and this is no ordinary tale of animals in a forest.
It is the story of a little owl from Spain whose curiosity about Life takes him on extraordinary adventures around the world. In this first book, Niki takes a huge leap of faith and leaves his home forest to find adventure in Canada.
Grow with Niki on his journey of self discovery,
friendship, and community, as he adapts to a new environment and culture.
Explore a magical world where anything is possible.
Where dreams take shape faster than you can blink,
and the Truth reveals itself in mysterious ways.
It may also be the greatest love story of owl time...
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.56(d)|
|Age Range:||9 - 11 Years|
Read an Excerpt
niki owlleap of faith
By Karin Pinter
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Karin Pinter
All right reserved.
Chapter OneA Change Will Do You Good
Not many little owls leave Spain to move to Canada.
In fact, we're pretty sure Niki is the only one to have done it so far. At least, on a jet plane ...
You see, it's warmer in Spain most of the time, so for a little owl who grew up in the southernmost region of Andalucía to fly halfway across the world, where the rain falls more than the sun shines, it's quite a challenge for some people to wrap their heads around. Especially since he also chose the farthest point on the West Coast. Far, far away from his family and everything he was used to. Now that's a long way for some messenger pigeons to fly, and it's a long way to ask for help if you need it.
"Why would an owl leave such a warm place for rain and snow, and leave everything behind like this?" you ask.
It's actually very simple.
He had never been in snow before. And, he was tired of the dry land and forest fire hazards, so he figured a change of scenery would do him good. Staring across the tantalising Mediterranean Sea for long periods of time has a tendency to awaken the Adventurer in anyone who enjoys travelling. And Niki loves to travel.
Now, how he came to choose Canada is an interesting story. First, he heard about it when he was a very little owl from one of his neighbours who was originally from a place called Ottawa on the East Coast of Canada. Then Niki forgot about it for some time, until a friend introduced him to someone who was going to live there. By then, Niki was strong and smart enough to travel long distances by himself. So it tickled his curiosity to go check it out (owls are very curious, aren't you?)
Having said this, we have a feeling Canada may have chosen him. What do you think?
Since Niki had heard so many beautiful stories about this part of the world, most of it seemed like a fairy tale to him. Birds love fairy tales too, you know?
Oh yes. They love fairy tales just like you and I do, because we're all a part of the Magic, and Magic knows no borders.
Neither does Niki Owl.
And that's how he decided to make his way into a plane one day to cross an ocean and a continent, with no real plan other than to experience a new life, and that was as real of a plan as he needed.
The pilots stared at him somewhat perplexed for a moment, before they decided it was safe to take off with him quietly perched on the instrument panel. They're still wondering how he got there in the first place. And they miss him—he looked so cute up there, gazing boldly ahead, sipping his tea out of the smallest tea cup either of them had ever seen. It was one of three things he had packed to bring with him (and we'll find out what the other two are soon enough).
So, now that we've explored how Niki Owl arrived in Canada, let's see how his explorations are going so far, shall we?
Brand New Day
It was late spring. Niki had been in Vancouver for a week, spending most of the time by himself. His sleeping pattern was still off by about three hours in human time. So he would wake up earlier in the afternoons and fall asleep sooner, sometimes before sunrise.
Admittedly, he was missing his hometown and friends, even though most of them had been very supportive of him making this bold move, since they had migrated at least once in their lives and he had yet to experience this for himself.
Family and friends leave their mark on us and then move along when it's time. So they understood it was his time to shine.
You see, Real Love means letting someone go do what they need to do, and trusting they'll take good care of themselves.
Niki was loving the fresh air, the smell of the North Pacific waters, and was in complete awe of the deep green landscape that surrounded him. They had pine trees back where he came from, but these ... these Vancouver trees were clean and fresh from the rain most of the time, unlike the dusty ones from his home forest in Marbella.
Most of the animals were friendly—incredibly polite. They had a propensity for saying, "Sorry" a lot, and he wasn't always sure what they were sorry about. So he would usually smile, say, "It's okay," and carry on about his business.
The nocturnal creatures weren't overly nocturnal either. Niki was used to Spanish animals staying up late into the night, singing, dancing and being merry. These ones didn't seem to stay up as late. They did, however, get up early and were very devoted to their tasks around the forest, which he admired. This inspired him to start thinking of how he could be of service here, too.
Niki had settled in the enchanting Stanley Park, a beautifully maintained lush green wing extending from the downtown core of the city of Vancouver, with a beautiful forest and recreational sites for the humans. It connected almost seamlessly with the tall buildings that he so enjoyed swooping between when the humans were sleeping. He would perch on their balconies and see what kinds of things they kept in their homes (because Niki is a homey kind of owl). Their style was different to the south of Spain, which was more wooden and rustic. This was what they called 'modern'. Some of it didn't look as cozy as where he came from, but the little yappy dogs the humans owned seemed to love it.
Niki, however, preferred the maple tree he'd chosen as his new home, one of many that populated the forest outlined by the pathway used by people to stroll and run around Stanley Park, which they called the 'seawall'. His tree was located up on the hill next to a wonderful place called the Teahouse Restaurant along Third Beach (so he could conveniently enjoy his evening tea in the company of others). He got the best sunset views from here, and it provided a comfortable perch where he could watch life happen.
It also gave Niki the silence he needed to be in tune with nature and stay in touch with his friends and family back in Spain through the power of his thoughts in meditation.
You see, words are just one way we can communicate with one another. All living creatures communicate mostly through energy, and because of this we can send our thoughts anywhere we wish, to anyone we choose. Those who are more in tune with their inner guidance will receive these messages easily, whilst others who are more distracted may not notice them at all.
Some humans have forgotten about these gifts we are all blessed with, yet the animals still remember, and, with discipline and dedication, we can learn how be in tune. When we refine our inner guidance, the magical experiences created through this are only one of the many benefits of mastering our intuition.
Niki knew that keeping in regular touch with his old friends was the best way to nurture those connections, and so they would know he was safe and well in his beautiful new city.
And he was grateful to his dad who had instilled the travelling spirit in him as a very young owl. He remembered the wise words he used to say, "It is in travelling that we open our minds to new experiences and ways of being. So travel, listen, and learn."
Niki was doing all of this, and more.
You've Got a Friend
Niki was perched halfway up the fir tree on Siwash Rock early one morning. He'd spent the night circling around the shoreline looking for other animals to talk to, though none seemed to be around.
The water was calm with a few soft waves, and he could feel the sun begin to wake up behind him. The air was cool and clean.
Niki slowly closed his eyes, shook his feathers ever so slightly, and listened to the water ebb and flow.
Niki opened his eyes and turned his head all the way around on both sides, then up and down to see who was there. He saw nobody.
Somewhat confused, he settled back down to snooze and closed his eyes again.
"Please talk to me, I'm bored."
Niki hopped off the rock and flew once around it to look more closely. Still, there was nobody to be seen.
The voice was young yet polite, almost formal in its tone.
Suddenly, he saw something plop into the water, just below where he'd been sitting.
Whatever it was, it was small. He saw a trail form along the water, and followed it.
The little creature poked its head out of the water with a playful "Boo!" followed by a chuckle, and quickly submerged again, creating another ripple in the water as it swum back to where it had first appeared.
Niki perched back on the rock, as close to the water as possible this time.
"Whoo are you?" he asked.
As the little creature came to the surface, Niki could make out two tiny beady eyes peering from within a fancy shell.
"I'm Molly ... and I'm a mollusk," she replied in a tone that was proud and self-assertive.
Niki hadn't met any mollusks before; in fact, he wasn't really sure what they were.
"Do I eat mollusks?" he enquired.
"No!" Molly replied indignantly, as her beady eyes almost popped right out of her minuscule body. She swiftly disappeared in the water again.
"Oh, forgive me. I didn't know ..."
The water remained unperturbed, and just as Niki was beginning to think he'd scared Molly away, she jumped out of the water and dove back in with something akin to a pirouette.
This completely baffled Niki, as he thought only certain birds could dive in and out of the water.
