The Children's Wheel of the Year books
A new beltane story to ignite young earth warriors
Shanna and the Water Fairy: A Beltane Story
The magic of spring,
the gift of life and water in a dry land,
and the power of kids to make a difference in our world.
Eleven-year-old Shanna finds a secret pool on a class field trip to the “waste land” near her new school. The land nearby is dry and covered with scrub brush, but in a hidden pocket there is a wild profusion of flowers, trees and life around a trickle of water.
Shanna’s teacher says the waste land is scheduled to be bulldozed for a building project and the tiny spring will be destroyed. But Shanna discovers something amazing that few outside her goddess-oriented family would believe—a magical protector of the spring, maybe even a real fairy.
Shanna and her eight-year-old brother Rye decide they have to do something to save the spring and its magical resident. Amid a sharing of the festival of Beltane, the kids learn how passion and action can blossom to make positive change.
This story is partly based on events from the author’s childhood, involving an endangered spring in dry country. But it is also an integral part of the Children’s Wheel of the Year, a collection of stories about the adventures of Shanna and Rye which make the concepts and themes of seasonal celebration come alive for children.
Shanna and the Pentacle: An Ostara Story
The gift of a friend,
The promise of the pentacle,
A new beginning…
And the courage to stand your ground.
Here is a story for Pagan, Wiccan and earth-centered families to share the wonder of the Wheel of the Year. Ostara is a time for buds and shoots, for the smell of wet earth and for asserting your true self. A new beginning can be hard but it’s worth it after all.
Ten-year-old Shanna and eight-year-old Rye are starting out at a new school just before Ostara. A teacher notices Shanna’s pentacle necklace and asks her to take it off. Brandy, the popular girl, says Shanna is going to “hell” and Rye has his own trouble with kids who say boys don’t draw or sing. Still the magic of Ostara is at work. Shanna and Rye can meet new challenges and find new friends.
Like Shanna and Rye, children from earth-centered families often stand out in mainstream society. Without strong identity and confidence, they struggle to choose their own path. The Children’s Wheel of the Year books provide concepts our kids need to face these challenges.
Shanna and the Raven: An Imbolc Story
Intuition is calling.
How do you know when the signs of nature and the whispers of your heart are true?
Here is a story for Pagan, Wiccan and earth-centered families to share the wonder of the Wheel of the Year. Imbolc is a time for hearth fires and candlelight, the season for protection, healing, intuition and the first seeds of hope. Join us for a story of courage.
A strange man talks to seven-year-old Rye one day at the bus stop. His sister, ten-year-old Shanna, doesn't feel good about it, but she has no real idea why. Nightmares and even a beady-eyed raven dog Shanna´s footsteps and their mother is suddenly out of work. As the celebration of Imbolc nears, Shanna wishes for some magic that will help dispel the troubles.
An Sample Chapter from Shanna and the Raven
Chapter One: The Blue Pickup
The yellow school bus slowed at the corner of Juniper Road and made a gulping noise and a loud hiss when the door opened.
Shanna swung her backpack on and nudged her little brother Rye to get him moving.
“Bye, Shanna,” Skylar called, flashing her freckly grin.
“Bye, Skylar!” Shanna made a fist and swiftly touched her knuckles to Skylar’s for their friendship signal.
“See ya on Monday, big guy,” the bus driver called to Rye as he leaped down the three steps to the road. “Careful there. No jumping off my bus. Have a good weekend, Shanna.”
They waved to the driver and the bus pulled out. Skylar’s face was pressed up against the glass and she stuck out her tongue at Rye.
He laughed and did a silly dance at the side of the road until he dropped his backpack.
“Come on,” Shanna said, pulling her coat tighter around her shoulders against the winter cold.
She was already standing on the gravel road to Mrs. Pruce’s house. Now that Shanna was ten and Rye was seven, Momma had to work longer hours. That was why they had to go to Mrs. Pruce’s after school.
Mrs. Pruce gave off old-lady smells. But she had nice cats. Momma always told Shanna and Rye that they had to respect her because she was “an elder” and she knew a lot.
Rye picked his backpack out of the frozen slush at the edge of the road.
But then a big blue pickup was coming slowly up the road toward him. Rye turned around to see who was driving. The kids knew just about everyone on this road. Shanna saw that the window on the driver’s side was already down.
The pickup rolled to a stop right by Rye and there was a man and a teenager inside that Shanna didn’t recognize.
“Hey there,” the driver called as he leaned out of the open window toward Rye. “We’re your new neighbors. What’s your name?”
“Rye Silver.” Rye stood his ground, even though Shanna felt like stepping back.
There was no obvious reason for Shanna to feel nervous. The man in the truck wore an ironed red shirt and his brown hair was combed back neatly. But she had an uneasy feeling.
The man had a big, warm smile, but it didn’t match his eyes. They looked like shark eyes instead of warm, friendly eyes, Shanna thought. And his voice went up and down in a sing-song, as if he was trying to lure a kitten out from under the couch.
“You’re not shy, are you?” the man said with a chuckle. “That’s good. I like to see a boy with some pluck. And you’ve got a sister too. What’s her name?”
