A fun new children’s spiritual adventure tale, Mama Natura’s (Naughty) Messenger, featuring an impish, wizard-like Kung Fu Master as “wizened protector of the forest”, encourages children to respect Nature and have fun with her gifts.
Like a contemporary version of the spiritual classic The Way of the Peaceful Warrior (by Dan Millman), yet for kids – this vibrantly illustrated book shares the story of a young girl called Clara and her “mini journey of awakening” in the forest under the instruction of Kung Fu master Claudio Petulito, who teaches her to discover and respect the wonders of Nature and the creative process it can unchain, and to learn the joy and beauty that can come from sharing.
Mama Natura’s (Naughty) Messenger was created by emergent London writer and illustrator, Lola Awada, in collaboration with documentary film maker and founder of Life Arts Media, Gennaro Ambrosino, who chipped in his Kung Fu expertise.
The book starts with the young protagonist, Clara, feeling upset at having left the city and moved to the countryside, where she misses her friends. When a furry animal steals some of her toys, Clara pursues the animal into the forest, where in a fit of temper, she tears up tree branches and flowers.
“Enter Claudio Petulito Segundo, the naughty messenger!” Lola, the story’s creator, proclaims. “He’s like this protector of Mother Nature and a Kung Fu Master extraordinaire, who attempts to teach Clara – in slightly unconventional ways – the importance of respecting Nature in all its forms, all the while doing his best to impress her with his Kung Fu moves.”
Making his first magical appearance before Clara in the branch of a tree at the start of the book, Kung Fu Master Claudio is described: as:
“A very strange creature… not a bird, not an insect, not a fairy, not an elf or a pixie and not a human either, but he looked a bit like all of these creatures at the same time. He was plump with skinny legs, bald with a long white beard, his eyes were opposite colours, he seemed young and old at the same time, and wore a sort of colourful tunic with blue socks tied with long black sashes all the way up to his knees.”
Seeing Clara tear up the branches and flowers in anger, Claudio invites her to turn her anger into an act of love. And he encourages her to share her toys with the animals, who in turn teach her how to make beautiful things from the elements of Mama Natura’s beautiful forest. Clara soon learns to not only appreciate nature’s gifts but to prefer her new natural creations to her own toys.
So where did the idea for this enlightening modern day fairy tale come from?
“The original inspiration came from Gennaro,” Lola says modestly. “We trained together at the same Kung Fu school, Tang Long, in London, and a couple of years ago, Gennaro asked if I could create a little children’s book for his niece in exchange for him creating a video of my son’s presentation for a Kung Fu competition. Gennaro asked for something simple but I have great difficulty in creating simple things, so I ended up drawing these extremely complicated illustrations that took forever to make.
“Gennaro also suggested I add a ‘wise little dude’ to the story,” Lola continues, “a kind of sage character, but my version of the sage turned out a little crazy, and he became Claudio Petulito Segundo, who incidentally, is really what makes the story fun. So all the credit goes to Gennaro for this!”
And what is the main intention of the story?
“The aim of Mama Natura is to awaken a love of Nature in children,” Lola explains, “to remind them that the best toys, games and fun can be found in Nature in all its guises, for free. The book also tries to show why it’s important to look after Nature and see it with a different eye. And it also aims to be a gentle reminder to kids of the eternal importance of sharing, and hopefully to at least make them curious about what Kung Fu is, in the hope that they might want to learn more about it.”
While Mama Natura’s (Naughty) Messenger, contains serious morals and guidance for children, the fun and playful way that the story is presented makes it very accessible to children and easy and enjoyable to read.
So who is Lola Awada?
Of French Lebanese descent, Lola is a writer and illustrator living in London, with a background in ghost writing, translation, graphic design and photography. Many of her photos can be found in the Royal Geographical Society’s Picture Library (http://images.rgs.org/). She has also worked as a volunteer for UNICEF and Amnesty International, and she currently runs a CrossFit gym called CrossFit GongFu in the martial arts centre where she trains. A graduate in Graphic and Media Design (BA Hons), focused on Illustration, she has two further children’s books in the pipeline for which she is planning character redraws – watch this space! She dedicated Mama’s Natura’s (Naughty) Messenger for her young 15 year old son, Orlando.
Born a child of war-torn Lebanon, Lola, now 44, grew up living between Lebanon, France and Italy, before moving to London when she was 18. While raised as a Muslim in the Christian part of Beirut, she chose to shed the religious conditioning of her upbringing, and find her own spiritual inspirations.
“The religions of my upbringing made no sense,” she says. “I would not call myself a Buddhist or a Taoist, but these are the philosophies my heart is closest to, as they are full of light and love. And my inspirations are music, Nature in all its aspects, life and all it entails – that’s a lot of stuff! – and my muse is the man I love.“
Lola cites music, writing and drawing as helping her cope with the war during her childhood. “I don’t play any musical instruments sadly as my father was against us pursuing any artistic activities,” she says, “but I have been quietly writing and drawing since an early age.”
She also cites children as a major inspiration. “I prefer talking to children than adults,” she says, “because they make more sense, and they’re still full of wonder.”
With Mama Natura’s (Naughty) Messenger, Lola is helping to awaken that innate childish wonder for Nature and channel it in a positive way – inspiring a new generation to become responsible caretakers for the Earth and custodians for a sustainable future.
To buy a copy of Mama Natura’s (Naughty) Messenger, on Amazon, CLICK HERE
Visit Lola Awada’s Facebook page and find her on Instagram.
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Since 2004, Will Gethin has worked as a holistic explorer and travel writer, writing articles for the Independent, the Evening Standard and various lifestyle, wellbeing and environmental magazines, including Tatler, Harpers Bazaar, Resurgence, Kindred Spirit and Yoga Magazine. In February 2012, he set up Conscious Frontiers, a leading edge communications, speakers and events agency giving voice to the growing movement of people working to propel a shift in consciousness. Inspirational speakers represented by Conscious Frontiers include Peter Owen Jones, Graham Hancock, Dr David Hamilton, Tim Freke, Dr Jude Currivan and Sarah Rozenthuler. Prior to founding Conscious Frontiers, Will also worked as a communications consultant, promoting humanitarian and intercultural organisations like The Isbourne Foundation, IT Schools Africa, The Makhad Trust, Tribe of Doris and Afrika Eye Film Festival. And he founded a Guest Speaker programme at the Isbourne Holistic Centre in 2008, bringing leading edge conscious living authors and presenters like Byron Katie, Graham Hancock, Dr Masaru Emoto and Brandon Bays to Cheltenham to present educational talks and workshops. From 1993-2003, Will worked in music, consumer and arts PR for London agencies, ultimately working as Account Director for Virgin Megastore at Borkowski PR. Will is also a Contributing Editor to Life Arts Media.
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