"How did you learn to do that?"
Molly surfaced again, stared at Niki for a long time, and replied in a mysterious tone, "I'm a special mollusk."
She continued to gaze at him as she swam from left to right, like a shark stalking its prey. "I have travelled across the oceans and learned the secrets of circus men, the ancestral traditions of village elders, and indulged in the intellect of artists around the world ..."
Niki's mind filled with images of desert lands with burning orange canyons; there was fire and magic and power in them. Then he saw triumphant arcs made of polished stone and long pathways filled with tall trees; there was art and romance and ...
Niki opened one eye and looked down at Molly, who was tapping one of her tentacles on the rock, waiting for him to come out of his daydream.
"Welcome back," she said. "I was asking if you have any friends here. You seem a little out of place."
"Oh, well ... Not really, not yet. I arrived a few days ago and I've spent most of my time so far exploring this beautiful forest and the beaches."
"Really? Where are you from?" Molly perked up with interest.
Niki put on his own air of mystery now as he spoke, "I come from a far away land, where the sun is warmer and the trees are a paler shade of green. There are many beautiful old buildings, older than the ones I've seen here. The humans sing and dance and play guitar, and dress in colourful garments."
Molly squinted her beady eyes for a moment and said, "You mean ... Spain?"
"Ohh ... España ..." Molly whispered. She zipped back and forth again, her eyes staring ahead of her as if entranced in her own little daydream now.
Niki smiled. He was liking this special little mollusk named Molly.
The River of Dreams
Niki had overheard some of the birds talking about Lynn Canyon Park in North Vancouver, so he decided to go there for a hike a few days after his encounter with Molly.
Niki had created his own special kind of exercise routine to keep himself in shape, and besides the obvious flying, it included hopping, walking and fluttering his wings to get a full workout. He had adopted hiking as a new hobby, since the landscape and the air were so fit for this kind of activity. He got to meet a lot of new animals this way, and enjoyed the company of humans who loved to spend time in nature.
So Niki flew across the water from Coal Harbour to Lonsdale Quay, which offered spectacular views of the North Shore mountains as he sailed past the SeaBus and a few ducks who were spending idle time in the water bobbing on the ripples left by the boats. He then followed the bus as it navigated the roads through residential areas and into Lynn Valley, where he spotted the entrance to the park.
It had been raining so the earth was damp and the trees were still dripping some of the fresh rainwater, causing the forest to glisten during the intermittent moments when the sun peeked through the clouds.
Niki gazed into the coffee shop and saw the intricate Siphon coffee machine they had, "What a strange contraption!" he hooted, "I should have brought my tea cup ..."
He flew on toward the suspension bridge—a smaller one than the famed Capilano suspension bridge further west. He hadn't gone to see that one yet.
Niki settled himself atop one of the trees just before the bridge to watch the humans walk across for a bit. Some of the children shrieked with mixed fear and excitement. For some it was the first time they were crossing a river from such a height, and they were amazed by it.
The bridge wobbled a bit with their weight, although it was secured well enough with thick cables. Somebody had put a small red padlock on it halfway across. Apparently some humans do this to show their love for another person by attaching a love lock to the railings of a bridge. Niki had no idea where this tradition came from, and many people find it very romantic. If you know how this tradition started, Niki would love for you to tell him.
When a few groups of humans had passed the bridge, Niki decided it was time for him to walk it too.
He flopped onto the ground and hopped along to where the metal and wooden slats started to form the suspended pathway. He put one foot on and began to shuffle along. It did not rock or sway as he was so light. A third of the way across he decided to be more daring, and hopped up to the top of the cables that formed the railing. He turned his head back to see if anyone was looking, but the family of humans who hadn't crossed yet were busy taking care of adjusting the hoodie on their baby for extra warmth.
Niki proceeded along the cable just like any tightrope walker would. He levelled out his wings, and put one foot in front of the other, sliding along almost effortlessly.
The odd bursts of wind made it more challenging, and more fun. It was also a little bit slippery because of the rain.
