“My mom gave me a geode, which is an oval shaped rock with crystal growing on the inside,” says Santa Clara author and Santa Clara University professor Tim J. Myers. “This geode I have has been cut in half and naturally filled with a beautiful purple crystal. On the outside it looks like an ordinary beat up rock.”
Myers considered what it would have been like if a Native American found a geode during pre-contact times, which is before Native Americans interacted with Europeans.The result was “The Thunder Egg,” a picture book released in July.
“My idea was that [this rock] might be interpreted as a thunderbird egg,” Myers says. “Many of the Plains tribes believed in the idea of the thunderbird. It’s a mythical creature, but tribe members believed it exists and that it brings rain. When it flies and flaps its wings, it makes thunder. When it blinks its eyes, it makes lightning. In my story, I picture a little girl from the Cheyenne tribe finding this and almost adopting it like it’s her own child because she is lonely. But then a drought comes and she has to make a big decision. Will she return the egg to its parents? Since California is in a drought now, we can all understand the struggle the little girl faces.”
Myers says it’s important not to misrepresent a culture and therefore, he did thorough research for the book.
“I’ve been learning about Native Americans for decades and I’ve done a lot of research on the Plains tribes and their belief in the thunderbird,” he says. “The illustrator of the book was Winfield Coleman. Winfield is not only a superb artist but a national scholar of native people.”
Released in May, Myers’s “Nectar of Story: Poems,” an adult poetry book, has received positive endorsements from nationally-acclaimed writers.
“On each left side page of the book is a story, and on the right side there’s a poem that the story inspired,” Myers says. “Some of them are real stories, others are fairy tales and myths and legends, and they’re from all over the world. This book has a variety of poetic forms, rhymed and metered and free verse.”
One of the poems in the book is called “Grandma Gives the Boys a Guardian Angel Picture.” According to Myers, a story about guardian angels he heard as a child inspired this piece. The poem begins with a reference to maternal influences: “When I was a kid I slept all night, knowing the guardians near–my mom had told me so.”
Myers is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). He is the author of 19 published books. Currently, Myers is working on a fantasy novel series for adults and young adults.
Visit http://www.timmyersstorysong.com/ for more information about Myers.