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Old Turtle and the Broken Truth by Douglas Wood

So often in life we make separations between ourselves and others, whether it be culturally, racially, religiously or most evident in the United States right now, politically.  Humanity so often seems to divide itself up.  It finds a truth and holds tightly to it.  Then suddenly life becomes “us” verses “them”.  How do we reach across human division?


This year as a part of our Waldorf home school curriculum the Douglas Wood books, Old Turtle, & Old Turtle and the Broken Truth were recommended. I had planned on looking for them at the library but at the last minute just decided to go ahead and order them.  I’m so glad I did because I could never have given them up after reading them both.  They are beautifully illustrated books with watercolors by Jon Muth and they are so beautifully & poetically written.  I often cannot get through a reading without choking up.

“…into this far and lovely land there fell… a truth.  It streaked down from the stars, trailing a tail as long as the sky. But as it fell, it broke.”


In this book a “Truth” is found.  On it is written a very special message, but the animals soon see that it’s a broken truth and so reject it.  Then a man finds the broken truth and at first it gives him a great sense of peace.  He takes it to his people.

“The Truth made the people feel good and proud and strong.  But soon they also began to feel fear and even anger toward those who were not like themselves and did not share their truth.  The other beings and other people of the lovely land seemed less and less important… “


See what happens when a little girl journeys in search of wisdom and an “Old Turtle”.  In the end the broken “Truth” is reunited with it’s lost half.  A new message emerges, but how do the people respond to this new, whole Truth?

I dare you to read this book without a tear or two.  Most appropriate for the age 7 and up child and all children at heart. This book has a remarkable and meaningful message for all people across every so called divide.  I’m sure it will become a favorite in your home too.

There are so many wonderful children’s books out there with meaningful life messages.  I would love to know, what are your favorites?


9 thoughts on “Old Turtle and the Broken Truth by Douglas Wood

  1. What a beautiful post, and thank you so much for reminding me of one of my favorite children’s books.

    1. thank you!

  2. This is very beautiful and really makes one think. Thank you so much for sharing it with us, Becca!

    1. Thanks so much Julie!

  3. favorites? There are too many to name — there are the ones which make me giggle and the ones which make me sigh. Have you ever read The Mouse Wife by Rumer Goden?

    1. No, I’ll have to check that out! Why is it a fav?

  4. Thank you introducing us to this book!

  5. This sounds like a very special book, and I will get it for Grandson, who is 8, and a seeker of truth it would seem. In this world we live in, I find it so important to find “character building” books, and other media, for rolls models, acts of integrity and good character are heralded as they once were and our children really need them. That is why I like the sound of this book. When my children were little, one of our favorite books was “Oak & Company”, by Richard Mabey. This book is now out of print. It follows the life of an oak tree as an acorn in the ground til it dies 236 yrs later, all the creatures and life that lives in and on the tree and how one of its own acorns starts growing next to it. Also how the forest and its creatures all still used and lived in the tree as it dies and returns to the earth. Splendid and beautiful illustrations of the flora and fauna associated with the life of the oak tree.
    Thank you Becca for your wonderful post!

    1. It’s so true our children need these types of books. us adults as well, I’ve learned quite a bit from this book. Wow, “Oak & Company” sounds like such a wonderful book! I’ll have to do a search for it. Thanks!

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