Books have the extraordinary power to shape our well-being, and when it comes to children’s literature, the potential for impact may be even greater. In the realm of gut health and beyond, the stories we as caregivers tell our children can lay the foundation for a lifetime of wellness and happiness.
As a University of Washington physician specializing in gut health and having led initiatives at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, I’ve witnessed the profound significance of early interventions. From developing nutritional therapies for children in Sub Saharan Africa and Asia, I learned that starting early, even during pregnancy, can set the stage for a healthier future.
Inspired by this knowledge, I crafted “Happy Tails” – a collection of captivating stories that take young readers and their caregivers on adventures through Woodland Forest. Meet Mike Mole, Mo Rabbit, Min Deer, and Molly Bear, each representing a different pillar of health: Mike for Microbes (microbiome), Mo for Movement (exercise), Min for Mind (mental health), and Molly for Molecules (food).
Within these imaginative tales, the characters encounter challenges that spark their friends’ support, highlighting the power of community and relationships. In the face of adversity, they learn simple yet transformative lessons that resonate with young hearts and minds. From Mike Mole’s battle with the Bugaboo Flu, where nourishing bean soup and caring friends aid his recovery to Molly Bear’s struggle with the Crummy Tummy Crave and the power of pickles these stories captivate and educate.
The tales fill a void we’ve keenly felt, particularly in the wake of recent times of isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic and join an expanding list of titles aimed at children’s mental health. They remind us that true fulfillment lies in meaningful connections and a sense of belonging, rather than mindless consumption or superficial distractions. The “Happy Tails” series rekindles the importance of these values.
To further enhance the reading experience, each book includes explanations for caregivers, providing insights into the metaphorical lessons conveyed. Additionally, simple recipes are included, encouraging shared moments of food preparation and fostering the joy of community dining.
For Families Everywhere
I am deeply grateful to my own family for inspiring and enriching these stories. My wife and our three daughters served as co-authors and editors, infusing their creativity into every page. “Happy Tails” reflects the warmth and love we share as a family.
While these enchanting tales are yet to be published, I’m optimistic about their future release. If the concept resonates with you and these are stories you might like in your own library, I invite you to share the link with your families and your thoughts in the comments below.
As a preview, here’s an excerpt from the last story of the series. Immerse yourself in the magic of “Happy Tails” and join us on this extraordinary journey towards lifelong wellness!
Happy Tails Book 4 Excerpt: Molly Bear and the Crummy Tummy Crave
“In a snug den beneath Dandelion Hill in the heart of Woodland Forest, there lived a young bear named Molly. Molly normally ate foods as colorful as the fall harvest, but on this particular day, she was caught in a can’t stop crummy tummy crave. Handful after handful, she mindlessly ate the most boring and brownest of chips. The more she ate them, the more she craved them, and the more she craved them, the more she just had to eat them.”
Just as she was about to munch another bunch of chips, Molly heard a knock at the front door. It was her friend Mike Mole. “Hi Molly! Do you want a pickle?” he asked cheerfully. Molly, with her mouth already full, responded, “Oh no thanks, Mike. I’m having some munchies right now. Besides, I’m in a crummy tummy way.” Mike understood. “That’s OK. Maybe I’ll just sit down next to you?”
Mike settled beside Molly, holding a jar of pickles he had made with his Grandmother that summer using the cucumbers in the vegetable patch. He plucked a pickle from the jar, juices dripping, and took a satisfying crunch. Molly continued to MUNCH on her chips while Mike CRUNCHED on his pickle.
“Hey!” she said. “Your crunch is louder than my munch. Can I try a bite?” “Sure!” Mike gladly handed her a bright green pickle which she bit into. “CRUNCH, CRUNCH, CRUNCH!”-the sound filled the air. With a satisfied swallow, the green pickle found its place in her tummy and she felt just a little bit better…”
IF THIS PROJECT RESONATES, WE WELCOME YOUR THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS BELOW!
Chris & Family
SPECIAL NOTE: For those that signed up for the Smart Nutrition App wait list, please stay tuned. Its release is anticipated shortly. If others are interested in learning more about this public good tool, here’s a link. It might be especially useful for busy parents on the go. In fact, the author developed this as a tool for use initially by his own family & friends.