“We’ve got to go,” Shanna called. “It’s nice to meet you, neighbors.”
Shanna realized that the sing-songy man hadn’t told Rye his name. And for some reason she didn’t really want to tell them her name.
The man ignored her.
“She’s bossy, isn’t she?” He winked at Rye. “That’s how big sisters are. You be careful of her, you hear. Don’t let her suck all the life out of you. Sisters can be witches sometimes.”
He was grinning and laughing, trying to joke, but Shanna didn’t think it was funny. Her heart started beating faster and she felt clammy inside her coat.
She stepped toward Rye and he looked at her. His eyes were big and confused. Shanna reached him in a few steps and he took her hand.
The man shrugged. “Nice to meet you too, missy.” But his flat shark-like eyes didn’t look like he was glad to meet her at all.
The pickup pulled away and the two kids started walking up the road toward Mrs. Pruce’s.
“He didn’t mean our kind of witches, did he?” Rye asked after a minute.
“No,” Shanna said. “I don’t think he’s a very nice man.”
Rye shrugged but didn’t say anything else.
The light was already shining out of Mrs. Pruce’s kitchen window because it was still deep winter. Crusty snow lay in patches by the sides of the road and Shanna thought she could smell more coming. Momma had taught her to smell snow—a sharp, dry smell that somehow reminded Shanna of the dentist’s office.
It was already dark under the big pine trees by the road. When they got close to them Rye suddenly yelled and jumped back, bumping right into Shanna.
“Hey, what are you doing?” she snapped. Her knees were bruised from him whacking them.
“There’s something in the trees.” Rye whispered, sounding scared—a lot more scared than he’d been with that man asking him questions.
“It’s probably just a dog or something.”
Shanna pulled Rye over to the other side of the gravel road. But he walked backward and kept staring.
“Look!” he whispered.
Shanna turned around. The hollow underneath the pines was dark. She couldn’t see anything there, but she felt shivery all over again.
Then something moved in the darkness or maybe just the darkness moved. Rye watched with his teeth bared, like a tough little wolf puppy. Shanna swallowed. It was creepy.
She jerked her head around. On the branch of a leafless plum tree just above their heads, a large black bird sat looking down at her with one beady eye. It cocked its head and then burst upward, flying away.
When Shanna looked back the darkness under the pines was just a regular old shadow again. She shivered in her winter coat and tugged at Rye to hurry up.
When Momma got there an hour later and drove them the two miles to their house, Shanna told her about the black bird.
Momma’s eyes crinkled up with little question marks in the corners.
“I didn’t think there were any ravens or crows around here,” she said, while she kept her eyes on the road. “Did you see if it’s tail was pointy or like a fan?”
“What?” Shanna was confused. “No.”
“It was pointy,” Rye said and he held up one of his action figures to fly it like a bird. “And she had cool claws.”
“A raven then,” Momma said. “Maybe a pair will claim this territory. That would be an interesting sign.”
“I thought ravens are supposed to be bad luck,” Shanna said. “It sure didn’t sound very friendly.”
“Well, ravens can be messengers from the other world or from the subconscious,” Momma said. “I don’t think they would be bad luck unless you didn’t listen.”
“If she was a messenger, I don’t know what she said,” Shanna grumbled.
Momma often talked about spirits and what animals or signs could tell you. Shanna knew some people don’t believe in things like that, but she felt the truth of them. Momma wasn’t into silly tricks. Her kind of magic was as warm as a candle flame and as beautiful as the night sky full of stars.
“The bird told us to go to Mrs. Pruce’s house and told the mean thing under the trees to leave us alone.” Rye sounded sure of his feeling.
“Really?” Momma smiled at him in the rearview mirror and Rye grinned back.
“If the bird was telling us to be careful of something, it was probably that creepy man,” Shanna said.
“What creepy man?” Momma asked.
“Just some guy who stopped on the road in a blue truck,” Shanna said. “He said he’s our new neighbor, but I didn’t like him.”
“Why not?” Momma sounded interested. Shanna wondered if Momma would scold her for saying she didn’t like a new neighbor. Momma was always friendly to neighbors.
“I don’t know,” Shanna said. “I just didn’t. He didn’t tell us his name and he asked for Rye’s name and then mine.”
“Hmmm…” That was Momma’s sound for when she was listening but didn’t want to say if she agreed or not. “I’ll ask Mrs. Pruce if she knows about a new neighbor. And, Shanna, ravens aren’t the only things that can bring us messages. When you have a feeling like that, sometimes it’s because you’re scared of something when you shouldn’t be, but sometimes it’s intuition.”
“In-tu-ition?” Shanna asked.
“Intuition is like a quiet messenger inside you,” Momma said. “You have to be quiet sometimes in order to hear it, but it can tell you when to be careful or when to try hard even when something seems impossible. That sort of thing.”
“Like when it seemed like I could never pass that spelling test, but I knew I could, so I kept trying,” Rye said.
“Yes, like that too,” Momma said.
To get the full story see this link for the Kindle ebook and the paperback editions.