Stories of shape shifting snow leopards

July 23, 2009
Jackie Morris 'The Snow Leopard' book cover.

Jackie Morris 'The Snow Leopard' book cover.

Children’s author/illustrator Jackie Morris has written and illustrated a beautiful book, The Snow Leopard about the Wakhi people in Afghanistan. Talk about being seduced by a book’s cover – the illustrations are beautiful.

The story, based on ancient village tales, concerns a shape-shifting guardian (the locals call them mergichans) in the body of the wide-eyed snow leopard. As a protector she guards an infinity of mountain realms and the people in them but it is time to find some-one to take her place. In this tale the snow leopard protector seeks out a young girl to train in the wisdom of guradianship. Not only is the story intriguing for kids (our friend’s young girl sat with the book for hours) but it also has a lovely (but subtle) environmental message about the future of mountains.

This book is a beautiful way to introduce young children to snow leopards. I was going to give the book as a present, but I can’t part with it, so will just have to buy another 🙂

More about the Wakhi people and their supernatural snow leopard guardians on the Myths page of the Snow Leopard Conservancy’s website here.