– The Way of the Forest
Story of the First Flute


The Way of the Forest

The Way: an unspoken law heeded by all creatures. Take what you need, but never waste what you take. For eons all have followed this sacred trust. The Way demands that all creatures share in the balance of life: the ‘give’ and the ‘take.’ This creed does not, however, prohibit any individual, great or small, from doing everything in its power to stay healthy and alive. Rather, this is a requirement of The Way, which all beings accept as part of the dance of life.
The Way of the ForestThe Way of the Forest

“The Way of the Forest”

Written by Hawk Hurst / Illustrated by Carson Ellis
Frontline Press, Asheville, North Carolina
ISBN: 978-0-9723829-9-1
This is the story of a happy and prosperous tribe of People who have lived for generations in harmony with the land, the plants, and the animals. Upon awakening one morning, they discover that everything they have always depended upon to survive has disappeared. All the animals have departed, and the plants will no longer offer sustenance. Facing the threat of starvation, no one knows what has happened, or what to do. Taking it upon themselves to discover the truth, two young warriors – a boy and girl from the tribe – embark upon an epic journey to learn what has befallen their People.
Available in Paperback for $14 (shipping included)

About the Illustrator, Carson Ellis

Carson Ellis - Illustrator
Carson Ellis is a student at Mount Holyoke College, majoring in Environmental Studies, with a minor in Art History. The Way of the Forest is her first professional work, the art inspired by a childhood living in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and four years working in environmental and outdoor education at the Green River Preserve summer camp.

In addition to illustration, she is also interested in sustainable agriculture, and has spent a lot of time working on and managing various organic farm projects. For Carson, art is a way to explore and connect with nature. She hopes that her work will inspire other young artists to pick up a pen and to take a walk in the woods.

The Way of The Forest: Educational Materials and Curriculum

For a free collection of interdisciplinary curriculum ideas, please click the highlighted link below. The lessons and activities are user-friendly and are designed for public, private, and home-schooled children of all ages. Naturalists, environmentalists and any lover of nature will enjoy the lesson plans. Subjects such as language arts, science, social studies, and other content areas have links for printable activities. You will find a literature list that will help you connect to other stories and extend learning opportunities. Several lessons were designed with national standards in mind to make the learning relevant to specific grade-level content.

Download “The Way of the Forest” Educational Curriculum

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“Just in time for summer reading, Hawk Hurst presents a new book to share with children and adults about the harmony of The Way. On many levels, this book is about the balance of creatures - including man - and the natural world of survival, as it follows the mistakes of children that have great consequences for their tribe. If you have ever heard Hawk tell stories, you know he comes with great knowledge of the earth and its inhabitants - from the smallest to the largest. This story comes from a time when all communicated, and respect for the natural world is ‘The Way’. Hawk does a wonderful job using the Native American’s way of speaking using descriptive words such as “finned ones” for fish, that leads the reader into a time long ago. The characters have Native names, and the songs are fully explained. The story and education are intertwined and weave a tale that brings the reader into the angst of a childish mistake, and the modern dilemma of taking care of the earth. A quickly moving story, each chapter leaves the reader in suspense of the next action. Chapter titles give a sense of what is about to happen (The Summer: The Season of Plenty), but as the story develops, unexpected challenges and heroes emerge. Hawk’s voice is rhythmic and solemn, as if the tribal elder is relating an old, old story. Carson Ellis is the illustrator and the 7” x 9” format with color covers and black and white detailed pencil illustrations at each chapter are in keeping with the story. In addition to the short Epilogue, there are author notes as well. I enjoyed this gentle book that tells a wonderful story and educates as well. The story will permeate your consciousness and perhaps lead to new awareness and actions. It is a story everyone needs to hear and pass on. Suitable for fourth grade students to adults and teachers.”
- Linda Stout, Editor, South Carolina Storytelling Network Journal.


“Hawk Hurst’s new “The Way of the Forest” is a beautiful and haunting story about decisions and consequences. Full of symbolism, the story conjures a world that is thrown out of balance through the selfish but very human acts of three young people. Their quest for redemption will inspire people of all ages.”
- Tony Bartelme, author, journalist and finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in feature writing.

“My son, Charlie, and I are reading your book and really enjoying it. The message that the books holds is one that desperately needs to be heard. Bravo!”
- Susan Cass, Parent.

“Thanks so much for your book! You do a great job telling the story and the illustrations are such a great asset. I really like how the character, Dega’taga, reflects on his life at the end of the story. My struggling readers will benefit from reading the important ideas from his perspective.”
- Char Janzen, Teacher.

“The Way of the Forest by Hawk Hurst should be the way of our society today. A tender story, filled with examples of family love, respect for nature and the honored code of the animal kingdom, this is a treasured story to be read and shared with those you care about.”
- Pamela Bauer Mueller, author of An Angry Drum Echoed and other historical novels.

“This book easily integrates language arts and real world connections within the science classroom. Creative and enjoyable to read.”
- Dr. Julie Sessions, Porter Gaud fifth grade science teacher.

“Hawk’s story, The Way of the Forest, is one that is often requested around the evening campfires. It is a wonderful tale of the connection between humans and our natural world, inspiring a heartfelt desire for us to interact more deeply with the earth and it’s many inhabitants. For over two decades, Hawk has served as a senior mentor and master naturalist with both our summer camp and school programs. A gifted storyteller, naturalist, and environmental educator, Hawk’s knowledge and experiences in these fields provide an important expertise to the Preserve. Hawk is a treasure and we feel fortunate to count him as a member of the Green River Preserve family.”
- Missy Schenck, co-owner, Green River Preserve.

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Hawk Hurst
330 Horse Fork Road
Clyde, NC 28721
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