Review: Tani's Search for the Heart

Tani's Search for the Heart: LadyD Books
 Heartbroken over the loss of her beloved grandmother, Tani, a Native American girl of the Coast Salish people, remembers her grandmother’s parting advice to journey into the forest to search for “the heart of all things.”

Book Description

Not knowing if she will recognize the answers she seeks, but certain she must abide by her grandmother’s wishes, Tani embarks on a quest through the wilds of the Pacific Northwest; unexpectedly finding her way into a world of Coast Salish legend, tradition and self-discovery. Struggling with self-doubt, Tani is helped through the challenging terrain of her homeland by the wise animals of the forest, such as Bear, Otter and Salamander, the guiding spirit of her departed grandmother, and the magical Stick Indian, whose presence on the shadowy fringes once inspired fear in Tani. Through each new encounter with the animals along the way, Tani moves closer to reaching her goal and revealing the answers she has always carried within. With each step toward discovering her special place and purpose in the world, Tani’s courage grows in the face of uncertainty; awakening her unique gifts and the collective wisdom shared by her people through generations. As her journey finds her standing on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, Tani comes to learn that the heart of all things can be found in the most unexpected places, from her front doorstep to the distant ocean, with very little space between the questions and the answers. Told in the style of traditional Native American storytelling, this richly illustrated novella shares a subtle environmental conservation message with the reader while exploring the connections between self-confidence, self-reliance and the strength that is found in trusting friendships. Tani’s Search for the Heart reminds us of our valuable connection to our ancestors and the natural world; fostering a growing respect for the people, lands and waters that sustain us all.

Native American girl, Tani

The Friday 56 

"The  little girl raised one chubby arm to wave, as if seeing Tani riding upon the back of an eagle was nothing out of the ordinary."

My Favorite Story Lines

large eagle illustration

"And only if they are certain their words will affect the way you walk upon the earth from that moment. Then maybe, just maybe, you will hear their voices."

"The brave are more often the ones who go forward even though they are afraid."

Indian grandmother

"The world needs special people who can stand up and speak for those who will be hurt by losses such as this."
"Tani, you must find the heart. The heart of the world. The heart of the people. The heart of all that lives. That is what you will  ind on this journey."

My Review


I can't think of any other title that would be more appropriate for this book. Personally, I love the descriptive writing and wonderful illustrations. The beauty of Indian folklore woven throughout the story invites the reader into a glimpse of the beauty of nature and understanding harmony amongst animals. I could tell the authors put many hours of hard work into this project because of the careful attention to detail. The book is about self discovery of a young Native American girl, having respect for others while on the journey quest to find the garden of her own heart.

This sweet story of a grandmother's passion for her granddaughter to be strong and to encourage her people includes valuable learning and engaging moments for all children and adults. A warm and tender relationship with her grandmother's guidance, Tani recognizes her calling to lead the people. She listens to the river, the otter, her friend the salamander, frog, fisher, bear, squid, lump sucker and of course, the eagle. Tani arrives at the destination of her journey with Stick Indian's protection and her grandmother's spirit forever close to her heart!

5/5 stars. Highly recommend this inspiring and uplifting story book. I love this one!

About the Author


Keith and Chenoa Egawa are a brother and sister writing and illustrating team of Lummi and S'Klallam Indian ancestry. Keith is a published novelist with experience in education reform and social work. His extensive work with families has provided him with both inspiration and insight into his subject matter. In addition to literary readings for adult audiences, Keith has conducted writing workshops for Native youth throughout the US. Chenoa has worked as a professional illustrator, international indigenous human rights advocate, actor, and is a traditional ceremonial leader, storyteller and singer. She was a fellowship recipient from the Institute of Current World Affairs, and traveled throughout Central and South America facilitating communication between indigenous peoples to protect and preserve traditions, languages, and homelands. Chenoa has also worked in the public school system to create programs that teach Native American culture and history, empowering Native youth, and inspiring a broader appreciation for the wealth of traditional knowledge from the First Peoples, to benefit all people of today’s world.

Tani's Search for the Heart

 “You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me." C. S. Lewis
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