Eagle Books: Stories About Growing Strong & Preventing Diabetes
The Eagle Books are a series of four books for Native children ages 4-9. The books are brought to life by wise animal characters - Mr. Eagle and Miss Rabbit -and a clever trickster, Coyote, who engage Rain That Dances and his young friends in the joy of physical activity, eating healthy foods, and learning from their elders about health and diabetes prevention.
Purpose of the Eagle Books
The Eagle Books help children understand several important messages about diabetes and being healthy:
- In the past, traditional lifestyles of American Indians and Alaskan Natives may have helped to protect them from developing type 2 diabetes.
- Many Native people no longer eat traditional diets or practice vigorous physical activity putting them at increased risk for type 2 diabetes.
- Native knowledge provides wisdom and power to prevent/control diabetes.
- Returning to healthy diet and physical activity can help prevent diabetes.
- Friends and families can help each other to prevent diabetes by eating healthy foods and staying active.
There are many ways that the Eagle Books, intended primarily for children in pre-kindergarten through fourth grade, can be used in classrooms and in various community settings. The books’ prevention messages can be conveyed to children and their families through schools, libraries, and community organizations, or used effectively by community health workers through home visits, community recreation centers, and local public health agencies. Parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles should be encouraged to read the books with children. The Eagle Books could also be used in children’s play areas in stores, recreation centers, and waiting rooms, or could be the focus for a “story-time” booth at a health fair. The Eagle Book Series: A Guide for Educators and Community Leaders provides additional suggestions on how the Eagle Books can be used.
Description of the Series
There are four books in the series:
“Through the Eyes of the Eagle” introduces the character of Mr. Eagle. Mr. Eagle befriends Rain That Dances, the primary child character in the book, to educate him about diabetes and how the lifestyles and health of the people have changed. Mr. Eagle has come to remind the children of the healthy ways of their people so that they can be strong and healthy again.
Fry Readability Level: Second grade, seventh month.
“Knees Lifted High,” the second book, continues the story with Mr. Eagle and Rain That Dances, and introduces a new character, Thunder Cloud, Rain That Dances’ best friend. Mr. Eagle shares the knowledge that lack of movement (inadequate physical activity) contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes. He encourages the boys to find ways of being active just as their ancestors were. He elicits ideas from the boys on ways to get their bodies up and moving.
Fry Readability Level: Third grade, seventh month
“Plate Full of Color,” the third book, introduces Miss Rabbit and the boys’ friend, Little Hummingbird. Miss Rabbit is a helper. She wants to teach the young children about ways they can prevent diabetes and help elders learn about preventing and controlling the disease. Rain That Dances, Thunder Cloud, and Little Hummingbird listen to Miss Rabbit explain how Mother Earth provides wonderfully healthy things to eat.
Fry Readability Level: Third grade, sixth month
“Tricky Treats,” the fourth book, continues the theme of healthy food by encouraging children to choose nutritional value in foods and beverages. This story introduces the character of Coyote who initially challenges the healthy messages offered by Mr. Eagle. Tricksters, such as the coyote, are traditional characters in American Indian stories and literature who cannot be trusted because of their jokes and tricks. The trickster often comes around in the end as in this story. In the book, Mr. Eagle encourages the children to choose healthy snacks and not be tricked into using foods and beverages that are not healthy for them. Healthy foods are identified as “everyday foods,” while less optimal choices are described as “sometimes foods.” Mr. Eagle teaches the children about food safety and the importance of not taking things that belong to someone else.
Fry Readability Level: Third grade, fourth month
Visit the Eagle’s Nest pages. The Eagle’s Nest is a safe place to visit where kids can learn more about living healthy and diabetes. It is for those who may have diabetes or have a friend or relative with diabetes. For most American Indians and Alaskan Natives, the eagle represents balance, courage, healing, strength, and wisdom, and is seen as a messenger or teacher. In the Eagle Book series, the wise bird teaches children how to use these values to prevent diabetes and grow safe and strong.
How to obtain the Eagle Books?
One free copy of the Eagle Books series is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by calling 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636).
A limited number of the Eagle Books series are available from the American Indian Council in North Kansas City, MO by contacting them at (816) 471-4898 or email@example.com. There will be a charge for shipping and handling unless you pick up the books.
The Eagle Books can be purchased through the Public Health Foundation at http://bookstore.phf.org beginning in November 2006.
This guide for educators and communities is for everyone using the Eagle Books. There are many ways that the Eagle Books can be used in classrooms and in various community settings. The books’ prevention messages can be conveyed to children and their families through schools, libraries, and community organizations. Educational activities detailed in the guide may also offer ideas to diabetes educators working in community health centers, clinics, and hospitals; or used effectively by community health workers reaching out to families through home visits, community recreation centers, and local health departments.
The Eagle Books were authored by Georgia Perez of Nambe Pueblo, and illustrated by Patrick Rolo, Bad River Band of Ojibwe, and Lisa A. Fifield, Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin, Black Bear Clan. The books were developed in partnership with the Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee and the Indian Health Service, Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention.