A Classic Initiation Tale – The Amazon as Oz: « Amazon Rainforest Magic, The adventures of Namowë, a Yanomami boy » – For ages 8 to 12 to 100!  – written and illustrated by Barbara Crane Navarro

illustration from « Amazon Rainforest Magic – The adventures of Namowë, a Yanomami boy »

“From its opening pages, this engaging children’s book sets the scene of a world almost unimaginable in the 21st century, a lush, restive, tropical world alive with the spirits of animals and plants.

It begins inside a Yanomami dwelling. A shaman dances around a fire in the cobalt light, intent on a healing ritual. Yarima, a sick baby girl, lays in her mother’s hammock nearby. Meanwhile her 13-year-old brother, Namowë, waits in anticipation of the next days’ hunting trip, his first. But it is not to be.

Instead, he embarks on a journey to find the Luminous Plant, which the village shaman does not possess, in order to save his sister. With a nod to Dorothy’s journey to Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz, Namowë’s trip to Jaguar Mountain is punctuated by encounters with everything from electric eels, bats, owls, otters, a macaw, a dragon-fly bird and a monkey — some irascible, others sarcastic, all animated and talkative.

Like the best ‘initiation’ tales, Amazon Rainforest Magic is fraught with dangers that test our hero’s mettle. It is also a ‘head’s up’ to the rapidly vanishing rain forests of the planet.

Barbara Crane Navarro presents a place and a culture she knows firsthand, having spent considerable time among the Yanomami. Her simple yet sophisticated color drawings pull the reader into this marvelous world where a rich culture continues, at least for the moment, as it has for thousands of years.”

Review by B. Alexandra Szerlip

More information about the book series is here:

“Amazon Rainforest Magic” et “La Magie de l’Amazonie” y “La Magia de la Amazonia” ESPAÑOL – ENGLISH – FRANÇAIS – Libros de aventuras fantásticas para niños – Cuentos de la vida de los Yanomami en la selva amazónica – para edades de 8 a 12

Yanomami boy’s surprise friend in the jungle!

Sometimes we miss the most beautiful moments – DON’T MISS THIS ONE! 

A 38 second film with Namowë, a Yanomami boy in the Alto Orinoco region, Amazonas, Venezuela 

Yanomami boy’s surprise friend in the jungle is an excerpt of a film by Barbara Crane Navarro of instants of daily life of a Yanomami community in the Amazon Rainforest of Venezuela made to accompany the children’s book series: “Amazon Rainforest Magic” “La Magie de l’Amazonie” and “La Magia de la Amazonia” 

The Yanomami boy who, along with his family and community, inspired me to write the “Amazon Rainforest Magic” series! (the photo is a still from the tiny film above)

White-Faced Capuchin Monkey

About Barbara Crane Navarro - Rainforest Art Project

I'm a French artist living near Paris. From 1968 to 1973 I studied at Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island, then at the San Francisco Art Institute in San Francisco, California, for my BFA. My work for many decades has been informed and inspired by time spent with indigenous communities. Various study trips devoted to the exploration of techniques and natural pigments took me originally to the Dogon of Mali, West Africa, and subsequently to Yanomami communities in Venezuela and Brazil. Over many years, during the winters, I studied the techniques of traditional Bogolan painting. Hand woven fabric is dyed with boiled bark from the Wolo tree or crushed leaves from other trees, then painted with mud from the Niger river which oxidizes in contact with the dye. Through the Dogon and the Yanomami, my interest in the multiplicity of techniques and supports for aesthetic expression influenced my artistic practice. The voyages to the Amazon Rainforest have informed several series of paintings created while living among the Yanomami. The support used is roughly woven canvas prepared with acrylic medium then textured with a mixture of sand from the river bank and lava. This supple canvas is then rolled and transported on expeditions into the forest. They are then painted using a mixture of acrylic colors and Achiote and Genipap, the vegetal pigments used by the Yanomami for their ritual body paintings and on practical and shamanic implements. My concern for the ongoing devastation of the Amazon Rainforest has inspired my films and installation projects. Since 2005, I've created a perfomance and film project - Fire Sculpture - to bring urgent attention to Rainforest issues. To protest against the continuing destruction, I've publicly set fire to my totemic sculptures. These burning sculptures symbolize the degradation of nature and the annihilation of indigenous cultures that depend on the forest for their survival.
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2 Responses to A Classic Initiation Tale – The Amazon as Oz: « Amazon Rainforest Magic, The adventures of Namowë, a Yanomami boy » – For ages 8 to 12 to 100!  – written and illustrated by Barbara Crane Navarro

  1. Pingback: A Classic Initiation Tale – The Amazon as Oz: « Amazon Rainforest Magic, The adventures of Namowë, a Yanomami boy » – For ages 8 to 12 to 100!  – … | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

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