about healthy eating, being
physically active, and following traditional wisdom become part
of the story itself. Moreover, Rain and his friends apply both Native
and western science to avert the disruption of the reservations
ecology, an implicit metaphor for maintaining metabolic balance
in the human body.
About the Book
Rain, now a 12-year-old, is visited once again by the eagle, but
this time in a dream. As Rain sleeps, Sky Heart, the eagle, sings
a song to him that ends with the refrain, "a boy must help
" In the song, Sky Heart provides clues about strange
vanishings on the Medicine Cave Indian Reservation. Thistle, the
rabbit, has suspicions that Coyote is behind the disappearance of
fossils from an ancient turtle, the sudden evaporation of water
from the reservations rivers, and the ominous absence of a
7th grader from Thunder Rock Middle School.
Searching for the meaning of the dream,
Rain seeks the help of Boomer (Thunder Cloud), Simon, and Hummingbird.
Unknowingly, the four friends are drawn into the coyotes game
and the criminal activities of a dangerous fossil poaching ring.
Deep within the gullies of Shell Ridge, an escarpment that borders
the bed of an ancient sea, Rain follows Coyote to a mysterious cave
where he discovers the origins of the reservations water and
confronts the notorious fossil thief, Vernon Smeedrisking
everything to save one that he loves.
With his pranks and deceptions, Coyote
puts Rain through many tests. The trickster teaches the boy lessons
that will last a lifetime, but he, too, learns an important truthSky
Heart has chosen well. The great bird has entrusted his messages
about health and the wisdom of Native knowledge to a remarkable
boy whose strength is founded in the steadfastness of friends and
love of family.
Free copies of Coyote and the Turtles
Dream may be ordered by clicking here: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/pubs/Diabetes.aspx
or by calling 1-800-CDC-INFO.