Coyote and the Turtle's Dream

Coyote and the Turtle's Dream
Coyote and the Turtle's Dream
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In this entertaining mystery novel aimed at middle schoolers ages 10 to 13, Coyote and Turtle, animal characters drawn from American Indian and Alaska Native storytelling traditions, lead the children on a mystery/adventure in which they foil the plans of a fossil poacher on their reservation, all while passing on messages about healthy eating and physical activity. This beautifully illustrated book is a continuation of the best-selling Native American-themed Eagle book series, intended to teach children the benefits of healthy eating and physical fitness while preventing Type 2 diabetes. 2013: 252 p.; illustrated.

The novel, Coyote and the Turtle’s Dream, is the first in a series of three books for middle schoolers ages 10-13 which feature the Eagle book series characters and are about healthy eating and preventing diabetes.

It combines a fun mystery with health promotion messages about preventing type 2 diabetes and builds on American Indian and Alaska Native storytelling traditions honored in the original Eagle Books series for younger children. Coyote and the Turtle’s Dream features animal and human characters from the original books, but also expands the characters to include family members, teachers, store owners, other residents of a small reservation town-- and an elderly box turtle.  Broadening the dialogue about preventing type 2 diabetes presented in the original Eagle books, Coyote and the Turtle’s Dream also introduces the character of Arianna, a young girl living with type 1 diabetes.

Other related products:

El Camino Hacia una Vida Saludable Basada en las Guias Alimenticias para los Estadounidenses = The Road to a Healthy Life Based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (Bilingual Spanish and English) can be found here:

Let's Eat for the Health of It(Package of 100) can be found here:

Living a Balanced Life With Diabetes: A Toolkit Addressing Psychosocial Issues for American Indian and Alaska Native Populations (Kit) can be found here:

Deliciously Healthy Family Meals (Cookbook) can be found here:

Dietary Guidelines For Americans, 2010 is available here:


Target audience is children, especially Native American children, and their parents, in order to teach the children and their families diabetes-prevention information and how to live a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, and to choose healthy foods and drinks.


June 2013

Library Journal's Notable Government Documents Collection for year 2012

Coyote and the Turtle’s Dream. by Terry Lofton. U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Svcs., Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Native Diabetes Wellness Program. 2011. 236p. illus. SuDoc# HE 20.7002:D 54/9. Free.
Honoring traditional storytelling techniques, this novel targets middle schoolers in Native American and Alaska Native communities, where type 2 diabetes is prevalent at higher rates than among other ethnic groups. Using characters from the original “Eagle Books” series and an original plotline, it promotes a diabetes preventative diet, behaviors, and lifestyle.


About the book by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

To encourage readership and healthy choices among middle schoolers, their families and communities, the novels employ entertainment-education (EE) as a communication strategy. Applying EE principles, the books appeal to middle schoolers by using the genres that have proven successful with this audience—adventure, fantasy, and mystery. The stories use relationships and emotion to lend authenticity and context to the character’s motivations and behaviors. EE-based storytelling creates believable characters that can serve as effective role models for healthy living. EE promotes problem-solving at community and individual levels, an extremely important ability for an age group that is exploring its own sense of independence and self-efficacy.

Added to this formula is the most important EE element, the seamless interweaving of health and educational messaging into the plot. In Coyote and the Turtle’s Dream, type 2 diabetes prevention messages about healthy eating, being physically active, and following traditional wisdom become part of the story itself. Moreover, Rain and his friends apply both Native and western science to avert the disruption of the reservation’s ecology, an implicit metaphor for maintaining metabolic balance in the human body.

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Health and Human Services Dept., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Indian Health Service
  • Lofton, Terry
Key Phrases:
  • Eagle Books
  • Native Diabetes Wellness Program
  • Diabetes
  • Turtles Dream
  • Book About a Turtle and a Coyote
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