Gateways To Joy
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Book Reviews
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Kids
Kids
A few good books for children. Each one is inspiring.
The Legend of the Bluebonnet

by Tomie dePaola, 32 pages, 1996 (Amazon link).

A beautiful tale of the Comanche people (native Indians), adapted into storybook format for kids. The main character is a young, orphaned girl named She-Who-Is-Alone. She owns nothing but a ragged doll. Rains have not poured for a long time. Drought has set in. The villagers ask the Shaman to commune with the Great Divine for guidance — what must they do to regain harmony with nature? The shaman learns that people must do a "great sacrifice" — each villager must part with their most valuable possession. She-Who-Is-Alone throws her doll into the fire. The next day, the valley is abloom with bluebonnets (Texas official flower)!

YouTube: here and here and here.

Why do I find this story so fascinating? I find parallels between this story and Eastern teachings. The name of the little girl is 'She-Who-Is-Alone' — it reminds me that we are all alone from birth to death. She-Who-Is-Alone throws her most valuable possession into fire — this symbolizes the annihilation of our 'I' (ego). Through the act of letting go of her most valuable possession, the valley bloomed with bluebonnet flowers — this reminds me that through annihilation of our ego, we are in union with the Universe, a state of mind characterized by positive emotions like peace and joy!

The Three Questions

by Jon J Muth, 32 pages, 2002 (Amazon link).

An adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's short story with the same title. A beautiful story: "Once a king sought answers to three questions: (1) When is the best time to do each thing? (2) Who are the most important people to work with? (3) What is the most important thing to do at all time?" The story is cut-n-paste here. An audio recording on Youtube: here.

The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs

by Betty G Birney, 224 pages, 2007 (Amazon link).

A beautiful story of a young girl who desires to see the Seven Wonders of the World after reading about them in a book. Over time, she realizes that wonderful events are happening all around her all the time! So there is no need to go anywhere else; the magic and mystery of the Universe engulfs us all the time :)

A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles

by Thich Nhat Hanh, 64 pages, 2008 (Amazon link).

Thich Nhat Hanh is a famous Buddhist monk from Vietnam. In 1967, Martin Luther King nominated him for the Nobel Prize. 'A Handful of Quiet' is a book for introducing children to meditation. Thich Nhat Hanh on The Practice of Mindfulness is an article which summarizes the book.

Lauren Ipsum
A Story About Computer Science and Other Improbable Things

by Carlos Bueno, 192 pages, 2014 (Amazon link).

A book that teaches computer science concepts with funny, animal characters. The story is fast paced, witty and exquisitely laid out.

© Copyright 2008—2017, Gurmeet Manku.
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