Down the cable Niki went, until he reached the middle where he stopped, sat on the rail for a moment looking down at the water, and wondered how warm it was. He could just barely see his little body reflected in the water. He had some flashbacks of the mountain range in his hometown, and wondered if his friends were treating themselves to similar adventures in support of their dreams. The river flowed quietly from his vantage point.
A gust of wind almost pushed him off, so Niki stood up, gathered his balance and continued up the rail as there was now a slight upwards incline, which required even more concentration now because of the increasing gusts of wind teasing him from both sides.
When he reached the other end and hopped onto the pillar, he heard some cheers coming from behind. He turned to see the family clapping and taking pictures of him with their phones before starting their journey along the bridge, baby in arms, smiling and happy.
Niki took a little bow and hooted once before flying off into the forest to find more of the hidden treasures that waited for those who venture into Lynn Valley.
Pretty Young Thing
"Hi, I'm Purdy," the bear cub introduced herself with the kind of perky smile only a bear cub can make.
"Yes, you are pretty," replied Niki, thinking that she was referring to how cute she was because she spoke so fast.
"No, I mean, I'm Purdy. That's my name."
"Oh, okay. Funny ..."
"Are you teasing me?"
Purdy chuckled and moved closer to the tree stump where Niki was perched.
"So, how are you finding it here, eh?" she asked, the sun glimmering on her silky fur, "I'm new here too. I'm from Edmonton."
The bear cub spoke with the same slang as the humans Niki had heard so far.
"I'm still getting used to some of the humour here, as you can tell. Same as the other animals are getting used to mine. Some of their eyes just seem to glaze over when I make a joke. Do you think it's because I'm from Europe?"
"They do, eh? Haha, I guess we can be like that ... we mean no harm. I think sometimes the cold weather does funny things to our brains! Hey, shall we go have sushi?"
Purdy changed subject pretty fast, as Niki would notice the longer they got to know each other. It was her way of keeping conversations light.
"What's sushi?" Niki asked.
"Oh ... it's tasty stuff. Fresh raw fish! The humans eat loads of it here, and I tend to catch my own. I like salmon, although I'll have tuna every now and then when I can sneak it from someone's table. Want to give it a go?"
"What, sneaking food off people's tables? That's rude," Niki replied. Although he was very interested to know what this sushi thing tasted like, Niki was used to beachside fried sardines, and mussels and clams cooked in garlic sauce (he liked garlic because it's good for your immune system).
And so they went in search of new food tasting adventures, puddle hopping along the pathway in Stanley Park near Lost Lagoon, while the Canadian geese stared at them disapprovingly from where they lay beneath the willow trees. These birds seemed to have a bit of an unsociable attitude that he didn't quite understand.
Excerpted from niki owl by Karin Pinter Copyright © 2012 by Karin Pinter. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsCome Fly With Me....................xi
Special Hoots from Niki Owl....................xiii
Love & Gratitude....................xiv
A Change Will Do You Good....................1
Brand New Day....................3
You've Got a Friend....................6
The River of Dreams....................10
Pretty Young Thing....................14
Born This Way....................18
The Circle of Life....................23
Suddenly I See....................26
Learning to Fly....................35
We Can Work It Out....................38
The Voice Within....................41
All You Need is Love....................44
Calling All Angels....................52
The Greatest Gift of All....................61
Take a Look Around....................64
Stand & Deliver....................66
Stand By You....................72
The Best Is Yet to Come....................74
What You Believe In....................84
Let Love Be Your Energy....................86
What You Are Made Of....................89
Call Me, Maybe....................92
Corner of the Earth....................94
Do You Remember?....................96
The Best of What's Around....................111
In Your Eyes....................117
Glitter In The Air....................120
Father and Son....................122
When We Dance....................125
Always Look on the Bright Side....................134
Shape of My Heart....................139
Leaving On A Jet Plane....................148
About the Author....................153
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Niki Owl, Leap of Faith may, at first glance, be deemed a children’s book, but people of all ages will fall in love with this daring, delightful (and very funny) owl who sets out on the adventure of his life, and learns more than he ever imagined. I can’t wait for the sequel!
A true gem of a read!