It was my second year working in Arizona on a mission school for Navajo and Apache children. I was sitting in my cubicle bedroom listening to the cries of Mexican Gray Wolves. They had been released unto the White Mountain Apache Reservation some miles away. The ironic thing was that the endangered Mexican Gray Wolves were from the Wolf Sanctuary from Eureka Missouri not far from my home in Saint Louis. They were reintroducing the endangered wolf back to its homeland of the White Mountains.
The Native Americans treasure wildlife and the natural resources, but wolves and eagles are highly regarded. Many of the children I worked with talked about how their families tried to install many of their traditions with their Christian beliefs. So I set out to write a Christmas book telling the story of Christmas and Christ’s birth through the eyes of a Mexican Gray Wolf. Set back in that time, the book follows a wolf pup in the White Mountains as he grows, wanting to be like his father. He ends up celebrating the birth of Christ with a triumphant howl. The bible tells us that all of creation will cry out his praise and thus the wolf pack celebrate the birth of Christ.
The children I worked with were excited to see the whole publishing process as Jill Taylor, the illustrator, shared sketches and ideas for the book. Months later as the book was delayed in publishing, I read the manuscript with printed off illustrations at our chapel dedication at American Indian Christian Mission. My greatest thrill and best review came when I had finished reading and the Navajo code talker came over to me. (We had met when he came a few months earlier to tell the students about his experience growing up and becoming a code talker.) He told me, “I loved the story because you told it in the way we tell stories to our children.” That will probably be my most treasured review because that was what I tried to accomplish with the book, besides showing people that the wolf is a wonderful creature. Of course having had great uncles that fought in WWII and being a history buff praise from such an individual was quite unexpected. To purchase a copy please visit my website. http://www.suzettehopkins.com/book/little-wolfs-christmas/
You can also find many gifts with illustrations from the book for any wolf enthusiast at http://www.cafepress.com/mexicanwolf