The Journey of Tunuri and the Blue Deer:
A Huichol Indian Story

by James Endredy
Illustrated by Maria Hernandez de la Cruz and Casimiro de la Cruz Lopez

ISBN 1-59143-016-X
Bear Cub Books
32 pages, 11 x 8.5
Full color throughout
Hardcover, $15.95 (CAN $24.95)


View the School Program for the book!

Important Reviews:

From the American Library Association (Booklist)

While traveling with his family to their sacred mountain, young Tunuri follows a beautiful butterfly until he becomes lost in the forest. Then a magical deer appears and takes Tunuri on an enchanted journey to meet Father Sun, Brother Wind, Sister Water, Mother Earth, and finally Grandfather Fire, who explains that Tunuri has met his "nature family" and will never be alone. Based on a traditional Huichol tale and beautifully illustrated with traditional yarn art by contemporary Huichol artisans, Tunuri's journey offers a glimpse into the Huichol culture. Geographically isolated in the remote regions of the Sierra Madre Mountains, the Huichol have retained their nature-based way of life and held on to their cultural and spiritual traditions, believing that their pilgrimages to sacred sites are necessary to keep balance in the world. Information about the Huichol, their sacred symbols, and how the yarn drawings were created closes this inspiring, comforting story, which offers an excellent introduction to a contemporary indigenous culture.

From Midwest Book Review:

The Journey Of Tunuri And The Blue Deer: A Huichol Indian Story by James Endredy is a captivating picture book rendition of a tale from the beliefs of the Huichol Indians of mountainous western Mexico. Gorgeous, full-color traditional Huichol yarn drawings created especially for The Journey Of Tunuri And The Blue Deer is enhanced with Maria Hernandez de la Cruz and Casimiro de la Cruz Lopez wonderful illustrations in this outstanding Native American folk tale of children who meet their family in nature (Grandfather Fire, Father Sun, Mother Earth, and Brother Wind) and learn to share the wonders of the planet in harmony. The Journey Of Tunuri And The Blue Deer is a highly recommended addition to school and community library Native American collections for young readers.

From School Library Journal:

Tunuri is a young Huichol Indian who strays from his family while on a pilgrimage to the sacred mountain. He is led by a blue messenger deer, or Kahullumari, to Grandfather Fire, who gives him the important task of telling his people about Father Sun, Mother Earth, Brother Wind, and Sister Water. Tunuri becomes the messenger between the spiritual and human families. These people believe that ritual journeys guide their lives and promote balance in the world. The colorful artwork is made from yarn that is applied to a piece of wood, an elaborate process that is a long-practiced art of the Huichol. The illustrations enhance the feel and authenticity of the story. Elaborate notes explain the sacred symbols, who the Huichol are, and how the art was created. A strong addition to folktale collections.

About the Book
A contemporary adaptation of an indigenous Huichol teaching tale, illustrated with traditional yarn drawings by Huichol artisans
• Shares the hidden treasures of a nature-based indigenous culture
• A teaching tool for multicultural studies for children ages 6 to 9
• Explains who the Huichol people are and the symbolism of the images used by the artists

The Huichol Indians live in the remote regions of the Sierra Madre Mountains of western Mexico, where geographic isolation has allowed them to retain their culture and spiritual traditions in the face of colonization. Their nature-based way of life makes no distinction between the sacred and the secular, and they express their reverence for the powers of the earth by regarding all elements in nature as family.

The Journey of Tunuri and the Blue Deer is a modern adaptation of a traditional Huichol story depicting a young child finding his (or her) personal task in life by connecting with the powers of nature. The story is told through the experiences of young Tunuri, who becomes lost in the woods. He meets the magical Blue Deer--a messenger between the worlds of mortals and deities--who introduces Tunuri to Father Sun, Mother Earth, and others in the natural world, while leading him back to his human family. Through this lovely tale and the vivid illustrations done in the medium of traditional Huichol yarn drawings, children can learn about their place in the sacred web of life.

Casimiro, Maria, and James

Click here to see the making of the illustrations for the book

Special Announcement

11/28/03 - I am excited to announce that the publisher of Inner Traditions/Bear & Company, Mr. Ehud Sperling, has generously agreed to the donation of 200 copies of the "The Journey of Tunuri and the Blue Deer: A Huichol Indian Story" by James Endredy, to go to the children of the Huichol Sierra in Mexico. I will be delivering the books to the Huichol authorities in the next couple of months in cooperation with Wakan, the non-profit organization founded by Dr. Tomas Pinkson. Although the books will be in English I will be providing a Spanish translation with each book and we will be working to get a Huichol translation as soon as possible. The Spanish translation was generously provided by my companion and fellow AVP instructor Jorge Martinez.

I cannot overstate the importance of this kind of gesture by all those involved. It shows respect for the indigenous cultures of the world by giving something back instead of always taking. I am proud of my publisher for having the understanding and compassion to make such a gesture. The publishing industry in our country is by and large a cut throat business that is most often only interested in profit. The generous donation of this large quantity of books by a relatively small publisher is an unprecedented example of generosity and forward thinking. Stay tuned for updates and photos surrounding this project.


| Main Page | About James | Books | Activities | Huichol |