There is a lot to be said for a children’s books that entertains and educates both children and adults. So buckle in because I have a lot to say about “The Buddha’s Apprentice at Bedtime: Tales of Compassion and Kindness for You to Read with Your Child – Delight and Inspire” by Dharmachari Nagaraja.
The collection was inspired by the Jataka Tales, traditional stories offering guidance and wisdom which are believed to have been told by Buddha himself. The stories are focused on explaining the eight great principles that underpin Buddhism, known as the Eightfold Noble Path. “The Buddha’s Apprentice at Bedtime” also gives a brief overview of Buddhism, ideas of how to work with the stories and storytelling, and introducing meditation to children, if you’re so inclined.
However before you think Nagaraja brought us a book that is all work and no play, let me set your mind at ease. “The Buddha’s Apprentice at Bedtime” is filled with adorable and charming tales. You and your child won’t feel as if you’re being beat over the head with some sort of overbearing Buddhist message when reading these stories. Like the best children’s tales, there are lessons to be learned, but I wanted you to know it wasn’t some sort of indoctrination text. What it IS, is filled with stories of monkeys wearing high heels, beautiful horses mastering fear, little boys battling water serpents, tree spirits savings goats, and a Queen of monkeys teaching humans what it truly means to be a leader.
Last we’ve got to talk about the illustrations. “The Buddha’s Apprentice at Bedtime” is full color and fully illustrated. The art so adorable! I did a couple of scans that don’t do it justice, but you’ll at least get the idea, and the idea is that the art is fantastic! The book credits Sharon Tancredi with commissioned artwork. I’m not sure if that means we should be crediting Tancredi for all the magic the art imbues into the book or not, but the illustrations are a big part of what makes “The Buddha’s Apprentice’s at Bedtime” a great book.
And that’s what Nagaraja has given us; a really great book.