Zen Ties, Jon Muth, and a Giant Panda’s Wisdom

Zen Ties by Jon J. Muth

Though I do like variety, I couldn’t resist bringing you another inspiring book find by Jon J. Muth, Zen Ties.  Zen Ties is a children’s picture book that has very little to do with the necktie worn by the main character, an adorable giant panda named Stillwater.  The red tie represents a fun play on words in the book’s short yet meaningful title.


Side note: If you have ever seen my book parody illustrations then you know I’m a sucker for word play.  The cheesier the better!  So naturally, as soon as Stillwater said “Hi” to his nephew named “Koo” I was hooked!


Okay, back to the meaningful title.

Zen Ties quote by Jon J. Muth

Zen Ties, then, is a delightful children’s story reminding us to cherish our ties to one another.  As Zen philosophy teaches, we are all connected.


To help us understand a little more about haiku and about Muth’s personal influences from Japanese Zen Buddhism the author includes a note to his readers at the story’s end.  Unless your child has already learned to appreciate the unusual rhythm of haiku for what it is, you might consider beginning with the author’s note first.


However you decide to begin reading it, Zen Ties is full of rich, meaningful themes for children (and adults), beautiful watercolor illustrations, a brief education about ancient poetry, and a giant panda whose name “ties” it all together.   Be sure to read the latest complement to Zen Ties, “fittingly” titled Zen Shorts.


Plus, find more inspiring book finds for children below:

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